We are in the midst of what can only be described as a very odd summer. January was cool and very windy, which makes for good farming and working weather....not so good for beaching and holidays. Now that the kids are back at school it hot and still and beautiful, which is typical. I really miss them, but I do like being able to choose my own radio station in the car....
There has been lots of fun and frivolity over the holidays and I did have a not insignificant birthday in the midst of it all. It was duly celebrated in many locations thanks to wonderful friends who, it has to be said, do love a party. Needless to say, there is now a pressing need for some Alcohol Free Days so some quiet home time is very welcome.
The garden is looking so dry at the moment, even though we had 40mls of rain in the middle of January. It greened up for a while but now it seems we are back to where we started.
I harvested my garlic and now it is drying out:
There are apples and pears ripening:
There are berries on the hawthorns, always a sign that autumn is around the corner..
Over the holidays we have had three backpackers here to work on the farm. They are staying with us rather than in the cottage because one of them is the son of an old friend. Fortunately they are hard working and very helpful around the house, but eat! They go through an alarming amount of food so I have been cooking and cooking and making great inroads on all the meat in the deep freeze. Also fortunately it has been relatively cool, so I can get away with casseroles and lasagne, spag bol and roasts. I pulled out yet another bag of forequarter chops and thought that I really needed to do something a bit different. I spotted a recipe for "Tasmanian Apple Casserole" in a Weekly Times cookbook and here is my version.
LAMB AND APPLE CASSEROLE Serves 4
1 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp flour
4 forequarter lamb chops , trimmed.
1 onion, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 green apple, diced
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple juice (stay with me)
1 tblsp worcestershire sauce
1 sprig rosemary
Preheat the oven to 150c.
Dust the chops with flour and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole and brown the chops over a medium heat. Remove and set aside.
Put a slosh more olive oil in the pan and add the onion and cook gently for five minutes. Add the celery, garlic and apple. Cook for a further five minutes until softened.
Put the lamb back in the pan and pour over the apple juice, add the worcester sauce and the rosemary, cover and cook for 1 1/2 - 2 hours or until the lamb is very tender. Taste and season accordingly, and sprinkle with parsley.
Delicious with mashed potatoes and the first of the beans....