Mar 16, 2010

Unsung heros in the aisles of Coles. The Frozen Silence Of The Lamb Chops. Like Lambs To The Yoga. The Terry D Report.

There are many unsung heros in the aisles of Coles.  There are the easy going store managers who do quick product exchanges (top loader versus front loader laundry powder) without needing you to line up and rescan the new items.  The man at the rotisserie chicken area (is he a rotisserier?) who gives out the freshest chooks straight off the spit without making you pick up older chickens sitting out in the warmer unit.

Besides the people, there are the food products.  More specifically - lamb forequarter chops and Continental French Onion soup.  The key ingredients to my favourite lamb casserole, the winter comfort food of kings.  It's a forerunner of the 4 Ingredients school of cooking, dating back to at least 1983 in my mother's kitchen and probably earlier still in other households.  As an aside - the salmon and morrocan seasoning recipe from 4 Ingredients is delicious.  Possibly the only recipe I've been game enough to try but it is good.  Must write about it sometime.

The (frozen) silence of the lambs - defrosting and on special.

French Onion soup mix is amazing in that I've never actually used it for its intended purpose, ie as a soup base.  I've used it to make apricot chicken, lamb casserole and dip but never as a soup.

I wonder if marketing at Continental ever thought to change the packaging to widen its appeal beyond the supermarket shelves.  Dressed up in an orange and brown box with a brown ribbon, it would sit quite nicely with the array of more exotic ingredients in a chef's cupboard.  I might drop Continental an email about this.

Starting with the lamb chops.  Pretty cheap and best if the fat is left on for the cooking process.  Too easy - all you need to do is take the chops out of the packet, rinse and pat dry.  Done.

Arrange in a baking dish sprayed with olive oil.  Coat the chop with half the packet of dried soup.  Adorn with a few cloves of garlic and some rosemary.  The rosemary bush and chilli plants are the last herbs standing in the SSG Manor garden.  A testament to their resilience more than anything else.  The lawn grows like Greece's debt woes but the other herbs and the lemon tree - no such luck.

Bake in a preheated oven (200C or so) for an hour.  In the favoured SSG manner of cooking - set and forget whilst attending to other things.

Top with carrots and cauliflower and the remainder of your packet of French Onion soup.  Bake for a further 45 minutes or so, uncovered.

And wander off again.  I am big on wandering today because I can scarcely believe that I am walking painlessly with a normal gait pattern today.  Last night at yoga, it was back bend class - the one yoga class that makes me sometimes feel like a lamb lead to slaughter.  Our teacher is a lovely man, he's just so relaxed and matter of fact and is unable to betray the true pain (to me) of any of the poses in his voice or facial expressions.  He is an excellent teacher and inspiring.  I like the 'no fear' aura he radiates.  It was very helpful last night.
  • He just says 'do a back bend' - and we do them.  I was feeling pretty good about that. Because I got through them all.
  • Then he said 'lets do supported back bends (ie through a backless chair)'... still good, tired but good ... 'and we'll just end off with a partial headstand while we're there'.  It was as bad as it sounds and looked a whole lot messier the way I was doing it.
  • For the final part of class before shavasna, we did some standing poses.  'Now just bend your knees a little and place your hands in the prayer position, making sure you are away from the wall by a leg length' (that's Providence) 'for more awareness of your back and lean back to touch the wall.... now go deeper, while we're there and go down to back bend.  Don't forget to walk your feet in.'  This honestly was not as bad as the backbend / headstand combo.
  • It was exhausting, exhilarating and empowering.  It's amazing how awake yet rested I felt after class.  So glad I actually went.
That didn't take long.  Still plenty of time to chat while the lamb chops are finishing off...

Sydney people, today is Terry Durack Tuesday.  Today, Terry is endorsing new fine dining and progressive food.  It sounds scary but like fashion, it can all be adapted and made accessible to the common / mainstream SSG Manor resident.  Like how I now want poo-catcher / harem track pants because they were on the bonds billboard I was jogging past, at the crack of dawn this morning.  I never would have thought I would want poo-catcher but if it's bonds and it's in fleece, it's Good.

New fine dining is excellent because it is about 'not needing tablecloths to dine supremely well' and that 'you can be cool and modern yet still take bookings and look after people ... and that you can challenge and amuse'. SSG Manor can relate to the tablecloths.  I wonder if you can have cork place mats on the bare table and still be considered fine dining. 

Progressive food is post molecular and (mostly) post mousse.  It seems to be all about the puree and fondant.  Puree is accessible to me, I have a braun stick blender and with it, all things are possible.

 The kitchen accessory of A/W 2010,  the season of the puree.
Cool Britannia tea towel courtesy of a blogging buddy, christine .

I wonder if Terry will ever endorse Continental French Onion Soup Mix?  Perhaps repackaged Hermes style it could become the novelty food ingredient of the season, surpassing truffle oil?  French Onion Soup Mix Foam, anyone?  Terry leaves his email addy at the end of every review.  I wonder, is it for this very purpose?  Is he the Anna Wintour of Sydney Food.  Could he Make French Onion Soup Mix Foam Happen?


  1. The last lamb chops I got from Coles ages ago were sadly very muttony. I was so upset! Perhaps it was the Coles I went to or a bad batch. Such a shame though as we didn't know until it was cooked.

  2. Wow, the Coles staff in Adelaide would never do those things!

  3. Lorraine - shame about your batch of lamb chops. It might have been all the fat I left on ours because ours were especially moreish tonight :-)

    SSG xxx

  4. I'm the opposite of you - have tried making French onion soup using pre-mixes but never tried using it with other stuff!


  5. Lorraine - I had another thought. Perhaps French Onion Soup mix de muttonizes lamb chops?

    SSG xxx


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