Normally when I get the urge to do some cooking I suggest to Janet that we invite a few friends around on a Saturday or a Sunday, I have to do this well in advance so that she can get used to the idea and get her head around it, she then starts to plan things and gradually gets into it, if I leave it to short notice I get all sorts of up-hill! Believe me I have been a beneficial influence on Janet over the years, if it wasn't for me she probably would have been a recluse, she would have been happy living on some remote trading station in the middle of nowhere, content with a book and a bottle of wine whereas I need people, I love to entertain. Janet is a really good cook and entertainer but she has to be gradually talked into it, I know that the best place to bring this up is while we are in the spa bath sipping our bubbly on a Saturday or Sunday morning, her initial refusal I ignore and wait while she sips her bubbly and after a couple of minutes she says something like; "I could always do the creamy aromat potatoes with the lamb." then I know I've got her!
These past two food occasions, however, were just for the two of us so that she could have a break. We were at my friend Steve's "Weskus Vleismark" (West Coast Meat Market) in Saldanha the other day and I bought some lovely beef shin, I love a potjie made with beef shin and marrow so I decided to do a pot.
I have access to fresh oysters so I brought six home for a starter, I opened them and cut them loose but kept them in the bottom shell into which I poured a teaspoonful of brandy, a teaspoon of cream, I then added a thin slice of blue cheese and a sprinkle of ground black pepper and placed them under the grill;
I left them until the cheese melted and started to brown, Janet doesn't eat this sort of thing so they were all mine and they were delicious! I have another idea involving feta cheese and sundried olives which I am going to try next time.
In the meantime I was busy with my beef-shin potjie; I first browned the meat in some olive oil after which I removed it and then fried up some onions mixed with green and red bell peppers and a good spoonful of garlic. When they were all nicely sweated down I put the meat back in and gave it a good stir.
I then mixed a beef soup powder into a cup of red wine and poured that into the pot, gave it all a good sprinkle of Aromat and then added the potatoes and butternut squash which I had previously peeled and chopped. This was then left to simmer for an hour with the lid on.
After tasting the gravy to see if it needed salt and pepper I then added some peas and left it to simmer for another half an hour. I test the potatoes and butternut to see that they are soft, if they are then it's time to dish up.
Damn that was a good beef-shin pot! We sat and ate in front of the TV, happily sucking the marrow out of the shin bones, delicious!
Our next special meal was on Saturday (yesterday), I had bought some lovely prawns at the supermarket and wanted to try something different so I first steamed them for just a minute
in our stainless steel steamer and left them to rest while Janet cooked some pasta rice, a particular favourite of mine.
In the meantime Janet put a lovely salad of cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, avocado, peppers and olives together.
I then quick fried the prawns in butter and olive oil in a hot pan, removed them and deglazed the pan with "Triple Sec", orange liqueur.
I then stirred in some cream and a good sprinkle of mixed herbs.
and quickly put the prawns back into the pan and stirred them around. It is very important not to over cook the prawns or you will ruin them.
Stir them around to absorb the lovely juices, melt a good pat of butter in and serve over pasta rice with a fresh salad;
It was a very tasty meal, the triple sec added a lovely, quite sweet orange flavour to the prawns which was contrasted by the fresh salad. Janet said that it was better than any restaurant meal that we had for a long time, I must say that I had to agree with her.
We still haven't been able to go for a ride! The weather has been terrible but maybe the coming week will give us a break.