I’m an early riser but that doesn’t mean I’m showered, dressed and looking glamorous by 9am. No, sometimes I like to take my time and just progress with a few projects before attending to my personal appearance. But I’m thinking I’m going to have to change tactics because too often I’m being sprung.
A few Sundays ago I planned to shower and dress for the day but I thought that first I’d just make the bed, empty the dishwasher, cook a hot breakfast, change Alfie’s sheets, hang out three loads of washing, bath the dogs, vacume, clean the bathrooms, reply to emails and clip my toenails.
And by then it was lunchtime. And I was still with disheveled hair and coated in a dressing gown that has seen better days. And just then there was a knock on the door and I thought it was Alfie because earlier he had gone next door to play with the neighbour so I just assumed he was coming back home. I threw open the door only to be greeted by two pretty young things dressed in school uniform. Arabella’s school uniform. Arabella was mortified that these two girls who she knows were seeing her mother in such a state. They were collecting money for the Salvation Army, or perhaps the Red Cross – it’s hard to remember because I was in such a flurry at having being sprung. I thought my only mode of recovery was to empty my wallet into their hands while apologising for being so ill-kept.
A week ago on a cold and miserable night I thought I’d take off my skinny jeans and boots and relax into my dressing gown and ugg boots and eat comfort food in front of The Voice. And I was really looking forward to my evening. But before The Voice had even started but after I’d taken off my boots and skinny jeans, there was a knock at the door and some friends who have been living interstate for the past five years but are now back in Sydney, thought they’d ‘pop in’ and surprise us. They were certainly surprised.
And things like this don’t just seem to happen while I’m at home, sometimes they happen on the street. Yesterday I had a couple of hours to myself and as the sun was shining (and as Archie had my car) I thought I’d go for a walk. And then I remembered that I was out of dry dog food so I thought I’d walk to the vet which is about 20 minutes away and because the dog food is heavy, I’d have to take my granny trolley. I was wearing old jeans that have stretched so no longer give me a shapely look, and a baggy cardigan that grows every time I wear it and because of all the walking, white Seinfeld sneakers.
My granny trolley and I were having a lovely walk and had almost made it to the Vet when coming towards me was someone I knew and yes, it had to be the ex-boyfriend who is now the successful barrister. What were the odds? We’ve both lived in Sydney since the break-up at 18 and there has been not one sighting. Not one. Except for a few weeks ago when we saw each other at a function but that was bearable because it was night, the light’s were dim (they’ll erase 10 years) and I was wearing a sexy dress. But on this day I was standing in full sunshine that was highlighting every flaw and there was nothing sexy about my over-stretched attire complete with granny trolley.
And I wanted to run and hide but I was out of escape options and so I greeted him with a huge smile acting like I didn’t have a care in the world and I couldn’t have been happier to have been sprung. He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek said, ‘You know you’ve got lipstick on your teeth?’ It just gets better! So I used my finger to rub my teeth while trying to look it didn’t bother me a bit to have smiled at him with hot pink teeth. And we talked about the vet and how he couldn’t charge more if he tried and about his house renovations and I showed him photos on my i-phone of Arabella going off to her formal and so basically I tried hard to make a recovery but it was pointless.
It’s moments like these that cause you to make very powerful affirmations like, ‘I will be glamorous ALL THE TIME’ because there is nothing worse than being sprung by an ex while wearing baggy over-sized clothes and white Seinfeld sneakers while pushing a granny trolley and grinning with hot pink teeth.
It’s time for some comfort food!
Baked Lamb Shanks with Gremolata
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
Cost: Could someone please explain why lamb shanks are so expensive.
- 4 lamb shanks
- 1/3 cup (50g) plain flour, seasoned
- 1/4 cup (60ml) olive oil
- 20g unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 cup (250ml) dry white wine
- 4 cups (750ml) chicken stock
- 2 each rosemary and thyme sprigs
- Mashed potato, to serve
- 2 tbspns finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 tbs finely grated lemon zest
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
Pre-heat oven to 160C.
Dust the lamb shanks with the flour, shaking off any excess. Heat oil in a flameproof casserole over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, cook lamb, turning, for 6-8 minutes until well browned. Remove lamb from the casserole and set aside.
Add butter, garlic, onion and celery to the casserole and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until soft. Return lamb to casserole, with the wine, stock and herbs. Bring to the boil, then cover and bake for 2-2 1/2 hours until the meat is tender.
Transfer lamb to a plate and rest, loosely covered with foil, while you finish the sauce.
Return the casserole to medium-high heat and simmer for 5-10 mins until sauce has reduced slightly.
Meanwhile, for the gremolata, combine all ingredients in a bowl, then season.
Divide lamb shanks among plates and ladle over the vegetables and sauce.
Sprinkle with gremolata and serve.
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