Tag Archives: rosemary

Monday Night: Getting Started

Day 1- Monday 13th January, 2014

Lamb Chops with Snow Pea Salad and Roast Potatoes.

As everybody knows, Monday is always D-Day. No! You can’t change your life or turn over a new leaf on a Tuesday, a Wednesday or especially a Saturday. No! Everybody knows that your new life can only begin on a Monday. If you forget to get started, slip up, break the rules or totally crash and burn, everybody knows that you have to wait a full week before you try again. It’s an unwritten code…an understanding. A new life can only ever begin on a Monday.

I learned these life principles going on “diets” and have since discovered that the Monday rule applies to all life changing goals.  Monday is a new day…a clean slate. It’s like you somehow become an entirely new person and all your weaknesses and foibles are gone. You can do anything and even achieve the miraculously impossible. Scientists might disagree but I’m sure there’s even some change to your very DNA but only on a Monday.

Well, this Monday my “Teach the Kids How to Cook” project went into full swing after a bumpy introduction or preamble over the weekend.

Our first dinner was going to be relatively simple:

Lamb Chops


Roast potatoes

Roast Sweet Potato

A cutlet smile from a cheeky lad.

A cutlet smile from a cheeky lad.

I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of cooking lamb chops. That’s straight forward although we did add some rosemary from the garden. It was the kids’ job to go and pick the rosemary and this provided them with a bit on an introductory lesson on herbs. There are a couple of huge rosemary bushes here so we are rather blessed with vast supplies which we can generously add by the handful.

The focus of this cooking exercise was making the salad. It is summer time here in Australia so it is essentially salad season. Learning to make any kind of salad has been an extensive learning curve for me over the last couple of years. While I did grow up with coleslaw and a rather exotic (at least for the 1970s) mandarin salad which my grandfather made, salad was an iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber drowned in some kind of dressing. I haven’t really mastered lettuce. I tend to feel that I look at the stuff and it shrivels up and dies. Consequently, our salad was based more on snow peas which we strung and sliced into thirds. It was challenging getting the kids to string the snow peas and having to work in slow motion to explain where to find the string and how to pull it off. As adults we do all these things on auto-pilot but for the kids, these activities need to be broken into much smaller nibble bites so they don’t just give up with an “I can’t do it”.

Our avocado was perfectly ripe and ended up becoming a sort of dressing over the snow peas.

Cherry tomatoes were cut in half and added to the salad.

At home I would have added some balsamic vinegar but we didn’t have any and with the avocado, the salad didn’t need it.

Both kids asked for more salad and were fighting over the dregs. That is very encouraging. My kids are not great eaters.

We also had roast potatoes. I boiled up about 6 potatoes in their jackets for 10 minutes in the microwave. At home, I would then squash and roast these in the sandwich press or waffle machine with a minimal amount of oil but I was a bit naughty and fried them up in the chop pan with more rosemary. I was using a special griller pan with a ridged surface where the fat drains away from the cooking surface so it wasn’t perhaps as unhealthy as it sounds. I cut each potato in half and roasted the skin-free side. Yum.

While I was in a chopping and roasting kind of mood, I peeled and diced a sweet potato and roasted it at 200 degrees in the oven with some rosemary and crushed garlic. You can spray the tray with oil or drizzle with olive oil and I usually use baking paper to reduce cleaning. Our kids don’t like sweet potato and I don’t always push the point. Tonight, Geoff and I had ours hot with a bit of honey drizzled over the top. I made a mental note that macadamia nuts would also go well with this. The idea with the roast sweet potato is to keep a container of it in the fridge to add to salads and Wednesday night’s pizza. I love such quick and easy nutrition.

Congratulations Rowena and kids. You have passed the Monday test. You can proceed to Tuesday…Atlantic salmon and salad.

Welcome to Rosemary

Monday 13th January, 2014

Teaching the children how to cook is just as much about learning about the ingredients as the processes…the “how to”. We used rosemary in the lamb chops in Monday night’s meal and on the potatoes and sweet potatoes. I wouldn’t add it to everything but I do like my rosemary and have killed many bushes at home through over-zealous picking. This provided a great opportunity to introduce the kids to “Rosie”.

The kids with the monster-sized rosemary bush and cobwebs.

The kids with the monster-sized rosemary bush and cobwebs.

I have always loved growing herbs and as a child was quite attracted to their fragrant leaves and medicinal properties. I brewed up special rosemary “shampoo” which was supposed to give my hair added fragrance and shine. It was also fun.

As much as parents like to introduce their kids to the fun of growing your own veggies, I am also keen to introduce the kids to herbs.

A solitary flower on our rosemary bush. The neighbour's bush is covered in flowers.

A solitary flower on our rosemary bush. The neighbour’s bush is covered in flowers.

Herbs aren’t just about eating. There is also the mythology, symbolism, history. In Australia, sprigs of Rosemary are worn on ANZAC Day as a sign of remembrance to our fallen soldiers. But historical references date back. According to one legend, the rosemary bush opened to hide the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus from King Herod’s soldiers. Another legend says that during the flight of the Holy Family to Egypt, Mary threw her blue cloak over a bush of rosemary when she lay down to rest, and ever since, in her honor, the flowers have been the heavenly blue  of her mantle[1]. Historically, rosemary was also connected with love and was always worn at weddings and a sprig of rosemary was thrown into the grave “for remembrance”.

On a more serious note, according to Wikipaedia, rosemary is high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6,[13] 317 mg, 6.65 mg and 0.336 mg per 100 g, respectively.[14] Rosemary extract has been shown to improve the shelf life and heat stability of omega 3-rich oils, which are prone to rancidity.[15] (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosemary.

I found this little excerpt in Australian Town & Country Journal, Saturday 16th February, 1901 p 44:

[1] The Land Friday 25th December 1953 p 18.