General chat: Cooking at home with Bobi

By Bobi

There is still a self-imposed lockdown at my house. 

The grandkids are back at school and I have a visitor. My br… the visitor is an essential services person who is doing additional training. It is nice to have company, like in human form. 

I am doing my part for the cause by cooking. Sadly, even the dog has been known to turn his nose up at some of my offerings and I rely heavily on cook books and the internet to avoid poisoning guests. 

Still, it is fun to cook for a captive audience and I had this fabulous idea that I would be incredibly productive by combining my current obsession with spring cleaning with trialling recipes. Any cookbook that didn’t produce a good recipe immediately was going to be donated the Lifeline Book Fair. Delightfully, I didn’t get past the first book. 

And here’s why I am posting. The book I picked up was by Matt Preston – The Simple Secrets. First thought to self: this is going to be a no-brainer. After all, he’s no chef and this book is just a money making publicity gimmick. I am so happy to had been proved wrong. This is now rated the second-best cookbook I own. 

The first meal I cooked was the shredded chicken with miso dressing because, you know ….. salad. It was delicious. 

So I followed it up with meatloaf. Ta da!

I see what you are thinking there. I know. It looks like a hot mess but it was worthy. It was crunchy and salty and sweet. It was also oozy with cheese. No wonder Young Matt is on the hefty side. 

On the downside, it is the beginnings of a sodium-induced heart attack in anyone that comes within 1.5 metres of its deliciousness. 

Never one to get overly excited, I decided to have another go and try the quiche. I should have known I was in trouble when I read the instructions and then heard myself say, out loud, “I’m not going to do that”. Instant karma. 

I’m an idiot. You just can’t tell some people. 

Apparently I was supposed to put the base back in the oven and then pour in the mixture. As someone-who-should-know-better said, we got two meals: quiche and baked eggs. I spent most of the next day cleaning every nook in the kitchen and my oven is never going to be completely clean again. 

But here’s the takeaway (heh heh).  It was extremely edible and has been serving up a number of lunches ever since. 

I do have one gripe: People who put these types of books together need to be clearer. I cooked the eggplant and paneer curry. Ingredients specified two eggplants. Surely size matters? How many does that feed? And cook the onion for 15 minutes, add the spices and then cook for 20 minutes. Wait. What? Another 20? Or another 5? Seriously? I spent those “5 to 10” minutes giving an imitation of a toddler learning how to throw a tantrum. 

The most important thing is that it fed the dinner party of less than 10 people, and it was a huge hit. It has to be one of the best curries I have ever made. Given my track record, that may not a great measuring stick but my reputation for being a good cook is now looking much more gold and glittery. 

I am pretty enamoured of Matt Preston. I just wish he was slightly less enamoured of cheese. I swear I have put on two kilos in five days. 

Just casually, I am also a bit done with this cooking and baking lark for a while. I much prefer watching cooking shows, and imagining that I can do better without actually having to put in any effort. Bring on the antipasto.



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58 Comments

      • “15 -men-compete-to-have-baby-with-stranger”

        Nothing new. They were called “discos”

        I wonder who ” conceived ” this new show.

    • Bobi, I love meatloaf, and quiche is my go-to “quick, there’s visitors.
      I confess, I don’t love cooking, but I think I’m pretty good with flavours. I hate following recipes, but occasionally will, when I need to come up with something new.
      My Granny (not a Nona, was a good cook. She just slapped things together.

      • My brother can “slap” things together but he know stuff.
        Like if you are painter you know that blue and yellow makes green.
        He teaches me things by rote: add sugar to tomatoes, add lemon juice to mushrooms. Always.
        I’m sure there are others but my brain is small.

    • Is anyone else getting the end of a thread, inserted randomly into the thread itself. My comment box here is about three posts down.
      Is it just my phone but since there are a lot more ads (fine, I support that) my threads are a bit scrambled.
      Is that just my phone. I need to know so I (meaning Woolif) can fix it.

        • Yeah, that’s what I mean. Also the thread is out of order since the ads I think.
          The ads are great and I press them but something weird is going on with the thread.
          Also when you press on a comment to see what say Von, or Juz has written, it goes somewhere else.

  1. Thanks, Bobi. That meat loaf makes my mouth water. I love meat loaf, and those crunchy bits make me want to stick my face right in there.

    I know there’s a picture, but I don’t understand what went wrong with the quiche. I always put all the wet mix in at once, then stick the dish in the oven. I do par-bake the pastry sometimes.

    No oven will ever be as new again once it’s used. The standard for my oven is I know it’s clean. If it isn’t sparkly shiny spanking clean…I know it’s clean.

    • As I was putting the quiche (now filled) back in the oven, there was an ever so slight, less than 5 degree lean, and the filling went down the oven door, all over the floor and all over the base of the oven.
      We got half a quiche and the dog got delighted.

  2. I just heard a new three-point stay safe message. I didn’t pay attention to the first two points, but the third one was to maintain physical distancing…if you can. They’ve changed the phrase from social distancing to physical distancing, but are downplaying the importance of it. Hey, CMO, how about you emphasise the possible consequences to those who are old, immuno-compromised, or who have other risk factors, if the need for physical distancing is minimised now? Or do we go back to the way things were, and let the dead fall where they may? Damn it.

  3. I agree that it should be physical distancing and it is important. We also need to have social contact with families and friends but with physical distancing.

    Sometimes social distancing sound like you need to avoid everybody and be a recluse.

  4. I have a plague in my house with no ability to social distance.
    As the cold weather has set in, the bush rats have moved into my roof.
    I had to get baits put in. I hate that but apparently there is no other option. They have reassured me that there will be no secondary deaths from the eating of the rat corpses but I am sceptical. How can they not?
    In the meantime, it is like a party up there. It is so noisy, we can’t sleep.
    One of the downsides of living in a country town.

    • Oh no – trapped by a plague within a plague.
      And now I am getting ads for pest control lol.
      Quick – think of nice things! Rainbows, soft pyjamas, cheesecake …

      • I saw coyote urine on the list. I wonder where I can get me some of that? 🤣
        I am going to follow up the poison with mothballs and camphor. I don’t know the difference, btw., but it’s worth a try. I hate the smell so it would follow that a rat would.

        • You can buy coyote piss on line :). But I think once it’s collected, processed, bottled, and shipped, it wouldn’t be very effective. Maybe you could borrow a friendly coyote to come pee in your roof space.

          I had a couple (Ithink only a couple, even though it sounded as though a herd of elephants was partying up there) in my roof a few years ago. I banged the ceiling with a broom handle. They did go away after a short time, but I think it was because of new neighbours who had cats.

          That picture of a rat chowing down on someones plate of food creeped me the hell out. I’d burn my house down if I saw that.

          I’d have to get someone to lay traps. But they’d also have to come back to collect the bodies. Because I ain’t, under any circumstances, doing that. *shudder*

        • I live in a cat free zone and right next to a reserve. I’m in favour of cats but any cats here are contained. So an excellent by-product is that we have a huge number and variety of birds.
          I am told rabbits also flourish but I haven’t seen any, i suppose because of my long doggo.
          But some people around here keep chickens. Not many because the backyards are small but enough.
          So, long story short, I think there are lots of reasons for the rats to find my place a happy home.
          In my younger days I would have been fine climbing in the roof but not so much anymore. I remember my father telling stories of people having heart attacks in roofs because of the heat. When I go I would like to go with dignity.
          I am coming to terms with the fact that this is going to be an ongoing issue and something else I am going to have to budget for. My contribution to keeping the economy going.

    • A plague within a plague. 😷🤧🐀🦗
      What next, a plague of flies?
      I am making Woolif stay 4m away and touch nothing because 3 kids went to his school sick (Why weren’t they sent home?) and because they are severely disabled, contact is close.
      I have instructed Woolif to touch nothing and if he wants food or drink just ask and I will get it . No argument there. But now he has the remote. I will have to swab it down. I didn’t get a flu shot.

      Now I am in the mood to make something nice for family dinner. I am going to google recipes that have egg, bacon or chicken or any combo of.

  5. Image of another successful recipe from Matt’s book. These recipes are pitched right at my level of expertise.
    It’s a slice. And those black things are sultanas.
    In true tradition, one mouthful is enough to put you into a diabetic coma but still delicious.
    I’m going to be sneaky. I’m taking them to a friend’s place for morning tea and I’m going to leave most of them behind.
    I should write Mr Preston a letter of appreciation.

  6. A friend gave me lemons and oranges so I made some lemon drizzle yoghurt cakes. Really happy with how they turned out. I gave some to a friend and some to my 80yo neighbour who has kindly brought my bins in for me ever since Mr Now 8 was born.

    • “Storm of the decade” was pretty normal weather for this time of year, in Perth, although winds were stronger due to the tail end of the cyclone. We had a few tree branches down, same as April’s storm of the decade. Geraldton, a bit further north, copped some damage. I’d think Daisy is okay. She lives in a magical corridor :). And she was making puddings.

    • Just a very windy night down our way. It seems all of the tree branches that were going to blow down, blew down two weeks ago in that storm.
      It was pretty normal winter weather with strong wind.

  7. News.com.au has an article about safe sex positions during the pandemic. You’ll all be relieved to know that doggy style and reverse cowgirl are deemed safe. Heh. Unless you are indulging in a one night stand, which is not a good idea right now, I don’t think position makes a lot of difference if you’re in a longer-term sexual relationship. Or, you know, wear a mask.

    • I imagine News.com must’ve been having a slow day, because if you’re having sex with someone, then you’re probably already breaching several social-distancing guidelines, so I can’t imagine which position in particular would make that better or worse.

      As for the mask thing, well, some people would prefer that, so we shouldn’t judge.

  8. So I talked about these, in an earlier thread?

    Mini-melts, aka, dippin’ dots. Little balls of ice-cream goodness. So good. Very sweet, but sooooo good.

      • Yeah, they’re ice-cream. By the time you reach the bottom layer, the little balls along the bottom have all kind of melted. But they’re so nice, and so delicious.

        Strawberries and cream is my favourite, but I am partial to the lemon/lime sorbet, and the chocolate/mint variety is good too.

  9. I’m not complaining about the ads, and I press on as many as I can.
    And just adding that they seem much more relevant to me this time round as opposed to last time.
    But that ear wax one really grosses me out. What ad agency thought that picture was a good idea.

    • I am going to afternoon tea next week – more than 10, slightly nervous non related retired people in the same dwelling – and I am going to make mini quiches.
      My only decision is to pastry, or not to pastry because finger food.

    • Mr Juz is on a keto diet at the moment so these would be good for him: no wheat, full fat. And, of course, bacon makes everything better

      • Just mentioning that Matt P suggested the use of smoked almonds to simulate the taste of bacon.
        Works for me.

        • Lots of almond growers here in SA – I’ve never seen anywhere with so many nut shops. Love smoked almonds!

    • My kind of dish. 2 steps. But I fried the garlic first, so 3. Very easy but not sure how we will go extracting them from the pie hole.

  10. So, I went for a hike today with some of my friends, and met a new friend.

    His name is Fluffy. He’s quite a famous resident of the nature reserve where we were walking. He was very fearless and curious (I, however, was slightly nervous, given that he walked right up to us. I was literally half a metre away from him. And they are *big* animals. I’m quite tall, and he was looking me in the eye).

    It was the coolest experience.

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