CARPETBAGGING IN MY GARDEN

Carpetbag steak or carpetbagger steak is a luxury dish, probably of American derivation, popular in the 1950s and 1960s in Australia and New Zealand.
It consists of an end cut of steak, such as scotch fillet. A pocket in the meat is made, into which oysters are stuffed and sutured with toothpicks or thread.
The combination of beef and oysters is traditional. The earliest specific reference is in a United States newspaper in 1891, which may indicate a connection with carpetbaggers or to gluttony. The earliest specific Australian reference is a printed recipe from between 1899 and 1907. Another recipe from 1909 includes cayenne pepper as an ingredient, which may indicate an American origin. The more recent Australian versions typically use Worcestershire sauce, as does the local version of Oysters Kilpatrick.


It is sometimes served standing up like a miniature mountain. Pockets in the meat are made by small cuts, into which oysters are stuffed and sutured with toothpicks. As the dish is broiled, the flavour of the fresh oysters permeates the steak and blends with the juice of the tender meat. A strip of bacon may be wrapped around the serving and surrounded by peeled and browned baby potato halves. In one style, the steak is marinaded in a sauce of thyme, pepper, tarragon, lemon, sugar and tamarind and served with a glass of dessert wine. The steak can also be flambed with cognac, when it is called “Carpetbag Maxine style”. (Source Wikipedia).
With Professor Tim Noakes doing an about face on his diet advice, a nice, juicy carbetbag steak and chips seemed the perfect treat for a sunny afternoon lunch. I’d forego the dessert wine in favour of a nice peppery First Sighting Shiraz though. With fresh oysters a scarcity, I made do with my dad’s old standby, tinned mussels and it was delicious.


This is a quick and easy meal for one and I used beef tenderloin, I ate out in my little garden. I think it’s coming along nicely, given that I had so little to start with.


My physiotherapist is very angry with me, as my shoulder injury forbids gardening, but I am a stubborn one when I want something done. Big Red Betsy has settled in well, but she’s in my bad books today as she ate all my pansies.


I’ve had two promising job interviews and hope to share some good news next week.
In the meantime, to all my British friends, enjoy the Jubilee festivities.

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66 Comments Add yours

  1. Carina says:

    Hehe, Betsy also loves your garden/ing. Very nice, green like a Cape garden only in winter:)

  2. Judith says:

    Nice garden, Cindy! Good to see that you are creative again. Good luck with the job applications!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Judith 🙂

  3. Carina says:

    Typo in the email:(…two typos. I am very brittle today..huil

    1. Carina says:

      Eish now my original comment is missing. Said Betsy likes your garden/ing. Very nice, green like my winter garden in the Cape:)

      1. theonlycin says:

        FB is acting strange at the moment …

    2. theonlycin says:

      Hahaha … moenie huil nie ;p

  4. Looks absolutely delicious! Your garden is so beautiful for winter, luscious and green!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Cheffie 🙂

  5. Pussycat44 says:

    Pretty little garden, Cin. No carrot for Betsy tonight? Ag, shame 😦
    Looking forward to good news on the job front.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I gave Betsy a nice big sweet potato, seems to have kept her happy yesterday 🙂

  6. Looking forward to hearing the good news about your interviews.
    🙂 Mandy xo

    1. theonlycin says:

      Keep holding thumbs for me, thanks Mandy 🙂

  7. Hotly Spiced says:

    Carpet Bag Steak is such a blast from the past. It used to be so popular at steakhouse restaurants here in the ’70’s but then it sort of disappeared. Great to see a wonderful recipe making a comeback. I do love the look of your garden – very cheerful. I do hope the job interviews went well and look forward to the good news xx

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks HS, I am actually on a bit of a 70s retro kick at the moment 🙂

  8. Mal says:

    My goodness, Cindy, you’ve built paradise…love it! It’s so peaceful, soothing and restful.. 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      You flatter me, thanks Mal 🙂

  9. adair says:

    A lot of dietitians are doing an about face .One only has to look at most Americans and see what fast food/sugar has done to their bodies and their health.We are fast catching up as a nation.I’m a Discovery Vitality member and was horrified to see that I don’t get points for buying meat,fish or chicken.I do however get points for buying low GI bread or flavoured yoghurt(loaded with sugar)as long as it’s ‘low fat’.Crazy.
    If you give your bunny half a chance you won’t have a garden left.Been there,done that!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Yes, Adair, I am going to have to come up with a clever bit of fencing to keep her away from the flowers, they are just so pricey 😦

  10. suzicate says:

    She ate your pansies…bad bunny! I’m sure she’ll cozy up to you so all will be forgiven. Your garden looks delightful. You’re like me, if I want something done I just do it no matter what the doc or anyone else says!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I figure I’ll avoid the doc and just be a good girl this week, although I am very tempted to paint my kitchen …

  11. matron says:

    The garden looks beautiful,good luck with the interview 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks, Matron, I am holding thumbs that I get a response early this week, the suspense is killing me.

  12. Ruth says:

    A mouthwatering meal, a lovely garden… and as always, seeing your Bouquet of a blog lifts the spirit. Hope you get the job you most want, Cin – you deserve it!

    1. theonlycin says:

      You are very kind, thank you, Ruth xxx

  13. Tammy says:

    I love the concept of a carpetbag steak! Lovely Cin and so is big red Betsy.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m thinking of boiling Betsy soon, Tammy ;p

  14. Dee says:

    I am in awe of what you have done with your space, the house and your beautiful garden!!!! How creative and how beautiful. You may have to plant a small carrot patch and train her that she can eat from there, her own garden. Will be saying prayers for your job.

  15. Beautiful garden! Cute bunny. Nice recipe to boot. Thank you!

    1. theonlycin says:

      You are most welcome, Cindy, and thank you 🙂

  16. Your garden is precious!!!! I just have some scrubby grass. A few ok trees but no flowers. I just peeked over and noticed my neighbors butterfly bushes. They are so tall and keeping her deck private. I have to get some and lot of miracle grow. My yard backs up to three other yards all with chain link fences. My neighbors are fine but a little privacy would be nice. I love the little lilly pond you have. Just the right size, it’s adorable!

    1. theonlycin says:

      It’s made from an old lory tyre that was lying around. I originally wanted a koi pond, but – alas – my budget didn’t allow for it 🙂

  17. nrhatch says:

    Your garden is darling . . . especially with that bunny sitting in its midst. 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      That bunny is going to get her bum spanked soon ;p

  18. slpmartin says:

    Now I have to try the recipe…love how your garden it coming along…and am sending best wishes towards the new job possibilities.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you so much, Charlie. What will be, will be, eh?

  19. Pansy-eating. A heinous crime.
    I know precisely why you continue to garden despite advice: I’ll swear gardening does something for the soul. Wonderful. I love what you have done with it: your eye for detail extends to matters horticultural, I see. They would love you at Chelsea 😀

    1. theonlycin says:

      Wouldn’t I love an aunlimited budget and a few square foot at Chelsea 😀

  20. Pseu says:

    Infirst had steak and seafood together as ‘Surf and Turf’ in Australia. I hadn’t heard of carpetbagger before

    1. Pseu says:

      ‘I first’ not infirst!

  21. Sparkle says:

    Beautiful garden creative woman! Good luck with the job thingie, everything always works out.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Sparky, keem ’em crossed, eh?

  22. Tandy says:

    it is looking amazing!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks wish you could see it for real. Soon though 🙂

  23. Christine says:

    I pottered in my garden yesterday and am soooooo stiff today!! Fortunately I don’t have a problem with my pansies being eaten – but my cats are sulking big time because I put Scent Off in my new beds so they do not use them as a toilet and disturb my plants!!!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I have a guilty pleasure; the cats moved over with Grandy, I was so worried about them scratching my leather couch!

  24. Sally says:

    Have never heard of a carpetbagging steak before – what a lovely description.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I agree that it’s a lovely term, Sally, so surprised that you hadn’t heard of it before 🙂

  25. Tesney Ap says:

    Your garden is so beautiful 🙂

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thank you, Tesney 🙂

  26. Tilly Bud says:

    It’s looking very pretty.

    So good to hear from you again.

    Good luck with the jobs.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Nice to see you around again too, Tilly, I’ve missed my blog friends 🙂

  27. bluebee says:

    Bunnies and floral gardens – not a good mix. Good luck on the job front, Cin.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Thanks Bluebee, battling like hell to post comments on your posts … just keeps chucking me out?

      1. bluebee says:

        I don’t know what is going on with WP. Cin – this morning I got a comment on something that I have in draft which hasn’t even been published yet. Gremlins abound.

  28. sybaritica says:

    I love the steak idea… I’d heard the name carpetbagger steak before but didn’t know what it was.

    1. theonlycin says:

      Glad I could be of service, sybaritica 😀

  29. Jamie Dedes says:

    What a beautiful garden. You’ve done so well with it.

    Carpetbagger steak: Once upon a time you could get this – by some other name – at Toot’s Shore and Delmonico’s (New York), but I haven’t seen it on a menu in years.

    1. theonlycin says:

      I remember reading about it at Delmonico’s in a novel once 😀

  30. Tokeloshe says:

    Love your garden, I can’t believe it’s winter!

    1. theonlycin says:

      I’m lucky that the enclosed courtyard protects it 🙂

  31. I have totally forgotten about carpetbaggers!! I was so loving it!! Your garden is very pretty, Cin! Hugs to you!

    1. theonlycin says:

      Hugs back at you, Pinky 🙂

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