Pretty easy sausage meatball pasta

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This is easy-tasty-good piss-easy mid-week cooking ala foodisthebestshitever personified.

The big secret here is if you get a good sausage you will defo be a happy woman.

Wait…

Um…

What I meant to say is; if you get a good sausage from your butcher half the work is already done for you. Yup. That’s my big secret.

Seriously.

A decent butcher will have a few different sausages to choose from so I would suggest something herby or something with some spice, like a fresh chorizo, and then half the battle is already won. Literally then the hardest thing you will need to do to get a decent dinner on the table is to boil the correct amount of pasta needed to feed only the people sitting around said table and not the population of a small northern Italian village.

Add a few vegetables that you have wrestled from the grip of the depths-of-the-back-of-the-fridge-demon, a few subtle herbs*, a splash of whatever trashy white wine you have in the coffee cup in front of you and some cooked pasta (or instant noodles if you’re feeling reals trashy), and you will be eating a pretty damn fine pasta for your dinner.

And don’t feel like this could only be done on a stove top. Anything you can cook in a pan can be cooked on the coals or on a grill… just saying… it’s a pretty good way to do camping like a boss.

Little balls of meaty goodness getting made by my children. So bloody simple.

Brown those balls

Get some green things into the pan

…and then get some pasta in there too

A few subtle herbs. Bahahahaha… subtle herbs

Get into my face time

SAUSAGE MEATBALL & GREEN STUFF PASTA

Serves 4

Enough cooked pasta for 4 people, plus a tablespoon or two of the water it was cooked in
500g good thick sausages, each sausage pushed from its skin and formed into 5-6 meatballs
1 anchovy
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large handful chopped fresh herbs – sage, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary and curly parsley
2 cups diced green vegetables – zucchini, broccoli and green olives… even peas would work so very well
A splash of white wine
Olive oil
Grated parmesan or pecorino to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add meatballs and sauté for 2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds to get a little browning on a fair bit of the ball.
Add anchovy, garlic, half of the chopped herbs and the vegetables, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until starting to colour a little.
Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine. Deglaze your own face with a large tumbler of said white wine. Cook out for another minute.
Toss through pasta and 1-2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and heat through.
Toss through remaining herbs.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Distribute that good stuff between 4 bowls. Top with parmesan and a splash of olive oil if you’re feeling it.
Eat it in your face.

*Bahahaha… subtle herbs. I don’t even know what a subtle herb is. Man up and get some punch-in-face herbs in that pasta so they may party with the sausage like a cheap prostitute and they can all hit the front page of tomorrows local rag together.

Prawn and Chorizo Spaghetti that is so damn simple even Niels can make it

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prawn and chorizo pasta
I did a fair bit of tossing up as to whether I would be telling you about some of my new friends in the world of food or a crackingly simple prawn and chorizo pasta that is one of my all time faves, a flavour combination I have used in many different applications… except the bedroom… well, there was that one time but I was hella trash-bagged. So it was a toss up. There was a small tussel, some eye gouging and a cheeky finger up the bot bot, but at the end of the day it was the prawn pasta that won… the bond of old friends would not waver under the pressure of any brazen young upstart. Or something like that. Or even possibly nothing at all like that. Listen, I just decided that I’m going to tell you about the pasta today Ok? I’ll tell you about something cool and hip and contemporary next time… or maybe the time after that. I don’t know. FUCK!

I really need to cut down on my coffee intake.

So this is a damn tasty pasta that is so effing easy even Niels can make it. That’s right, even Niels can make it. You know Niels right? No? Well I shall take a moment to introduce you folks; Niels is an old friend. His name is definitely Niels and not Neil. Niels has an acupuncture clinic and spends his days healing people through the flick of a needle. Niels is not a chef, or a cook. Well, he wasn’t until we opened this restaurant and he kindly put his hand up to do whatever it was (well, anything as long as it was within the international humanitarian guidelines) we needed of him to get this restaurant thing up and running, and in exchange for his services we would cross his palm with silver so that he may appease this guy called Bill who seems to require a lot of Niels’ money… and he seems to get a fair bit from just about everyone else I know too… hmmm. Anyway, Niels showed some skills, a keen-ness that is scarce in this industry at the moment, and the capacity to follow instructions and retain information so before he knew it he was chained to the stove, flipping the pan like his name was Peter… did that work? No, I didn’t think so. I really need to work out how I can stop being so damn lame… maybe they offer a course in that these days? Community college possibly? No, you know what? If I was going to do a course it should definitely be a course in how to stick to the fucking point!!

The bottom line is this; three months ago Niels couldn’t even flip a pan, but he could still cook a damn fine pasta. I am out.

Just simple tasty food

Just simple tasty food

...that even Niels can make.

…that even Niels can make

I have nothing for this except my face hole and a fork.

I have nothing for this except my face hole and a fork


PRAWN AND CHORIZO SPAGHETTI (serves 4)

16-20 large prawns that come from the ocean near where you live (unless the closest ocean is a grey water treatment plant, in which case you use whatever you can find and go with my blessing), peeled and deveined
2 chorizo sausage, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 long red chilli depending on how hot you like it, chopped nice and small
15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
A good splash of something white and wine-like
250g spaghetti, fettuccine or whatever the hell pasta you like to eat, cooked per packet instructions
Olive oil
A large handful of parsley, chopped
An even larger handful of mint, picked
Seasoning
Pangrattata and lemon wedges to serve
You’re going to need a large pan for this one, or two medium pans will also do the trick

• Heat a splash of oil in the pan over a high flame. Add prawns, chorizo and a good pinch of salt and pepper
• Toss for one minute (the pan that is… filthy person) until prawns are almost done and then get the garlic, chilli and tomatoes in there
• Give them another minute and then deglaze with the white wine. Add pasta and a tablespoon of water from the pot
• Toss, toss, toss
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
• Add parsley, roughly tear in mint, toss, add a little more olive oil if it looks like it need a little more sheen, and the get that bad boy into some bowls, top with pangrattato, put a little lemon on the side and serve
• Bam. There is a high chance you will thank me for this one

Eat it

Eat it

Moreton Bay bug and prawn spaghetti

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moreton bay bugs, prawns, past
It’s heating up.

As we charge our way through a cracking spring like a boatload of rampaging white men through any indigenous tribe they came across, we have nothing but the glory of summer in full flight, wings spread and soaring high above like some kind of really big bird (not big bird though because I am positive that big yellow bastard can’t fly), to look forward to. That is, if you live among us in the southern hemisphere. For those of you who live in the northern hemisphere it shall be getting colder because of the hand of mother nature and the world wide effect known as “opposite day”… or possibly opposite season… or perhaps it even has a more technical term that people who wear glasses might know. Alas, I do not wear glasses (although I am meant to), so that information is beyond my grasp.

But anyway, this isn’t a story about the climate on the coast of eastern Australia (I think I may have mentioned it as a prelude to needing a fresh seafood dinner but… meh), this is a story about bugs.

Not the thousands of bugs that that some how find themselves swimming together in the Olympic regulation insect pool that is my bathroom sink every morning, possibly negating the fact that they had never taken swimming lessons. And not the ferocious bugs that were the sworn enemy of Earth’s troops on Klendathu. No, I am talking about the damn well sexy tasting bug that is know to us as Thenus Orientalis, the Slipper Lobster or, in Australia, the Moreton Bay Bug (probably due to our love of just, well, making other peoples things our own out here. Like what we did with Russell Crowe).

I bet you’re wondering how I came to have bugs in my possession, or possibly how to get rid of your excess ear hair. Well, gather ‘round, for all shall be revealed in my following ramblings.

Dr Chris (my dear Jennee’s DNA test proven father) is staying with us at the moment as Jennee is away and quite frankly, those boys of ours need 24hr supervision. Now, Dr Chris is a lover of seafood, and by seafood I mean food he can see… and reach out and grab… and send on a Contiki tour of his belly. So Dr Chris crossed my palm with enough gold for me to pay a little visit to our local fish monger and return home with some of King Neptune’s finest fare. With which I made this pasta…

I’ve got nothing for the excess ear hair PS.

Awesome looking little offers, aren't they

Awesome looking little effers, aren’t they

Nom noms

Nom noms

More nom noms

More nom noms

No waiting for nom noms

No waiting for nom noms

Done with nom noms

Done with nom noms

MORETON BAY BUG AND PRAWN SPAGHETTI (for 6)

1kg fresh prawns, peeled, deveined and generally just made to look a lot more edible
3x 250g Moreton Bay bugs, cut in half between the eyes and poo poo removed
1x 500g pack dried spaghetti or, if you want to get all renegade about this shit, what ever pasta you’d like
200g good, smoky bacon*
4 tomatoes, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
A splash of white plonk if you have some
Olive oil
A knob of butter
Salt and pepper. Always with the salt and pepper
Lemon wedges (don’t think you can omit the lemon wedge ok? That final squeeze of fresh lemon juice really makes this dish sing) and some of the baby rocket from Jennee’s garden, to serve

• Start by getting some oil hot in a large pan
• Add the bugs and bacon and a little seasoning to get the party started. Turn the bugs every minute or so
• After 4 or so minutes the bugs should be just about cooked (they will turn an orangey-red colour and the flesh will firm up. Check by pulling a bit out of the tail if you’re unsure – you don’t want to over cook these puppies at the price you pay for them) and remove from pan
• Add prawns, chilli and garlic and sauté for a further two minutes or until prawns are just about cooked
• Return bugs back to the little party in the pan, as well as tomato and a splash of white plonk, if using
• Add pasta and a knob of butter, just to guild the lily a little, and heat through for one minute
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary, and get that shit on the table plenty pronto, garnished with some baby rocket and a pile of fresh lemon wedges

*I got my bacon from Mr Greg Cromwell around the corner from me at Cromwell Farms. He breeds old school pigs like Berkshire, and lets them run around in fields like pigs should. Then he kills them and gets another nice gentleman to cure and smoke his bacon (no, that is not a euphemism you dirty little gutter snipe) and every now and then has a pop-up shop at his farm so regular people, just like you, can go along and try his wares and try to get out without his daughters selling you something. If you’re ever in the Northern Rivers you should look him up because he has the good shit. Right here is a good start.

And just in case you’re wondering, I paid for my bacon.

Macaroni Cheese with Smoked Boar Belly… and Boys Night

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It’s boy’s night at our little abode. No, not the type of boys night where we sit around playing cards, drinking whiskey a eating nachos that are served to us by a waitress who can best be described as looking like she has just come from the beach… wearing high heels. This is the kind of boys night where is it just me and my two boys, Seba and Obi, and we hang out, watch quite a few episodes of “The Clone Wars” animated series and eat whatever the hell we want (usually not served to us by scantily clad waitresses) that is definitely not in accordance with or following any of the dietary requirements of Jennee’s gluten intolerance or paleo diet. We are sans mother and wife, and by golly we will do whatever the eff we want. We are man, hear us roar!

“Meow”.

Yeah, you get the picture.

Boys night’s are high on the list of things that make me happy. These nights make me so happy that even my smile smiles. My smile actually texts it’s friends to tell them how fucking happy it is right now. What more could a man need? Quality time catching up on cartoons, sitting around in my knickers, eating a pile of “sometimes food” and spending time with my damn fine kids.

Today I was hell bent on cooking up some mac n cheese, but the local store was void of the macaroni my heart so desired. So, with nary a hat wearing, feather doting Yankee with the magical ability to conjure up my macaroni in sight, I thought my next best option was going to be penne. So penne it was (although with hind sight I would say there is really no substitute for the macaroni). Also, I had a heap of smoked wild boar belly in the freezer (this came into my possession via the same source of the goat I used for that goat curry I posted not so far in the past. I think I should clarify that it did not come from the actual goat, as that would make it cross bred billy goat/razor back which is going to freak me out and remain barren of any votes from me. No, this boar was merely provided by the same supplier I got my goat from. I need to end this ever-so-pointless story right now), and boar is kindred to the pig so that was going to get it’s smoky ass in there, too.

A nice looking lump of smoked boar

A nice looking lump of smoked boar

The smell of this stuff cooking made me go a little week at the knees

The smell of this stuff cooking made me go a little week at the knees

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

SMOKED BOAR BELLY MAC N CHEESE with penne (for 4)

400g smoked wild boar belly, bacon or speck, sliced into lardons
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup grated honky dory tasty or cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup extra to top
2 tablespoons of your favourite mustard (I used that cheap American ball park stuff, but Dijon would be the goods)
1lt milk
50g flour
50g butter
400g dried macaroni (yeah, I know it’s almost a full packet but that extra 100g is that little bit too much), cooked per packet instructions and refreshed
A large handful parsley, chopped
Chopped spinach, kale or frozen peas if you need to get some greenery in there

• Fry the lardons over medium heat for 5 minutes, until browned and simmering in a pool of their own rendered fat. Discard most of the rendered fat or, if you’re keen, save it in the fridge for next time you roast potatoes. Let’s get that stuff in the fridge, eh? Put the lardons aside while you get the rest ready
• To make a béchamel sauce (white sauce. Like what you use for cauliflower cheese) first melt butter in a saucepan over med-low heat. Add flour and cook out for a couple of minutes (to get rid of the raw floury taste), stirring constantly. While stirring slowly add milk until you have a smooth, sauce-like constancy. If it doesn’t end up nice and smooth, get some whisk action onto it and beat those damn lumps into submission. Add cheeses and mustard and stir to combine
• Add the lardons, pasta and parsley and combine
• Transfer to baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake in 180C oven for 30-35 minutes. You want it bubbling and golden so don’t be afraid to chuck it back in the oven for another few minutes and even turn it up a little to get the result
• A nice little leafy salad is probably a pretty good accompaniment. That and the company of your favourite kids (hopefully the fact that they’re your favourite kids alone should mean they’re yours, but if not soz… just soz)

If you have some left overs the next day feel free to slice it into squares, crumb it up and deep fry the crap out of them for tasty fried mac n cheese bites a la Paul’s Caul.

Bacon and Broccoli Pasta or Pizza… Bacon Week Overflow

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Eff yes. Home made egg yolk pasta with the goods

Eff yes. Home made egg yolk pasta with the goods

As you may well gather from my last few posts it is damn cold in these normally sun kissed and glowing Northern Rivers. All I have is a constant reminder of how the magic rays of the sun can benefit a man from the ever-so-constant facehead up dates from my compatriot and long time friend Pauly, as he eats his way through the back alleys and undulating hillsides of South America. I love them, I really do, but fuck Pauly, it was -1C this morning when I got into my chariot to commence my journey to my residence of daily assignment… and believe me when I say it was a slow journey, as three of my seven chariot drawing carnies had fallen to the dreaded frost in the night. Don’t sleep I tell them, don’t sleep.

But, to warm my cockles and yours, I do still have a bit of Bacon Week overflow.

One of my favourite combos two ways; Bacon, baby broccoli, anchovy and chilli pizza or pasta… you choose.

The pizza. I really like the little charred bits on the broccoli

The pizza. I really like the little charred bits on the broccoli

It’s easy enough that I probably shouldn’t even need to offer you an actual recipe. Well, that’s what I was thinking but… yeah, I’ll do a recipe.

BACON AND BROCCOLI PASTA (for 4)

6 rashers bacon, sliced into 5mm pieces
1 brown onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 anchovies
1 long red chilli, finely diced (you could use a pinch of dried chilli flakes if you want)
1 bunch baby broccoli or broccolini, chopped into 4cm pieces, any thicker pieces of stem sliced in half lengthways
Enough pasta for 4, cooked as per packet instructions
Grated parmesan to serve

• Hit a pan with a splash of olive oil and sauté everything except broccoli and pasta until it is starting to get a little colour and smell damn well delicious
• While the bacon thing is going on blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute and 1 minute only
• Add broccoli to bacon mix and sauté for another minute
• Add pasta to pan, toss to combine adding another splash of olive oil if it looks like it needs it
• Serve that shit up immediately with a handful of parmesan on top
• For the pizza all you need to do is smear a bit of tomato passata over a pizza base, lay a couple of pieces of cheese on there, chuck the same ingredients over that and cook in a really hot oven until done to your liking. Try it. It will make your face smile

#easytastygood

Easter-ness

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Mmmmm. Roast lamb in the fire

Mmmmm. Roast lamb in the fire

I know. I’ve been offline for over a week now and all I have to offer is the same ol’ tale of a man who works in the hospitality industry and is tied to the stoves during holiday periods. A man who loves the customers that demand so much of him during these times. A man who always returns home with a smile on his face… mostly. A man who talks an awful lot of bollocks… definitely. Anyway, I am back like a dirty old stalker. You will never really get rid of me. I’ll always be there, lurking in the shadows, just around the corner, armed only with my dirty beard and mind.

Cyberdyne industries is ready to go online.

Our humble home played host to another couple of guests this week; me old mates Nozza and Troppo. These guys are some of my favourite peeps in the world, so needless to say, I couldn’t spend my whole time on the tappy-key-screen-thing writing stories for you… that may have been mostly because I was drunk… or cooking… sometimes both.

So Nozza and Troppo were here. We, as good hosts, thought it appropriate to start with some canapés and witty banter, and then realised we were far from this “good hosts” couple we were speaking of, so we started off in the usual manner; beer consumption and stories of times gone by…

Old skool catch-ups are the best.

We were both by-standers and protagonists in the over-consumption of Easter eggs. We ate hot crossed buns for no other reason than “because it is Easter”. I like to anoint a toasty grilled bun with something similar to it’s own weight in butter – really lube that shit up. We also ate many great food. Very, very nice indeed. And what, may I ask you, would any festive type holiday period be with the consumption of a beverage or two? That’s right; it wouldn’t be a very fucking festive holiday at all, would it? So we also drank festive amounts of booze.

When all was said and done, and chocolate eggs eaten and dodgy theories about Easter discussed, this was a damn fine weekend. It was a weekend I needed like a royal needs stupid looking pets and what can only be described as WTF sporting obsessions.

This shall be somewhat of a visual diary of the week that has past.

Duck sausage, pork rib, mushroom and kale pasta

Duck sausage, pork rib, mushroom and kale pasta

The photo doesn't look that crash hot but this shit tasted good

The photo doesn’t look that crash hot but this shit tasted good

Chicken, coconut and kaffir lime broth, noodles and dumplings

Chicken, coconut and kaffir lime broth, noodles and dumplings

Have heaps of lime with this one

Have heaps of lime with this one

Lamby rubbed down with garlic, anchovies, preserved lemon and rosemary followed by three hours in the coals of the fire

Lamby rubbed down with garlic, anchovies, preserved lemon and rosemary followed by three hours in the coals of the fire

Nothing wrong with this picture

Nothing wrong with this picture

Served up with roasted potatoes and baby capsicum from the coals and chickpea and cavolo nero pilaff

Served up with roasted potatoes and baby capsicum from the coals and chickpea and cavolo nero pilaff

That pilaff

That pilaf

The boys made frittata omelette for breakfast

The boys made frittata omelette for breakfast

Tomato, mushrooms, cheese and herbs… and fully made by the kids to boot

Tomato, mushrooms, cheese and herbs… and fully made by the kids to boot

I hope it was a good one and fulfilled all expectations for you and yours. Lots of love from your friends at foodisthebestshitever.

Simply brilliant simple chorizo, rogue cherry tomato and herb pasta

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If you pay attention to the words that are printed on these new age electronic enviro-friendly, paper-free pages, you may remember me stating that I would be cleansing my body over this month. So you could imagine my food consumption may have simplified dramatically. As I am purging my physical being and soul of impurities, I have no room in my diet for fatty, meaty, buttery, cheesey goodness. Plenty of fruit, nuts, rice with stir-fried vegetables, salads and Asian vegetable soup all on repeat until body and mind have repented for their sins and chi is in alignment with Jupiter… I very clearly have no idea what is going on here.

Tonight we have to some extent strayed from the course a little, I little off the track, venturing into the bold unknown (and no. Not one of these are euphemisms) with this cracking pasta. Yes, we tossed the map of the country we shall call extra-healthy-and-well-being-place. We threw that map fair out of the car window, hooked a hard left and followed the dirt track to damn-tasty-dinner-county. Hell yeah!

My youngest son, Obi, wanted pasta like the cheap hooker wants the penicillin, and quite frankly he didn’t need to hire a high class lawyer with many fancy diagrams and big words to pound his argument into me. I was very easily convinced that a slight detour past the recently implemented safe distance from health and rejuvenation might be a good idea tonight. I fricking well wanted pasta too. Man cannot live on a bowl of rice a day forever… although I guess a million Philippine factory workers can’t be wrong…

This is another pasta dish that is literally child’s play. My son made this and he is seven years old. All I needed to do were the things that required “big hands”, like cooking the pasta and… well that was about it actually. All you need is someone to cook the pasta and you could make this too.

The rogue cherry tomato bush that is now providing us with a heap of cherry tomatoes every day

The rogue cherry tomato bush that is now providing us with a heap of cherry tomatoes every day

Obi grating the parmesan, after he chopped the sausage

Obi grating the parmesan, after he chopped the sausage

Toss it all together in the pan

Toss it all together in the pan

You will not be disappointed with this… unless, of course, you are allergic to chorizo… then you will most likely hate this

You will not be disappointed with this… unless, of course, you are allergic to chorizo… then you will most likely hate this

CHORIZO, ROGUE CHERRY TOMATO AND HERB PASTA (for 4)
The really good thing about using a cured sausage in a simple pasta dish is the chorizo is full of garlic and spices and pork so it provides a kick-ass flavour base for quick and easy week night cooking. Hell yeah!

250-300g spaghetti, cooked by someone with “big hands”
2 chorizo sausage, sliced
2 punnets (400g-ish) cherry tomatoes, from the cherry tomato plant you found running rampant in your backyard
2 handfuls of fresh herbs (Whatever you have in your garden. Any combination of parsley, basil, mint and oregano will do the trick), chopped or torn
Some chopped fresh chilli or dried chilli flakes if you want a bit of extra spice
A splash of white wine if you have some lying around in the fridge, not really pulling it’s weight…
Seasoning
Grated parmesan to serve
• Sauté chorizo, with a little olive oil, for 3 minutes or until it has started to release it’s sexy oily red juices
• Add tomatoes, chilli and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook out for another 3 minutes or so, until tomatoes start to blister and collapse
• Deglaze with wine and then add pasta and herbs. Toss to combine. Check seasoning
• Serve with a bit of grated parmesan

This pasta dish would be a happy home for some prawns or crayfish or squid or chicken. A very happy and caring home indeed.

Foodisthebestshitever – promoting easy-tasty every day!

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