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Friday, September 4, 2009

Like a phoenix (chook) from the ashes (oven)

What a wonderful few days I've had, and it feels so good to top them off by finally having time to spend on here! I've been a hermit for the past few weeks, as I picked up yet another winter illness (strep throat this time... it seems I'm ticking them all off and trying for a gold star) and also have been incredibly busy preparing for my PhD proposal defence which was held on Monday. As far as milestones go in my PhD, this was a pretty major one, and I am so amazingly happy and relieved to report that it went really well! So, I am officially now allowed to continue with my research and cross my fingers that in another 18 months time I will be hopefully somewhere close to adding "Dr" onto my credit cards.

Monday's greatness continued on by me winning Round 22 of my footy tipping competition, which also resulted in me winning the home & away season! Oh, and after weeks and weeks of illness, I also finally felt well enough Monday, Wednesday and today to get back to my second home - the gym - and happily survived pump classes without feeling like too much of a weakling. I don't think I'll quite throw myself back into my usual routine, but it's nice to know my muscles haven't entirely wasted away to nothing.

Now, of course one of the best things about now having more time up my sleeve, not being confined to either a sickbed or my computer and powerpoint slides, is that I have time to cook again! Hooray! I actually had to miss the August Daring Bakers' Challenge, which I was none too pleased about (sorry Lorraine, it looked like such a great challenge, too! Hopefully I'll get around to trying it in a non-DB way) but I'm feeling like my cooking groove is back. In fact, I was feeling reasonably confident about my slides and defence practice on Sunday night, so I made up a batch of my tried and true Macadamia Anzac Biscuits to give to my defence panel afterwards (I made sure to give it to them after so that it didn't seem like I was trying to grease them up - in more ways than one, ha ha).

To get back into my savoury cooking groove, I also went along a very well loved, and tried and true recipe, my roast chook (chicken for the non Aussie-vernacular minded). Thinking about this chicken, I seem to have made it for almost everyone I've ever cooked for. Friends I stayed with in Montreal, multiple friends I've stayed with in Perth (when I was in my inbetween-houses phase), family members when they've come to stay at my house, and most notably some friends that I visited in Stockholm earlier this year. I say most notably because one of these friends is Italian, and has quite particular thoughts about food (and is a great cook) and she said that this meal actually changed her mind about English cooking.

So, Tuesday night I made my roast chook for someone new, my housemate. She came home Monday night with a bottle of champagne to celebrate my proposal defence success, and after both cheering at the prospect of getting stuck into it we both realised that I was still taking antibiotics for my throat. So, into the fridge it went until Tuesday when I took my last pill (of 50! Glad it's over!), and I thought I'd whip up something nice for dinner for us both.

I don't always make the same sides to go with the roast, although they ALWAYS include roast spuds (potatoes). I decided this time to also include some roast pumpkin and sweet potato, some orange roasted asparagus and of course some gravy. Oh, and freshly made stuffing, following my Mum's famous, and deliciously simple, recipe.

As is the norm with such meals that we all have been making for years, I don't follow a recipe for this dish but I was determined to be really good and make notes so that I could put a proper recipe on here. Ummm, I guess I am a little out of my blogging state of mind, because I started off well then totally forgot to follow this through. I also dropped the ball in a big way in terms of photography. I again started off really well, making sure to get some shots of the stuffing after I made it, and then totally forgot to take any more until I was heating up some leftovers for lunch the next day!

So..uhh....here are a couple of half-arsed photos of my delicious roast dinner which I don't have a recipe for. Hopefully my blog-brain will return soon..

Tasty stuffing, ready to move into it's new chickeny home

Roast leftovers, about to be eaten for lunch the next day


Kel September 4, 2009 at 5:39 PM  

so pleased you are back in the swing, funnily enough I do believe I could be cooking roast chook with mothers stuffing for Dad's day, also going to try my first creme brulee too (a vanilla/lemongrass and ginger infused one), I'm excited, pity we weren't rich for you to join us :( mmmmmm, stuffing, I do like it more than the roast itself!

eatlivetravelwrite September 4, 2009 at 7:56 PM  

Congrats on the successful proposal defence - I am in awe!!! Love the "half-arsed" pictures - the chook looks delicious!

Tim September 5, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

look at that bit of chicken that has escpaed the black plate border on the bottom left.. get some gravy on it and eat it first!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 5, 2009 at 1:10 PM  

Kel - if only we were rich, or had that magical food transportation device I've been searching for. That creme brulee sounds like a goer, don't set your hair on fire though.

eatlivetravelwrite - Thank you!!! It is such an incredible relief to have it done, and even better to follow it up with a nice roast :D

Tim - ahh, well spotted young grasshopper

Katherine September 5, 2009 at 2:08 PM  


I noticed that you had a few entries on my cupcake competition. The judging will be done soon so make sure you leave your email address in case you are one of the lucky winners.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella September 5, 2009 at 6:21 PM  

That's great news about your PhD-you'll be a doictor in no time! ;) And don't worry about the DB challenge, it would have taken about 3 hours of time that you may not have had!

Roast chicken *sigh* gorgeous! I can smell how good it would be from here!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge September 5, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

Roast chicken always makes me feel better, in fact any sort of chicken is great for the blues or sickness.

Congrats on the PhD news!

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 5, 2009 at 9:41 PM  

Katherine - Hi! Oops sorry, have left it now :)

Lorraine - Yep, no time at all....give or take a few years ;) I used my frying pan again today for the first time since making the stuffing, and as it heated up I could smell the stuffing again! Mmmmmm.

Maria - I agree. I wonder why that is? I'm surprised noone has tried to bottle it yet. Chicken-in-a-pill, hmmm... and thanks! :D

Rilsta September 7, 2009 at 9:33 AM  

Congrats on the progress with your PhD!

That stuffing looks magnificent - forget about stuffing the chicken, you can stuff it in my mouth! :)

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 7, 2009 at 11:12 AM  

Thanks Maria! Open up wide ;)

Matt C September 9, 2009 at 12:52 PM  

Congratulations! What discipline are you studying?

Conor @ HoldtheBeef September 9, 2009 at 2:03 PM  

Cheers Matt! I'm an environmental engineer, currently battling what feels like tennis elbow due to repetitive processing of zooplankton data.

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About Me

My love of cooking is surpassed only by my love of eating, though I never quite recovered from the beef I was served at college. I'll try almost anything once, but it takes a very special piece of offal or beef to get me to try it again.

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