Everything seems mundane. I miss the sights and the sounds of Asia – the smell of lemongrass, BBQs, leaded petrol and the honking of motor scooter horns. The strange, noisy cats in Laos.
I can’t get my mind into gear despite lots of exciting writing projects and I can’t even decide where next to go on holiday let alone what I am going to eat.
At least for the Australia Day weekend I can BBQ something. But somehow piles of charred meat turn my stomach after a month of eating in Asia.
I’m bereft of ideas and can hardly blog Pim’s excellent Pad Thai recipe which will be given a second outing tonight.
It is boring but there is something very comforting about a barbecued rack of lamb with a Greek salad. The salad contains the herb element for Weekend Herb Blogging of which Kalyn has kindly made me the overlord of this week. This is the second dish I have prepared since arriving home and one of those default dishes that I pick when my mind is feeble and my body weak.
And while there may be less than a gram of oregano is this salad – Ian Hemphill’s Spice Notes tells me a 5ml teaspoon contains 0.7g – it is my herb of choice this week. Apparently Oregano is related to Marjoram both growing around the Mediterranean. According to Hemphill the name origanum comes from the greek words oros and ganos meaning ‘joy of the mountain’, the fragrant herb growing on mountain slopes.
1. One large ripe tomato or two smaller ones. It must be ripe and not the rock-hard cardboard supermarket variety. Cube.
2. Use lebanese cucumber over the long boring variety. Skin it before cubing
3. Greek fetta cubed. It must be Greek. There are many eastern european and Australian pretenders but most are about as tasty as chalk. Choose greek.
4. Thinly sliced hoops of red onion, which has a less aggressive edge than the regular varieties.
5. Unpitted olives which means you approach each one knowing that there is a hard pip inside. This is important unless you want to surprise a weak tooth with a pip and finance the dentist’s next golf safari.
6. Dried oregano. Fresh oregano is too subtle for this salad. By all means use fresh but you’ll also need the concentrated aromas of the dried stuff.
7. The best extra virgin olive oil in the house, preferably Greek.
8. A squeeze of lemon juice BUT absolutely no vinegar. Don’t even think about it.
9. Salt and pepper to taste.
10. Mix it up.
11. It’s not worth keeping this salad in the fridge as leftovers. Either eat it all up or chuck it out. No discussion will be entered into.
Of course for the lamb rack – actually half a rack between two of us – you need an astonishingly large, shiny and expensive BBQ. I would say that you should spend at least $5,000. And whatever you do ensure it is a gas BBQ. You really don’t want to be messing around with charcoal and the smoky flavours it imparts to the meat.
Only a real man– preferably the whole Australian cricket team – can handle one of these machines.
Switch on the and ignite the afterburners. Simply toss the meat onto the BBQ and leave until it becomes a grotesque misshapen charred blob.
Repeat with large slices of cow, long soft pink cylindrical containers of hooves ‘n lips…and some fish for the ladies.
Wash down with a tin of a slightly sweet mid-strength beer, a rather large overbearing shiraz or an oaked “labrador” chardonnay.
Welcome to the Australian dream. (Blogger dragged away screaming)