Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Perfect Plain Sunday Lunch for 3

First of all, sorry for not posting much lately - I've been busy!! I was working a lot this week, had a couple of birthdays to go to, and an economics essay due in on Friday. So I haven't been sleeping much, let alone cooking. I hate it when I get this busy and can't eat well - chips and chocolate bars do not constitute a proper meal. It was a hellish week, and I was certainly looking forward to my lazy Sunday lunch with my friends Tim and Jess.

But in the end, I did get the essay in on time, got through my shifts and the parties, and I finally arrived at my free Sunday.

(Incidentally, the essay was about the Japanese rice industry... I don't know if my essay was any good, but writing it sure made me hungry).


142. Corner Cut Topside of Beef
143. New Potatoes with Truffle Oil
144. Rice Pudding

Actually, this is my first proper Sunday roast lunch, cooked on a Sunday. Hoorah! I think I've mentioned previously that I'm usually home alone on Sunday afternoons, as everyone in my family apart from me goes to work then. So it's the perfect time to make things I don't think they'd like. Case in point - rice pudding. My dad hates it, because he's so used to having savoury rice, and I'd feel bad forcing it upon him.

I started cooking at about 11:00am, starting with the rice pudding, as it needs 2.5 hours in the oven. I've never made one before - but it's actually really easy! It's 4 tablespoons rice (I used that expensive vialone nano risotto rice) and 2 tablespoons of vanilla sugar in a buttered dish, over which you pour 500ml full cream milk, then nutmeg and some melted butter. Then simply chuck it in the oven, at 150C for 2.5 hours, stirring well after the first 30 minutes and the first hour. It did look like a pitifully small amount in the dish, but I figured it would expand on cooking.

Rice and sugar in dish

Butter and nutmeg

Now, we don't actually have a double oven, which was going to be a problem as the beef and the pudding are cooked at different temperatures, and they both need to be cooked simultaneously. (I didn't really read through the recipes very thoroughly, whoops). What we do have, however, is a convection microwave oven, which is a relic of the 1970s, and which was our only oven before we renovated the kitchen 2 years ago. Now we've moved it into the laundry-cum-pantry adjacent to the kitchen where it's been relegated to microwave duty... until today. So I put the rice pudding in there, fingers crossed that its oven setting were still all working and efficient. (They were).

So whilst that was happening, I did the meat. I've got a bit of a story about this meat. As I've obviously been busy, I asked my dad to do the shopping for me. I asked him to go to (the usually fabulous) Rendinas' Butchery to get "1.25 kg topside"... and the butcher gave him mince! MINCE, for fuck's sake. Apparently she said some crap like "if you want topside, this is all we've got". And as I hadn't told Dad what I wanted the meat for, he thought the mince was what I wanted. Stupid butcher!! Now I've got one and half kilos of bloody expensive mince sitting in my fridge. (Meatballs and chilli con carne coming up!) Dad and I went to the supermarket this morning (butchers close on Sunday) and picked up the topside, shrinkwrapped and labelled in the meat cabinet. Not that supermarket meat bothers me. Australian meat is good by world standards, even the supermarket stuff. Usually I go to Rendinas only for steaks, special cuts of meat and speciality products, but for stuff like mince and chicken pieces I just go to the supermarket.

Besides, I'm a povo student. Can't afford to be too snobby about such things.

Back to the food...

It was a really relaxed process. Tim arrived quite early, and we were chatting as I unhurriedly put lunch together, clattering pans around and all that.

Nigella's method of cooking topside is to put it in a heated and oiled tray, with a halved onion, a tomato and a couple of garlic cloves. I had no fresh tomatoes so just used a quarter of a tin.

Cook it at 210C for 30minutes per kilo..

Cooked meat - Jess arrived whilst the meat was resting, and was greeted with this lovely sight.

Jess: Aw... yes!! I love meat!

Tim: Wow, that looks great!

Then you make a sauce by deglazing the pan with red wine. I was too timid and wine-illiterate to break into my dad's collection, so I just did a Nigella and used Marsala. The result was good.

The suggested accompaniments for the meat are boiled new potatoes with butter and truffle oil, and peas with snowpeas.

Lunch - look how pink that meat is!!


Tim: These potatoes taste really good, what did you do to them?
Me: It's truffle oil!



A strip of meat about to be eaten... with dijon mustard

Tim: I think this is the healthiest meal I've eaten in weeks. (His parents are away, you see).

I took the rice pudding after only 1.5 hours, as it looked brown, and was cooked (I snuck a little spoonful to make sure).

Rice pudding

This tasted fab! We didn't even need jam or syrup with it, it was just perfect. It was thick and yellow and creamy. It looks quite large, but the three of us managed to finish it easily. We had the pudding with some delicious freshly ground coffee that Jess brought for us.

And just to prove that I do have friends...



It's sooo good to be back in the kitchen! Cooking great food and sharing it with fab friends is what it's all about.

1 comment:

Sarah said...
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