OutBack Jacks – Glendale NSW – Review

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Brad and I have beautiful friends. Some we see often and some we don’t but when we do get together it’s like we were never apart. A friend of ours, Jason (who used to work with Brad) applied and got accepted to work  FIFO (fly in fly out) and one his last night in Newcastle we were lucky enough to catch up with him, his wife Alyson and his son Joey, for dinner at Outback Jacks.

Brad and I went to this establishment for the first time 3 years ago when it was Lone Star. WOW, what a disappointment that was! Brad had been raving about this place for weeks (after finding it at Glendale) and was desperate to get there. My white wine was warm, our entrées looked like they had been thrown on the plate and our mains failed to even come out. After 1 hour of waiting we were told our “dockets” had been misplaced. Needless to say, we got a full refund back and ended up at McDonald’s!

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Anyway, Lone Star changed hands and became Outback Jacks. Of course I was dubious when Brad suggested we go there for dinner one night….”it might be better” he said “we need to eat and we are right there” he proclaimed. When we got there then ambiance of the place was completely different, all the waitresses were wearing cowgirl hats and had huge smiles on their faces. We ordered and I’m happy to report the food was amazing! So this is why we went back!

We met A, J and J at the restaurant and they had already ordered their drinks, a beer, a cider and a coke. We had a quick look at the menu and progressed to order a house red and a beer also. I have to admit now that I was slightly surprised at paying $8.50 for a glass of house red (only known once I received the bill) but the wine was good, I’ll give it that! We all ordered.

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Jason ordered the Lump-a-Rump 500g rump steak with chips and salad. He ordered medium and I advised they cooked the steaks pretty on key so he went medium rare – this bloke has eaten blue with me before! He was super impressed with the way his steak was cut and how it came out. IMG_0911 Alyson ordered the chicken and ribs combo and unfortunately was the only dish on that was ordered that failed to come out with the rest of them, we thought it had not been cooked, but eventually it came out and A was very impressed and managed to finish it off! IMG_0916   Joey, as teenagers do, ordered the chicken schnitzel and gravy with chips and he was delighted with what was placed in front of him! IMG_0913   Brad opted for  what he had the time before, the Wagyu burger. WOW when it came out on a silver platter it was like dinning with a king! Hilarious but still delicious. I had a bite of Brads burger and normally trying to eat a steak burger doesn’t work for me with an over bite but it was that tender it just pulled apart! IMG_0915   And me, well I opted for the same I had last time, the Sparrows Rump at 300g. OMG it was huge! I ordered blue and pleased I did because I came out rare but I am happy with that. IMG_0912 IMG_0918

So again, a really successful trip to a franchised joint Outback Jacks! Go there people of Newcastle NSW you will not be disappointed!

 

Note: picture of outside and inside of outback jacks taken from google images.

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Polenta – Enough Said

OMG I am slightly addicted to this beautiful ground cornmeal substance!

It was only a few weeks back when I was chatting with Kate, a girl I work with about polenta. She is gluten intolerant and I tend to cook a lot of dishes that are gluten free as my mother is also intolerant. I was telling her about the ready made stuff I used to use in the UK and how amazing it was. You see, I had attempted to make it from powder form and failed miserably. As I’m sure you’re cottoning onto, I don’t do measurements or timing so well and therefore this make it yourself polenta ended up in the bin.

I was super excited two weeks ago when i was just daydreaming down the pasta isle of Coles when I stopped to check a message on my phone and just glanced right and there, low and behold was this ready made polenta!

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Super excited, I snapped a picture quickly and sent it to Kate, I placed the polenta back on it’s shelf and started walking away, only to find myself dashing back to this exciting find and throwing it into my trolley like a little guilty pleasure!

When I got home I popped all my groceries away and then sat and stared at this wonder, wondering what I would make to go with it! You see the ready made stuff, although super easy to use, only as a 3-4 day window from opening the packet and placing it in the fridge. I definitely didn’t want to waste this golden treasure so I started planning meals that I could do that would utilise it all.

The first dish I did I pan fried the polenta in thick steaks trying to achieve the rather difficult black line look. I served this with a T-bone steak, green beans and home made red onion relish. This recipe can be found here.

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I had enough polenta left over to try a very simple polenta and rosemary fries recipe that I just made up. This time, however, I decided to spray the fries with olive oil and sprinkle salt and finely chopped fresh rosemary and then bake them rather then fry them. Although this took around 30 minutes to achieve, the result was mind blowing and I will post a recipe for this as soon as i make them again and remember to take a picture of it!

Last night, I had bought a new packet of this wonderful accompaniment and decided as it was Meatless Monday that I would use some frozen Salmon steaks and build on that. In the end I made a homemade salsa and served the dish with a swirl of Sweet Chilli Sauce. Not the cleanest of eating but OMG it just topped the dish off to a T! You can find that recipe here……

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So my journey with polenta is really only starting. Maybe one day I will venture back to the “do it yourself” kind, but for now, I am happy in the knowledge that sat in my pantry (or fridge when I have opened the packet) is my ready made polenta just waiting to be eaten all up!

#Getinmybelly

Hubby in the Kitchen

As you are probably aware, I do tend to dominate the kitchen. This is really for a few reasons. 1) I love cooking, 2) I have more patience in the kitchen and 3) I hate washing up and the rule in our house is one person cooks, the other person cleans.

This weekend though ended up a bit of a role reversal with hubby taking to the kitchen and making delicious Banana Bread for morning and afternoon teas and his “to die for” Chicken Kievs (this was my recipe which he has now adapted and claimed as his own!) We had his children stay with us this weekend and that is what they requested, so as any dutiful dad will do – he complied!

In our family Brad is definitely the baker and I am the cook. I just have no patience in the measuring cup and spoon department and yet hubby just takes his time and writes everything down to perfect it even more the next time he does the recipe! He does tend to make me pretty anxious when he is in the kitchen though, so I do tend to stay as far away as I possibly can!

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I must take my hat off to Brad though, I think maybe only twice in 5 years of being together has there been a disaster come out of the kitchen, always still edible just maybe not how he expected it to come out and then that makes him cranky. I love my husband to pieces but sometimes his competitive streak gets the better of him!

I really hope you enjoy both the Banana Bread recipe and the “to die for” Chicken Kievs. Brad is getting more involved with my blog now, so I’m sure we will see even more yummy things coming from him in the future!

Meatless Monday

Brad and I tend to eat a lot of meat. I think it has something to do with the fact that Brad thinks he is a pure carnivore and not a herbivore at all!

If Brad could get away without eating any vegetable I believe he would choose this option. Me, however, when I came to Australia it would have been very easy to slip into a “comfort food”, “non veggie” type of diet as it was the first time living out of home! I did, however, think back to what is good for you and made an elected decision to eat lots of veggies and fruit. I know Brad would agree that he is thankful that I plate up mounds of veggies on most evenings, sometimes even ones he has expressed a dislike too (Egg plant/Aubergine, Squash, asparagus) but he eats them. I don’t serve him sweet potato as he really dislikes that which is a shame because I love it and it’s a GREAT alternative to normal potato. I have on occasion mixed normal with sweet potato just as a compromise!

I find fruit harder to consume then vegetables, maybe its the time it takes to prepare? Or the fact that it is cold? With veggies, I guess you prepare them as you prepare any dinner where I don’t know anyone who has fruit salad all the time for dinner or lunches? Fruit generally, in my eyes, just takes more effort overall to consume.

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So this leads me to Meatless Mondays. I think I saw this somewhere on the internet whilst I was looking for a funny wine meme or something along those lines. The two words “Meatless Monday” stuck and I decided over the weekend that I was going to uphold this. I did however have turkey mince at lunch time so have decided that it will just be our dinners on a Monday that will become meatless.

To ease Brad into this I decided on a Spicy Indian Dahl with pumpkin, which would have been great on it’s own, but I did spice up some fish and baked it before adding it into the Dahl. This dish is DELISH! I mean it! Although it took about an hour to cook it was well worth the wait! The texture and flavour that oozed out of those little lentils was amazing, the plain basa fish coasted in dried spices really works a treat and overall was a hit with hubby and I. There was even enough left over for lunches the next day (dahl and pumpkin only).

So watch this space for more meatless Monday recipes and experiences!

You can find the Dahl Recipe under Vegetables/Sides

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Cooking with “whatever is in my fridge”

After a lovely but busy weekend attending the football on Friday night courtesy of work and a corporate box and then popping across to Bolwarra for our friends “thank god it’s the end of Dry July” party we were pretty tired and somewhat hung-over for most of yesterday.

I had bought Poussin to cook as our roast dinner but no matter how tempted I was in cooking with these little birds, I just could not find the energy and therefore did not want to disappoint with a half hearted dinner.

Brad was super intent on DVD’s and Maccas so we ended up with that for lunch. He super sized my meal as we got a free glass with a large meal. Not that we need any extra glasses but hell, that’s what my hung-over husband wanted so that’s what he got J  It was a joint decision for dinner. A massive cheese platter, which turns out, other hung-over friends of ours, had reverted too also.

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I had already bought the king island blue and brie Thursday as I had been in the shops and they were discounted. YUM this brie is the creamiest brie I have ever had the pleasure of eating!!! Needless to say that was the first cheese finished off the cheese board! The smoked salmon on the board is not a regular feature of our cheese boards, but after our friends Tracy and Bren had cooked up a beautiful eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and avocado for breakfast I was just craving more!

I topped my cheese board off with a beautiful cab sav as my husband sat there in disgust – he tends to have 2-3 day long hangovers……..I’d say he would still be feeling seedy this morning!

In between our maccas lunch and cheese board dinner I did have the time to throw into a pan some onions, garlic, cauliflower, carrots and green beans, cover with stock and water and blitz together “whatever is in my fridge” soup for lunches this week!

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Tonight’s dinner is courtesy of a lovely couple who bought over sausages on Sat night for the BBQ. Well, Bren and Trace don’t eat meat so I gladly offered to take them off their hands! So its bangers and mash tonight with a little twist. Onion gravy and wilted spinach! Well you know me, can’t have a dish without some sort of green on it!!!

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Leftovers – keep them or chuck them out?

How often do you catch yourself serving up enough rice to feed a small country or carving up a large roast bought for 3 but could easily feed 7? Do you try and stuff it in so not to waste or do you think about reusing it in a creative left over way or do you just simply throw it out without a care as to who could have enjoyed your hard labour of cooking?

Up until about a year ago I was terrible for cooking far too much rice. Too much to the point that when feeding 2 I could have easily fed 10. I think it’s more about how small it looks initially and then remembering how much it expands after cooking!

I now know just 1 cup of uncooked rice is enough for me and brad and there will be a little left over in case I over do it with the main dish I am serving up with this said rice and therefore I will be able to box it up and freeze it, or Brad will have a scrummy lunch for the following day.

The problem I am finding now though is I have no care about how much I am cooking because “I will just freeze it” but it has transpired that I have had to buy a chest freezer just to contain the “leftovers”. It’s all well and good, and I do it with the best intentions, but because I love cooking so much I struggle to allow myself to partake in one of these mystery boxes that lurk in my freezer.

Well, half the boxes are still mysteries as I finally invested in a label maker and now label my boxes before they get stuffed away in the freezer so I know when they went in and what is actually in the box. Hint: Always put the label on first otherwise you freeze the box and then try you will have an epic fail! Second Hint: If you are unsure as to what is in the mystery box do not take a stab at what it could be, it’ll only make your husband upset having him believe he is having curry and it turns out to be chilli……

So I am now left with this conundrum, I cook and I do every evening try and think of something different to do. I always over cook what I am doing and therefore have to box up my leftovers and yet I can’t bring myself to get them out of the freezer and eat them as I could/should be cooking as I want to!

Does anyone else have this issue? Do you have a freezer full of food that is slowly getting frost burn because no-one is interested in eating your labours of slaving over a hot stove? Do you intentionally cook more with the great idea that you will eat this at another date and yet never do? Or are you able to cook for two and actually only cook for two, have no stray rice hanging out in the sieve?

Somebody please tell me I’m not in this alone!

Mourning in a cooking sense

My husband woke me up early yesterday morning. By my request as I had gone out the night before with work and had pulled out my sausages from the freezer.

I had planned to make my slow cooked curried sausages (recipe under beef, pork and lamb) put it in the dish, into the fridge and then whip it out early on Wednesday morning to be able to come home from a long day in work and have my dinner all ready made. When I got home from my pretty alcohol fuelled night the thought of boiling my sausages, stripping their skin and cutting up my veggies was just not there so I requested an early morning call.

I got up with my fresh coffee that Brad had made me and progressed into making our dinner for that night. Previously using my Slow Cooker I had realised that the screen that shows you the time of cooking was fading out – i wasn’t going to rush out and buy myself a new slow cooker when this beautiful machine still cooked.

I assembled the bowl with my onions, peas, potatoes, stock and coconut cream and whacked on the time limit. This time though i saw no numbers. I was dubious that this slow cooker was working but I popped into the bathroom and carried on getting ready for my long day ahead at work.

When i spoke to my husband at 5pm he was heading home and was ETA earlier then me. I requested that he checked the slow cooker as I was a little worried that something wasn’t going to be right. All was confirmed when I got home to find my husband stood in the kitchen with a sad and shaken head look that the slow cooker was still stone cold. Devastated. My slow cooker had finally died.

Now I’m not sure if my mourning is more due to the fact that this amazing slow cooker had just died or because of how I had originally came across my slow cooker. You see, When Brad and I got together we had no money. I was a back packer and Brad had come out of a marriage with nothing. We had no money to rub together but of course enjoyed cooking so we signed up to Robins Kitchen mailing list and started buying all of our kitchen “stuff” through them. One weekend we popped in and bought a load of pots and pans only to be rewards with $30 of vouchers to come back into the store and spend. Being as skint as we were we went in the following week and got a few things – What we weren’t aware was when you spent money in that store this particular week you were entered into a draw to win a slow cooker or a pressure cooked.

You have probably guessed it, we won! Out of the whole of Australia we won! And to make matters even more amazing out email account that was linked to our application had been shut down and Robins Kitchen had even made the effort to ring us after we had not responded to their “you’re a winner” email to make sure we still wanted this product!

I was obsessed with my slow cooker, to the point that Brad had to stop me from entering the kitchen and cooking/slow cooking again as there was no more rom in our freezer!

So yesterday, when I came home to find my slow cooker had died I was devastated, one because it was died and two because my dinner was not cooked. As I rummaged through my pots and pans cupboard trying to find a casserole dish to decant my mixture and blast it in the oven Brad told me to just “put the removable pot from the slow cooker in the oven”

I did question this but followed my husbands “orders” and 20 minutes later I smelt melting plastic. You got it. The lid melted! Luckily I caught it in time, wrapped the dish in foil and continues baking it on high.

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I still can’t believe my slow cooker has died but it has given me the opportunity to go out and buy the new machine that came on the market over a year ago! A slow cooked, steamer, pressure cooker new fandangle thing that it going to be amazing.  Mourning my free appliance is still very real but I look forward to the future where I continue with my cooking!