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!

Baked pasta with pork and sage meatballs and kale

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I have felt like eating something similar to a recipe from my friend over at Cottage Grove House (which you may find here) had posted since I saw it in the wee hours of the morning. 5:30am to be exact. But this is bound to happen when you get up at 5am every morning to go fishing because you’re on holiday and suss out the blogs you like while having your morning necessities ie. Coffee or toast or whatever it is you consider to be a necessity in the morning. When I say similar though, I mean I want something with pasta, some kind of sausage or meatball type thing and something green. OK. Once again I head to the fridge… there’s pork mince in there so that shall be my meatball/sausage. There’s also sage in the garden so there’s a winning combo, much like the 20 bucks in your pocket and the sideshow alley entertainment of dubious origin. I also spied some kale in the fridge and there is pasta in the box of goodies I have brought with me to Iluka. Also, in a quick “fuck it”, I have decided I’ll chuck in some of that zucchini hiding in the bottom of the fridge where all the vegetables the kids hate go to die too (the kids hate it, but I love it so THEY WILL LEARN TO LOVE IT TOO. Or something like that).

I don’t even need to make a trip to the shops today… time to crack the lid on one of those bottles of goodness in aforementioned fridge. The ones that are filled with something that can only be described as looking like urine, containing an alcohol content of 4.5% and having a silhouette of a pregnant or possibly obese woman in a circle with a line through it on the label. I think this piss-like alcoholic beverage is not meant for fat ladies. That right there could land me in a bit of strife but I have no better judgement, so I shall run with it.

In a moment of good judgement though, I feel, I have decided to bake this instead of trying to do it in a pan… mostly because there is nary a pan bigger than my palm in this kitchen. Baking pasta is a great way to feed the masses (or even just two ravenous children) with out the need for a big pot/pan. Everyones got a big baking dish right? Good.

All in the oven dish
All in the oven dish
Whack a bit of béchamel and cheesy goodness on top
Whack a bit of béchamel and cheesy goodness on top
Add a few garlic croutons and you're ready to go
Add some garlic toast and you’re ready to go

BAKED SPIRAL PASTA WITH PORK & SAGE MEATBALLS AND KALE (for 4)
1x 250g pack pasta spirals (I would’ve preferred penne, but spirals is what we had so spirals is what I used… and the kids eat the shit out of those bloody things)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 zucchini, diced… I’ll see if they notice. They didn’t… suckerrrrrrs
Pork and sage meatballs (recipe below)
2 cups béchamel sauce (you know how to make this by now, yes?) because anything that is baked with béchamel is a winner with the kids. And me too actually
Grated cheese to top
• Cook pasta just like the instructions on the pack tell you to. Strain and put aside for a minute or two while you get the rest of this together
• Hopefully you have made a béchamel sauce and it is ready and waiting. And your meatballs should be ready to go, too
• Sauté zucchini and garlic until it starts to colour, add kale and toss to combine. Cover and simmer for another minute to get that party started
• Combine everything except the béchamel and cheese, check seasoning and then lay it down softly into a baking dish that will fit it all comfortably
• Top with béchamel and then a layer of cheese
• Bake at 200C for 15 or so minutes, or until it looks like lava and you fear for a new stone age just a little
• Eat it now. A little salad or some crusty bread or even garlic toast would probably find a happy home right here

Mixy mixy
Mixy mixy
Bally bally
Bally bally
Cooky cooky
Cooky cooky

Pork & sage meatballs
400g pork mince
½ brown onion, bruniose
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small handful each parsley and sage, chopped nice and fine
A pinch of chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli, or more if you love it
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
Seasoning
• Mix it all together
• Form into little balls, roughly the size of a tiny little ball
• That in your hand is a meatball, my friend, a meatball
• Brown them in a pan with a little oil. This will only work if you have heat under said pan. Med-high for 5-6 minutes will do the trick
• You’ve done well. Go and get yourself a beer. Seriously, you deserve it

Iluka and a prawn pasta that will do the trick for Valentines Day I think…

Prawny, prawny pasta
Prawny, prawny pasta

Iluka again.

Yes we’re back to Iluka again.

The owners of the restaurant I work at have declared we shall be closed for a week for maintenance and a well-deserved break after the holiday craziness. I agreed this was a good idea. Even if I was a little simpler then I think I am and didn’t think it was a good idea, I would still have packed my ass up and headed off to Iluka for the week. I love this little town. I think I could even go so far as to speak for the rest of the family and say we love this little town.

It’s a nice drive down, only taking one hour in a white mans motorized metal chariot, which is just inside of the minimum safe time lapse for the kids to start ripping each other’s faces off. It is a home to great beaches, fishing, a nice little fisherman’s co-op with a good range of fresh seafood from the surrounding waters that all comes with a smile and a reasonable price tag, national parks, a bottle shop… this list could carry on for ever. But this is not a brochure for “tourism Iluka”, it is but a simple story of a man and his two boys and a little house on the beach (that came in at under $500 for the seven nights I might add… Fuck it, this can be a “tourism Iluka” brochure. Get yer ass down here. It’s damn nice).

We have plans for eating all sorts of food while we are down here just because that’s how our holidays (and let’s face it, lives) work. Obi has spent the last week book-marking recipes he wants to cook. He even informed me that all of the recipes have ingredients listed so I can buy everything we nee to make them. Good kid that one.

But tonight we shall ease into this whole holiday thing and keep our evening meal simple. And by simple I mean simple and EFFING AWESOME.

Prawny prawns
Prawny prawns
Dish it up
Dish it up in the flairiest bowl you can find in the cupboard
Add you pangrattato and put it in your face
Add you pangrattato and put it in your face

Spaghetti with prawns, tomato, chilli, garlic and lemon, pangrattato (could happily serve 4 but was eaten by 3. Halve the recipe to serve you and your valentine, or you and your cat if that’s all you got)

1x 500g pack of spaghetti (this was a little too much for us but that just means you have some left for lunch tomorrow

600g headless king prawns, peeled and de-veined

3 tomatoes or a punnet of cherry tomatoes, diced

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1-2 long red chilli, chopped

1 lemon, zested and juiced

a handful of fresh rocket or chopped parsley or even coriander if you want to be cutting edge

olive oil

pangrattato to serve (recipe below)

  • Cook your pasta exactly how the instructions tell you to cook it. Strain it, reserving a little of the water and set aside for a few minutes because that my friend, is how long it’s going to take you to cook this. No shit
  • Get a pan up to a med-high heat and add a splash of oil
  • Add the prawns and sauté for a minute
  • Add tomatoes, garlic (I add the garlic now because I like it kind of punchy. Put it in with the prawns if you are not so keen or possibly have a hot valentine that you wouldn’t like to offend with your garlic-y stench. You should probably get some deodorant on too. You’re welcome), chilli and lemon zest and toss for that other minute
  • Add lemon juice and rocket/parsley/whatever and toss once more to wilt the greens
  • Season, toss with pasta and top with pangrattato
  • Eat it on the verandah of your house in a little seaside village… or maybe just pretend you’re here… there’s a spare room if you are

Pangrattato (fried bread crumbs)

Also known as poor man’s parmesan. But who ever the poor man was who invented this shit, he was poor no longer that’s for sure

½ loaf stale bread (I like to keep some in the freezer for such an occasion), blitzed to a rough crumb

2 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic if you would like your poor man’s parmesan to be more of a middle salary earners parmesan, smashed with the flat of a knife

  • On a low heat simmer the garlic until starting to brown and the kitchen smells like you have just cooked some garlic
  • Add the breadcrumbs and fry until crisp and golden. Depending on the bread, this could take 5-10 minutes
  • Drain on paper towel
  • Season with salt

This is probably something even you could whip up for your valentine… or eat it by yourself with nothing but a tube of hand moisturiser the thought of what could’ve been

 

Hella easy baked pasta with cannellini beans, tomato and vegetables for a pile of kids

That's what it looked like on my plate. This is my favourite plate
That’s what it looked like on my plate. This is my favourite plate

Today my worst fears were realised.

I was in the middle of prepping our evening meal this afternoon when Jennee sent me a message stating that she was heading home with two extra kids in tow (that makes 4 for anyone who’s not really good at maths) and she hoped it was cool that they were having a sleep-over.

“My nightly cooking detail is hard enough with two kids,” self said. “What are you doing surprising me with another two?”

That’s not even a surprise anyway. A surprise is something like chocolates under my pillow, a freshly mowed lawn when I return from a hard days work, or an extra lady in my bed when I retire for the evening.

“What the hell am I doing?” I thought to self. “What if these kids don’t like the stuff I’m cooking?”

“Fuck it. They can eat it anyway,” self said in an obscure act of defiance… I really think I spend too much time with self occasionally…

Anyhow, this is what I made…

Mix it all up (and sing a little song while you do it)
Mix it all up (and sing a little song while you do it)
Put the cheese on top and then put it in the oven
Put the cheese on top and then put it in the oven
Bake that bad boy until it is golden brown and beckoning to you like your next smack hit...
Bake that bad boy until it is golden brown and beckoning to you like your next smack hit…
Yeah I'm having some
Yeah I’m having some
Because there were so many of us at the table Obi made name tags so we would remember who is who. There's mine in the top left
Because there were so many of us at the table Obi made name tags so we would remember who is who. There’s mine in the top left

Baked pasta with cannellini beans, tomato and vegetables

250g pasta shells/penne/macaroni, cooked (the packet should help you out here)
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped (small to get it past the kids)
2 bunches of broccolini, chopped (small like the zucchini)
3 anchovies
1 tablespoon capers
1x 400g tin cannellini beans
1x 700g bottle tomato passata
2 cups cheddar or whatever cheese, grated
½ cup parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
• Sauté onion, zucchini and anchovies until softened
• Mix everything except cheeses together, then chuck that into a baking dish that is big enough to fit it (a baking dish that is not big enough to fit is only going to cause a mess followed by your wife getting very upset followed by an argument followed by the end of your evening. Don’t do it)
• Bake at 200C for half an hour or until the cheesey crust is bubbling like the communal bath at the local homeless shelter
• Eat it
• MAKE the kids eat it
• Smile

… And (true story) they all ate it. Which is kind of lucky because if they didn’t I would’ve eaten them. But they all loved it, which was the part that surprised me a little. One bowl here, two there, and Obi was back for thirds! I am a winner tonight!

Paul’s Caul… Return of the Mac

Return of the Mac

 

So you may or may not of missed me, you may or may not of realized I haven’t written anything since my November holiday extravaganza, in fact there may still be some of you that think Graeme and I are one in the same…. Well I can clear it all up right now, we are separate entities, I have been beyond busy and in turn knackered/lazy as shit.

 

But with a new year always come that burst of energy, like a kid high as fuck on red cordial or as excited as a bow legged lady of the night as she see’s an American navy ship cruising into the port, either way there is sure to be some good times before the buzz wears off.

 

So for me the New Year means eat less sugar, train more and to finally give up on my unhealthy obsession with hunting for the final Tasmanian tiger… also maybe stop making shit up J

 

But what 2014 really means to me and my beautiful lady is travel… and shit tonnes of it, mid year we go to South America for the world cup and bugger me I’m excited. We’re travelling with our good friends G-money and Carla Da Bruce so this means the trip with consist of lots of good eating, drinking and laughing, possibly tears and a 90% chance of all getting dressed up like Peruvian lama shepherds and making this our profile picture on Facebook. We also have a few other trips booked but let’s not go on about that now, plenty of time to bore you with that later on in the year.

 

I love Christmas, I really do, I love the decorations, the advent calendars, the presents, the job opportunities for the worlds small people, the overwhelming sense of entitlement that every western society has towards tangible objects, and of course I love the food… and holy fuck there is a lot of it!!!

 

Every one pulls out there favourite recipes and spends so much time, money and effort on their Christmas breakfast, lunches, dinners and everything in-between so for me it is such a beautiful time of the year….  I was lucky enough this year to cook Christmas lunch for some of my all time favourite dj’s and a few other good friends, they where all in town for Breakfest (that’s Breakfest, not breakfast) on boxing day here in Perth, one of the many reasons I love what I do is being able to share what I do with people from all over the world.

 

Deep fried cheese you say!

 

Well funny you should mention that, that’s exactly the topic de jour for my scribbling’s… it was several moons ago that Lauren asked me how to make ‘mac and cheese bites’ as she wanted to make for one of our many share table dinners we go to, but she wanted to make it herself… “as I always steal the limelight with my magnificent creations” (her words)(not really) so I gave her the gist of it… wink wink.

 

No, I really did explain the basic’s of the white sauce, the cheese and the pasta and getting on together like old school mates on ecstasy and she seemed to already know all there is to know about the subject, so I stepped back, in fact I was actually at work so it was more a step away then a step back, but regardless I came home to the cooked and set mac and cheese. We then crumbed the shit out it the next day and started to fry the little fucks up…. By all that is holy in this world, these delicious little bastards are the balls, they are the tits, they are whatever you dream of… so they may be the gerbils.

 

This following recipe is my interpretation of what Lauren created, the photo’s however are of the bites Lauren made, and did a stand up job… but like anything that contains cheese you should make it with your favorite cheese and go silly with how much you use and then in turn eat, get cheese in your face… often! I feel this should be a cheese maker’s slogan.

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Done
Done

Mac & Cheese Bites

50g plain flour

50g butter

1lt milk

1 brown onion with 3 cloves pushed in it (studded onion)

250g Parmesan

250g mozzarella

250g talegggio

3 cups macaroni (cook it… you know how)

 

  • in a pot bring milk and studded onion to simmer and infuse flavour for 5-10 minutes… discard onion
  • in a pot melt butter and add flour stirring until it forms a paste and in time a crumbie mix, this is a roux and you should all now how to make this, only exception would be if you are an orphan that got moved from home to home as a child.
  • Add milk slowly and stir until smooth and thickened, then add cheeses and seasoning
  • Stir through cooked pasta and place in a lined tray with sides, the mix should be 1 inch high, so when set you can cut into inch squares.
  • Then crumb the shit out of them.

 

Crumbing station

Flour bowl (seasoned)

Egg wash (eggs and liquid, milk is good but scotch works)

Crumb (must be delicious, other than that can be dried crumbs, fresh crumb, panko, cornflakes, pop corn, almond, coconut… get my point?)

 

  • For this you just go through the steps, cleanly as possible, using one hand per bowl
  • Maybe double crumb to be safe

 

 

Now all’s that left is to fry them and serve with sauce, I like HP, Lauren likes a blue cheese sauce, what do you like?

 

Happy new years to you all…. Smiley face

 

 

 

A Monday dinner post that should have been up yesterday

I’m thinking it’s Monday and believe me, that’s not because I am truly in touch with the sun, the moon, the earth and all of my surroundings. No, my astutely tuned powers of observation have realised their full potential through print media, reality TV shows and the worldwideweb.com. So now, with this newfound knowledge coupled with another cracking fact this media world has let me in on; a lot of people in the world don’t like Mondays (Fact. It is hard for them in all the places life should be easy, and then soft for them in the one place it’s meant to be hard), I have decided that I shall offer a recipe that is both simple and tasty… just like the junior prom queen. Made for a Monday one might say. A little something that ticks all of the boxes for a quick and easy meal in amongst the turmoil that is getting home from work, kids yelling in your face, carnies tugging on your shirt and all the other stuff that adds up to equate to you not having the time to cook.

Quick and easy eating

Whatever.

Everyone has the time to cook. It’s all about how much time you have and how wisely you spend it. Hey, you may think I’m getting up on my soap box here and you know what? Maybe I am. It’s my soap box and I’ll do what I want with it ok? Yeah. I’m the boss of me… And the two wage slave kids I have making kilts in the basement. Story for another time? Most likely…

Sure. Sometimes it may just be about getting food on the table… But it should never really be about just getting food on the table. And yes, I know what I did there.

How many non-consecutive paragraphs can I fit in this post? Let’s see…

Now I should decide on an actual recipe to offer you because, to be absolutely honest with you (yeah I finally feel comfortable enough with our relationship to be fully honest with you now), I kinda just started writing this story on a wing and a prayer.

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Pizza. Yeah pizza. Pizza is easy eating (who said it had to be Friday food? Satan worshipers, that’s who). All you need is something as minimal as cheese to top it, and a few pre-rolled bases in the freezer… and now you are met with a fork in the road; the high path, if chosen, is one of glory, gospel singing and holy angels dancing and generally having a good time. This road is paved with glorious things that I can’t remember right now. But they are there! Yes, this is the road of the home made pizza base. Made with love and born from your own loins, capable of giving breath to the dead and sight to the old blind man (who shall only have it taken from him again in a heartbeat because of his compulsive feverish masturbation addiction). This high road is of course countered by an equal and opposite low road. A goat track filled with potholes, and sellers of Mexican hats and weird little trinkets who descend on you at every set of traffic lights. And there are lots of traffic lights. It is also very dark and it rains a lot. Yes my friends, this is the un-holy goat track of the super market freezer section, death-to-any-idea-that-these-products-once-were-food frozen pizza bases.

So take from that paragraph of more absolute bollocks what you will… here is the recipe for my pizza.

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MY PIZZA with bacon, anchovies and capers

This is kind of a take on the puttanesca flavours that I know and love so dearly, but I (being the fully smart person that I am) have used kick ass smokey bacon instead of olives. Genius. There are no actual quantities not because I am being lazy (well, maybe just a little bit), but because it really depends on how mu you like these things and how piled with toppings you like your pizza to be (it should be noted that I prefer a minimally topped pizza… but you need the base to be the star if that’s how you’re going to roll…)

Pizza base/s

Tomato passata or paste or leftover pasta sauce, something tomato-y

Bacon

Anchovies

Capers

Provolone cheese

Fresh herbs and olive oil to dress

  • Pre heat your oven to really effing hot. The hotter the better.
  • Sort out your pizza.  I like to put the tomato sauce on first, then cheese, then the rest
  • Get it in the really hot oven for 15 or so minutes
  • Garnish with fresh herbs and olive oil
  • Eat it in your face!
  • That’s it. Now Monday is done! Night night