Grilled seafood with garlicky butter sauce while the kids are away

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A simple, three-step recipe for a damn fine night with your one and only while the children are absent on school camp.

1. Ship the children off to school camp. It is important to remember that this involves more than just sending your offspring to their place of learning (yes, that’s questionable but we’ll get back to that gripping social commentary at a later date) and leaving them with a packed bag and no intention of returning to pick them up. In fact, you can get into a lot of trouble for that type of behavior. You will need the school that your children are attending to host a student camp and take those little cherubs off of your hands, and you need them to be gone for a few nights at the very least.

2. Once the children have stepped out of the car and the doors have been closed behind them it is time to head straight down to your local purveyors of home entertainment goods, quality seafood and booze and, in that order, get yourself a new home entertainment system – something big… and in colour… and with wireless remote control. Yeah, we’re going all out on this one (or maybe you already have one of these and this step can be omitted), get a pile of fresh seafood – we chose prawns (shrimp), scallops, ocean trout and oysters, and defo get some quality booze of some kind – some ingredients for a mojito plus a decent bubbly for later was a pretty good call methinks.

3. Drink some booze and cook that seafood and serve it with garlicky butter as per following recipe. Pretty simple huh…

Outstanding prep to flavour ratio right there

Get it going on

Seafood, butter sauce and booze. That is a good time


GARLICKY BUTTER DIPPY SAUCE FOR SEAFOOD

(serves 2-4, depending on how buttery you like it)

250g unsalted butter
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, we used Lanes Q-Nami to absolutely outstanding effect
1 handful parsley, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
A little extra salt and pepper if needed
A decent pile of fresh seafood, straight off the coals
Bread to mop up any extra buttery goodness

Sauté the garlic with one tablespoon of butter to get the show on the road. Once garlic has softened, add remaining butter and seafood seasoning and cook out over medium heat until butter start to foam.
Pour lemon juice into butter and remove from heat.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Get it onto the table with a pile of seafood.
Use bread to mop up any extra puddles of that liquid gold and, if the mood encourages it, maybe even save a little butter sauce for garlic butter boobies later on.
Hey, I don’t know what you freaking pervs get up to when the kids are away…

BBQ sausage burgers from that book, “Pitmaster”

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Tonights dinspiration* was taken from the book “Pitmaster”, by Andy Husbands and Chris Hart.

The book looks almost exactly like this… except maybe a little more 3D


I would just like to add; although Father’s Day was a few days ago, this would have certainly been a damn fine burger to make your father on said day, if smoky deliciousness is your father’s thing. A time machine modulus ala Napoleon Dynamite could transport you back if you’d like to appear that you love your dad more than someone who might measure the love they have for this pillar of a man using the currency of a shitty pair of socks.

Yeah we ate it with crisps and pickles


So, basically, I made the burger from the book.

This method of recipe writing is a heap easier than the method I would normally employ, I don’t mind telling you.

That’s the recipe… you might need to zoom in a little


Being a week-night dinner for the family (or myself and my two boys), there was no way this thing was going to hit the table without some side of roughage factor to it. Yes, we can all heartily argue that a pickle is a vegetable or that the burger mix has a little capsicum (pepper) in it, but there is no way on gods good earth that this would fly in our house hold. Long story short; there was a big fat tomato that came from Jennee’s garden staring me down, so, not to be labeled weak by a fricking tomato, I sliced that bastard up and that went onto the burger along with the king of burger lettuce – the iceberg. And it was damn well delicious.

I had a really good feeling about this…


Smoky, sausage-y, deliciousness.

A really fricking good burger.

Dear good lord yes


*Dinspiration. Inspiration for dinner. A term that will shortly (if it hasn’t been already) be coined by a TV celebrity chef who is speaking heartfelt words on behalf of a major restaurant chain on the subject of healthy, quick and affordable eating and how achievable these goals can be if you simply follow his/her recipes and shop and save at rah-di-rah supermarket. I think I just threw up a little…

Smoky grilled chicken

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I really do like a good yard bird.

This is a good yardbird type experience.

A smoking hot bronzed bird splayed out in front of you… so moist and ready for the taking… it’s good times.

Euphemisms aside, if they should really ever be put aside, this is some damn tasty bird.

If you can split a whole bird down the backbone you can win this one, because the rest of it is keeping a few coals glowing and you can do that, right? Right?

This isn’t even so much a recipe as it is a little anecdote about what I made for dinner. I feel the time I am spending typing right now would be better spent explaining to you how to butterfly (spatchcock) a bird or even how to make a good chicken stock for the chicken gravy… but you know what? Yeah you know what. You know I am not going to do that because quite frankly, that is just not my style. No, I’m more of a don’t-really-care-about-what-you-reckon, unkept face hair and trucker cap kinda of guy, with maybe a bit of an air of a slight acquired brain injury from one too many stacks on my skateboard when I was younger… or was it from when attempted to form myself into a human snowball while snowboarding last month? Who knows, maybe I’m one of the lucky ones and I scored myself two ABIs… Lucky guy indeed.

Season the bird, inside and out, with your favourite bird seasoning type BBQ rub. I mix a few things together and call it “Big Red Rub”. There is a recipe for it right here. It works for me.

Let the bird hang out in the seasoning for half an hour or so while you get your BBQ fired up.

Get some coals going in your BBQ (pro Q or Weber are the sort of thing you’ll need for this job, or a grill plate over a fire with an old wok over the chicken to keep a little heat in will even do the job. I’m not even joking) exactly like you would normally get some coals going in your BBQ, and get it up to 150C (300F) ish.

Place the chicken skin side up over indirect heat and cover for 1 hour. The chicken should be looking pretty good at this stage… hopefully… I don’t know how I’m going to help you if it isn’t…

Brush the skin of the chicken with a little melted butter or olive oil and then, using two sets of tongs, carefully turn the chicken over, your goal now being to crisp up the skin a little.

The chicken can handle a little direct heat now, but it may need some turning so it doesn’t get “extra crispy” (AKA burnt), so get your comfy chair out, crack another tinny and keep a closer eye on it from here on in. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until chicken is sexy as and juices from the leg run clear.

Carve it up and drizzle (yes, I know I would normally punch myself in the face for using the word “drizzle”, but I feel it has a place here) with smoked honey to gild the lily. Gilding the lily. Heck yeah, kid!

We served it with roasted carrot and sweet potato, braised kale, cornbread and homemade chicken gravy and I must say, it was damn well delicious.

Pretty easy, using up those Sunday BBQ leftovers, cassoulet.

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Today I realised I have not made cassoulet for quite some time. Sure, I’ve made pit beans and I’ve made cowboy beans, but I haven’t made a classic French cassoulet. And today I shan’t be making cassoulet either. Instead I shall be doing that bastardising thing I love to do so much and use a little smoked meat I have left over from the weekends cook to create my own little smoky assed, junk yard dog, mongrel cassoulet. And just like that junk yard dog, this dish is literally begging for you to give it more meat… give it all of the meat.

If I may digress just a little…

The cassoulet is basically a brothel. It has a big illuminated sign above it’s front door inviting more meat to the party. It does not care of the origin of the meat. It’s a “the more meat the better” type situation for the cassoulet… much like the brothel.

But as I said earlier, this is a mongrel version of said cassoulet so don’t go reporting me to the Traditional Cookery Police (TCP) because as we all know; dobbers wear nappies.

If you would like to make a bang up, bona fide, old school, full of fat and confit duck, Frenchy cassoulet, you can find a recipe by a great chef by the name of Guillaume Brahimi, right here.

I have also used tinned cannellini beans to keep it quick and easy. Tinned legumes defo have a place in my cupboard.

Cut the top off the garlic so it looks like this

Saute the meat and vegetables

The mongrel cassoulet sharing the table with some more beans. It’s a pretty friendly sort, really


PRETTY EASY MONGREL CASSOULET

500-750g smoky meaty leftovers (depending on how much you consumed or may have left over from that BBQ comp on the week end ) – start with pork neck or ribs and then add sausage, brisket, lamb and/or chicken – all chopped
2 tablespoons drippings from that meaty goodness
1 small onion (or half a large onion as I have used), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 bulb garlic, left whole, top sliced off to reveal a little garlic-y flesh
A few sprigs of parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
2x 400g tins cannellini beans, strained
500ml chicken stock. Homemade is best but sometimes store bought might be all you have on hand and it will still work, I can guarantee that
1 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.
Lube up a casserole dish or cast-iron pot or something that you can put in the oven with the drippings and then sauté meat and vegetables over medium heat until vegetables are starting to soften and brown a little. Alternatively, you can sauté the meat and vegetables in a pan and then transfer them to an oven proof dish.
Add all other ingredients except bread crumbs, stir to combine and season.
Top with bread crumbs and place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until golden brown and smelling delicious.
Eat it.
Put it in your face with a little green salad, or maybe some green beans with onion vinaigrette if you want to be the same as us.

One last pic of the ingredients…

Prohibition Smokehouse, Truck Norris Texas BBQ and Bootleg BBQ… some smokehouse joints on the south island of New Zealand

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Prohibiton smokehouse


PROHIBITION SMOKEHOUSE, DUNEDIN

To start off with, Dunedin is a funny little town. It holds with-in its belly an intestinal tract of Victorian era buildings that house the students from the Universities in town, inducing a feeling of old meets new. Graffitied buildings and quirky student-y notes and signs adorn the walls and doorways of the city, which may have long since been set to rest without the influx of the learned, the sun and chilly ocean breeze blotted out by moss and vines never to caress the city walls again… either way this place is definitely worth a stroll…

But clearly I am no poet, so maybe I should just get back to I may be slightly better at; reporting the facts.

We hadn’t had a smoky-meaty fix on this trip yet and we were pretty keen to rectify that situation.

We stepped into the kinda-swanky-looking-for-a-smokehouse-joint restaurant and were quickly seated by the super nice staff. Straight up this was not something I was accustomed to from a smokehouse restaurant – no, I’m not referring to the super nice staff (Smokehouse joints always have super nice staff. Yes, that is a blatant generalization but I will be standing by it because I am stubborn and correct). I am referring to the swankiness. I am defo accustomed to a little more dank with my BBQ and I think that’s one of the things I truly like about it, but I had arrived on their freshly swept doorstep* with an open heart and open mind so I was ready for it… whatever it may be…

“Firstly, I would just like to let you know kids eat for free”, were the words from our waitress’s mouth.

At that point I was truly ready to forgo the lack of dank and any other preconceptions about BBQ that I may have in my stupid, opinionated head because as our dear lord once said, “If you feed my kids for free I can buy another bottle of wine which basically makes us homies fo’ life”.

We ordered, we drank, and Jennee and I laughed like the first time we met.

After a perfectly comfortable time period had elapsed our food hit the table. Or more literally – our food was placed nicely on the table in front of us.

The spread


We shared brisket with soured onions and truffle mayo ($34), ½ chicken with baby spinach and drunken raisins ($32), grilled broccoli with chipotle hollandaise ($10) and iceberg wedge salad with ranch and bacon bits ($8.5). The boys had buttermilk fried chicken wings and pork ribs, both with citrus ‘slaw (free for under 12s), and we got into that lot as well.

It was all a very nice meal indeed. The brisket was tender and juicy, but could’ve had some more smoke, I thought. The fried chicken, the pork ribs, the sides were all very tasty but I have to say the star of the evening was the ½ grilled chicken – tender, juicy, smoky and a heap of other great adjectives used to describe great tasting meat. It was some of the best grilled chook I have ever eaten, hands down. That with the iceberg salad took me to my very happy place.

I couldn’t get to pecan pie quick enough. Mmmm, that was some damn tasty pecan pie


We followed that up with a whiskey chaser and some dessert. All of the desserts were good but if you do not try this pecan pie ($15) you are a stupid, stupid man… or lady… it is really good pecan pie. Probs not so good if you are allergic to pecans though, but you’ll work that out I’m sure (or possibly become fodder for natural selection).

So for your dinner you shall be eating ½ chicken, iceberg salad, pecan pie, whiskey. Check.

Do it.

*A freshly swept doorstep which was later defiled by a young lady emptying the booze from her stomach into the gutter as the tables of diners at Prohibition watched on. We were the only table that cheered even a little bit.

The Truck Norris set up


TRUCK NORRIS TEXAS BBQ, METHVEN

The food truck scene is alive and well in the South Island of New Zealand.

Even the little alpine town of Methven has a food truck or two.

One of those food trucks is called Truck Norris.
My dear wife Jennee decided she would call it “Walker, Texas Griller”.

Truck Norris is run by a guy named Matt.

Matt told us he really liked cooking BBQ.

Matt made some really tasty BBQ.

Three meat platter – 30 bucks a pop


There was a nice little corral type set-up to keep Matt, his food truck and his two Johnson Smokers’ cohorts safe from the admiring crowds who would be gathering soon for a little taste of some top notch Texas style BBQ – The girls that would be chucking their knickers at him and gesturing to him with their tongues gently caressing their lips. The guys who would get emotional because the smoked meat is so damn delicious… and then they would become even more emotional (like, tears emotional) because “emotional” is a feeling they know not how to deal with (but they would still have enough wits about them to have their facial hair ready to smuggle a few morsels out of the yard for later). The dogs and the cats would get along together, just to share a little of that smoky goodness, a few fries with Matt’s special seasoning and maybe a little of that black-eyed bean salad.

Don’t forget the jalapeno poppers


Yes, the world would get a little crazy just for a second, thanks to Truck Norris and it’s purveying of tasty smoky goodness.

It would be defo worthy of pulling off the highway (if there was actually a highway… perhaps it was just a country road…) to sample some of these smoky delights. Actually, you should sample all of the smoky delights… and drive all of the way from the where ever you live to do it.

Drive there from where ever and try all of the meats and all of the sides. Your face will love you for it.

This is what the Bootleg sign looks like


BOOTLEG BBQ, CHRISTCHURCH

This was a good looking bar and BBQ joint type scenario.

There were comfortable seats, central heating and 15 NZ craft beers on tap (changes often, we were told), which is fine by me because I really don’t mind seating on a comfortable seat, in a warm environment while sipping on a craft beer from NZ.

The staff were nice. They bought us food and drinks upon request. They were very nice indeed.

The menu that told us what we could order


We ordered “the BBQ platter for the squad” ($80). I’m almost positive this was not the name of the BBQ platter we ordered, but I also know it sure as heck could’ve been. That or Bobby Jones. Both very solid names for a big BBQ platter with all of the things on it. We also ordered a side of “fickles” (fried pickles) ($10) and some extra rainbow ‘slaw ($12), as we are firm believers in the “more ‘slaw is best” theory when it comes to eating half a butcher’s shop piled high on a large tray after spending varied amounts of time in a smoky oven which was “powered by pear wood and out the back in the kitchen”, we were informed.

We heard the holy angels trumpet the arrival of our meal/s.

All kinds of smoky goodness


The BBQ joint standard meat-holding platter was placed before us, it’s gloriously checkered interior and slightly chromed walls housed a plethora of meats. It was like visiting a petting zoo only with more eating and less petting*, which is pretty much how I like my dinner to be.

Someone obviously needed to get up early in the morning to cook this deliciousness just for us and for that I was very grateful. I wonder if that someone needed an alarm or if they were naturally an early riser… I’m just curious, that’s all.

Very tasty indeed


The meats were all smoky and tasty BBQ treats. Tasty as bro. The brisket and the jalapeno sausage were stand outs, as were the fickles, and if you visit this place I would suggest that you make sure your order contains these three things if you’d like to remain friends.

*There was actually zero petting perpetrated on this evening because even though New Zealand may be a little more relaxed in its rules than Australia, I’m pretty sure it is not that relaxed.

Someting boozy and tasty


ORLEANS, CHRISTCHURCH

This place was a nice little southern soul food type joint. It was not at the time of our visit, and to my knowledge nor is it now, a BBQ joint. I’ve just chucked it on the list because it did serve some tasty assed, southern inspired fare.

“Right on trend”, other reviewers who are real reviewers may say of this restaurant in their magazines and newspaper dining guide reports.

Also, I would hope they might have something nice to say about the food.

Many food


We ordered quite a large pile of it and we were pretty damn impressed with the whole shebang. One thing I noticed straight away is that these folks paid a little more attention to their sides and smaller dishes, where as it is quite common for this “style” of food joint to neglect the sides a little, like parent may neglect a new step child, or even as the average redneck turtle farmer may neglect his or her personal hygiene. Please don’t get me wrong, most of the sides we have had at every other joint on this trip have been pretty on point, but just a little under seasoned here, or a little over cooked there, but generally on point. But Orleans was 100% on point with the lot.

On point (I thought maybe I should say that one more time).

More food


Fried brussels sprouts with andioulle and corn bread crumb ($12), baked beans with maple bacon ($10) and their ‘slaw with peanuts ($10) were all bang on, as were our mainish choices – pastrami, andioulle sausage and pickles ($18), buttermilk fried chicken with ranch sauce ($14), grilled pork belly with corn puree ($18) and fried duck wings with peanut butter BBQ sauce ($20).

Our favourites were the feeding-a-late-in-life-Elvis style duck wings, for bang for your buck and flavour these things could not be beat, the fried brussels sprouts and the ‘slaw. We were consciously and constantly referring back to the “more ‘slaw is best” theory to help those duck wings and fried chicken make it through our system.

Freaking out at those fried duck wings


If you like this style of eating, like the sort of thing you may be able to see in these photos, then I think your belly will tell you your dollars were well spent after dining here.

It is worthy of note that the owners of this place also have a diner and a bar in the same laneway. They both looked pretty good but the diner was defo more our sort of vibe.

I left Strange Lane (the actual name of the lane) with the knowledge required to happily recommend a pre-dinner drink or lunchtime chicken waffle burger at the Lower 9th Diner.

For the bar, I have nothing.

Absent on this day; Smokey T’S BBQ, and Fully Pitted BBQ

Loaded ass jacket potatoes

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A la my recent reports on the virtues of trialing new BBQ techniques and having leftover smoked meats, here is another recipe/anecdote/bit of dribble to keep that leftover meat out of the dog’s belly and turn it into another cracking meal to make your face smile…

This time we’re talking potatoes. Everyone love potatoes, right? Jacket potatoes on the coals are the next step upwards toward the heavens for the humble spud too, right? Stuffed or loaded jacket potatoes are fully nek level fo’ sho. No denying. Am I correct?

Yup.

I thought so.

Are you keeping up?

That’s OK, neither am I… I drink way too much coffee to be able to keep up with my head… that shall not stop me from moving on though…

These potatoes are cooked to a point where they are damn well close to being labeled as a potato god and then their potato-y lily is gilded with an array of ingredients that make it even more attractiver. If a girl potato walked by these Adonis’ of the potato world, they would hook up for sure… well, there’d be a cheeky wristy involved at the very least.

I am heaps good at English, ay.

Wrap your taters and make them nice and warm

Saute an onion good and proper

Fill ‘er up



LOADED ASS JACKET POTATOES

(serves 4)

4 fist sized potatoes (I have a decent sized fist)
1-2 cups of smoky or roasted meat leftovers, chopped and heated
2 tins of baked beans or the equivalent from your last batch of homemade sexy beans, heated
100g cream cheese and/or grated cheddar cheese
Sauteed onions
Sauerkraut
Sour cream
Hot sauce
BBQ rub, chives and parsley to garnish
Leafy salad or ‘slaw to serve

Splash a little olive oil on your potato, season with a little salt and pepper and then wrap in alfoil.
Get some coals in your fire pit or BBQ or even in your fire place if you’ve got it fired up, and place potatoes around the edge, just nudging the coals a little.
Rotate potatoes every 10-15 minutes for 40 minutes or until soft in the middle – a good poke with a butter knife should be a pretty good indicator of this.
Using tongs or your tough-guy hands, remove potatoes from coals and set aside for a minute so they are not searing hot when you are trying to serve them.
Cut a cross through the middle of the potato so you may open it up a little and fill it with tasty good things and not at all because this is going to be kinda a religious experience.
Fill with beans followed by cheese, meat, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, sour cream and hot sauce if desired.
Garnish with garnishy things and serve with something green and leafy on the side.
Thank me later.

So ugly but so damn beautiful


New Zealandy snow posts coming right up…

Nachos supremo

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This is a story about some really good nachos.

I am not implying that you don’t know how to make nachos, it’s just that these nachos are, well, probably better than yours. Soz.

And these nachos also involve one of my favourite sort of early week cooking scenarios – using up the inevitable pile of smoked meat or other random goodies I have left from my weekend of backyard experimentation (just to make it clear I have not been sewing chickens bodies to pigs faces or anything freaky like that, and I certainly haven’t been doing any of that your-turn-to-take-me-roughly-from-behind, keep it in the garden shed type experimentation either. Just above board, smoky meaty goodness. Thumbs up)

If you have the skill set you could defo make a pile of delicious smoked meat and awesome condiments, (which is something I do enjoy doing with my spare time and that is the truth) but the fact of the matter is that I am a cook and that’s what I do with my life and I am not so stubborn and/or dumb that I can’t realise that often times your kitchen skills may be borderline mediocre at best and you need a little help with a meal that may involve more than one pot and indeed a slew of ingredients.

So I guess my point is this – either a) make friends with someone who loves to BBQ and more importantly is quite decent at it, and clean up their BBQ leftovers after the weekend or, b) head down to your local BBQ joint of good repute and purchase some tasty meaty goodness from someone who can actually cook this stuff, and then it’s onto some kick-ass nachos.

In the words of the late, great Ramones – let’s go!

Still life featuring nacho ingredients

Heating my pork ribs on the ol’ Warm Ray

Choppy choppy pork rib

Nachos supremo


NACHOS SUPREMO (serves 4)

1 family pack of corn chips
1-2 cups chopped left over smoked or roasted meat (I had smoked pork ribs)
2 cup of pit beans or nacho beans
2 cups grated cheese
1 cup guacamole
1 cup sour cream
½ cup tomato salsa
Pickled onions and jalapenos
Coriander
Hot sauce
BBQ rub or some kind of nacho seasoning

Spread corn chips over an oven tray, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and then bake in a pre-heated 200C oven for 5-10 minutes until chips are warm and cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, heat your meat and beans (separately) and set them aside.
When chips are where you want them, slide them off the baking tray and onto something a little cooler to serve or, you know what, just eat them the heck straight off of the oven tray. I fricking love that shit.
Scoop beans onto the chips followed by meat, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pickles, coriander, hot sauce and seasoning.
Eat that, drink beer and thank the dear sweet lord for BBQ left overs!

I would suggest the couch is a good place to eat these

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