Soup & Cellars

bloobyYou can feel the winter creeping in, now. Mid October. That came so fast! The winds are picking up and carry with them an icy feeling. Its been so dang blustery I havent been able to light my jack-o-lantern. Very disappointing. CB and I were up in the wee hours of the morning, into work. The place was dead so he made every soul he saw a big breakfast. I baked, and cleaned. It was nice. We came home and chilled. I cooked some things.

Cooking away the afternoon.. steaming up the windows with the cold rain pattering against the window panes and the wind howling away. An older action movie on tv, barely holding our attention.. The smell of dinner and the sound of Tommy Lee Jones makes me think of home. Feels more like a sunday, for sure. Definitely a jogging pants kind of day.

I have been on a binge of cabbage soup lately. We buy 2 chickens, roast, pick the flesh from the bones and eat them with greedy greasy fingers. Then throw their bones in a big pot for stock, let it bubble overnight until its got all the goodness out. The next day I cook some garlic and onion in the schmaltz I saved from the roasting pan. I add the stock, and cubes of turnip, potato, some rubbery old carrots, chopped cabbage and a couple of bay leaves. Lots of black pepper. Probably too much salt.

Then it’s meatball time! Squishing the pink ground meat between my fingers I massage it into many little balls. Carefully I fry them off in batches, saving the pan fond. Deglaze the cast iron pan with half of my beer.. sip the other half. Nice beer. Then with that I make a gravy, with a little flour, and milk. This gives us meatballs & gravy for dinner.. half of the meatballs go into my soup. Too much cabbage! So chop the leaves fine, rub salt into them and it will soon become a jar of sauerkraut for the cupboard. Lunch and dinner done for a few days. Dishes everywhere. Oops.

 

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View out of the buick window, on our way to the post office. NO MAIL! Bahhhh…

 

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Later in the evening we went out for ice cream. I have been off sugar for .. I’ve lost count.. 20 days I think now. But today, I will have ice cream. It was delicious, and worth it. We listened to a radio show about Beethoven, and how we might be playing his symphonies too slowly. They sound AMAZING when sped up. When we got back home it’s not raining so I went for a walk up the hill.

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Dead raspberries and the fluffy ghosts of dandelions.

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I dont know what these are, but they are crunchy now. They taste like paper! Loving the fire truck red of the blueberry bushes at this time of year.

 

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A look out from the hill.

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Red, blue and yellow.

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I like this lichen. It looks like someone painted on this rock.

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Pink, green, blue and black.

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I found a cool thing! An abandoned root cellar! With its TOP OFF! Eeee!

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OooO what’s in there…

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Hmm too dark..

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FLASH! Oh it’s just some garbage. Time to go home.

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Having a berry snack on my way back down the hill. These are probably the last blueberries of the season. Like ice wine, the cold weather has made them so, so sweet.

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Time for meatballs!

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Tüb de boeuf

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Are you wondering what this picture is, aside from Deeply Disturbing?

It’s a frozen 20 pound log of ground beef. Duh. CB received it as payment for helping to butcher some lambs. The lambs were pre-deceased by the way, he didnt go out slaughtering some baby sheeps with a log of beef or anything.

Fun fact, he casually mentioned to me that lamb carcasses smell exactly like pumpernickel bread. HM.

Anyway, after initially parading around the kitchen pretending I had a 4 foot long beef manhood and waving an imaginary cowboy hat, as one does with these things, I had to figure out how to defrost this bad boy.

Somehow the beef juice is leaking out as it defrosts so I had to build a blood trough with tinfoil and prop it up so it drains into the sink. I’m pretty convinced this is the most sanitary way to defrost this much meat. Problem Solving.

Don’t look at me like that, I will cook it to an internal temperature of 400 degrees because I like my meat crunchy and black anyway.

So stay tuned for the pictures of the approximately 283129319873198723 meat balls we are going to make tonight.

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My painting in stage two, where things start to get weird. That shape on the left is going to be a cake, the shape on the right is going to be a persian with short legs and wonky eyes. Also balloons. The room Im painting in stinks hardcore like pine scented turpentine and it makes me happy. And dizzy.

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These are presents for my sister I still haven’t mailed her for her birthday a month ago. They are buttons made of slices of caribou antler.

OH GOD that reminds me. This morning on our way grocery shopping we drove over 10 feet of skid marks followed by a 25 foot 3 foot wide streak of blood down our lane of road. At the end of it, was a caribou having a nap at the side of the road. I was like, thats odd.

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I like the words “butter sculptures”. It rolls clumsily off the tongue like a fat girl getting up for a snack break. Butter Sculptures. Oh this is a chair, I’m being artistic again.

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Our overly decorative ceiling in the living room. We are missing doors and walls but they went ALL OUT on the living room ceiling all up in here.

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Intoxicating..

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My little orange pelican case full of all my most precious things. So like, feathers, and crochet owls from my mum…

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I got this at the post office! YAY!!! CB got chiclets. Best postal experience ever.

White Trash Gourmet

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This morning I dropped CB off at work and drove in my plaid fleece pajamas straight to the grocery store. MEAT WAS ON SALE! I got baby back ribs, and a pork shoulder roast, and a pork loin roast the size of my goddamn LEG and shrimp and chili cheese sausages, ground beef and.. a bag of bay leaves. I came home, put on some Wu Tang, twerked it like the neighbors weren’t watching (even though they probably were because I left the curtains open) and cooked it up!

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I made a nice seafood chowder with bacon and sweet potatoes, shrimp and tiny bay scallops. Then I drove, in my plaid fleece pajamas pants, to CB’s work with two bowls of chowder and a coffee can full of hot steamy coffee.

My favourite thing I made though, was a new thing I just invented just now. A brand new dinner, combining all the best things about my favourite dinner, all in one pot! I call it.. Hamburgers & Hotdogs Casserole. And when I put it into the oven I howled at the ceiling with pure exaltation!

And then I couldnt wait to tell CB about it and his reaction was a PUKE FACE! And he said it sounded horrible! And he wasn’t interested in eating it because it sounded disgusting! And I said HOW CAN YOU BE SO RUDE ABOUT SOMETHING SO PURE AND GOOD! You have to eat cheerios for dinner while I eat the best thing Ive ever made!

We came home, and I opened the lid. And he was all the opposite of puke face! And then, he proceeded, to eat it all, with a glass of chocolate milk, like a gangster. I was vindicated.

Hamburgers & Hotdogs Casserole

Sauce

1 onion

2 carrots

2 cloves of garlic

2 Peppers

2 cans of diced tomatoes

Hot Sauce

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, sautee finely chopped onions in a little oil until translucent. Add garlic and carrots, cook until tender. Add chopped red pepper and 2 cans dived tomatoes.

Burgers:

1kg Medium, or Lean, Ground Beef

100g balogne, finely diced

1/4 cups breadcrumbs

1 cup mayonnaise

Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk it with a fork like crazy. My meatballs were gluten free because I used the end bits of a loaf of gluten free bread I found by themselves in a bag in the freezer. I assumed my room mate was quarantining these slices due to some kind of abhorrence to the idea of eating them, and not because they are the most special part she was saving to savour…. Anyway, also the balogne bits are in there because my bacon seems to be “maple flavoured” blegh.. so balogne it is!

Roll into 2 inch balls and fry until crispy and delicious on each side.

Hotdogs:

2 cans of vienna sausages, or 4 hotdogs of your choice cut into thirds

The Assembly

Place a layer of meatballs in a casserole dish. Add a layer of hotdogs, followed by a layer of sauce. Repeat if necessary.

Cover the top with your favourite hotdog and/or hamburger toppings. Mine were as follows:

– cheese

– ketchup

– mustard

– jalapenos

– saurkraut

Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. In the last ten minutes you can take the cover off and broil it to get the cheese crispy if youre into that.

Eat it with buns!

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Sizzlin’ balls. Those orange things are baby carrots..They are in mine because to be honest, I only made this to clean out the fridge.. and I had a few baby carrots left and thought I would put them in my meatballs. You REALLY don’t have to, though.

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My favourite word combo ever “Baby Balonge Chub”. YES.

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MMMM.. when I was a kid these were reserved strictly for fancy occasions and eating with toothpicks on a tray with olives and those mini pickles. Yum!

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The strata.

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Its not actually that hot, its just so cold in my house.

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Ponkballs

I started this post this afternoon and am now finishing it at 9:59pm. CB likes to give me the most squeezing hugs and squished my poor tube too hard, and I just passed right out until now. He gives me such proper squeezing we even have a hug safe word, “pants”. At least once a day I scream “PANTS!!” to avoid dying… anyway I’m lying, we just had a super long nap. And now its passed my usual bedtime and I’m WIDE AWAAAKE eating a peanut butter chocolate bar and watching a particularly brutal cowboy movie with CB. Well mostly Im making a blog.

Last night I was in charge of supper so I decided to clear out the fridge. My ingredients: 300g pork mince, 2 onions, a small hunk of edam, a real wobbly carrot and a little bit of chopped bacon. Combined with a zook from the garden, and some fresh thyme and our first jalapeno from our Bucket Garden, we had MEATBALLS! Meatballs.. is there anything more that needs to be said that the name doesnt say? C’est parfait. But you know what is totally unecessary but even better? Stuffing each meatball with a chunk of cheese. Yeah, that’ll do.

Cheesy Pork Meatballs

Yield: 16 medium sized meatballs
Cost: <$10
Time: 30 minutes

Chunky Sauce:

1 can of diced tomato
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, fine dice
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tbsp thyme, finely chopped
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt

In a large pan on medium high heat, warm some olive oil. Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add in carrot, jalapeno and thyme and cook until carrots are tender. Add in your diced tomato, vinegar, bouillon, brown sugar and salt. Simmer on medium low heat until sauce thickens and starts to look a bit shiny and deep red.

Balls o’Meat:

300g pork
150g bacon, chopped fine
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
Salt, pepper, hot sauce

16 1 cm cubes of cheese

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F.

Put everything in a large bowl and mash together. I like to use a balloon whisk and whip the crap out of my meat because I like the texture better. Take 2 tbsp of porky goodness and flatten it into a small patty shape in your hand. Place a cube of cheese in the middle, form the meat around it and give it a quick roll to round it up. Set aside on a tray.

On a hot nonstick pan, sear off the meatballs until nice and crispy brown on both sides. Put on a tinfoil or parchment lined baking pan and bake in the oven 15-20 minutes to finish. Depending on the size of your meatballs, it may take a little less or little more time, but you’ll know they are done when the cheese erupts out of the middle like little meat volcanoes!

Add sauce and eat’em up!

Wasp Nest Hair Do

This morning started off like most great mornings do, with puppies and meatballs! It’s so hard to get out of bed the first morning of my days off, but CB, the clever bastard, has devised a crafty scheme. All week he collects videos of adorable animals doing adorable things adorably, and then plays them as soon as my eyes start to flicker open. Gradually my bitchy, blurry eyed self sits up to watch the antics of the slow loris with itchy armpits, the bucket of baby sloths having a bath, or the impossibly fat bulldog puppy just existing and am eased into consciousness with increasing excitement and overwhelming feelings of wanting to mush and crush baby things faces… thereby bypassing my horrible ultra bitch morning self entirely! GENIUS!

Also the smell of meatballs sizzling away helps too. Mmmm steamy meatballs..

Mmmm even steamier coffees. Check out my sweet Russian(?) dog mug.

Writing some christmas postcards I doodled for my fam last week while taking the train home from work. Yes, Santa is slurping up a baby dolphin in one, an NZ christmas tradition!

And then I took too many allergy pills and had a surprise nap for 2 hours…

I woke up, groggy, face creased and matching the print of the couch arm I was sleeping on. When I got upstairs CB looked up from his minecrafting to let me know my “face looks rough”… AND THEN we went to pick up our christmas ham! YAY! CHRISTMAS HAM! Work was giving out hams, boxes of veg or champagne for christmas, so of course I was like.. I choose you, jambon! YEEEEEEAH!

Minor driving incident occured downtown.. won’t go into details but it ended up with me nearly killing dozens of people, police sirens chasing after me, a full on panic attack and that move from bank robbery movies where the main character’s being chased by the popo and pulls onto a side street and parks as if everythings cool and they’re just a regular person who has been parked there for ages, maybe doing a spot of christmas shopping, and not commiting any major, extremely public, traffic violations…. only I didn’t do it on purpose, I did it because I wanted the police to come with me, park beside me and arrest me for being a lunatic driver…. but we got our HAM MAN! And everything was worth it! And no more allergy medication for me…. I say this nonchalant, but it was actually so stupid, gawwwwwwwwddddddddddddddddddd……………. I actually kept checking my phone after, expecting the police to ring me and be like “ma’am you’re under arrest, please come to jail now for jumpsuits and shower-time sodomy. Also bring your ham.”

Oh also, I planted some plants! Well, CB did most of the work, but I got my toes dirty, which felt very nice. Man’s handy with a trowel!

4 gherkin seedlings, 4 jalapeno seedlings, a little bush of thyme and one of sage! Yum! We planted the gherks in the garden beside the house that is 100% clay soooooo.. we’ll see how that goes. But they are resilient little buggers, should be fine! Its really nice quality clay too, and beyond that are lava rocks. Very cool.

I made this from some of the nice clay. Its got a wasp nest hair do, and a flower for company.

Our wee garden. The pot with the red leafed varigated is actually John’s plant he got as a present from some kiwi actress who’s name isnt Lucy Lawless so I immediately forgot it. I found it dying under the steps and now its doing really well.

One of our wee gherkin plants.

A nice jar growing some moss.

John’s awesome garden. His pinwheels blew apart in our last big storm here, but they are still scaring off the peacock so they’re doing the job. Look at how many little shoots he has coming up already! Jealous…

This one’s a rainbow beet I think.

And then CB and John spent half an hour shooting rocks at a sponge with his birthday slingshot. I sat at CB’s feet with Wyatt the cat, collecting the roundest possible specimens from the rut around the driveway, as soon as he shot one, my arm shot up holding the next rock. John suggested they upgrade to firecrackers and we figured with our luck it was best to just go inside..

Peacock Hunter

Look what I found this morning in our back yard! A PEACOCK! IN REAL LIFE! The biggest, most beautiful peacock ever! Hiding behind a bush! While CB was making me the worlds most delicious bacon & edam omelette he spotted him lurking, and I ran directly outside to catch him.  I tried to lure him with some toast crumbs CB shook furiously out of the toaster for me while I stood outside of the kitchen door yelling “Crumbs! Crumbs! QUICKLY MAN THE CRUMBS!”, but he wasn’t interested.

Awww peacock. Every morning should start with a peacock. After our amazing breakfast we went out to try to get some groceries and whatnot but failed. Instead of dealing with stores crammed with legions of screaming babies we bailed and just drove to a french bakery where I filled an entire cafeteria tray with treats. I sat down at our little table sheepishly, with a spread of caramel tarts and apricot croissants and this chubby little blonde girl at the table beside ours looked at me like I was her fucking hero, and I felt less embarrassed. Then we came home and had a nap for the rest of the cold, rainy afternoon.

This is a terrible picture, but this is a rainbow, happening, at sunset. AMAZEBALLS.

Tonight CB’s making us meatballs! And like all good things in life, they start with bacon. Yum. Half beef, half pork, full of spiciness and covered in sauce and parmesan cheese.

I bought myself a christmas mug at K-Mart today. It’s a fat, pissed off kitten in a photoshopped scarf saying “Meowy Christmas!” Currently it is filled with beer. I think she has kind of a Mona Lisa smile going on…

It was a real shitty week, so I’m appreciating the small things. Work is kind of INSANE lately, but our head chef has finally arrived from Germany and plopped promptly into the shit straight off the plane. She’s a wonderful lady and I’m really looking forward to learning lots from her. And on an upside, I got to feed Prince Charles and Camilla while they were visiting Auckland. All me, by myself! They had small lemon meringue tarts and truffles that I rolled myself with my grubby little hands. And shockingly, they ate 90% of it! Usually when I make food for VIP’s its more a gesture to make their room look nice, but now I’ve learned that Camilla can EAT man! I like her style.

So, working, being taken care of, finding peacocks and feeding a prince, but not much else to report on. I’m sleepy and full of beer and meatballs and going to retire now to lay on CB and make fun of this very tedious, despite the high number of explosions, Nic Cage movie. PEACE OUT Y’ALL!

Meatballs, Meatballs, MEATBALLS!

Lately… and I don’t know what it is exactly… perhaps the shift in the weather.. more likely a shift in brain chemistry..  but I have become insane.

Insane for meatballs.

Last week I managed to eat meatballs almost every single day. I even had an embarrassing uncontrollable moment in a Subway where I had them scoop me out a footlong subs worth of meatballs into a soup cup so I could run greedily home with them like a hungry little Gollum. I was so pleased I managed to get away with such a glorious coup that I sang out “meatballs, meatballs, MEATBALLS” in a long, sustained, emotionally charged aria in the middle of the street, causing the man behind me to switch sidewalks. Fucking meatballs, they just please me.

Here’s how I make mine!

Bacon!!
Mmm Bacon. Step 1 for making the meatballs, makin’ the bacon! Cast iron is your best friend when it comes to frying up some delicious belly bits! Set your oven to broil, preheat, and pop these guys on the lowest rack.
Gather up all your ingredients. In this case, meat, eggs, mayonnaise, hot sauce and parmesan cheese. The meat is 2/3 lean beef, 1/3 pork!
Cook your bacon! 10 minutes-ish depending on your oven. Just go till their crispy!
Don’t forget to save the bacon fat! I keep a jar in the fridge and freezer and just use it instead of butter! Yeah I know, not so great for you, but butter is expensive man!
Chop chop!
Put it all in the mixer and BLEND IT LIKE CRAZY! Until its nice and smooth and pink. Ooooh Yeeeeah
Make a ball! Do it again! Do it all kinds of times! Until you have a whole bunch of balls on your hands. Had to do it.
Bake them. 10 minutes at fully cranked 500 degree oven to make sure they get nice and crispy on the outside. Then 5-10 minutes at 375. Then we took them out and throw them in that left over beef cheek gravy . Ohhhhhh babyyyyyy