It’s Day 8 and we’re still in Sydney. We’ve called in to visit Tania from My Kitchen Stories. Tania is a professional chef who gave up working those long hours when she became a mother. She still works in the food industry working more regular hours as a food product manager but also does catering and teaches cooking classes.
I first met Tania through her blog and a friendship developed and today that friendship is not just a cyber-relationship, it’s a real-life friendship. Tania’s blog is all about food and travel. And Tania has done a lot of both; travelling to exotic or remote locations where she would be be employed as a cook and out of a tent structure produce fabulous meals for all the tourists.
Tania’s other great love is animals and firmly believes no animal should be neglected or mistreated. She has worked as a volunteer at an elephant refuge in Thailand, looking after elephants that needed to be rescued.
If you haven’t read Tania’s blog, you’ll really enjoy it as she tells very funny stories about her mother’s appalling cooking skills, her overseas misadventures and being the mother of a of a very loud and budding musician. But it’s not only about the stories because then there’s the food! Being a professional chef, the recipes she puts on her blog are mostly her own. When I’m needing to put a meal on the table I’ll often go to Tania’s blog for inspiration – she has great family-style meals that neither require a list of complicated ingredients nor are too challenging to create.
Tania is also brilliant at making cakes. You should have a look through her blog to see the range of very creative cakes she has made for family, friends and clients. A few she has done recently are a bonfire, a poker machine, a Bible and a bunch of flowers.
But we’re not making any of Tania’s cakes today; we’re cooking something every good Aussie would enjoy. When I was growing up lamb was the most common meat served around the family table and on Sunday’s it was a leg of lamb served as the family roast and during the week it was lamb chops cooked under the griller and served with mashed potatoes and peas.
This is a more sophisticated version of the lamb chop, peas and mash meal. It’s lamb cutlets coated in a parmesan crust with a fennel and red pepper warm salad. Old habits die hard and so I served this with mashed potato. Unfortunately lamb is not the budget meal it once was and lamb is now quite expensive. This is more of a special occasion meal than something we would eat most nights of the week.
- For the Cutlets:
- 8 cutlets
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
- ½ cup plain flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- For the Salad:
- 2 tbspn olive oil + 3tbspns extra
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 cups of fennel cut into large squares - 2cm or 1 inch
- 1 red capsicum cut into the same sized squares
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley
- ½ cup seeded green olives
- 1 tbpsn balsamic glaze
- 1 tbspn dijon mustard
- For the Cutlets:
- Combine the bread crumbs and parmesan and seasoning. Mix well. Dip the cutlets first in flour, then in egg wash, then in the crumb mixture.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over high heat and add olive oil.
- Cook cutlets in batches for a couple of minutes on each side or until golden. Remove and rest on paper towel.
- For the Salad:
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add onion and cook until softened.
- Add fennel and saute until starting to brown.
- Add red pepper and cook until pepper is starting to look a little scorched.
- Remove from heat and place capsicum mixture into a serving bowl.
- Combine parsley, olives, oil, balsamic glaze, dijon and seasoning in a bowl and stir well.
- Pour over capsicum mixture and serve warm.
If you’d like to follow Tania you’ll find her at My Kitchen Stories and you can also follow her on Instagram.
Tomorrow, we’re going up in smoke.