Zoo Lake Lunch & Roast Potato Dinner

Rosebank Kauai has been without Hummus for absolute weeks now, to my partner's increasing aggravation. All he wants is a Hummus Hummer! Well he got a vegan Mexican Burrito today and they forgot to cut it in half! Poor love! I had the delicious Thai Chicken Salad without the Chicken - Fry's veg strips as the replacement. I think I should have had a veg patty instead though, I think I'm quite over Fry's. Except for the sausages and the occasional polony, the stuff all tastes the same to me! And its not particularly wholesome! Although, I have just noticed that one of my mom's employees has put two of my Fry's burgers in the oven instead of meat! Good for her!

Lunch on a park bench hands down wins as my favourite hour of the day! There are more goslings every time we go! They're too cute, and so clumsy! We love them! We sit there crooning baby talk on a park bench.

So my dearest feels like roast potatoes and I have a craving for bread and bitter salad, so I've made something of everything for dinner!

Green Herb Salad

Wild Rocket
Mix of lettuce
Squeeze of lemon
Dash of extra virgin olive oil (splash out on the good stuff! South Africa has some amazing and affordable olive oils! Try the Willow Creek at Woolies or their Organic olive oil.)

Oven Mielies and Roasted Potatoes

I boil the potatoes a little first, softening them up so that it doesn't take quite so long in the oven! As they're boiling, peeled or not (whichever you prefer, but I've done them the way my granny does - peeled). I halved the little organic baby potatoes I bought, but you may want to chop bigger potatoes into smaller pieces for more surface area and less cooking time.

(As I'm typing this I'm definitely getting olive oil all over my keyboard. Heehee!)

While the potatoes are boiling, I prepare the pan I'm going to put in the oven. I want to make a delicious onion gravy when the potatoes and mielies are done so I quarter and onion and douse the bottom of the pan with salt and olive oil. I tossed in some fresh lemon thyme and rosemary tonight as well for some of the best flavour you can imagine all over your dish. I put the mielies in as well, four of them because I'm sick of meat substitutes and now I'm compensating with traditional South African braai veggies for our lack of participation on national braai day... (for obvious reasons - I have an encyclopaedia of gripes when it comes to cultural celebration or manifestations).

Now you should have a wonderful oven pan with gorgeous colourful vegetables and a little personality. Be certain everything is well oiled, that there's a thin layer of oil covering the pan, and that it's got enough space for your potatoes to go in. Talking about cultural manifestations, this seems to be a traditionally South African method of preparation. I won't argue, the women in my family make some of the best potatoes I've ever tasted!

To make roast potatoes with some real personality, you drain them and toss them into a bowl. Pour a generous amount of olive oil over to coat them, a generous amount of salt, a small portion of any flour of your choice - I just used normal cake flour - a sprig of rosemary and lemon thyme to get the flavours in there from the get-go and toss it all about in the bowl. Try not to use utensils or your hands, you're going to get more mixture on yourself or the utensil than the potatoes. Pour them into the pan, separate them as well as you can and put it in the oven somewhere between 180 and 200 C. They're probably going to want to be in there for a good 45 minutes, or until golden brown!

While I wait for my love to get home, I've already started eating some delicious bread dipped in herbed olive oil and drinking a glass of Stellar Winery Organic Sauvignon Blanc. Amazing stuff - and affordable! Yay for Woolies!

Brown Onion Pan Gravy

Once everything is nicely golden, transfer to another dish and keep warm in the warming tray. I have an oven pan that I just put straight onto the gas stove, as all the flavours are encrusted after cooking. I mix some maizena (cornflour thickening agent) into a cup of cold water and chicken flavour stock, then add it to my pan. Reduce until you have a wonderful brown onion gravy! Yum! (Alternatively, refer to my Brown Onion Gravy Recipe in another post about MasterChef Australia's Vegan English Dinner).

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