Hunkering Down in the Rainbow Lane Bunker

So its finally winter in Sydney. Which pretty much means crisp-ish 16 degree days and swapping from Ugg Boots to Havianas and back again every five minutes to ward off overheating.

Nights are blessedly colder and after a rather harried six months of Kindergarten for Ari and a much thought over decision to take The King out of daycare, we are a much calmer, happier home-front.

Which brings my wandering steps back to you dear Rainbow Lane.

We have swapped Friday night takeaway and rushed meals before early bed for slow cooking, involving hours at the stove with The Littles while Mossy fattens Lady Moss up on a diet of French cheese and Pinot.

We have been emulsifying egg yolks, dijon, brandy and oil to create creamy mayonnaise to spread liberally over poached scallops, beans and a sprinkling of browned almond slivers.

Ari has been pouring over cooking magazines to select recipes generally involving copious amounts of chocolate, cream and butter. Who is Lady Moss to complain when they result in the chewiest dark chocolate brownies and rivers of fudge sauce.

Yesterday a nap on the daybed was in order, which called for a dinner that would practically prep itself and keep the house basking in the warm glow of a three hour cook. One of our favourite recipes from Second Husband or Uncle Jamie (Oliver) as he is referred to in Rainbow Lane, the indulgent Lamb Shanks in a Bag.

Simple ingredients married together within the confines of a baking paper and foil nest, this dish is winter lusciousness at its best and could be presented at table for any elegant dinner party with much fanfare.

Start by tearing a generous square of baking paper and foil per person. Lay on this shiny bed half a chopped carrot and leek a clove or two of slivered garlic and a good handful of white cabbage. Place your appendage (ahem) onto this mound of veges, splash on olive oil, salt and pepper.

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Draw the edges together before sploshing white wine and a little water inside and close your parcel to encase all the juices and flavour that would normally escape. Nestle the group together in a large baking dish and pop the lot into a preheated oven somewhere around 175 degrees Celsius.

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Return to your nap and check on the progress infrequently, when your wine needs topping up or simply send husband. You want the meat gloriously dark and shiny threatening to slide off the bone at a touch.

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Serve the silken mess with mashed potato, bread, polenta or any carb that takes your fancy. I know the dreaded C word. Its ok your can do it just this once…..there didn’t that feel good!

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