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SIMON WALKER: Ode to my barbie, slow roast on toast

I love my barbie.
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I love that I took it from Flat Packstatus to within two or three bolts of proper assembly, and it still worked.

My little Frankenstein –cookin’ with gas.

And I love how that gas doesn’t leak. Anymore.

And not just because we’ve run out of gas.

In front of the in-laws, again.

But because I may have been playing with a hose trying to get those two or three spare bolts to fit, and something might have come loose.Or should have been tightened.

Either way my barbie didn’t explode next morning and so I loveit because I made my barbie and it makes me. Live.

It also makes me think that I can cook. Which is possibly pushing it.

Add a cold beer or cheeky red and you’re getting as close to something approaching contentment as most of us can expect in this short event horizon we call “your turn to make dinner”.

A joyousresponsibility, best not dwelled upon too long in front of whoever’s delegating because they just may get the idea you have nothing much in mind.

But that’s not really fair because I do think of vegetables and carbohydrates when I cook. Butthen I tend to go back to meat, because meat equalsbarbie, andbarbie is outside. Away from the claustrophobickitchen questions aboutvegies and carbos.

Outside Idon’t have to stand that heat. For a while.

I can wheel the barbie into the shade and stand witha cold one.Or a cheeky one.

To ponder the reality thatgrease and oil aren’t reallydirty words, unlike in the kitchen,but rather help withbarbecue maintenance, and just may add something to the flavour beyond the caustic taste of barbecue cleaner.

It’s time to fire up, and as you do, youlearn that if your barbie cleaner doesn’t kill you, it only makes you giddier.

With intoxication about having to cook some form of vegies and carbohydrates, as well as meat, on the old barbie. Hmm.

You also learn thatonce you commit to slow cooking a rack of lamb (because that was the only dead defrosted thing in the fridgewhen the heat was applied about what you were cooking for dinner)you may well need to learn how to cook.

Not just in general.But on your Franken-barbie.

Which is a much more agricultural device than the electric oven inside.

The barbie came with a hood, yes, butmainly that hood has been used to cover the grease and oil.Now it must be employed as a bakehouse. Ja.

But the barbie isn’t German precision, itwas made in China andsold by a German supermarket chain.

Such wide-ranging thoughts when you’re riffing ideas about vegies and carbos and DIY pizza ovens.

Anyhow, you have to dare to fail – to not only fail, but dare I say, win.

Otherwise it would be sausages and steak, and wouldn’t that be the definition of a doddle.

Alas, sausages and steakweren’t defrosted in the fridge when the dinner question came up, and soI didn’tlive in that land.

I lived in the land of MKR and the food channel.

Where every Tom, Dick and Harriet who got sick of being a chef, or has gone bust running their five-Michelin-hatted restaurant into the ground,has got in front of a camera and raised the level of expectation way beyond “charcoal”.

Unless it’s eggplant or zuchini.

Which always has to be “charred”.

No one every talks about “burnt” as being a good thing on those shows.

So there was one parameter for the lamb.

Others included“tender”, “tasty”, and “on time”.

Three wheels in motion right there, competing with beer and/or a cheeky red, and of course, some vegies and carbo.

So why not go the extra yard while you’re slow-roasting that rack, and make a risotto.

Out there? or Get out of there?

I’m the kind of cook who has only ever been accused of making slop anyhow.

And what is risotto really, if not slop?

Heretic!!! All I can say is the cheeky reds were making me cheeky. Man can experience an unnatural sense of freedom in the great outdoors keeping his barbie company.

The lamb took about 4 hours to cook, which was just about enough time to stir the risotto down to that magic consistency the food critics always bang on about,somewhere between el dente and ex cremete.

I was drained, my cheeky red was drained, but most importantly, the lamb risotto was drained. Hunger will do that to you. And slow roasting will do that to hunger.

I love my barbie.

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