Sunday, 15 June 2008

Lazy Sunday

I've had an awesome weekend so far.

Milord has been away since Friday night on a boy's golf weekend. These happen every 3 months with the same bunch of 10 to 15 blokes. They party real hard, have a couple of games of golf, and he comes home exhausted, smelly, and craving salad and girl company... I used to mind him going but now I totally relish the time on my own. Generally I'd catch up with some girlfriends but they're all out of town too, so it was all about me!

On Friday night after work I had a meal of fresh white french bread and pate with a side of salami, washed down with a crisp sauvignon blanc. I then took my book into a long hot bubble bath with the rest of the bottle, and emerged like a wrinkled lobster much later. This was followed by channel surfing the cable TV with a few glasses of Baileys until about 11pm, when I went to bed alone and stretched out across the entire bed.

I woke up at 11am. Yes, 12 uninterrupted hours of glorious sleep later! After reading the (delivered) Saturday newspapers in bed with coffee and pate on toast, I eventually dragged myself out to run a few errands in the cold wet blustery day. When I got home as the sun was setting at 4:30 pm (God I hate winter) I poured myself a glass of wine and swiftly cleaned the house (gotta love little houses, the whole place takes about an hour including bathroom) and changed the bed linen. Then I headed into the bathroom for a good pampering - I applied a deep cleansing facemask and did my roots and anything else that required shaving, plucking or exfoliating. After I emerged glowing and beautiful I curled up in the armchair with my book, a glass of wine and a bowl of salty rosemary breadsticks. At about 6pm Mom let me know she was awake in England (9am there) and I phoned her for a 2 hour chat! (It's not that bad, I buy phonecards with brilliant overseas rates so that call was less then $5) Then I made myself a meal of stilton, sharp cheddar and toasted french bread, accompanied of course by more white wine, and watched rubbish on TV. I wasn't tired after sleeping so much and I ended up channel surfing until 2am while returning emails... I only realised how tipsy I was at that point - I totally can't work the keyboard after a few (!) wines!

This morning I awoke a bit parched at 8am, and just lay there for a while enjoying having the bed to myself and smelling the freshly laundered sheets. Milord doesn't smell bad ever, but still, the bed just doesn't have that same freshness after a boy's been in it... or is that just me? I gathered up the Sunday paper from the doorstep and went back to bed with coffee and pate on toast for a few hours. At midday I wandered into the kitchen and prepared a slow-cooking lamb shank dish which is now in the oven on low heat. It is now just after 1pm. I am back in my armchair with a glass of wine, the laptop warming my legs as the cold wind outside thrashes the trees about.

It is perfect weather for a run. Yeah, right.

It is Father's Day in South Africa (Hi Dad! I love you) and I'll be phoning Dad when that country wakes up... about 4pm my time. That's got to be the hardest thing about emigrating here - the time difference to my loved ones. Whenever I really feel like a chat it's 1am where they are. And I'm sure they're fed up with me always being tipsy when they've just got out of bed! (Stay sober? Me? Shaddup! No you shaddup!)

Plans for the rest of the day:
1. Take shower and blow-dry hair for the first time in ages to look pretty for when Milord Husband gets home. He won't notice but that's ok.
2. Chuck the last load of laundry in the tumble dryer. Whoever invented that thing should be sainted! Also Saint Dishwasher and Saint Washing-Machine.
3. Curl up in armchair with book and wine and bowl of plain salted chips, smelling lamb shanks and fresh warm laundry throughout the house. Ahhh I'm such a domestic goddess.
4. Stay sober enough to ring Dad. hmmm whaddya reckon?

So how was your weekend? Did you get a chance to unleash your inner decadent girly domestic goddess? Apologies to the boys... what would your ideal weekend be then?

Oh yeah, Milady Saffa's Lamb Shanks, feeds 2 gluttons:

- 2 or so Lamb Shanks (the pack in the supermarket had 3 so I'm doing 3. whatever)
- 5 stalks celery (approximately. who counts celery stalks?)
- 3 carrots (I only had 3 left)
- 1 bulb of garlic (use less or none if you're not into garlic. I adore it)
- 2 onions
- beef/lamb stock (actually I only had vegetable stock cubes in the pantry, it doesn't really matter but don't use fish mmkay?)
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes (ok so I forgot to buy these, but I found a neglected litre of tomato juice at the back of the frige and used it instead)
- Olive oil (go wild, it's not like this is a diet dish anyway, right?)
- Seasonal vegetables (zuccini and pumpkin in the fridge left over from the week)
- 2 Potatoes (peeled or not, whatever you feel like, the peel is good for you and I hate peeling things)

- In a deep ovenproof cooking pot on high heat brown the lamb shanks in olive oil. I don't know why you have to do this but all the good chefs do so I do too. Remove lamb shanks to a plate but hang onto the used oil.

- Chop up celery, carrot, onion and garlic and fry them up in the reserved olive oil in the cooking pot, until glassy. What kind of adjective is "glassy" for food? Why can't I think of anything better?

- Add your stock to the pot along with the tomatoes. How much depends on the size of the pot - you need the liquid to totally cover the lamb. (I used 2 stock cubes. I won't be adding any more salt now because the cubes are damn salty) Bring to the boil.

- Add any other seasoning you fancy. Today I finished off the tubes of fresh minced oregano and basil that we had in the fridge into the pot, plus a fair amount of freshly ground black pepper. Rosemary would be nice but I've run out of fresh and don't feel like dried. Call me a snob.

- Add the lamb shanks, ensuring they are fully covered.

- Put the lid on the cooking pot and put it into the oven at 150C for at least 3 hours. If your pot can't go into the oven then simmer on the stove on very low instead, but keep an eye on it so that it doesn't stick and burn.

- About an hour before serving add chunks of potato and chopped vegetables to the pot. Don't do this sooner because they'll turn to mush... tasty mush yes, but that's not what I want today!

- Remove the lid for the last hour to allow the liquid to thicken into a kind of gravy. Yum.

- Serve in deep plates. Like those lovely pasta plates you get that are deep enough for sauce but you can still use a knife and fork. You know what I mean.

Edit: The lamb shanks were divine! I cooked them at 150C for 3 hours, then turned the oven down to 100C until Milord got home at 6pm. Then I threw in the vegetables (I skipped the potato because there was so much) and turned the oven to high for half an hour, and then turned it off and let the pot rest for half an hour. Total cooking time: 7 hours! The meat shredded off the bones and the gravy was thick and savoury. We couldn't finish it all!


Suzanne said...

What a decadent weekend. Lots of wine and good bread, woohoo! Thanks for the lamb shank recipe, that sounds positively divine!

Canadian Girl said...

Sounds fabulous! Thanks for including the recipe. I wish lamb weren't so expensive in Canada. I could use beef, but it wouldn't be the same.