When my mom said ‘Don’t do that, it’s my petter version’ I didn’t know what she meant exactly, only that it was A Very Bad Thing. When the term is spoken in a proper English accent, as opposed to the South African one, it comes out differently and one understands that pet aversion means 1. (usually followed  by to or for) extreme dislike or disinclination; repugnance

2. a person or thing that arouses this: he is my pet aversion

In other words, the thing one loathes most, your favourite hate.

My mother had many pet aversions, and this I have inherited from her, but – if I have an ultimate PET aversion – I cannot stand a tepid bath. I like to scald myself to the shade of lobster at the end of each day; it is the indulgence I would choose above all others. Alas, these fragrant boilings have become a rare occurrence of late. A teenager in the house makes for a very cool geyser.

Last night I ran my bath, added a handful of herbal salts and went to pour myself a glass of wine to enjoy during my soak. Too late, I heard the sound of the door closing; she had stolen the bathroom! I listened woefully as the hot water was repeatedly topped up and I turned back to my kitchen to address another petter version: a fridge emptied by my insatiable gannet-child.

While I should have punished her with Oliver Twist’s pease pudding (a boiled vegetable product, which mainly consists of split yellow or Carlin peas) and saveloys (pork brain sausages), I gave in and made a roasted sirloin, which is handy to have in the fridge for emergency sandwiches.

This was my recipe in the First Sighting August newsletter, please click here if you want to subscribe to future email copies of the newsletter.

Shiraz is the perfect partner for roast beef and this pistachio-crusted roasted sirloin does more than hold its own when paired with First Sighting Shiraz.


Get your butcher to cut you a sirloin roast that has a good amount of fat marbling, you don’t want to end up with a dry piece of meat. 1kg should feed four people as a main course. This recipe would also work with a rib roast.

For the crust:

2 Tablespoons each: pistachio nuts and breadcrumbs

1 Tablespoon Shiraz salt (available at most good food stores and delis)

2 teaspoons each: crushed garlic, ginger and chilli

1 Tablespoon French mustard

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Using a stick blender, blitz the above ingredients into a stiff paste.

Pat the meat dry of any blood and coat the top, fatty side of the meat with the paste to form a cover.


Place under a hot grill until the crust just begins to crisp.

Reduce heat to 180C and roast until desired level of doneness; rare is the way to go, but leave for longer if you prefer medium or well done.

Leave to stand in juices for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.


Serve – on pieces of crust – with potatoes in any form: roasted, fried, baked or mashed and gently steamed, crunchy seasonal vegetables or a side salad.



  1. I agree with Sidey. Cold showers in future for the daughter.

    I’m salivating over the beef (even though I haven’t had breakfast) – that sort of joint here would be a REAL luxury…

  2. One day they leave home. And believe me, your life starts that very moment. You’ll still love them, still go through all their aches and pains, but you will have a neat home, money, and a hot bath.

  3. Hold on, Cin…time is actually going faster. It’s not your imagination. That means she’ll be out the door far sooner than you’ll want…having hot baths in her own home.

  4. Jeez Louise – I would have platzed if one of my girls did that!!
    I would never have dreamed of doing that to my mom either – her hidings were too bloody sore!
    On the other hand – I did use her make-up thinking that she would never notice (ha ha and used to deny deny deny too) and I am being punished now as my youngest does the same!!!

  5. It must be nice to be OB, she knows she gets away with so much! Hehe! I have also adopted the evening bath tradition and my K sometimes spoils it because I will then have to add more cold water for her sake. But it’s so nice being a mother and esp. to a girl child.

  6. Mmmmm. Meat. Good.
    Mmmmm. Meat + Wine. Better.

    Teenage daughters are certainly a very different animal. Especially from their male parental units’ point of view. And that’s coming from someone whose only daughter is still a year or two away from becoming an official teenager. Bloody child can drive a man to the point of insanity one minute and completely shatter all resistance to her the very next.

    (For eg, she spent most of the last weekend irritating the heck out of me as she showed off for the friends here for a sleepover. Then she goes and cracks an A+ last night for her Ballet Eisteddfod dance to go with her A from last weeks’ Modern).

    Any word on your Happy Hopper at all? Been listening to The Cure, and there’s a line in “Charlotte Sometimes” that is so appropriate:

    her eyes so open to the dark
    the streets all looked so strange
    they seemed so far away
    but charlotte did not cry

    I’m sure that wherever she is she’s being brave.

    • I know exactly what you mean, Greg. The Bunn also got an A and an A+ … watching her took my breath away and I thought I would forgive her anything, until I found she had taken my make-up bag with her and dropped it, shattering the contents. Oh well …
      No news on Our Charlotte, alas. We are hoping someone found her and said ‘Mommy can we keep her, pleeeeze?’ rather than that she had an encounter with a hungry Doberman.
      The song is perfect 🙂

  7. Cold bath – absolutely unacceptable in this house! Thankfully we have 2 geysers – next time pop over and I will run you a super full hot bath with candles and a bottle of wine to boot for your enjoyment.
    My mother always said that I would suffer 10 fold what I put her through when I have children one day – well she was sort of right – I am suffering probably 100 fold with step children. Thought when they were adults they would get better but alas! Urgh!
    Love the idea of the crusted beef – YUM!
    Have a happy afternoon.
    🙂 Mandy

  8. Oooh, the hotter the bath water the better for me! I even like my pool water to be warm as bath water! This roast looks gorgeous, a great cut of meat to start off with and I love how you coated it with the nuts and breadcrumbs!

  9. Ohhhh … Thank goodness I’m full from coffee and breakfast right now and can’t be immediately tempted … Enjoy your teen. It will all be over soon …. (Aren’t I the pigeon of joy?!)

  10. What a rich post. Firstly I love the ‘petter version’ – mishearing phrases like that is one of my bigger musments in life!

    Then that recipe… simply wonderful. I shall have to try at the weekend.

    And then the bath story.
    I too love a hot bath. I too often run the bath then go off and do something else and come back to it… usually a cuppa tea, as my bath is a morning one. One time my brother was staying and when I came back to the bath he HAD LET IT OUT! He hadn’t even used it.
    “I assumed,” he said, that someone had simply left it in after finishing their bath, like the girls do in my house.” So all that water to waste and the air very blue!

  11. Loved the petter versions! Like you, I only bathe in a bath if the water is H~O~T!

    OB probably stole the bath (after eating all the food), knowing that you would head straight to the kitchen to make something scrumptious for her next meal. 😛

  12. Thanks for explaining “petter versions.” I have a few of those myself, not least of which is the cold bath thing (growling just thinking about it!) – fortunately it’s not a problem I’ve encountered lately.

  13. I have to admit I’m a shower slave but that too must be scalding 🙂 Somehow one still feels grubby after a cold wash! A wonderful recipe and a special girl! Best prayers for long ears – wildie

  14. I am a bath person
    my best is to soak in a luverly HOT bath.
    I love my children –
    but should either one of them have stolen my bath I would never have gone to the kitchen and made something delicious for dinner.
    I would’ve disappeared into a book, and left them with no dinner.

  15. this is a delightful post and for mine it’s perhaps your most enjoyable. I love how we misshear things. I also love how the bath is contested territory when a teenager is around. I love baths. One of my first published poems is called ‘Baths’ and I wrote a companion piece the day after called “Showers’ which also went on to be published. But I love your little essay: it’s full of fun and good cheer; it’s what family is all about

  16. I’m not one for cold baths – I’m with you on that one, however, neither am I one for a lobster tub. I’ve heard it be very bad for several things and decided that it would not compliment my goal of being gorgeous when I’m 70 😉

    Beef is out for now. G has shot a buck last week and we’re back to venison, but this time around I’m not half scared. In fact, I’m cooking my little heart out. Maybe a little chicken every now and again..? Variety is the spice of life, or so they say – whoever “they” are 😀

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