Seafood chowdeeer


The air is cold but the chowder is definitely warm.

The origins of chowder are a little cloudy, much like a swagger of other regional specialities such as bouillabaisse, paella, laksa, pho and so on. This is how I make mine. I certainly shall not be claiming to be the original or the best. Top three maybe, but not the best I don’t think. But it is chockers full of good stuff that is 100% guaranteed to warm the belly and soul of even the saltiest of old sea dogs.

I know this is one of the most obvious things a person could say when making a recipe for any type of rustic soup, but make sure you have heaps of crusty bread on hand to mop up when you’re done. That’s half the fun with this sort of thing.

We’re pretty used to the sunshine in the Northern Rivers of NSW, but sometimes the air gets cold and makes crunchy grass while we sleep.
You can cook inside or pretty easily on a fire or BBQ too.
Season, garnish and get it in your face with a pile of your favourite bread.

SEAFOOD CHOWDER

Serves 6

300 g (10 ½ oz) firm fresh fish of your choice, 2 cm (1 inch) dice
300 g (10 ½ oz) fresh prawn meat
4 rashers bacon, chopped
1 brown onion, cut into 1 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm dice
1 stick celery, sliced
3 cobs fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
1 large potato, cut into 1 cm dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lt (1½ pints) thickened cream
500 ml (17 fl oz) full cream milk
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and BBQ / southern seasoning, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve

In a large pot sauté the bacon, onions, carrot, celery, potato, corn, garlic and thyme.
Once it is softened and starting to colour add the milk and cream and simmer until potatoes are just cooked. This should take about 20 minutes.
Add the fresh fish and prawns and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir it a couple of times but do it gently so you don’t break the fish up too much.
Remove from heat.
Check and adjust seasoning.
Serve garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of BBQ seasoning, and bread on the side.

lamb braised with red wine

Insert your own amusing story here.


LAMB BRAISED WITH RED WINE

(Serves 8 or so)

1 lamb shoulder, cut into braising pieces on the bone. A nice butcher will do that for you.
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovies. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary and thyme if you have some in the garden
500 ml red wine
1 lt beef stock
1x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
2x 400 g tins butter beans or whatever tinned bean you like
Salt and pepper
Salsa verde, to serve
Soft polenta, mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, pasta or something along those lines, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to the pot (normally you might brown everything off separately but this is going to be an all-in type thing) along with anchovies and herbs. Sauté for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Add wine, stock and tomato and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that lamb is tender – it should be ready for Nan to gum to death by now. If not, simmer for another 30 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Add beans and simmer for another few minutes to warm through.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve with salsa verde and something nice on the side.
Eat it.


Fried chicken chow mein (or fried chicken chow nice)

Chicken chow mein is kinda a rough moniker for this most famous heavy weight of Australian-Chinese restaurant cuisine. Of course “chow” is fine because you always want to chow down on this dish, but “mein”? This is not mean at all. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s very nice.

Yup. Chow nice noodles.

I really like to use a weber kettle BBQ with a good coal base to fire up my wok. If you have one you should use it too. A hot wok is paramount for this type of cooking.

Let’s go.

I can’t stress enough that you really need to get your mise en place ready for this sort of cooking.
The other thing i would recommend is that you use charcoal to get some proper heat into your wok.


FRIED CHICKEN CHOW MEIN (OR FRIED CHICKEN CHOW NICE)

Serves 4

2 – 3 fillets of fried chicken from your last fry up, cut into 2 cm pieces
500 g fresh chow mein noodles
½ brown onion, cut into wedges
1 carrot, cut into half circles on the diagonal
1 small wedge of cabbage, sliced
1 bok choy, sliced into 2 cm pieces and washed
1 handful snow peas, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ long red chilli, sliced
2 tablespoon light soy
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon corn flour
A splash of oil
5 shallots (scallions), sliced, to garnish

Do not start cooking until you have everything cut up and ready to go.
Also mix the soy, oyster sauce and shao xing together in a small bowl so it’s ready to go too.
And the stock can get whisked into the corn flour too.
Now we are ready to start.
Heat oil in hot wok.
Add onion, carrot, cabbage, and bok choy stem and toss for 1 minute
Add chicken, garlic, chilli, snow peas remaining bok choy and toss for another minute or two.
Add noodles and go for another minute.
Add sauces and mix through.
Add stock and corn flour mix and toss through. Cook out for another minute or so.
Check seasoning and adjust with a little more soy sauce if necessary.
Serve it up, garnish with sliced shallots and chow down on the chow nice.




The Big (Red) Mac

A lot of people call me Big Red, hence the name of this burger.

It’s pretty easy to make a bloody good version/copy/something of “that” burger at home. Here’s the steps involved;

1. Head to your local Micky D’s family drive thru restaurant.
2. Keep driving past said restaurant until you reach a local butcher of good repute, where you will purchase some freshly ground beef mince. None of that heart-smart lean shit though – not that I have anything against the whole reduce cholesterol and heart disease thing mind you. It’s just that today you would like some beef mince with a little fat in it. The slightly diabetic, pimply faced kid who serves you at Micky D’s would approve. Trust me.
3. Now you shall drive a little further and find yourself at a bakery, or bread shop, where you shall buy your buns. Brioche, milk buns or potato buns all work well for this monster. One and a half buns per person please.
4. One last stop for your vegetables and assorted other bits and pieces including your cheese. It will be some kind of burger cheese for this one PS. It’s really not the time for halloumi or goat curd, sorry.
5. Now get yo’ arse home and let’s get this fucking show on the road.

It really is a pretty simple list of ingredients
Just bloody delicious


THE BIG (RED) MAC

(per burger)

250 g fresh beef mince
1 ½ buns
2 slices burger cheese
4 slices pickle
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Finely diced white onion
Special sauce (recipe can be found here)
Salt and pepper or your favourite BBQ beef seasoning

Divide the mince into 2 balls of roughly equal size, flatten them out between 2 pieces of baking paper until just under 1 cm thick and then set aside.
Get your special sauce made and your salady bits sliced and diced.
Heat your BBQ flat grill (or heavy based skillet) until hot and lubricate that sucker with a splash of canola or another neutral flavoured oil. Season your beef patties with a little salt and pepper (or BBQ seasoning) and then press down seasoned surface onto the grill.
After 2 minutes flip patties and press down a little to keep that good thickness.
After another 2 minutes remove patties from grill and set aside in a 90 C oven or cover with foil to keep warm.
Cut your buns and get them toasting. I like to grill my buns cut side down on a flat grill (or in a heavy based skillet). That way they get a little toasty on the inside but are still soft on the outside and they steam themselves a little in the middle.
The piece of bun that goes in the middle can go in the toaster.
And now we shall put it all together.
In this order from bottom up; bottom bun, 1-2 tablespoon special sauce, lettuce, 1 slice of cheese, 1 pattie, a sprinkle of diced onion, middle bun, 1-2 tablespoon special sauce, lettuce, 4 slices pickle, 1 beef pattie, a sprinkle of diced onion, the top of the bun.
Frigging get into that.

Coq au vin (cock ooh van)

Cock au vin, or chicken in wine, is another one of those dishes that I really look forward to when the weather chills down some.

You can cook it in a camp oven on the way to wolf creek. It can easily be doubled or tripled if you want to cook it for a shitload of friends. It reheats well, allowing you to get ready for dinner hours or even days early. It actually benefits from being neglected for an hour or two. It can be presented to your peasant friends or haute society in the same sitting. It’s… it’s… magic.

Even if you think you don’t like coq, you will like this.

I will generally use chicken marylands for this dish because I really do love the moistness, but the traditional meat to use is rooster and I can verify that if you have one you need to knock off it couldn’t go to a better cause. I have also been told by a French chef friend of mine that if you want to step it up a notch further, you should use capon, a castrated rooster and a product that is not readily available probably anywhere besides France.

Furthermore, I would also like to add that I don’t care what diet you’re on but now is not the time to be using chicken breast in place of the marylands either.

Some good things that will help you make your coq au vin
Brown that chicken
And now it’s ready for a turn in a 180 C (360 F) preheated oven
Looks like not much worth taking a photo of but tastes like good things have just happened in your kitchen


COQ AU VIN
(CHICKEN IN WINE)


Serves 4

4 chicken marylands, separated into thigh and drumstick
150 g bacon or speck, sliced
250 g eshallots or pickling onions (the little baby ones), or a diced onion or two
500 g mushrooms, a mix of whatever you have; button, swiss brown or king oyster. Left whole if small and halved or quartered if a bit big
1 ripe tomato, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bouquet garni (sprigs of thyme, rosemary and bay leaf)
500 ml red wine
500 ml chicken or beef stock
1 tablespoon flour mixed with ¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to season
Chopped parsley and crusty bread (Or soft bread. Who am I to tell you what bread to eat), to serve

Season the chicken and brown in a heavy based pot. Set aside.
Now in the same pot brown the bacon, onion, garlic and mushrooms.
Now the chicken goes back into the pot and so does the tomato.
Have a glass of wine and add the remainder to the pot. While you’re there you can chuck in the bouquet garni and stock. Cover the pot and whack it in the oven at 180C for 1.5 or so hours. Just enough time to get well on the way to being jolly pissed.
Alright. Concentrate now. One more thing to do…
Bring the pot out of the oven and remove chicken.
Place pot on low-medium heat and slowly whisk in the flour slurry.
Cook out for a couple of minutes so you are not eating raw flour sauce.
Now add your chicken back into the sauce and serve with something potatoey if you’re feeling it, or just by itself is fine too.
Garnish with a little parsley and some bread of your choosing to mop up the juices.
Get in there.

beef ribs in the smoker

Beef ribs in the smoker are really good.

I really don’t know what else to add.

Good thanks.

Beef ribs after an hour or so…
These go great guns in a bullet style smoker.


BEEF RIBS

(For a gathering of the hungry man’s club.)

2x racks beef short ribs (approx 1.5 kg each)
Beef seasoning (recipe follows)
Rocking chair

Get your BBQ up to 125 C (250 F). Add a little cherry or pecan for extra flavour if you’re keen.
To the best of your ability, remove the membrane from the bottom of the ribs and trim any excess fat and silver skin from the top of the ribs.
Coat the ribs well with the seasoning.
Get the ribs into your smoker, making sure you keep a fairly constant-ish 125 C (250 F).
After 3 hours the ribs should have a nice bit of colour. This is when I like to wrap (no, Vanilla Ice will not be blaring on my Spotify. Please, try to pay attention).
Remove the ribs and wrap it with peach paper (butcher’s paper) or alfoil. Return to the smoker for another 2-3 hours or until the thickest part of the ribs probe like butter. If you are actually using a temperature probe the should be sitting around 92 – 95 C (200 F) or so.
When ribs are good to go, remove from BBQ and rest in a warm spot for 15 – 20 minutes.
Get some sides together, carve them up and get it into your face.


BEEF SEASONING

2 tablespoons each cooking salt, cracked black pepper and garlic granules

This is a good base for making and developing your own beef rub. Start with the quantities here and adjust to your personal preference – if you like it more peppery add more pepper. Or if you don’t like so much garlic, take a little out. If you like chilli or thyme, you can certainly put a little of that in there too. It’s pretty simple.
Also, don’t be tempted to use ground black pepper as it needs a little texture and coarseness.
Also also, garlic flakes are too big and garlic powder is too fine for me. Garlic granules are just right. See above.
Also also also, cooking salt is perfect. See above.
The rub is great for brisket, ribs, steak, burgers, lamb, roast vegetables and whatever else you want to put it on.

Now is the time to eat them.
Almost an instructional video