Animals Australia: the voice for animals

Animals Australia: the voice for animals
Love life? Love all of life

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Brigid's Butcher's Blarney

Brigid's Butcher's Blarney
The weather here is Melbourne miserable. It has been damp and icy cold and as Miss Eagle looks out the office window the usual view of the Dandenong Ranges National Park is obscured by fog - or is it ground level cloud? So the evening repast calls for something simple, nourishing and nurturing. Hence, Brigid's Butcher's Blarney. Any good thick snag will do. These ones the butcher calls Irish Sausages. Why, Miss Eagle is not sure. Because they are pork, have a shamrock in them - or is it all indistinguishable blarney? Now quantities are not given here. Sort yourself out according to taste and quantity required. Use any thick sausages (thin ones aren't so good in this dish) and cook them in the manner described here. They don't have to be cooked through - but brown them well. Remove them from the pan. Saute onions and garlic. Make a gravy by adding flour to the oil and sausage drippings and then water. Because this is simple and relaxed, we are using froz veg - so choose your favourite (Miss Eagle's fav had cauliflower, carrot and peas) and add to the gravy along with some diced potato. But the thing that distinguishes the flavour is the addition of baked beans in tomato sauce. Now there are all sorts of varieties of baked beans on the supermarket shelf - but just choose the old fashioned sort in tomato sauce. No cheese. Add salt and pepper and, if you are going gourmet, any suitable spices you fancy. Simmer gently until the sausages along with the potatoes and veges are cooked through and tender and the gravy is nicely thickened. Keep your eye on it and add water if necessary. Serve, curl up before a blazing fire or a warming gas duct and enjoy!
This is not so posh nosh - but it doesn't take much dosh!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The beloved Granny Smith

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After stipulating Granny Smiths for the Apple Crumble in the previous post, Miss Eagle thought a post about the Granny Smith would be in order. The Granny Smith is truly Food from Oz par excellence.

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However, perhaps the most famous use of a Granny Smith is as the apple used in the logo for Apple Records, the record label, founded in 1968 as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. by The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. A few years ago, Miss Eagle lived in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park just a stone's throw from Eastwood, in the local authority area of Ryde, where Maria Smith died in 9 March 1870. Her apple never became a commercial variety in her lifetime but continued to be cultivated by local orchardists. It was exhibited as 'Smith's seedling' in the 1890 Castle Hill Agricultural and Horticultural Show. In the 1891 show 'Granny Smith's seedlings' took out the prize for cooking apples. By 1892 many growers were exhibiting 'Granny Smith's'. In 1895 Albert H. Benson, Fruit Expert for the NSW Department of Agriculture, named 'Granny Smith's Seedling' as a suitable variety for export. He also initiated the first large scale cultivation of the apple at the Government Experimental Station in Bathurst. Maria Smith - our famous Granny Smith - was buried in St. Anne's Cemetery, Ryde. The lovely old church at what is locally known as Top Ryde is a familiar landmark to northern suburbs residents. Her husband died six years later. Their headstone still stands in the churchyard.

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The residents are rather proud of their connection with Granny Smith and each year the Granny Smith Festival is held at Eastwood, this year on Saturday 21 October 2006.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Apple Crumble

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Individual Apple Crumbles from Queen of Tarts, Belgrave

Fifty years ago, Miss Eagle was a twelve year old schoolgirl attending St Mary's Convent School in Bowen at the northern end of the Whitsundays in North Queensland. Every two weeks, on a Thursday, Miss Eagle - along with the other girls in her Grade 7 class - would go to Bowen State School for domestic science classes. How did those nuns ever let us go - no prayers, no writing AMDG at the top of our exercise books. If Miss Eagle's memory serves her correctly, the very first thing we cooked was Apple Crumble. Miss Eagle notes that Apple Crumble, along with all sorts of fruit crumbles, are enjoying a revival in smart coffee shops in Melbourne. They are made as slices or individual puddings and have a biscuit pastry base: biscuit pastry in this case meaning a base made of crushed biscuits and melted shortening pressed into a pan with the filling then placed on top. The base is uncooked and, because of the shortening, it sets firmly in the refrigerator.

(the domestic science class recipe)
Ingredients: 6 cooking apples; 2 tabs sugar; 1/4 cup water; 3 cloves; 1/2 lemon; 1 oz. coconut; 3 oz. flour; pinch of salt; 2oz brown sugar; 1 oz butter; butter for top.
Method: Peel, core and slice apples into saucepan. Add water and cloves and bring to the boil. Cook till transparent (not pulpy). Remove cloves, add white sugar and lemon juice. Sift flour and salt into bow. Add brown sugar mix. Rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture is like sand. Add coconut. Place apples in a greased pie dish and sprinkle pastry mixture over. Place small quantities of butter on top. Bake till golden.
Miss Eagle's Notes
  • Granny Smith's are the apples to use
  • The coconut is dessicated coconut - that fine shredded coconut.
  • If you are attempting the coffee shop model of Apple Crumble, because of the biscuit base - which should be about a quarter of an inch thick - you can use less fruit.
  • Luscious served with boiled custard or thick or whipped cream.