Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Lovin' from the Oven...


I like to eat.

For anyone who has seen me lately, this is clearly obvious but when I say it, I mean that there is a genuine interest in flavors and aromas - not simply feeding my face. Oddly enough, one of the things that I have a fascination with is meatloaf. Yep, good old meatloaf. A humble dish to be sure, but one that is filled with memories of times gone by, both good and bad. A dish that will perpetually remind you of home no matter where you make it or eat it. Of course it won't be like the one that you got at home but the basic ingredients are always the same. It's the feeling that you get when you tuck in that really counts. I have gone to great lengths to create a meatloaf recipe that is a combination of things I get here and the flavors that I remember from home. It has been extensively tested and the result has been heavenly. I suggest you try it...

My Version:


600 grams of ground beef (not pork and beef mixed!)
Fresh Parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Mustard powder
1/2 tsp Hickory Salt
1 tbs Sweet Paprika
3 Shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 eggs, beaten
75 grams crumbled smoked bacon
Fresh nutmeg
100 grams Breadcrumbs (may be more or less, use your judgement)


Take a rectangular baking dish (15x30) and grease it up . I use Butaris, a butterfat used for frying.
Preheat your oven to 200' C. Don't cheat on this- it will come back to bite you later.
Make a strong cup of instant beef broth and set it aside. You'll use this to baste the beast later.

In a large (I'm not kidding here) non-reactive bowl add all ingredients and proceed to mix the hell out of this. The trick is to make sure that your mass is as homogeneous as possible, otherwise you'll get spots that taste like one ingredient more than the other. Form that bad boy into a oblong, not too thick (10 cm max) loaf and put it in the dish.


Pop this in the oven and bake for 45 - 50 minutes (good things take time!) Every 15 minutes, baste the loaf with the broth. This is the secret to keeping your meatloaf from drying out and becoming a doorstop. It also provides you with good drippings which is a base for your gravy.

Measure the internal temp with a thermometer and when it reaches 70' C, it's done! Take it out and cover the dish with foil for 30 minutes, allowing it to rest. In the mean time, make gravy from the drippings -there is no shame in making a packaged gravy but if you have the time and means, I suggest using demi-glace which will lift the flavor of the gravy to the heavens.

Serve with mashed potatoes and peas. Anything else is just wrong.

When you take that first bite, I promise that you too will be transported back to a better time.



Tuesday, April 17, 2007



Lately, I have become interested in the concept of using lists. Lists for everything - mostly because I have this terrible habit of forgetting things (therefore incurring the wrath of my dear Wife).

I've been trying to come up with a useful way of noting down all the myriad things that I have to accomplish both at home and at work. Work has been relatively easy as I always have my trusty Moleskine handy with all my little flags, highlighters, etc on hand to catalog and prioritize what needs accomplishing. Home has been another challenge.

I have pocket-sized notebooks that I carry in my back pocket and a wonderful Fisher Space Pen in my pocket for writing things down. Sadly, when I'm sitting around in t-shirt and sweats or in my robe in the morning while sipping coffe, it's a bit impractical to lug these things around (not to mention embarrassing). This means that when my wife gets on my case about something (and she will...) I will forget it if I don't write it down.

Like this morning.

There was something between folding the laundry and buying cat food that I was asked to do but I cannot for the life of me remember what the hell it was.

I do know that I will be reminded of what that was tonight.



Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Those Little Black Books...


Yeah, I know, it's been a while. A few months to be exact.

Well, I'm back at it.

As for the title of this post - those "little black books" I refer to are Moleskines, a product that rises above others mainly through it's simplicity, elegance, and quality. Sure, it's "just a notebook" but if you hold one in your hand, there is a difference that you can immediately feel and see. This isn't one of those cheap-ass 99 cent things that you get from the materials cabinet at work, no sir, it's more like a book. Something that you would feel bad about losing. Something that you would not use as a coaster for that cup of coffee during a meeting. I hope that I've been able to relate to you, dear reader, the feel that you get from having a Moleskine. It is a feeling of holding something of great quality and worth.

Go here: http://www.moleskinerie.com/ to see how others use their Moleskines.
Go here: http://moleskines.com/ to purchase these gems online.

Me, I use mine for my notes and lists. I have a small lined on in my back pocket along with a Fisher Space Pen for jotting down things like To-Do items from my wife or gift ideas. It's an everyday kind of list - nothing of great structure but something I can make freestyle notes in. I have some of the hardbound Large notebooks for work - I have a specific book for my daily taskings and one I use for concepts and ideas. I mark the spines of these with gold paint so I can separate them from my non-work notes.

You'll never want to lose your notebook ever again!



Image by artandstory
© All rights reserved