Saturday, July 08, 2017

Dinner

Oh joy oh bliss. Suddenly ham steaks have reappeared in the supermarket. They are made of ham and all sorts of other goodies you don't want to know about and are absolutely delicious with fried pineapple pieces. Is this an Aussie dish or does the world eat ham steaks and pineapple?

Jewish and Moslem readers are probably pulling a face now, but to rely on old joke first told by a Jew, they were half price, and suddenly Jewish people want to know where they are so cheap.

When we were in Malaysia a few years ago, we heard of beef bacon. I thought it might have been just a euphemistic word for pork bacon, but no, there is beef bacon. It is rather boring. Speaking of bacon, what is so special in England about gamon? For me it was quite ordinary very thick bacon. On our Mediterranean cruise at the breakfast buffet we had the choice of English style bacon or American style bacon. Extreme American bacon style is when it shatters into pieces when it is cut. Australians are more inclined to English bacon. When I served myself bacon, I would take the English bacon and top it with a piece of American bacon.

We might dine out once a fortnight and honestly and I am finding its value becoming poorer. Ok, we don't go to smart places, but I struggle to find an appealing dish on so many menus. I wish I liked Chicken Parmigiana. Last night when we were out at a pub I had not been to before, I just could not decide and ended up choosing the Southern Fried Chicken Burger. There was nothing wrong with it, but nothing really right about it.

I prefer home cooked food, and why would I not when R is such an excellent cook, a naturally instinctive cook. It is not just how it is cooked but how it is served too. I am a more 'bung it on a plate' type if I cook and serve but I have learnt a lot about meal presentation from R, along with gift wrapping. Everyone knows which gift comes from R, because of the exquisite wrapping. He has raised the wrapping standards of my whole extended family by shaming them and their careless wrapping, yep, me included.

While I rarely cook, at least once every winter I make pea and ham soup. It takes three days to make. Today I boiled two ham bones with a two roughly chopped onions, a couple of bay leaves and a clove of garlic for a couple of hours. I extracted the bones and cut off the meat and most but not all of the skin and then chucked the meat back into the pot and it is cooling. I will skim off fat once it is cold tomorrow and the split dried peas are soaking tonight. They will be rinsed and added to the pot and it will be cooked until the peas break down. Let go cold again, skimmed of fat again and day 3, more water added and reheated and ready to eat.

How on earth did the price of ham bones reach $10 per kilo.  Butchers used to almost give away ham bones for your dog, admittedly without much meat on them.

I smell that my ham steaks are nearly ready. Goodbye.

24 comments:

  1. R is a naturally instinctive cook? You lucky duck you. My family are all recipe tweakers. We follow the recipe the first time we make something new, then tweak until we get it "right" a few tries later.
    I've never put onion in my pea and ham soup. I simmer the ham bone and the split peas together until the peas break down, scoop out the bone, separate the meat and put that back in, then leave it overnight. Skim off the fat, then add water if necessary, thicken with grated potato, carrot and finely diced celery. Add a dash of tomato sauce, a smidge of worcestershire, and the family all come back for seconds. It's just what you grow up learning I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, your variations are interesting and I will put some thought into them the next time I cook. I too am a tweaker of recipes. There are notes on the Christmas cake recipe, less of this, more of this. By the time my soup is finished, it needs no thickening and half a bowl is a meal.

      Delete
  2. How many local food blogs are you reading down there, Andrew? That is my special secret to finding the awesome meals. I should probably write a blog post on how to find them. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never read one, Snoskred, but I know they are out there. You should write such a post on them, but for me, food is mostly sustenance. I care about food only in that I have to have it and it should be nice, the same as with sleep. I don't enjoy it and it is such a waste of time, but I have to have it.

      Delete
  3. How can you not enjoy sleep? I love sleep, it's my down time. I take it you've never experienced that deepest of sleeps where you "know" you are deeply asleep and enjoying being asleep? I don't feel it so often now, but I remember it as the best sleeps I ever had.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, yes I do experience that deep sleep, at times when the alarm goes off. I suppose it is a bit about having to go to bed because I have to get up early for work.

      Delete
  4. I like to cook my own food too. I don't have the money to eat out, but I just like the taste of it better and if there's something I eat if I eat out and like, I know I can make it better at home. So I do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strayer, that is quite true. It is rare that I have a better meal out than I could have at home.

      Delete
  5. I enjoy cooking and trying out new recipes, but I must say even though I love soups I've never made ham and pea soup.
    As for my gift wrapping, I'm not good at it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sami, cost wise, it is at times cheaper to eat out, especially for Asian food. Ok, I won't have high expectations when you send me my birthday present.

      Delete
  6. I love cooking and sleeping, although I don't get much of the latter and possibly too much of the former 😀 Your pea and ham soup sounds divine Andrew.. at least when you do cook it's something totally worthy of your
    effort 😀

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, that is true. When I cook something, it is a big deal and of course I must receive lots of praise. At times, I am such a bloke.

      Delete
  7. Meat especially beef is very expensive in Europe . The cheapest are chickens but quality is not good I think

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia, I think beef has become a little bit cheaper in Europe in the last few years, but you would know better.

      Delete
  8. On the gift-wrapping front I fail. I do try, but...
    I am a better cook than wrapper. And also a recipe tweaker. I would like to eat out more often than we do, which is odd because when we do I often think how much better we could do it at home. Colour me inconsistent.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, the best thing about eating out, so I am informed, is that you don't have to cook for one night.

      Delete
  9. Interesting that you mention Chicken Parmigiana. Only yesterday I was eating my pub lunch (Chicken Schnitzel, mash, cole slaw and peppercorn sauce) when I re-read the menu and noticed a Day Special of five versions of Chicken Parmigiana. One was the traditional Italian, another was Mexican (i.e. with Chilli Cone Carne topping) and I forgot the other three versions. Had I noticed it on the menu earlier I would have tried the Mexican as I love Chilli Con Carne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *snap*, yesterday was chicken schnitzel day here too, but I made my own, from scratch, because I like it better.

      Delete
    2. Victor, I do like a good schnitzel. I might be interested in a chicken parma if it came in other flavours, but not chilli con carne.

      River, self crumbed shnitzels are best.

      Delete
  10. I'm coming by from Sandra's. I know exactly what you mean about eating out less. Here in the states it gets more and more expensive -- and our home cooking is pretty hard to beat! But no dishes to do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeanie. We find food out in the US to be quite cheap, especially when the meals are so large, one meal can be shared by two people. But who can beat good home cooked food......dealing with the dishes aside.

      Delete
  11. Crikey Andrew ..... it takes 3 days for you to make pea and ham soup?? Mum makes it all the time. It's a family favourite. BUT ..... she soaks the peas overnight and cooks it all up in the morning. All done in a few hours and it's delicious. Mum Loves ham steaks and pineapple too but she hasn't had it for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Charlie, well, I don't think your mum will be getting a ham steak and pineapple at the local pub anymore. I really enjoyed it last night. Charlie, your mum might know about how some food left overnight in the fridge tastes even better the next day. After three days of heating and cooling, my soup is very rich and thick. It can be diluted with water to however you want.

      Delete
  12. Ohh I want pea and ham soup now! DAMMIT

    ReplyDelete