Confit Rabbit Ragout

Confit Rabbit Ragout

Confit Rabbit Ragout

After a very long break from blogging, it took a request for a recipe by  a couple of fellow Gourmet Hunters to bring me back in here and post it to share with them.

6 months ago, we travelled across the Nullarbor, back to Victoria, to my son’s home and set up our van. On arrival, he asked if we’d mind having his children for a few days as their mother (his ex) wasn’t coping and needed a rest. He’d be working.

To cut an extremely long and painful (think drugs here) story short, he now has custody of the two boys, she has moved out of town, and we are still here. At the same time he got custody of the two boys, he got a new government job, which requires him to train in Melbourne Monday to Friday for 14 weeks, so we are at home here with our grandsons while he does.

Added to this, our oldest grandson has autism, and hasn’t seen a doctor, speech therapist, occupational therapist-in fact, any professional who could help him in three years- so with son Dan in Melbourne, this has fallen to Russ and I and has been a whirlwind of appointments to get him the care he needs. Both boys went back to school-the youngest for the first time, in February so we had a mix of times and lengths of days for a while-both boys are now doing full days, every day, in preparation for dad starting his new job after training. Then they both started swimming lessons.

It’s been tiring at times (we’re not so young anymore) but really rewarding to see them start and eat new foods and enjoy a constant routine. We all have down days, but on the whole, it’s great.

So there you have my excuse for no blogging for 6 months. And now for the recipe!

Confit Rabitt Ragout

First send son Daniel out to shoot the rabbit, then take your dressed rabbit, pop in a snuggish fitting oven proof dish, cover completely with oil and bake at about 140c for about 3 hours or until the rabbit falls to bits when you try to lift it out of the oil. Allow it to cool a little, then pick the meat from the bones and set aside in the fridge. I used oil we’d confitted another rabbit in recently (cooled and strained). The original oil had herbs and baby leaves and garlic in it.

  • 2 tablespoons oil (I used a mix of bacon fat and confit oil)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced tiny
  • 2 celery sticks, diced tiny
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 rashers bacon, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups stock
  • Handful of good black olives, pitted (not yucky pre pitted ones though)
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley

    Confit Rabbit Ragout

    Confit Rabbit Ragout

Method

  1. Heat the oil and gently cook the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and bacon until all tender-about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it reduces and the pan ingredients are sizzling and starting to catch.
  4. Add the stock and oregano and cook over a low heat for about 45 minutes, adding in more stock if you need it.
  5. Add the rabbit meat and olives and cook a further 15 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley.
  7. Serve over pasta or mash.

Mallacoota

Betka Beach

Betka Beach

In February of this year, we bought a Travel Auction package we saw advertised on TV to a Mallacoota caravan park. In these auctions, you are told what it would cost, then you make a bid-the top 50 bids win. The parks RRP for a 10 night stay was $330, we bid $180 and won. We then had to pick a date for travel within 12 months of winning. Mallacoota is right on the Vic/NSW border, so close to 520 kilometres from Melbourne OR Sydney you wouldn’t argue about it, and considered one of Victoria’s most remote towns. It has a population of around 1000 that swells to about 8000 over the summer holidays (that’s why we came just before!)

We left Daniel’s place in pouring rain (the wettest we have ever had to pack up in) and headed east of Traralgon for the very first time with the van.  As we travelled, we realised why we’ve never come this way before with the van-the roads are a disgrace to the state of Victoria. So very rough towing a van!

One patch of about 1 kilometre of road outside Stratford was so potholed, we just knew we’d arrive to all sorts of mess inside and we weren’t wrong. We have a portable oven, hotplates and fruit bowl that fit neatly into a spot on the bench beside the fridge and above the built in hotplates in the van. That stuff has travelled all over Australia sitting there but when we arrived and opened the van door in Mallacoota, it was all strewn all over the floor. Squished tomatoes, avocados and electrical goods covered the floor!

Mallacoota

Mallacoota

We set up in the rain and it continued for the next 20 or so hours without a let up, but Sunday afternoon it cleared for a while so we managed a drive 3 ks out of town to the very beautiful Betka Beach to take a look and some photos. Wow, what a lovely spot to have to ourselves.

Betka Beach

Betka Beach

Monday, we braved the wind and took the boat out for a bit of a fish. The boat played up-coughing and spluttering and generally being a bit scary to be out in that wind. The fish were hiding and it was a waste of time for a number of reasons. We came back in and Russ arranged to have the boat looked at by a local mechanic the following morning.

Tuesday was a perfect day for fishing, so after collecting the boat from the mechanic, followed by an early lunch, we set off out. The boat seemed to be going well, then once again, it started spluttering and coughing-so much for the miracle fix we’d just paid for! Never mind, it was a super calm day, so we just limped out a tiny way, parked up in a pretty spot and started to fish.

We only brought 7 fish into the boat, but all were well over size so we counted it a great success. We came home with 5 flathead and one bream, returning one 33 cm flathead as that’s just too small to bother with at the fish cleaning table. Fish for dinner Wednesday night, and some for the freezer.

Tuesday night, we had a yummy dinner at Lucy’s Handmade Rice Noodle Shop here in town. A funny little place where you grab your own wine glasses, water,condiments and hope the food you ordered makes it to your table. We had the best steamed bbq pork buns I’ve ever had, fried pork dim sims I’d have not known were dim sims if I hadn’t ordered them (hand made and so different from shop bought), really delicious chilli prawn salad and fried rice. The bbq pork buns were ordered as pork noodles but somehow got lost in translation so we missed out trying the handmade noodles. Oh well, now we have to go back!

Shipwreck Beach

Shipwreck Beach

Today we hung around the van, watching the cricket, until the boat-motor-fixit-man called to say it was done. By the time he called, it was too late to go fishing, so we went out to Shipwreck Creek and Beach and Pebbley Beach for a drive. Back home, we had our flathead tails for dinner.

Flatty tails

Flatty tails

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Devil’s Pork Curry

Devil's Pork Curry

Devil’s Pork Curry

As a kid, my son Daniel loved this curry. At around 8 years old, you couldn’t make it hot enough for him, then he seemed to go off chilli heat and I forgot about it for years and years.

I originally found this recipe in a Woman’s Weekly curry cookbook but I wouldn’t know what cuisine it’s supposed to come from. No matter-it’s good! It looks like a lot of ingredients, but trust me, it’s easy to make. I made it using some of the lovely pork chops from the hand reared pig that Daniel bought us.

Devil’s Pork Curry

  • 750 g diced pork
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium red onions, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 curry leaves (dried or fresh, optional if unavailable)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 4 small red chilies, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemongrass (or zest of 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped

    Devil's Pork Curry

    Devil’s Pork Curry

Method

  1. Combine pork, vinegar and soy sauce in a bowl, mix well and all to stand for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain, reserving liquid.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pan, stir in onions, garlic, ginger, curry leaves, sugar, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, chillies, turmeric and lemon grass.
  4. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
  5. Add pork to onion mixture , stir over high heat until pork is browned.
  6. Transfer mix to medium saucepan, stir in combined tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, stock, reserved liquid and nuts.
  7. Stir over high heat until mixture boils, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove lid and simmer for a further 30 minutes or until almost all the liquid has evaporated.
  9. Serve.

* Editing to add: This was delicious-hot, but not so hot as the flavours didn’t still come through. The pork cooked up a treat-tender and moist.

Sicilian sweet and sour rabbit (or my version of it)

Sicilian Sweet and Sour Rabbit

Sicilian Sweet and Sour Rabbit

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been steadily eating our way through our freezers full of pork, fish and beef here at son Daniel’s. We’ve had pork chops on the BBQ, roast pork, pork belly braised in master stock, chilli pork, crumbed fish and delicious organic grain fed steaks. All fantastic, but nothing to blog about.

Tuesday, I decided it was time to use another couple of the rabbits we were given in WA back in October. After watching an episode of Italian Food Safari with Maeve O’meara and Guy Grossi where they made a Sicilian rabbit dish, I decided to check out it and a few more recipes and came up with this:

Sicilian sweet and sour rabbit

  • 2 cloves garlic, bruised
  • 8 rabbit pieces
  • Seasoned plain flour
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 100 g prosciutto (I got one slice, then diced it small)
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries (originally called for currants)
  • 1/2 cup pitted black olives
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (I do this in a small dry pan over a low heat, shaking ’til golden)
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leafed parsley
    Sicilian Sweet and Sour Rabbit

    Sicilian Sweet and Sour Rabbit

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a heavy-based heat-proof casserole, add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden, then discard the garlic.
  2. Dust the rabbit in seasoned flour and shake away the excess, then cook in the oil over medium heat until light golden all over-this might need to be done in a couple of batches. Remove all from the pan.
  3. Add the onion and prosciutto and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the onions  are almost soft.
  4. Add the wine, bay leaf rosemary and vinegar and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stock, then return the rabbit to the pan for about one hour or until tender.
  6. Remove the rabbit from the pan and keep warm.
  7. Add the sugar, cranberries and olives to pan and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce is syrupy.
  8. Return the rabbit to the pan and stir in the parsley and pine nuts and serve.

I should add, it was excellent and will be made again one day. It wasn’t sweet and sour like Chinese S&S but had just a nice “tang” to it. The rabbit cooked up tender and moist in the sauce too.

Insurance update

We got the call Friday to say the whole insurance claim on the damage to the van AND the boat trailer has been accepted. So while we are away in Bali in January, the local caravan repairer will fix it for us.

It was a $14,000 job, but the new boat trailer is a further $1800. The repair also fixes a nasty dent Russ put in the van when it was a week old. When he did that and we took the van in for it’s first service, the manufacturer offered to fix it. I said we’d wait until he dented it again so we got more value for our excess. This latest dent wasn’t our fault so no excess!

Like they say, it’s an ill wind that blows no good!

Broad Bean Salad, and Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Broad Bean Salad

Broad Bean Salad

Last week, we had a busy time catching up with family and friends, entertaining grandsons and (shock, horror!!!) a couple of shifts of work for me.

My youngest son Daniel works at Cafe Aura in Traralgon so with one chef on holidays, and the boss off sick, they are very short staffed and got me in to do some prep work.

The first shift I worked was at really short notice-I had to take up a pair of black pants and get myself organised for a 9 am start after a 7.30 am wake up call from Daniel. I worked just over 5 hours and most of the shift was spent with my fingers either cramping up or threatening to. Not much fun.

Work

Work

The second shift I worked on Tuesday night was much, much better. I had lots of warning and did a nice mix of cooking on the grill and prep.

Saturday, Russ, grandson Rooke and I went to Melbourne for a family get together. Everyone took along either an appetiser, salad or dessert to share and meat for themselves to our Niece Yvonne and husband Stuart’s place. It was a fantastic afternoon catching up with everyone. Russ made us a crab dip using some of our picked frozen crab meat. It was really popular!

Family get together

Family get together

Sunday, we took our grandsons Kobie and Rooke to an open day at the Traralgon fire station. It was great-they got to use the hoses, sit in the fire truck, try on the breathing apparatus, we watched as they burned off a gas fire and saw the Skylift rise 42 metres in the sky. The boys got a free sausage, sticker, tattoos and cardboard cut out fire truck to

Fireman Kobie

Fireman Kobie

make.

This week’s been more of the same.

Wednesday I did kinder duty at Rooke’s kindergarten. I’ve done it once before and really enjoy it. I was in hospital as a new mum (of son Michael) with one of the kinder aides Di, so it’s been great to meet her again after maybe 24 years.

Zeus

Zeus

Thursday, we took Daniel’s beautiful big bull arab pup Zeus(he’s 10 months old) to the local car wash/dog wash for a bath. He was shampooed, rinsed, conditioned, flea rinsed and blow dried til he looked squeaky clean and smelled sweet.

Thursday night we went to a bbq with friends. I made a broad bean salad using our home cured bacon, and another crab dip.

Friday I worked 10 hours and today (Sat 22nd) I’m home now in the middle of my two shifts, so I’ll do another 10 or so hours.

Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

  • 1 cobb loaf (I really love Woolworths Onion and Parmesan one)
  • 1 cup crab meat (about)
  • 250 g block light Philly cheese
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup low fat whole egg mayo
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill leaves
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • a slug of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 400 g can of artichokes, drained, then squeezed really dry, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

    Crab Dip in a Cobb Loaf

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 c
  2. Cut a lid from the cobb loaf, then carefully scoop or cut out most of the soft bread from the loaf and the lid.  Slice the scooped out bread into dipping sized pieces and put them and the loaf and lid on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix the remaining ingredients together and heat gently in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  4. Increase the heat of the oven to 180 c, then pour the mix into the cobb loaf shell and put back in the oven for about 15 minutes or until bubbling and browning on top.
  5. Serve with the dipping pieces, and the lid torn to bits.

Broad Bean Salad

  • 500 g packet frozen broad beans, cooked per packet instructions, cooled in cold water
  • 125g bacon, diced, cooked crispy, reserve rendered fat
  • 200 g feta cheese
  • 1/2 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 spring onions, finely sliced
  • zest of a lemon
  • juice of half a lemon
  • oil, extra, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

    Broad Bean Salad

    Broad Bean Salad

Method

  1. Peel the cooled broad beans (gets rid of the tough khaki green outer skin to revel bright green inner flesh)
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring gently to combine. I use the bacon fat, making it up to two tablespoons with extra oil.
  3. Chill to allow the flavours to meld.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.