Happy New Year!
Let us start from the beginning. Why “The Cross and the Cleaver”? well because it sounds catchy, and because it names two, important to me, realities. The cross symbolizes my ministry, the grace of God that sustains me, and the salvation for all that I believe in. The cleaver is simply my favourite kitchen tool. I also enjoyed the mini photo-shoot organized by Jenn, the church office administrator. All that is missing is a Heavy Metal skull LOL. Here I share with you my stories, who I am, and I invite you to an adventure that is cooking, eating, and sharing. I also hope you will create your own memories.
British chef Marco Pierre White said once that “we live in the age of refinement, not invention” and that “cooking is more of a philosophy than a recipe.” I value those words and that is why so often my recipes talk of “pinch,” “more-or-less,” or downright “whatever.” It is not meant to be dismissive, or misguiding, but empowering and freeing. To quote Marco Pierre White once again: “you don’t like saffron, don’t use it.”
Food evokes memories. Sometimes deep and serious, sometimes just funny but precious, nonetheless. Every time I hear the word ZAWIJANCE (meaning “things rolled”) or ZRAZY, I am smiling. You might know that dish under its German name “rouladen.” In my younger days we did not have a cooking string or toothpicks; so my mum used sewing thread to secure the meat. Then at the table we had to unroll it, and unroll it, and we sucked the juice of the threads, and we splashed ourselves with juices … mmm … I am already salivating . So, let’s make dinner: (ingredients in bold)
- Thin, slices of beef, approx. 4 inches wide and 12 inches long. Say, two per person? If you call Kindersley Packers in advance, they will furnish you with what you need (I checked). Alternatively cut a topside or silverside piece of beef into slices and pound thin.
- Lay the strips flat, season with salt and pepper, and then spread topside with mustard. I prefer Dijon or a sharper, German, kind but use whatever you like.
- Lay two strips of bacon on top of each slice of meat, then across, lay several strips of dill pickles and sprinkle with chopped onion.
- Roll gently and secure with cooking string (or black sewing thread for an authentic experience LOL).
- Dust with flour (optional) and brown all over on the pan with a little oil.
- Put in single layer in ovenproof dish, add ½ – 1 cup of water or red wine, cover and bake for 2 hrs. at 350 degrees.
When ready, take the meat rolls out of the dish, and keep warm while you make the gravy from the liquid; or don’t make gravy and just use the liquid; or just take 5 minutes to reduce the liquid on high heat. Whatever you feel like.
- Small head of red cabbage, shredded and boiled for 30 min, with squeeze of lemon juice, and shredded apple added in the last 10 minutes of cooking. I also like to add a small can of cannellini beans.
- Roasted buckwheat (groats) cooked according to instructions and garnished with chopped onion sauteed in butter; or with mashed potatoes; or with your favourite pasta; or with gnocchi; or … whatever you like (slices of rye bread will do fine)