Sunday, June 18, 2006

Winter Cleaning

18th day of winter; 8C - 22C
(for some reason, i am unable to upload pics today)

We have all heard of Spring Cleaning but Winter Cleaning? Yes it happened on Saturday for us.

I was in a "nesting" mood and no, I am not with child. It is rare for me to be super duper enthusiastic about housework and since I was, I better seize the opportunity while it lasts. It lasted for 9 hours including time taken to do our weekly grocery shopping!

It started with our pantry - all four deep shelves. Got rid of what we hadn't used or eated in the last 4 weeks and ended up with 2 basins worth of tupperware! Didn't realised we had that many?! Cleaned every single jar and bottle, disinfected every shelf, etc. I then proceeded to cleaning the oven - that was a task in itself! It was easy enough to remove the mental contraptions in the oven but to put them back was even worse than removing lice from a child's head of hair! Then was the fridge and then the stove..it went on and on. After that, I even made dinner! I must have been high on something - I know, the fumes from the oven cleaner!

Despite being really tired, I was also incredibly satisfied with the outcome knowing that it was all done and dusted. Dinner was absolutely scrumptious - Beef and Guinness Stew. I guarantee it!

Beef and Guinness Stew Serves 4
2 tbsp plain flour
800g chuck stew, trimmed and cut into 3cm pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 sticks celery, chopped
1 brown onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
200g swiss brown mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup Guinness Beer
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
mashed potato, to serve
1. Place flour, salt and pepper in a snap-lock bag. Add beef and shake to coat. Heat 2 tbsps oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook beef, in batches, for 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
2. Heat remaining oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onion, carrot and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
3. Gradually stir in Guinness. Add stock and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Return beef and juices to pan. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Remove lid. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until steak is tender. Remove bay leaves. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mashed potato into shallow bowls. Spoon over stew and serve.

Jared was up to his neck in cables which I was in the kitchen. You see, we enjoy our surrond sound while watching movies at home and our home has a very open layout so cables were running all over the floor for the back speakers. Great sound but very unsightly so ever patient Jared was all over the media room and the space the separates our ceiling from the roof, "fishing cables", etc...I am glad he is handy like that and is qualified to do electrical work because labour alone would have cost us at least $1,500! Yes, he was doing it for 9 hours too! Very intricate but so worth it!
What was the cat doing all that time? Sun-tanning, sleeping, eating and meowing for attention. Sigh...what a life!

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