Beef and beer stew with secret lentils

I put a tin of lentils in here just because it’s probably something you think you hate. You will not hate them in this. In fact, you will most probably fall in love with them and want to marry them. Plus, your bowel will thank you for getting a little roughage in your diet.

Get all of the stuff together and the go and get comfy next to the camp fire
Get it all into the pot and then let it simmer away for a few hours while you sit back and get slightly simmered yourself


BEEF AND BEER STEW WITH SECRET LENTILS

(Serves 6)

1 kg some kind of beef slow cooking cut – chuck, shin, brisket, etc – cut into 3 cm dice (no need to get the ruler out. Just make it a decent sized piece or even ask your butcher nicely and they might do it 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 or thyme if you have some in the garden
3x 375 ml cans dark beer
1x 700 ml tomato passata
1x 400 g tin lentils
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, 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 beef 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 beer 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 2 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that the beef 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.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Finish with a handful of chopped parsley.
Eat it.

If it’s easier for your eyes to watch these things you can find the video at foodisthebestshitever youtube channel.

Prawn & sausage jambalaya

Jambalaya. A Cajun classic. Allegedly first made by European immigrants in New Orleans and deeply rooted in the Spanish paella. It’s a tasty-assed mash up of some kind of meat, smoked sausage, a few vegetables and rice in a pot, where they are left to make love and produce offspring of immensely really good flavour.

Cajun cooking has a bit of a thing going on with the celery, capsicum (bell pepper) and onion, the holy trinity of Cajun cooking if you will, and I certainly have no problem with this. It works, it does what it is meant to do, it doesn’t cause any trouble and it’s clean. I love a good clean house guest… or holy trinity…

This poor man’s dinner can be very easily consumed all by itself, but this sort of ricey goodness can also act as a side for a fillet of fish, a nice piece of roasted chicken or grilled pork chop.

On a side note, this corona virus shit certainly makes me realise why child mortality rates were so high in the old world. Also, it has made very clear why children were sent to work full time at such a young age. Coincidence that there was no proper school system to get the kids out of your hair and each other’s faces for 5 days of the week? I think not.


PRAWN & SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA

Serves 4


400 g large prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, 5 heads reserved for cooking
200 g Andouille or some kind of smoked sausage, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ long red chilli, chopped
1-2 tablespoons Cajun spice mix or your favourite BBQ rub
250 g basmati rice
1 lt chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and lemon wedges, to serve


Heat pan over medium-high flame.
Sauté chorizo, the Cajun holy trinity, chilli and garlic in oil until softened and starting to brown.
Add prawn heads, tomato and spice mix and cook out for a further minute.
Add rice, stock and prawns to pan, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon.
Get it onto a plate or bowl of some description and then into your face so as to benefit from it’s tasty goodness.

Special sauce

This is my recipe for special sauce. We use it at our restaurant, the Stockpot Kitchen, and lots of people ask me for the recipe.

Here is the recipe.

My debt to you is paid in full.
It is especially good in a burger or three

SPK SPECIAL SAUCE

This is enough for a round of burgers and then some to put in the fridge to add to everything else you eat (especially hot chips) until your honeymoon obsession is over.

2 cups mayonaise – make it or buy some good stuff
¼ cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
¼ cup roughly chopped dill pickles
¼ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon each yellow mustard, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to season

Blitz all ingredients except mayonaise in a food prossessor or blend or with a stick wizz.
Fold into mayonaise and mix until thouroughly combined.
Eat it with whatever you find fit.


Herby sorta thai ‘slaw

This is a story about the search for new sides to go with my BBQ.

“Some kinda ‘slaw has got to be a good start”, I thought to myself (because if I thought to someone else that would make me some kind of other-world super computer human and that, I am not).

This started with the usual cabbage and carrot scenario, and then branched off into a few of the ingredients that might compose a Thai green papaya salad, and then a little kale because quite frankly I live in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales and local law dictates that kale must constitute at least 18% of my daily food intake (also, I really do like the stuff. Really), and then a little nam jim inspired dressing to finish her off.

It is a little different and bloody good so you should probably try it.

HERBY SORTA THAI ‘SLAW

Enough to go on the table with a few other sides at your next BBQ.

2 cups shredded green cabbage from approximately ¼ medium cabbage
1 carrot, grated
2 leaves curly kale, stem removed, shredded
1 Lebanese cucumber, randomly chopped
1-2 tomatoes, randomly chopped too
2-3 red radish, thinly sliced
½ cup bean sprouts of some description
2 shallots (spring onions), sliced
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 handful each coriander and mint, roughly chopped
Lime dressing (recipe follows), or your favourite nam jim or nuoc nam will work just fine


LIME DRESSING

250ml lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 clove garlic, microplaned
3 coriander root
Combine all ingredients and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Check seasoning and adjust with a little salt if necessary.
Use it to dress the salad above.
Any leftover dressing will happily hang out in the fridge for 5 days and can be used to anoint chicken, seafood or noodley dishes or whatever you think might like a little limey goodtimes.


Cheeky BBQ pork belly

Cheeky BBQ pork belly

Go to the beach all morning and still BBQ like a champion. AKA. Spend a few hours getting a secure enclosure built for the new shipment of Russian import carnie sex slaves you are expecting within the week.

Where-as a normal pork roast on the BBQ can be as needy as your first girlfriend and will generally require a fair bit of tending to, this method is going to give you the time you need to do the shit you need to do, and you will still get a nice lick of smoke and flame flavour (yes, that is definitely a flavour).

For this cheeky little BBQ cook up we’re going to pre-cook the pork for 2 hours in the oven so the pork is almost ready to go once it hits the grill. It can even be cooked a day or two before hand, brought to room temperature and then cooked for an extra 10-15 minutes to make sure she is hot.

This might not suit the die-hard BBQ enthusiast but it certainly works and sometimes die-hard enthusiasts of anything in this world can just be a bunch of wankers, so just do what you gotta do to get your freak on.

Get a nice bit of pork belly from your local purveyor of fine meats

Grilly, grilly

Flip it over to admire it beauty

Bloody delicious

CHEEKY BBQ PORK BELLY

Serves 8

2kg pork belly, scored
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Whatever sides you can rummage together, to serve

Pre-heat oven to 160C (320F).
Rub underside of pork with garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt and pepper (and a few fennel seeds or a star anise would go well in here too).
Flip over into oven dish.
Rub the skin of the pork with more salt… A really good pinch of salt… pork skin really loves a good hit of salt.
Place pork in pre-heated oven for 2 hours. Go and do some other things.
Now you’re back and the pork is ready to go so its time to fire up the BBQ.
(For the BBQ.
I like coals. For something like this pork belly I will have my main charcoal pile to one side of the BBQ, pulling quite literally a few pieces of glowing coal under the pork at any given time to give it some sizzle and flavour, and also to get that crackle going.)
Take the pork out of the oven dish and place skin side down over a few coals, with the main pile off to the side, as explained above.
Grill pork for 30 minutes, rotating two or three times, and tending to any little flare ups that might occur (this is also known as your beer drinking time).
Flip pork over and give the bottom side 5 minutes of charcoal time.
Now it should be hot and it should be bloody well ready to go.
Carve it up and get it in your face hole the best you know how.

Whack some stuffed apples on the grill for dessert if you have the inclination

Cherry tomato salsa / sauce for a steak date


Steak with cherry tomato salsa / sauce.

This little cherry tomato number is great for when you need to get away from the gravy for a night, or maybe even try to impress a date who you have lured, err, coaxed, err, invited to your lair, err, den, err, house. Whatever. I’m pretty sure you get the gist.

The steak. I am not going to try and help you to cook a beautiful steak here today. The steak is something you’re going to cook exactly how you like to cook it. Make a boiled steak if you think that might impress your date. I know for a fact it won’t, but I’m not going to try and talk you out of it.

Just make the salsa. It’s simple like your in-bred cousin and might just be enough to get you over the line.

Cook the steak first for best results

That steak, cherry tomato sauce and some big chips. Deliciousness.

CHERRY TOMATO SALSA / SAUCE

(serves 4 or so)

500g little baby cherry tomatoes, cut in halves if they are a little bigger
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 handful oregano, picked. A few sprigs reserved for garnish and the rest gets roughly chopped (parsley or a little thyme will also work just fine if oregano is not your thing)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add onions and a little salt and pepper and saute until starting to colour a little.
Add cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli and cook out for another 2 minutes.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar.
Add oregano and another splash of olive oil to gloss it all up. Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Get it on you steak.
Garnish with reserved oregano sprigs.

Eat it.