Roses are red, and so is a bloodbath

So, Saturday before last I enjoyed a very productive day in the kitchen. I made lamb knuckles in tomato sauce, bulk bolognaise sauce, lemon and almond drizzle cakes and a Crostata (plain old jam tart but the Italians had to try and make it sound so fucking lah-dee-dah!) for Sir.

All done, the kitchen was sparkling again, and I was finishing up wiping down the scullery counter, when I heard the cloth rip. I looked down, puzzled, only to see blood streaming merrily from my ring finger. It wasn’t the cloth ripping, it was flesh. Then I noticed the food processor’s blade (yes that Klap-a-Mall purchase!) sticking out of the drying rack. The dishwasher was full so a few things had to be washed the old-fashioned way – by hand. So I lovingly wash said blade, and the fucker thanks me by ripping a nice big slit in the top of my finger. Let me tell you that bastard is as sharp as my tongue when I comment on fucktardian drivers on the roads. It ripped through my flesh with ease, severing a small vein which resulted in beautiful squirts of crimson flowing freely from my finger.

I should have gone for a stitch or two, but…….. doctors…….. needles….. no thanks. I considered Superglue. In the end I put a plaster on it, but every time I bent my finger, or bumped it, that little vein spewed more blood everywhere. It was a bloody mess. Errrgggghhh. For the next week my finger was blue and bruised and really sore but as long as the tip remained pink and perky, medical attention was not necessary.

Then, last Wednesday, my friend Sniffing Wetfart came to visit for the day, and I decided to escape the house and run some errands / troll shops, because sitting around listening to sniffing and frequent wet farts just falling out of her arse was not my idea of a day well spent. I suspect she makes a lot of those ‘berefts’ Sir wrote about here…. Enough talk about unsinkable Molly Browns…..

We popped into AMC to get a new pot lid knob since Sir melted one when he left it on a gas burner flame, and then I went to get him his favourite copper polish, because I’d hate for him to have nothing to do at 2 in the morning! At least when he’s polishing copper pots he’s not modifying appliances to ‘turbo boost’ their performance. It also means I sometimes wake up to REALLY shiny things, like half the prep basin – he will meticulously polish half of the basin, get bored and go and do some work on his PC.

I digress. Sniffing Wetfart and I finished the day with lunch at Tasha’s and a spot of shopping at Nicolway. As I waited to pay for some purchases at @Home, I noticed that they had small serrated Wusthof knives at the counter, on special. I picked one up, removed the sheath, and whilst running the blade against my thumb I told Sniffing Wetfart that this particular brand is Sir’s favourite, and that they’re super-sharp knives…….. and then I promptly sliced into my thumb. Seriously??!! Am I becoming a closeted wannabe cutter now?

And on that bloody note, it’s time to knuckle down to this week’s recipe – Lamb knuckles in Italian style tomato Sauce…. It is really good winter comfort food, and is delicious served with polenta, mash or rice.

LAMB KNUCKLES IN TOMATO SAUCE


Ingredients:

  • 1.3kg Lamb Knuckles
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 3 Celery Fingers excl leaves
  • 2 Medium Carrots
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, Crushed
  • 3 Tins Peeled Italian Tomatoes (About 425g each)
  • 1 Can Water
  • 1 Heaped Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • Handful of Basil
  • Handful of Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Flour for dredging meat

     


Method:

  • Finely chop all the vegetables and fry in olive oil over low heat until just starting to brown around the edges. Add the garlic separately towards the end so that it does not overcook and turn bitter. Be careful not to brown the veggies too much. Pay attention. I find chopping veggies quite therapeutic, so enjoy this part of the prep, but, if you don’t care to invest the time – toss it all into a food processor, and the let the blades do their work – it’s best to keep your fingers out of the way.
  • Meanwhile, dust the meat with seasoned flour (just add salt and pepper to the flour – not necessary to sprinkle in some summer rain and autumn leaves).
  • Brown the meat pieces on each side. Do not crowd the pan. I hate this part of the recipe the most, because browning meat is boring. AND I always start off not crowding the pan and doing a sterling job, then getting bored shitless and just dumping all the meat into the pan at once and hoping for the best.


  • Transfer the browned meat to the veggies pot, add the Italian tomatoes, tomato paste, a can of water, about a tablespoon of coarse salt and a good grinding of black pepper.
  • Stir to mix all the ingredients together, bring to the boil, and then turn the temperature down and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours.
  • Toss in the basil and oregano (I prefer to do this early on so that the flavour really infuses into the meat and sauce), stir through, and leave to simmer for another hour.
  • Serve with polenta or mash or rice. I love dipping chunks of ciabatta into the sauce for a really tasty snack.

This dish is even better if you eat it the day after it’s made.

You can increase the quantities, and add a tin of cherry tomatoes as well, and freeze half for a later date.

The Baron recommends:

The lamb knuckles will be beautifully complemented by a full-bodied shiraz from the New World. The best local exponent of the varietal I have had the pleasure to taste is the Kevin Arnold Shiraz from the Waterford estate. Sheer heaven, but even a Zandvliet will cope admirably with knuckling down to some serious lamb scoffing.

The Birds and the Bytes

This week Sir’s sideplate of crazy is about a hard drive love story. My stepdaughter Snaphappy needed a new hard drive to save her extensive photo library before the imminent demise of her previous laptop, and dad duly shipped off a hard drive, and responded to her email about the much anticipated drive.

This was the email received from Snaphappy enquiring about the hard drive she was patiently waiting for:

Sent: 09 May 2012 09:34
To: SIR
Subject: hard drive

Hey pops

What’s the story with that hard drive? Do you need it still? My computer is falling to pieces and it’s not even about getting a new one at this point as much as it is saving my pictures because as you know my current hard drive can only open on the almost broken computer.

Let me know? Otherwise I can back my stuff up on a friend’s hdrive in the meantime?

OH I love you!

And Sir’s response followed:

From: SIR
Sent: 09 May 2012 13:02
To: SNAPHAPPY
Subject: RE: hard drive reply

I have just re-read this email and realised you ACTUALLY want a story about “that” hard drive…oh ok I get it…..Here goes…

Once upon a time there was a Mommy Hard Drive and a Daddy Hard Drive and they were lonely and decided to make a little family. So Daddy Hard Drive took Mommy Hard Drive to the local Internet Cafe and got her truly sloshed and she didn’t give a damn about viruses either. However, they then went home and did the dirty, [you know all about the Birds and the Bits and the Bytes, don’t you?]

Anyway 15 teraflops later (average gestation period for small to medium removable drives), Mommy Hard Drive gave birth to twins, Derek and Dwight. (The hard drive in question is Derek). Unfortunately Dwight was like a mongoloid drive and did not go very far, only able to copy small of amounts of data, and even did that badly, so they killed him… But Derek was tested, passed and went on to an Incredible Connection, was moved from store to store and eventually was adopted by me.

He has been good to me and requires little or no attention.

Love and Kisses

Dad

Running from the Zombie with a Purple Skidmark

Shopping: Obsession; necessary evil; addiction; stressor; waste of time…….. call it what you wish, we all have to do it, whether it’s for food or clothing, medicine or toys, cars or hookers potbellied pigs.

A few weeks ago, Sir and a couple of buddies were lamenting their wives’ shopping habits, as men tend to do when they get together, and one of them mentioned that his wife has a damn budget for indulgent shopping every month, to which the other replied “You’re lucky she sticks to a budget!! Mine has a TARGET!”. Sir believes that I get jealous when he buys stuff, and that I need to buy something just for the sake of it. Total crap! And how can I help it if his favourite tool shop has a huge collection of stunning kitchen goodies? I got this pestle and mortar at The Tool Shop…… no kidding.


And this is my pestle and mortar collection…….


But, back to the shopping thing. I hate shopping for clothes, but love shopping for perfumes and soaps. I can lose vast amounts of time browsing through bookshops, and inevitably walk out with arms full of beautiful notebooks. There’s no such thing as too many notebooks!! Or pens. I went out to buy Ciabatta this morning. That’s all, just some ciabatta for tonight’s dinner. I bought Ciabatta, and 11 pens. I have already written myself a note with every one of them, and this afternoon I’ll put them in the ‘pen box’ in my bedside drawer with the few dozen other pens I have there. There’s no room for anymore pens in the various pots and boxes in my playroom / office.

Grocery shopping is time consuming. Sir hates doing grocery shopping with me because I refuse to buy anything in dented cans, I look for the best and cleanest veggies and fruit, and dairy and other perishables must be selected from the far back of the very top shelf to avoid getting the stuff that will expire within 3 hours of the purchase. Meat has to have a healthy ‘just-murdered’ colour and texture and cleaning chemical bottles must not have white powdery lines of dried dribble running down the side.

Sir’s mother does not care about expiry dates. She believes you can cut off or hide anything that looks a bit dubious, try a nibble, and if you’re still alive in an hour it’s good to consume. This is the same woman who accidentally mixed purple fabric dye with our morning milk for Italian coffee one Sunday, then tried to convince us that it just looked purple because of the way light filtered into the kitchen that morning. When that failed she tried to convince everybody that a bit of dye has never killed anybody. Bet you that’s one skidmark that won’t wash out!


 Grocery shopping with Sir is an ordeal. He gets bored very quickly, and needs to amuse himself. And I will need a left arm transplant soon. I love the TV series ‘The Walking Dead’, love those fucking zombies! I’ll be strolling along pushing our trolley and suddenly hear a guttural ‘zombie’ breath from Sir, and turn around to find him doing that zombie leg-drag-walk thing, head tilted completely to the side baring teeth, which he then digs into my shoulder making the most awful sounds! He doesn’t really care if anybody’s watching, and if there are lots of people they generally find it really amusing….. I don’t. It hurts like a bitch. I always have gob and drool marks on my clothing, and the more I try to fight him off the harder he bites to hang on. This is also why he often prefers that I do the driving when we’re together – he just drops his face onto my shoulder like a lame and tired shark and grunts like a zombie.

Aren’t they pruhhhteee?


 I now prefer to do grocery shopping during the week WITHOUT Sir, because he’s also learnt some new evil tricks from another friend, let’s call him Isobrat…. We do the groceries, get to the cashier, I unpack the trolley patiently (grouping things together a little obsessively) with Sir right in my face ‘helping’, bumping and messing up my orderly unpacking….. As I hand over the debit card to pay, Sir says “Desire, no….. please pay for the stuff you put in your pockets…….” Yep. While I’m distracted he loads my pockets with any lightweight shit he can….. There’s another reason I no longer wear clothes with pockets when I spend time with Sir – he puts whatever rubbish he can find in them! Even if it’s just a handful of sand….

Sir generally avoids going to shops and malls, unless he’s on a pluck to get something, even then, he’s swift and efficient and can make up for a year’s worth of MY shopping with one quick buy. His obsessions range from knives to sharpeners for knives to wood-chippers to power washers, it depends on the mood. The latest toy is a quadcopter. Which he cannot fly. Which he chooses to practice flying INSIDE the house. Which is how he shredded my giant lounge plant. I heard what sounded like a weed-eater going wild in the lounge, walked in to find a sheepish looking Sir with his copter controller in his hands, and green shredded leaves all over the place. “Go outside with that infernal fucking thing! Go play under the avocado tree because it’s fucking ugly anyway and can only improve with some shredding! Outside before a TV gets nailed!”


 Sir is also the inventor of a game called “Klap-a-Mall”………. After playing this we always rush home on a high, feeling excited and guilty at the same time, like we did something really naughty and sneaky. We played again a couple of weeks ago….. Sir took me to the mall so I could get another top to wear on my daily cycle session. He disappeared for the ten minutes it took me to pick a top and go to the cashier with it. This is what unfolded:

Sir : I was just in Kitchen Passion. Have you seen the new Kitchen Aid Artisan range of appliances?

Me : Have I seen them? Fuck me I’d give my front teeth to own the whole lot! When I see it I imagine vintage sports cars, I mumble “Bugatti”…. Urgh beautiful.

Sir : They have the food processor there. If you buy it you get a free gift worth R1000. The red one is R500 more than the cream one though.

Me : It has to be red. No other colour for my kitchen. We already have the whole Kitchen Aid range, in red. And we have a Kitchen Aid food processor in our kitchen already. (Trying hard to convince both of us that we don’t need anything else).

Sir : But it’s not the Artisan one.

Me : I know! What are you saying?

Sir : Our kitchen should have it. We should have it. The one at home is tired now.

Me : I’m not paying R500 more for the red. Let’s find it at the same price. Plus freebies.

And we did. Same price. R1500 freebies. And we went to Doppio Zero for coffee immediately after we made the purchase.

Sir : Fuck did we just play “Klap-A-Mall” again?

Me : Yes. You are impossible. And this from someone who HATES malls, and HATES shopping! And just so you know, I’m keeping my front teeth. I ONLY came here for a damn sweat-absorbing top!

Sir : Okay we’re not playing again. For at least… a while.

On to this week’s recipe. Last week I made 70 red velvet cupcakes and 9 lemon meringue pies for a wedding. I’m so over the whole red velvet cake wank, really….. isn’t it time to move onto the next fad / phase / flavour-of-the-month?

For the lemon meringue pies, I bought 18 undented tins of condensed milk and I tossed the Tennis biscuits into the trolley with some force, just to get a headstart on crushing the biscuits for the crust.

Here’s the recipe for one large pie……..

LEMON MERINGUE PIE



 Ingredients:

  • 1 Packet Tennis Biscuits (200g)
  • 100g Butter, Melted
  • 2 Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice
  • Grated Rind of 1 Lemon
  • 6 Eggs, Separated
  • 1 Cup Castor Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Cornflour


Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180⁰ Celsius
  • Beat the crap out of the biscuits – put it in a packet and bliksem it senseless with a rolling pin or hammer or whatever you like. You could put it on the floor and jump on it if you’re really good at the five-second rule because the packet will probably explode. You need fine crumbs. Or blitz it in a food processor like the shiny red Kitchen Aid Artisan Food Processor because at that price it had better be used every fucking day.
  • Mix in the melted butter, and press it into a large pie dish, or two small ones. I find it easiest to use a glass to press the crumbs with – do the sides first and then the bottom.


  • Whisk together the condensed milk, lemon juice, rind and egg yolks, and pour into the biscuit shell/s.
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff. Start adding the castor sugar, two tablespoons at a time, once the egg whites form a soft peak. Keep whisking until the egg whites are glossy and stiff. No, there’s no inappropriate innuendo to follow……
  • Pile on top of the filling and whack it with the back of a spoon to make cute little peaks all over.


  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Refrigerate once cooled.

     

An Accompanied Fart

Another of Sir’s demented E-mails, short and sweet – like Smarties.

A friend wrote and told him that she felt totally bereft since her youngest daughter also left home to venture into the big world of grownuppyness………..

From: SIR
Sent: 04 September 2012 05:28
Subject: RE: Bereft

Bereft? Now here is where I think English is a funny language – “bereft”; what the fuck kind of word is that? I’ll tell you what, in my small mind, a bereft is…….

BEREFT is, in reality, one of those farts you make and you are not quite sure if it had a “solid” companion – you know those Smartie sized turds that do sometimes accompany a fart…..

How to use “bereft” : “Fuck, I’m sure that was a bereft, where is the nearest toilet?”

Not lekker places to have a “bereft” include The Opera, or any public transport.

Why it’s cool to wear a skirt and no panties : A Bereft can happen, shoot straight to the floor, and you can totally deny ownership.

I wish I had better looking legs, I would wear a skirt more often just for the “bereft” issue….

Love and Kisses
Sir

Revving my Motor

At last, a break…. a short getaway to indulge in some R & R, play in the waves and bury our toes in golden sand. Before sunrise on the 1st of May Sir and I were on a plane en route to our weeklong break at the South Coast.

A pleasant break…


Day 1 : Where the fuck did all these bikers come from? Every Harley and his mother converged on the South Coast for Africa Bike Week, and we found ourselves competing for parking and road space with almost 30,000 bikers, most of them Harley Davidson enthusiasts. Those particular bikes are offensively noisy and had me searching classified ads for silencers…. Didn’t matter which kind – either for the bike, or for the gun you could use as soon as a rider took his helmet off and gave you a clear shot.

For the first four days, we spent more time than we wanted to at San Lameer, which Sir quickly renamed San Lament. It was rather dismal for a 4-star hotel and resort, where hot water, water pressure and Wi-Fi were a foreign concept. We got wetter from sea spray when the wind blew than we did in the shower in our hotel room, although Sir did look pretty cool breakdancing in the shower to try and get wet. What they did to simple food at the hotel restaurant was horrifying. But then again, we learnt that fine dining does not exist anywhere along the South Coast.

Here are some locals enjoying a snack in the manicured gardens….


Here they are again enjoying a round of bowls….


It had been more than three years since our last visit, and sadly, nothing had changed. We got the impression that the South Coast seems caught in a time warp, with no progress, no change, no improvement, and a lot of the people are just plain scary. Even the waiters are very different from the usually friendly, upbeat waiters we encounter everywhere else. Here they were quite sour, one did not understand a single word of English, Afrikaans, German, Italian (we had to fucking try), or my dismal attempt at “I am hungry, please bring food” in Sotho. We eventually gave up and attempted some touristy method of ordering by pretending to be oriental, and grinning broadly whilst shouting “SUPLIZE!!!”. We thought better of it, and instead pointed to what we wanted on the menu and made sure he went back to the kitchen with the menu in hand, just in case.

Then came the music. Loud. It wasn’t music actually – I think they just played a recording of a woman giving birth to quadruplets – each weighing 6 kilos. No epidural, no drugs. We tried sign language with the linguistically impaired waiter, first pointing at the speakers, and I thought I did a good impression – indicating ear pain, then a woman screaming with arms flailing and finally smiling and moving my hand in a calm downward motion, like a choir master. I think what he interpreted was “Turn it off, or I’m bringing a sumo wrestler to fuck you in your ears until you scream and wave your arms, and then he’ll squeeze you into a small box whilst smiling because he’ll be enjoying the experience.” He ran away, and 4 seconds later everything in the restaurant was switched off. You could hear a pin drop. No sound. Fuck I must learn to say “Please could you change the Birthing CD to something musical?” in at least 19 languages.

At another restaurant, the universal signal for ‘Bill please’, indicated by imaginary scribbling in the air, was interpreted as ‘Okay we’re ready to order again please bring your order pad’. Understandable, because sometimes at the end of your after-meal coffee you want to start all over again. No?

The weather was fantastic for the first four days, so we got in some good beach time and the waves were fantastic, but then the winds started and the waves looked pretty angry, and we found ourselves doing a lot of driving around looking for things to do.

At the resort, they had dips in the paved roads, instead of speedbumps, for the gazillions of golf carts. The dips really jarred my tits, and Sir indicated that the warning signs actually meant “Beware – road causes diaphragm to fall out”.


Considering the water problems at the resort, we thought this sign was misplaced and probably belonged on the honeymoon suite’s door instead:


Talking about honeymoons……. On one of our morning strolls we came across a few locals, among them Humping Henry. So, no humps on the roads, but there was plenty humping happening at San Lameer nonetheless. Why do I always find the humping wildlife wherever we go?!


And still on honeymoons…….. does this plant look horny or what?


And here’s some wildlife spotted in a parking lot area, apparently suffering from the same water-shortage we were experiencing…… where the fuck is your pond??


Finally, a week later, we hit the road for the 2 hour drive to the airport. En route I received an SMS to advise that our flight would be delayed for several hours. Totally pissed off, Sir decided that we’d extend our holiday and explore the North Coast for future holidays in KZN. After changing flight tickets and car hire at the airport, we went to Ballito and had lunch at a place called Zara’s Café. Can’t wait to get back there! Best meal we had that entire week.

We’ll be going back to Ballito for a short break early in August when my uncle returns from Saudi for a short holiday, and to get married, before returning to Saudi again. I hope Zara’s is catering this wedding. Or that they’ll have some authentic Durban curry on the menu. Hey Uncle the Baron, good thing you read my blog – make this shit happen please.

This post is already rather lengthy, so a short and simple recipe today will have to do. I served this as part of a trio of starters for lunch a couple of weeks ago, and had it for dinner on Saturday night. Lipsmacking – anything with bread ends up on my favourites list!

ROASTED ROMA TOMATO CIABATTA TOASTIES


 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Small Ciabatta Loaves
  • 6 – 8 Roma Tomatoes, Halved
  • Fresh Garlic Clove
  • Olive Oil
  • Basil Leaves
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Black Pepper
  • Bocconcini

     


Method:

  • Preheat oven to 200⁰C.
  • Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, cut a few shallow crosses on the cut side. Drizzle with olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes…. Whatever floats your boat – they should be soft and slightly browned around the edges.
  • Cut the ciabatta into 2cm slices, diagonally. Drizzle with olive oil and toast in a Panini toaster.
  • Rub the toast slices with the raw garlic, or, make a paste of garlic, salt and olive oil, and spread thinly on the toast.
  • If you want these with mozzarella, tear up a bocconcini ball and place on the bread, melt the cheese under a hot grill, top with a tomato half and basil, drizzle with more olive oil, and stuff your face while it’s hot and juicy!