What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: dinner

Kangaroo Pie

Ah, the kangaroo, such a versatile animal. Enticer of tourists, chastiser of small children – one once gave a two year old Muffet a well deserved slap for squeezing its nose, I should have gone to help, but I was too busy crying with laughter. Its claws mounted on a stick make an excellent backscratcher or a hit TV series, and its scrotum may be fashioned into a handy coin purse. It also makes a rather terrific pie.

I like to make individual pies, especially for nights like last night where a fair amount of coming and going for sport around dinner time is involved. You can just hand a pie to whichever child is heading out the door and they can eat it on the way.

First, remove your pastry from the freezer. Yes, I am using frozen pastry, I am certainly not making puff pastry on a school night, or possibly any other night either. It’s on my to do list. I find the only problem with frozen pastry is I can’t tell whether it’s shortcrust or puff if I’ve thrown the box away. Fortunately this was puff. Tradition has it that you use shortcrust on the bottom and puff for the lid, but suit yourself, we prefer puff all over.

Chop about 600 grams of kangaroo into small dice. Much though I loathe the mega supermarkets, they do stock Macro Meats range of kangaroo and what I use for pie is the bush plum marinated kangaroo steak. Stick the kangaroo dice into a small saucepan with about three teaspoons of cornflour and stir about over high heat until browned. I find the marinated meat doesn’t need extra oil, but if you’re going with plain kangaroo from the back of the ute I’d advise adding a little butter. I then add half a cup of chicken stock straight from the freezer (remember when we made that a couple of weeks ago?), the leaves from a stick of rosemary and about a tablespoon of grated fresh ginger, but you can really suit yourself. Normal people might also add finely diced carrot, celery and/or mushroom, or even shredded beetroot goes well with kangaroo. Of course, then I would have a lot of leftover pie, so I desist. Simmer it covered, stirring occasionally, for about an hour.

When you’re having a break from stirring, get out your muffin tray and start spraying liberally with olive oil. There’s no way your muffin pans are non-stick, whatever they say on the label, unless they’re silicone, and I still feel a bit odd about using that. Cut out twelve large circles from your pastry and line the muffin cups with it. You don’t need to blind bake it. When the meat is ready, ladle it in. If the gravy is a bit runny still, take the lid off the saucepan of meat and turn up the heat for about five minutes, stirring a lot. You can then cut out neat smaller circles to use as lids, but I, being a thrifty housewife, just pile on the scraps leftover from cutting out the circles. You don’t even have to cover the meat completely. You could also cover the meat with mashed potato.

Bake in a hot oven for ten to fifteen minutes. You’re only cooking the pastry, so you can blast it at 220 degrees C. Take it out when the pastry is browned, then spend the next ten minutes cursing them out of the pans with the aid of a large fork, vowing to use more oil next time. The Horror asked if he could have a pie with no meat inside, but ended up eating two quite happily. I’m going to have to make more than twelve next time, especially as they’re rather good for lunch the next day.


Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

I was absurdly pleased this weekend to be the recipient of a small but perfectly formed pumpkin.  I did ask the giver why she was donating this pumpkin to me and she replied that it was because she had two.  That seemed perfectly reasonable to me.  

I could, and have, baked bits of it.  I can’t blog about that, a child could bake pumpkin, not that they would because then they’d have to eat it.  What I’m going to do tonight is make it into a sauce to go on top of the fresh pasta I’ve just bought from Peppe’s. Here’s a picture of the ingredients.



I’ve made this one before, this is how it goes.

Chop the pancetta (I’ve got 100g, and you could use bacon if you don’t live in an Italian neighbourhood). Start frying it in a medium saucepan while you chop the celery and onion.  It doesn’t matter what kind of onion, I’m using French shallots because they’re quite mild and sweet.  I have used green onions and been scolded thoroughly by my sister who says they’re an Asian onion and you can’t go mixing cuisines like that.  She may have neglected to notice that we live in Australia and that’s exactly what we do, so don’t listen to her.

Pop the celery and onion in with the pancetta.  If you think it’s a bit dry, slug in some olive oil.  I also put in garlic at this point.  A local nonna told me that Italians don’t put chopped garlic in, they slice a clove in half and put it in, then remove it before serving, so give that a go.  When it’s all starting to smell rather tasty, throw in quite a lot of chopped pumpkin and a cup of chicken stock.  Yes, I do make my own, why, does that annoy you?  Have you seen the price of decent chicken stock?  Making your own takes very little time and is practically free, and I’ll be going into that another day.

Place a lid on the saucepan and go help your children with their homework and get the washing in.  Also, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil, so that when you want to cook your pasta you don’t have to wait.  I don’t bother with salt or oil.  After about half an hour you should be able to poke a knife through your pumpkin pieces pretty easily.  That’s when you should start cooking the pasta.  Fresh pasta only takes a few minutes to cook, but you do need to stab at it with a fork to stop it sticking together.  Back to the sauce.  You could either squash up the sauce with a wooden spoon, which is what I do because I like it chunky.  Or zip it with the stick mixer, which is one of the few electrical gadgets I have in the kitchen.  If it’s too runny, let it boil uncovered for a few minutes longer while stirring it (unless you like scrubbing burnt pumpkin off pots).  At the very last moment, stir through a good handful of chopped parsley, it tends to lose its oomph if cooked too long.  If you’re not concerned about your schoolgirl figure, you could also stir in some sour cream, but I really don’t think it needs it.  A sprinkling of parmesan is all I put on it after serving it up.

Tonight I’m going to bribe the children to try some.  Wish me luck.

Wonton Wrappers

The problem with going shopping when you’re hungry is that many many things on the shelves of the supermarket look like a good idea. Not Coles, everything there looks appalling and I hate them, but that’s a whole other rant. I’m talking about Harris Farm. Wonton wrappers are amazingly cheap and come in a neat little cube, and I have a thing for the square form. So I’ve had a packet of wonton wrappers sitting in my fridge now for nearly a month and it’s time to either use them or write off that two dollars seventy.

First I tried baking them as tart cases, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them used like that in the a gourmet Traveller magazines I read at the physio. I have a pan from my Nanna’s kitchen that I think you’d use for jam tarts. Twelve depressions, smaller than muffin size, with a rounded bottom. I spray the pan with oil, line the depressions with wrappers, then spray again. After fifteen minutes in the oven they’ve all puffed up in the middle. I think if you sprinkled them with salt or brushed them with teriyaki sauce first they’d make a rather tasty snack. Still, there’s enough that are vaguely tart shaped that I can later fill them with the bacon and egg that the Horror has requested.

Next I chop up chicken, celery, leek and mushrooms and stir fry it with chopped ginger, chili paste, teriyaki sauce and a chunk of palm sugar. Then I have to pick up the boys from their various afternoon activities, and that kind of neglect does make a wonton wrapper dry out a little. I salvage enough to line the pan again with another twelve wrappers and drop spoonfuls of the chicken mixture in the middle. It’s very easy to pinch the wrappers together at the top with wet fingers and they look rather delectable. I spray them with oil, then bake them for twenty minutes. You just need to crisp them up, they’re cooked on the inside.

The next lot I’m going to line the tart tray and fill with left over BBQ chicken. I’ll bake that for fifteen minutes then top it with chopped lettuce and capsicum, because that’s what the Moose and the Muffet have requested. I’d better get cracking because I have a committee meeting to get to. I can go with my head held high, because I did manage to get that Treasurer’s report written after all.