Thursday, 8 March 2007


Inspired by an article in The Age by Stephanie Alexander, I replicated (give or take a few ingredients) her oyster-blade steak curry, flatbread and dhal. Wednesdays are my day at home with the baby, and she sleeps for a couple of hours in the morning when I look after her (for some reason, she has more reason to fight sleep and stay awake when Babe looks after her), so I had some time in the morning to cook.

The baby and I went to South Melbourne Market together, after dropping Babe off at work. We looked for the oyster-blade steak first, which wasn’t to be found, by name anyway, so I settled on some nice thick and marbled ‘stewing steak’, but which I suspect was an oyster blade or a related forequarter cut. I also brought half a kilo wholemeal flour, loose, which I found a touchingly old fashioned experience; some silverbeet (I did want mustard greens, but I couldn’t find them anywhere); and some fresh coriander.

Rather than have a latte and babycino respectively, we decided to go home, due to the baby fading with tiredness. She had her sleep when we got back, and I chopped shallots and garlic, and fried these in our crock pot with some dried spices that I picked from the cupboard – fenugreek, which I use for a archetypal smell and taste when I make food from the subcontinent, chilli, cumin, coriander, mustard seeds, ginger, and star anise. I added the beef and silverbeet, coated them in the spice mixture, and added a tine of tomatoes, a tin of chickpeas, and covered it with water to cook for the rest of the day in the slow cooker. I added a tin of coconut milk a bit later.

Babba then woke up, and let me know that she despised the yoghurt and tuna that I gave her for lunch by pushing it away and crying. She loved the vegetables that I offered her, and accepted some more filling pasta, una and olive oil, with no yoghurt (maybe it’s too busy for her).

In the evening, I made the easiest recipe for flatbread ever (from the link above), and some dhal using a mixture of red lentils and yellow split peas, cumin, tumeric, fresh chillis and mustard seeds.

The beef was unfathomably tender and deeply flavoured. We talked, and ate from serving bowls that I put on the table, helping ourselves to small amounts of beef and silverbeet, fresh grilled bread, and a golden, wholesome dhal. It felt like a meal fit for royalty.

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