Moving the clocks forward by an hour, as we do in Melbourne each October, is about more than just changing the time.
It’s a change in mindset, too. It’s Spring – and that means fairs and festivals, long warm evenings and more time spent outside.
It’s also time to spruce up your outdoor entertainment areas. You’ve dusted off the garden furniture, wheeled out the BBQ, and planned some relaxing alfresco meals and drinks for family and friends. Why not add the finishing touch, and create the perfect ambience with superb new outdoor lighting?
The Uma is one of the recent arrivals at Custom Lighting.
This beautifully designed, award-winning lantern will enhance any setting. Not only does the Uma have state of the art Warm-Dim LED technology to light up any gathering, but it also sets the mood with sound.
The Uma features an omnidirectional woofer and tweeter that can play your favourite music from any Bluetooth connected device.
The unit is fully portable and its long lasting battery provides up to 8 hours of use per charge.
It comes with a tan and a grey leather strap and a premium cotton travel bag for additional protection.
Take a closer look . . .
Now you’ve set the scene, it’s time to think about some refreshments.
Marinated Beef Salad
This delicious spicy salad makes an ideal entree or light main. Add rice noodles for a more substantial meal.
For the salad:
- 1 tsp oyster sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 500 g trimmed steak (e.g. scotch or rump)
- 1½ tsp caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) rice vinegar
- 70 g (about 5 small) shallots, finely sliced
- 2 cups picked watercress leaves
- 2 cups mixed herbs (Thai basil, mint, coriander)
- 2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced lengthways on the diagonal
- 2 long red chillies, seeds removed, finely sliced lengthways
- ¼ cup deep fried shallots, to serve
- 1 tbsp roasted rice (see note), lightly crushed, to serve
- salt and white pepper
For the dressing:
- 1 clove garlic, chopped (optional)
- 2 tbsp deep fried shallots
- 1 tbsp chopped coriander stems and roots
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) Iime juice
- 1 ½ tbsp. grated palm sugar
- ½ tsp roasted chilli powder or chilli powder, to taste
- Combine oyster, fish and soy sauces in a bowl and season with white pepper. Rub marinade all over the beef and set aside at room temperature.
- In a bowl, dissolve caster sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt in 1 tablespoon hot water. Add vinegar and shallots and leave to pickle until ready to serve.
- To make the dressing, pound garlic, deep fried shallots and coriander stems and roots with a pinch of salt until smooth. Add palm sugar and fish sauce and mix until combined, then stir through lime juice, chilli powder and a pinch of white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning; it should be hot, salty and sour.
- Place a lightly oiled chargrill pan or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (for rare). Remove from the chargrill and rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Thinly slice and toss with 1 tablespoon of dressing.
- Drain the shallots and combine with the watercress, mixed herbs, cucumber and chilli. Add the beef and enough dressing to coat lightly; toss gently.
- Divide salad among plates, top with deep fried shallots and roasted rice. Serve immediately.
- Note: To make roasted rice, place a small frying pan over high heat. Add one tablespoon of raw long grain rice and cook for 3-4 minutes until light golden.
Preparation and cooking time: about 30 minutes. Serves 4.
You might want to serve a fine Australian wine with your marinated beef salad, but pre-dinner cocktails are perfect for Spring evenings.
The Mojito is one of the world’s most popular bar-room cocktails. It’s also one that’s easy to make at home.
- 60 ml white rum
- 15 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tsp superfine sugar
- 3 mint leaves
- soda water or mineral water
- In a tumbler, muddle lime juice with ½ to 1 tsp superfine sugar.
- Add the mint leaves, bruising them against the side of the glass.
- Fill ⅔ of glass with cracked ice and pour in the rum.
- Pitch in the squeezed-out lime shell and top off with soda water or mineral water
Remember, changing the time is also about making the time – for yourself, for your loved ones, and for the things you enjoy.