Paul’s Caul… The lucky country

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For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P

Paul is the one on the left. On the right is his lovely now fiancee, Lauren

Paul is the one on the left. On the right is his lovely now fiancee, Lauren


Bonjour my friends, I am alive and well living the European dream actually on a train on our way to Prague, my only excuse for lack of writing is pure laziness mixed with equal parts of cheese and pork pies. But with that delicious recipe comes some serious side effects, yes fellow foodies let it be known that cheese and pork products of pretty much any kind contain stuff that makes your belly big, its like magic and not the good magic that pulls fucking rabbits from hats, no on the contrary the fat bastard rabbit would in this case be stuck in the hat.

But this isn’t to say I’m so massive that I could no longer use a keyboard because of my now swollen fingers, not at all it just means that I have to run many km’s everyday just to keep the scales of my existence level (deep shit right there). This has been made extremely easy as I’ve been living in a kind of fairy-tale land in a walled estate with a huge stately hall in which we were living in a tower, so running around said estate was not a hard sell at all.

Pauly in heaven in Amsterdam

Pauly in heaven in Amsterdam


But after now living in France and the UK for the last year and in-between travelling to a ridiculous amount of other countries, I have decided that eating well over here seems a lot harder then when in Australia. Now don’t get me wrong we have eaten some incredible food in every country we have been, but in general the meat to veg ratio is never as low as when in Australia. For example we have just spent the last few days in Berlin and the food was so good, Jagarscnitzel, spatzle, flamchuken the list goes on and on, their bread is top notch but did we see any green on a plate of food? Did we fuck!

It must be against the law to serve veg unless they just see us coming dressed like the super tourist I become once travelling, dressed like a mixture of someone about to climb Everest and a member of the Taliban, they save all of the healthy stuff for the local and leave us slowly dyeing as we gobble down meat in cream sauces served with potato dumpling to fulfil the stodge factor. And before any German readers start to get all high and mighty about me pigeon holing an entire nations culinary delights of the back of a few days eating, I freely admit I may of just walked into the wrong places but its not just Germany, France is very much the same, even salads seem to be filled with so many non healthy ingredients or dressing that you truly find it hard to eat well when travelling. Amsterdam is a little better as was Belgium lots more veg but still nothing like the extensive array of goodness on offer in Australia cafes and restaurants.

Jagarscnitzel with spatzle and mushroom sauce

Jagarscnitzel with spatzle and mushroom sauce


I must say Spain is an exception and tapas lends itself to good healthy eating and we are never disappointed when dining in Española, markets are always filled with delicious fresh veges and fruit and the array of different cuisines is spectacular, even their coffee is acceptable in places.

Now lets get started on England, land of delicious food that makes me so happy as its what I grew up on, but lets not forget that I was one fat little fucker and I now know why… they class potato crisps as veg! That should be explanation enough but I will go on, I find the comparison to America and England getting a little closer as the years goes on, I was freaked out by the choice of sides offered when in America but its now pretty much the same now in England, if you order for instance a pie in an Australian café you may get the choice of chips or salad with it which in my opinion is a good thing, as I like to play the balance game of a little bad and a little good… now if you were to order a pie in England you would firstly have to choose which form of potato you would like with it. Chips, mash or jacket filled with cheese, then it would be the green component, pies are revered in England but generally served in the mushy form but can be ordered garden style (which must mean over cooked and grey) if you were to ask for a side salad instead of the usual you may be lucky enough to get a hospitable chef that will rack his culinary repertoire to find 1 piece of iceberg topped with 1 slice of cucumber and 1 slice of tomato, that its! So not to surprisingly you end up ordering chips because they are fucking delicious and when in Rome.

Vegetables

Vegetables


I want to clarify that have found exceptions to the rule everywhere we go but it is very hard work, but what we miss the most out of all the meals each day is a bloody good breakfast… no where and I mean NO WHERE does breaky like Australia, plates full of spinach, avocado, bacon, ricotta, sourdoughs, nice honeys and coffee yes coffee lets talk about coffee shall we….

How the fuck doesn’t the entire world know about good coffee? Time after time I get excited ordering my favourite beverage in the world and after finally working out what a ‘long mac topped up’ is in whichever country we are, I then prepare myself for impending misery mixed with extremely hot badly frothed milk, and with a few exceptions I’m never let down… time after time the coffee has no taste and the milk is a non event, quite often its served in one of those ridiculous glasses with a handle too low down which fucks with its centre of gravity, then one sip in and the creaminess disappears and I’m let with a murky cup of brown shit. How can this be? How did Australia become the world leader in coffee preparation? I need to know, and more importantly more Australian Barista’s need to start travelling now.

So we really do miss Australia and all of the incredible chefs and barista’s that it holds, but as it may be quite some time before we come back I just want to let it be known Europe that I’ve noticed what you’re up too and we will be keeping an eye on your progress, but in the meantime sort your shit out and make a decent coffee for the love of god.

Paul’s Caul… the Spanish cook off

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For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P

SPANISH COOK OFF

After spending a season admiring this guys food, I won’t lie I felt some serious pressure as we prepared for the Spanish cook off. This cook off entailed a four course menu with a canapé, cooked for Grants Dad Derek, the lovely Paula and our respective partners Rachel and of course Lauren. The rules were simple we would go shopping together at the local shops and then each choose a night to put on a slap up feed in Casa Oasis (Derek and Paula’s B’n’B). Grant choose Thursday night so he was first cab off the rank, I choose Saturday so I could gauge just how far I needed to push things. But all this meant was I had a day to stress as his food as expected was top notch. Other rules included you must be dressed at all times and never play Ouiji alone, but lets face it that’s just common sense.

Yes

Yes


The location and the ingredients were the only thing Spanish about our cook off, we may have been sweating a little more than usual and yes we were drinking the benefits of a tax-free live but not much tapas in sight. When we arrived at the supermarket it was a real treat to see a banging seafood counter full of interesting and unusual species ready to confuse travelling chefs who think they know a thing or two about food. But with a huge crowd hovering around it we decided we should start the shop before attempting to order said seafood in a language that we were sure to bastardise.
Yes

Yes


It was about now it dawned on us that nether of us know enough Spanish to successfully navigate around a shop, but with a total disregard for logic our shop began with a couple of donuts for the ladies being whacked in the trolley, lets face it a donut doesn’t need any translation. Next was the veg aisle and it wasn’t the array of goodies we had hoped for, what was there was nice stuff but not a lot of variety at all. So what people saw was two large chefs mumbling dishes under their breath as they tried to conjure menu’s in their heads. Yes we seemed autistic as we said things like “zucchini with parsley, watermelon with chilli and mint, but what the fuck am gonna do with this parsnip… fuck it I’ll grab it anyway” this is as far as I know how all chefs shop, sporadic with a sense of purpose that seems confident, when inside we have next to no idea what it going to be finally placed on plates.
Not the best pic but still hell yes

Not the best pic but still hell yes


Next was the booze aisle so two bottles of 7 euro gin was quickly placed in the trolley along with tonic, so it was back to the veg aisle to grab cucumber and lime, no one said we were organised. Meat was to follow and in the middle of the meat section was a magnificent sight… a god damn Jamon stall, set up like a beach shack that served the most delicious cured legs of black pigs, the nice lady noticed our drool and quickly offered to slice us some samples. I feel she actually feared for her life, as we salivated some more, so in turn she gave us more Jamon. I did like her and her generous ways, so I felt it only right to buy some serrano Jamon, for what I didn’t know but you cant go wrong with the nutty tasting salted leg of the famous Spanish pig. I cant help but now picture a Spanish pig wearing a flamenco dress drinking sangria in a small tapas bar watching football, but you know me and stereotypes, I effing love them.
Yes

Yes


I also have a penchant for black pudding, so when I noticed some Morcilla for 1 euro I didn’t even know what happened, but as I walked away they were in our trolley, I love my brain. Grant had been scoping out the meat section and picked up some mini balls of chorizo but his heart was still at the seafood counter so it was back to the iced up tubs of the Mediterranean’s finest. Mackerel, octopus and razor clams took his attention so the senorita kindly gutted the fish and bagged up the clams, he was nice enough to get me 4 small whole squid.
Yes

Yes


With a full trolley we hit up the register to assess the damage but it was only 116 euro, which is only about 150 Aussie dollars, which is so effing cheap for a full trolley of goodness. Once home Grant started to truly formulate his menu and what he came up with was…

• Paprika caramelized Plantains for a canapé/snack
• Razor clams, octopus with ginger & tomato
• 5.5 minute egg with charred asparagus, egg dressing, chorizo
• Mackerel, spiced aubergine caviar, torched broccoli, roast cherry tomato, saffron sauce
• Banana cake, whiskey strawberries, mango custard, toffee banana & mint

What we were treated to that night was nothing short of spectacular, I wont lie I’m very jealous of the way Grant plates his food, its stunning and just so different from my plating. I was crossing my fingers under the table hoping for his flavours to be rubbish, but no such luck, all dishes were a triumph both visually and flavour wise. My personnel favourite was the octopus and clam dish with a hint of ginger, spring onion and a little chilli… here is his recipe and some photo’s of other dishes…

Oh dear good lord yes

Oh dear good lord yes


Razor clams with octopus

250g octopus
20 razor clams
4 spring onions
1 knob of ginger
1 small bunch of coriander
12 sprigs of parsley (for garnish )
4 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 Juice and zest of a lemon and a lime
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 shallots
6 tablespoons extra Virgin olive oil (3 for garnish )

• Season the octopus with salt, pepper, garlic, chilli and lemon. Either bbq or grill then oven cook on a low heat for around an hour
• Cook razor clams for ten seconds in boiling salty water. Take the clam from the membrane, discard the latter and boil the empty shells to sterilise
• Fry shallots , garlic, spring onion, ginger and finally tomato paste and paprika until shallots are soft and the tomato has been cooked out
• Thinly slice both the octopus and clams and add to the frying pan to combine
• Add the lemon, lime and olive oil and cool
• Once cold add chopped coriander and place mixture into sterilised shells
• For service grill until warm, place on plate and garnish with olive oil and parsley

The bar was not only raised it was fair up me, I wasn’t comfortable with the situation or this analogy but I was very well feed and honoured to be part of a home cooking challenge with such an incredible chef such as Grant. So over the next day I plotted and planned many dishes but with an extra day up my sleeve I did have the upper hand.

Friday came along and it was deep sea fishing in the med for day time activities followed by cooking our bounty as the sun went down, but I still managed to whack out a dessert in the afternoon. I made 6 glasses of ginger and chilli panna cotta and some spiced cookie dough, these made me sleep a little easier, as I had a bit done for Saturday night. But when I awoke on Saturday I checked the panna cotta’s and as I’d had to set them with agar agar they were heaps more set then I wanted, in fact they were rubbery as fuck so I decided to take from glasses and blended then whip to make into a ginger and chilli cream. Then it was my time to finally decide on some dishes so I scribbled down my thoughts…

• Roast pear with balsamic, blue cheese wrapped in serrano Jamon
• Ginger & lime squid on a watermelon chilli & mint salad
• Morcilla, tapenade, asparagus salad
• Herby beef, parsnip puree, confit cherry tomatoes, spring onion
• Chilli & ginger cream, spiced biscuit crumb, coconut rum & mint macerated strawberries, candy floss

All in all I was happy with what I served up, especially since all was produced in a home kitchen with limited ingredients. My squid dish seemed to be the people’s favorite, whilst the morcilla was mine, one day these two might have the same out come. I have before made many versions of this squid dish and I think I have even given you the recipe before so instead I will give you the desserts recipe…

More yes

More yes


Chilli & ginger cream, spiced biscuit crumb, coconut macerated strawbs

Chilli & ginger cream

300ml cream
200ml milk
120g sugar
1 dried chilli
1 small knob fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of agar agar

• Heat all except agar in pan and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse flavours, then whisk in agar and simmer for 1 minute, strain into container and refrigerate
• Once set, blend until smooth then whisk up into nice thick cream. Whack into piping bag

Spiced biscuits

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 cups plain flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon hot water
1 tablespoon four spice

• Cream butter and sugar then add all ingredients one after another then roll into logs in cling wrap and freeze or chuck in fridge
• When want them just slice into ½ cm slices and bake at 180 until coloured nicely
• To make crumb blend once cold in a blender

Macerated strawberries

• Chop strawbs into ¼’s and toss in Malibu rum and fresh mint. Leave for a while so they all get together
• You can then start the build on the plate, I whack some crumbs down first, then the strawbs in a nice pile then pipe 5 different sized blobs of the cream, crumble some freeze dried raspberries around the place and finish with some candy floss on top of strawbs

The week finally came to end with so many memories of lazing by a pool and eating lots of delicious food. Who won you ask? Well I think the other four people were the real winners, but I give my vote to Grant as his food is always food I wish was something I’d produced, and special mention to Derek and Paula of Casa Oasis for allowing to chef’s into their kitchen and home to do what we do best… cook, eat & drink.

Paul’s Caul… Life’s Good

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11182165_10153352434563783_1488789792169182898_n

For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P

Life’s good

I’m not even going to bother to try and explain why I’ve been so shit at writing lately, I could try to spin some elaborate yarn about my fingers being temporarily paralysed or my eyes not functioning correctly… but lets face it, you haven’t even missed me at all, not one person has written to us saying “where the fuck is that charming man from Paul’s caul gone?” so as far as I’m concerned you are lucky I’ve come back full stop. I’m not going to lie I’m upset and a little disappointed that I seem to be like the rest of your disposable world. That’s it Paul slag everyone off, that will make them want you more, well it cant make you care any less you emotional vultures, you filthy bunch of love sponges.

Well its with teary eyes and a heavy heart that I dust off my pride and give you all one last chance, if I’d don’t get actual tangible love from at least three people worldwide for this post then that’s it, I’m done… ”What is this tangible love you speak of” I hear you ask… well quite frankly all I need is a like on Facebook or a comment on this blog and my easily inflated ego should be right for several hours at least before I turn to instagram or any other form of instant gratification I can get my filthy attention grabbing hands on.

It is at this point I realize that I have fuck all to actual say, I truly haven’t formulated what I’m about to write, but with my nonsensical style I feel I can wing it and just maybe just get you all up to date with what myself and the lovely Lauren have been up to (yes she is still with me. It’s a shock to me too).

Is that a dolphin between your legs or are you just happy to be on holiday?

Is that a dolphin between your legs or are you just happy to be on holiday?

For those with an incredible memory and the space to store useless information, you will recall that we have been living in the French alps, eating our body weight in fromage washed down with vin rouge and running a chalet in what ever time we have left after said eating and drinking occurs. And just in case you need my former sentence translated I shall try my best to translate it for those not so well travelled… when someone says “fromage and vin rouge” it translates to “I’m a complete wanker who has been in France for five minutes and speak fuck all French but like to big note myself on the internet”. Hopefully Google translate didn’t let me down.

The winter season has now come to a halt and I find myself in Spain eating tapas, drinking and spending time with some amazing friends we met in the mountains, for the purpose of this story we shall call them Rachel and Grant, as that is also by chance their given names. Grant is a seriously good chef, which is great for me to learn from and also eat all his tasty food. But with him around I have to lift my game, so boo to having to lift my game whilst on holiday.

Now I’m not going to sugar coat it, I’m just about as happy as I’ve ever been right now. Of course I’m writing this next to a pool, I’ve just played Dobble whilst drinking and frolicking in said pool after going for a spin on quad bikes around the Spanish desert, so of course I’m fucking content and happy… but I mean proper happy, with my life and all that deeper shit that’s essentially a lot harder to obtain.

Fishing off of Spain somewhere

Fishing off of Spain somewhere

I reckon it’s so unobtainable for most people because lets face it, most of us don’t have any idea what we really want… yes we all want money and shiny things but so do fucking magpies and as far as I can see they are some pretty fucking angry birds. But what I’ve always gauged my happiness on is my general content-ness in the everyday comings and goings of life. In this area presently I’m as rich as I’ve ever dreamed I’d be; beautiful partner, travel shit loads, incredible family and friends worldwide and get to cook my own delicious food (well I think so anyway) that pays my way through all of which I’ve just mentioned.

After just spending 5 months cooking in a very nice chalet in Meribel I have now been offered to be the private chef for a lord in England cooking at his decadent estate in the Peak district. This will entail a summer of living in a Downton Abbey like world of Grouse Shoots and hop knobbing with royalty, all whilst still getting to cook them what ever my heart desires. Amongst this we will also get to travel with the Family around their different properties as Lauren will be running front of house for them as well. So all in all not a bad summer about to occur.

I’m not just telling you all this to rub your noses in it, nor am I trying to say that all you need to do is work hard and love what you and all your dreams will come true… because what you don’t hear when I tell you what I’m up to, is that although I’m happy as a pig in shit doing what I’m doing, it is still extremely hard and very stressful work that doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels at all. We as chefs are always judged with such harsh criticism as people either like what they taste or not, there isn’t much room for creativity and organization to win over a customer that thinks your food tastes like salty pigs balls. Now what I want you to take from my experience in life is that never stop trying things as your dreams and goals will change and if you are lucky enough you may be in the midst of something before you take a second to sit back and realise that you are living your dream already.

A shit place to stay

A shit place to stay

But I’m bloody close to sounding like a god damn preacher so I shall pull up before I start praise our lord the saviour Christ, instead I shall praise our hosts Paula and Derek of Casa Oasis for their hospitality and tolerance of our incisive laughter and consistent G & T ing (coining the phrase, definition- to drink plentiful amount of gin and tonic) they have also allowed us to take over their extremely clean kitchen for our cooking exploits.

Grant and I are each cooking a big dinner each this week with his dinner tonight and my dinner on Saturday night it will be sure to be getting fiery in the kitchen. His ingredients of choice were Razor clams, octopus, mackerel, little weird sausage balls, mangos and Plantains so I cant wait to see what he comes up with.

I have chosen morcilla, entrecote beef, squid, serrano jamon and watermelon for my menu du jour. I will be sure to document the entire battle royal, with photo’s and recipes. But when this is all occurring whilst on holiday with friends in a villa in the Spanish desert then everyone a winner… although we are both extremely competitive so tears may flow.

Paul’s Caul… Penchant de Fromage

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cheese
Penchant de Fromage

We now live in the land of the cheese eating surrender monkeys, but regardless of their continual want for quitting anything they get into, you just cant go past their brilliance in the world of preserved milk, AKA cheese/fromage. This is made abundantly clear everywhere you go. Cheese is like currency in France, its sold everywhere, it’s what bacon is to the British and what beer is to the Australians, and quite possibly what sugar is to Americans.

You can’t find a menu that isn’t laden with cheesy goodness. We are living in the Alp’s so every second restaurant does fondue, not just the old pot of molten white love, they now have heat lamps that gently melt away layer by layer of semi hard cheeses like Raclette and they are perched on an ingenious rack that allows you to lower the half wheel to such an angle that you simply scrap of the top layer of gooey deliciousness… clever French bastards!

Then you walk outside thinking to yourself “I’ll go for a nice walk to burn off all of this effing cheese that seems to find its way into my ever increasing belly” so you casually stroll down the road only to be ambushed by these sneaky dairy producers, it’s a god damn rouse I tell you… they even have cheese sold and given away on the streets, yes the streets are literally paved with cheese (incorrect use of the word literally but I literally don’t give a shit) row after row of fromage and cured meats line the pavement, there is no shit cheese here, no orange shite that Americans claim to be cheese, no small triangles labelled with cows simply so that its been near a cow once in its factory raised life… NO it’s all the good stuff, the stuff that weird dreams are made of and quite frankly it’s overwhelming to say the least. And this is coming from a person who isn’t anti-cheese, quite the contrary, Lauren and I are cheeseaphiles, we are very close to being full blown cheese addicts also known as a addiction called ‘penchant de fromage’ and even for us this is border line too much.

But I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out just how Omni-present this beautiful product is, and please do not get me wrong they treat this revered product with respect. They don’t serve cheese boards with 4 different cheeses served with pear and quince paste and feel their job is done, hell no, they treat every cheese with the kudos it deserves and bring all of its potential to the plate in which you eat it from. If it’s a cheese that needs to be left out of a fridge for a week before consumption then that’s what they do, if it needs to be baked and presented to the punter with shaved truffle on, then that’s just what this wimpy French fucks do, they may be an annoying breed of human, but by all that is holy in this world, they love their cheese.

I’m running a chalet with Lauren here in Meribel in the Rhone Alp’s and we offer some pretty decent cuisine, and for our cheese we offer a cheese course every night. This entails a fuck off piece of amazing cheese, one different cheese each night, this cheese comes with a story, in which I like to wrap up the truth in a beautifully packaged parcel of made up facts. You will recognise this process from this blog in which I use the same formula. I like to serve each cheese either by its self (if it’s that good) or in general I serve it with something that heightens its flavour.
beaufort cheese
We serve the local hard cheese called Beaufort which is known as the king of the hard cheeses (generally only by the producers) it is a great cheese and has such a subtle flavour that I like to serve it with candied walnuts as I feel it already has a certain nuttiness which works well together.
reblochon de savior
Another belting cheese we get from our storeman extraordinaire (Toby the ginger wonder boy) is the Reblochon de savoir, which is a small wheel of stinky gold, its got all the smoothness of a creamy brie but with the balls of a blue, and I like to serve it with crystalized honey, why? Just because it’s brilliant!
blue cheese with truffle honey
The blue we have been serving is good, but its no Roquefort and to be fair Toby has now sourced me some cave-aged goodness, but in the meantime this French blue called Bleu D’Auvergne with truffle honey is quite magnificent.
mont d'or
And without a shadow of the doubt the most incredible cheese I know and have the pleasure of calling my dear friend, the one, the only… Mont D’or, this is a cheese that was made to last the long hard winter, and meant to be served just after Christmas, it looks like a round wood wrapped blanket of mouldy clouds and once that lid is peeled back it is as if by some miracle nature has melted this cheese for you, yes that’s right it tastes like a melted cheese sandwich, its beyond belief and if left out of a fridge for many days before consumption then it transforms into an out of body experience. Holy fucking Cheese balls this shit is good…. I serve it with teaspoon and get people to simply hand it around scooping spoonfuls out as they go
cheese
So All in all, you can all see that we are in fromage heaven and it’s the gym or the slopes every day just to keep our cheese belly’s from taking over, but these are most definitely first world problems and problems I relish, thank god I’m a chef and get to play with such exquisite produce on a daily basis… cheeseisthebestshitever

Paul’s Caul… Tuna Tartare and a few words about sharing

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Sharing is caring, except rashes.

One of the biggest problems facing the world is that people just don’t share the right things, people love to share the things that annoy them or the things that cause nasty rashes in the never reaches, in fact basically we could replace the word ‘sharing’ with ‘off loading’ and then we could comfortably say that people love to off load their shit, but sharing good stuff seems to evade us as a society.

But imagine a world where you came across something you like and thought “I want to do that”, and instead of having to install security camera’s and peer through peoples windows to unlock the secrets of their success, you could ask them and they would happily share with you. Now this doesn’t have to be some weird fantasy world where people fly around on huge white dogs, or a place where David Bowie lords over muppets in a maze like world, NO it could be this place we call the real world and it could all begin with you!

Now I realize it sounds like the beginning of a self help book written by some shiny white toothed freak from USA, but my amazingly disguised point is that we all have knowledge of some sort and often we cling onto it like it was a hookers last shred of self respect, as we feel it was hard to come by so why the fuck should we just give it away? Well I’ll tell you why you insecure knowledge hoarder… because allowing someone else to have the knowledge you have gained does not by any means give them the wisdom you have, a wise man once told me “knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad” so basically if some twat wants your recipe for crème brulee then give it to him, as a twat will still be a twat even if he possesses a damn fine baked custard dessert with a shiny caramel lid… FACT!

Many chefs will give recipes with missing ingredients or not give their treasured recipes out at all, well I say that’s rubbish and always think if someone else is willing to go to as much trouble as me to create delicious food then good on them, hopefully they enjoy spending fucking hours in the kitchen doing laborious shite that would be considered punishment in most peoples mind. But if they follow through and create something they are proud of, then they will have you to thank and that’s reward enough… obviously if they take said knowledge and become better than you then my entire concept is bollocks and you should sabotage those talented motherfuckers, destroy every single bit of them until no one remembers anything about them, never stop until all traces of their sickening talents is erased from this world… but other then with those people, you should always share.

Living in the French Alps looks shit

Living in the French Alps looks shit


I’m currently living and working in the French Alps and to be brutally honest, its fucking lovely here, hardly any French people, shit tonnes of cheese, foie gras as far as the eye can see and I get to create my own food every day for a chalet full of eagerly awaiting guests. So it is a fountain of creative juices, so I’ve been playing about with some new dishes and to I’m quite happy with what my juices have come up with. And in the spirit of this post I shall share one of my favourite recipes with you all… ‘Tuna tartare with a ginger oil & wasabi ice cream”

Now it’s far from a hard dish to create and I feel that in its restraint lays its beauty, but please give it go and let us know what you think.
tuna tartare with ginger oil and wasabi ice cream
TUNA TARTARE, GINGER OIL & WASABI ICE CREAM

Wasabi ice cream
Ice creams are easy as to make so go buy an ice cream machine and get amongst the creation of endless flavours.

The base for most ice creams are the same. Basically it’s a custard that you churn in a machine and freeze with flavouring.

My basic base is…
30 egg yolks
2lt cream
400g sugar

• Now all you need to do is heat the cream and add to whisked yolks and sugar then gently heat in bain maree or thermo mix (if you are a fancy prick like me) until it thickens and coated the back of a spoon, allow to cool then churn in machine, job done
• But for my savoury ice cream I only add 50g of sugar and add a tea spoon of of salt and for this wasabi ice cream I add 4 tubs of wasabi, now this recipe will make you more wasabi ice cream then you will ever need, so please divide recipe by 3 and continue. Best to always add flavouring to the cream during heating to really infuse the love
• Whack in freezer once done

Ginger oil
Chop up a massive knob of ginger (you can just grate it)
Chop up 2 eshallots
Chop up one red chilli (as hot as you like)

• Heat 500ml of veg oil with a dash of sesame oil in it, once almost smoking, add all ingredients and cook until items are brown and crispy
• Strain oil and place ingredients on paper towel to crisp up and drain, these crispy pieces of deliciousness can be used for something else, like a garnish for a salad or as a snack to chomp on whilst drinking beer
• The oil you have left is now infused with gingery goodness, we shall call it Ed Sheeran

Tuna Tartare
This is the easy bit, go buy the best looking tuna you can find, if its in a tin then go jump of a bridge you muppet… you want a nice purple piece of meat that doesn’t stink like a mermaids parts. You will only need about 50g per person so even if its expensive don’t stress.

• Chop said piece of tuna into small square dice and place in a bowl, just before you serve you add enough ginger oil to coat all tuna, then add enough good quality salt to season the mix
• Place a small handful of tuna mix in a nice bowl/jar/glass/whatever you want to serve in
• Just before you serve pour 1 teaspoon of lime juice on each serve, don’t do this too early as it will start to cook the tuna
• Finally whack a small scoop of wasabi ice cream on top of each bowl and serve
• Best to eat by mixing up and placing in your mouth

Paul’s Caul from France…Bonjour my cheese eating friends

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We have finally arrived at our destination, our new home and our place of work for the next five months, we speak of course of the beautiful alpine village of Meribel.

Now at first we weren’t completely sure where we were, as we flew from Heathrow to Geneva then we were greeted by a lovely group of our fellow workers and our new boss, all of which are as English as you get. Now, if your picturing chimney sweeps and small street kids from the set of Oliver twist then think again, English they be but cockney slags they are not. Then it was into several work vehicles and on to a 2 plus hour drive to France (so they tell us), but up to this point I still hadn’t heard or seen any Frenchman. Was this an elaborate rouse, were we now smack bang in the middle of the international world of sex slavery? Well with fingers crossed and baited breath we sat there hoping to soon meet our slavers or maybe they prefer captors, not really sure I’m down with the lingo at all, but regardless we were soon to arrive somewhere and we had driven up a hill or two, so either of the previous outcomes are at this point possible.

As it so happens Karen our new boss wasn’t head of a sex ring, in fact she and her Husband Michael run a very top end chalet business, which contrary to popular opinion is nothing like the very bottom end sex slavery world, although they do both service people… Fact!

So we arrived in the very picturesque town of Meribel, the lack of white stuff was the first thing that caught me by surprise as we were here to work for the ski season, not the slide down destroying all your gear on mud and rock season, but we were here early and as Kevin Costner once said “build it and they will come” now either he was talking about brothels or he was a very wise man, most likely the latter and for this particular occasion I’m hoping for the best, and am confident that the precipitation that is inevitable will sooner rather than later come in the form of snow.

A fuck off big bag of Yorkshire tea

A fuck off big bag of Yorkshire tea


The second surprise of the season was the largest fuck off bag of Yorkshire tea I’d ever seen, not quite the French experience we’d expected but a lovely surprise.

The third surprise of the evening was being driven up the mountain in the back of utes. This was a brilliant way to get to know your fellow workmates, but having a large Manchester lad called Grant firmly wedged in-between my legs was still a shock to the system. Now I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it but it was a shock. We arrived at the Refuge as it was aptly called, then the crazy cardigan wearing drivers of the manically driven utes changed out of their cardies and into their pinnies and in that second become our hosts. It was magical and off putting all at the same time. Within seconds bottles with no labels were being dished out willy nilly, the fondue pots on the tables were lit giving us a small clue to what was about to come… I knew we were either having cheese fondue or that this crazy French folk had skimped on the heating bill.

Cheese here is off the hook -  Reblochon de Savoie

Cheese here is off the hook – Reblochon de Savoie


The fondue arrived in all cheesy glory. A cheese fondue is a thing of beauty; it’s like having a shit ton of cheese and small grill at you table, it allows food not normally associated with melted cheese to become acquainted, it is basically a get together for food form all over the place to meet this nice guy called melted cheese… and if for some reason they don’t get on, then Mr Melty Melty McCheese just drowns them in love and love always wins in the end.

This particular fondue was no exception, although the creators had not added the small amount of corn flour needed to bind the wine and cheese together leaving us fishing for pockets of molten protein, but that just added to the game. Just to be clear the game was gather as much cheese on the wooden spoon as you think possible then lift it from the cheesy depths and if you rise form the pot with nothing then ye shall be mocked by all (Liam was terrible at this game), now this was my kind of game. Props for the game were potatoes, salumi of various types and bread, always bread in this country, nothing is complete with a French stick or just a stick as they call it here.

Parfait

Parfait


With dinner complete and a very successful first night of bonding complete we walked back down the mountain, this was by far less bumpy and felt quite a lot safer then our journey up.

Over the next few weeks we set about training, they have 5 chalets here in town and each has its own Chef and chalet manager, as well as drivers, chalet assistants, masseurs and nannies. So they really do a stand up job of making sure everyone knows what is expected of them and what everyone else is meant to be doing. They manage to do all of this whilst allowing everyone to drink, eat and be incredibly social all at the same time, this is impressive as most people coming out here to work seem to think that there genitals will explode if they are not in contact with someone else asap. So the next game called ‘sleep with fucking everyone’ begins and I can’t see the end of this game in sight.

Vanilla bean ice cream, brandy snap & cookie crumbs, raspberry coulis, freeze dried raspberries

Vanilla bean ice cream, brandy snap & cookie crumbs, raspberry coulis, freeze dried raspberries


But for me this training meant I got to work along side some amazing chefs and share knowledge as well as actually getting to try their food, and believe me these boys can cook. So it was full testosterone mode engaged and cocks were out, massive fuck off cave man stick were being swung around, but fuck me it was a great laugh. This hit its crest at a dinner which myself and three other chefs cooked for. We were drunk as sailors by the first course and to be quite honest I have no idea how mains and dessert even got plated, all I do know is I served main course naked and Grant tried to snort a serve of pudding. But we made it through and still have jobs for the season… hooray!

As for everyone else we work with, they are all made up of consummate professionals and are an absolute pleasure to work with and in turn try their hardest to sleep with each other, so the game continues.

Naked Pauly… Chefs drinking lots of booze is going to end in a good/bad situation… depending on how you look at it

Naked Pauly… Multiple chefs drinking lots of booze is together always going to end in a good/bad situation… depending on how you look at it


I really do feel that we are going to have a great season of creating some amazing food, memories and friends.

Paul’s Caul… Back in Britain

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Back in Britain

The time has finally arrived for Lauren and I to make the long journey home to my Motherland, my birthplace and a magical place that over the last 23 years I have build up in my mind as a place where all of my fondest memories live and skip around holding hands with chocolate bars and packets of walkers crisps. Yes I’m speaking of England, and yes in my dreams packaged treats have arms and legs, so what! Its my dreams so step off or I’ll let my army of small highland toffee attack you with axes and bagpipes… back to reality and that is what happened the second I landed back in England.

We arrived at Heathrow on a Tuesday morning at 11.45, now this bit of information actually holds no relevance at all so please forget it as quickly as you read it… we had an amazing flight on Emirates, shit loads of leg room, massive screen to watch an impressive array of movies and some pretty tasty food I must say. The food included pulled Texas beef with black bean, quinoa salad with chickpea and a very delicious breakfast with a chicken sausage and frittata, but as you would expect no pork in sight, but as I always say “when in Rome” or more accurately “when on a Muslim airline” but without a doubt it was the best service, flight and food we have experienced, so Allah be praised!

Pork pie love

Pork pie love

My cousin picked us up with his beautiful daughter Rebecca and proceeded to drive around in circles until he felt we had seen Heathrow airport in full, we had so he swiftly drove us 40 minutes away to a small village called Chipperfield where we were staying in a quintessential English pub. Now what is a quintessential English pub and when did I start using such big words? These are the burning questions on everyone’s mind… I shall answer this in a two-part answer firstly to answer the later question, get fucked! Now lets talk about what I think makes an English pub…

• Upon arrival in said pub if you don’t have to duck down to enter it either isn’t a real English pub or you aren’t over 6ft tall
• If every single room in the building other than your bedroom doesn’t have a fireplace, then your not in an English pub
• Glance at the menu and if you cant see at least one ale pie then leg it, as you ain’t in the real deal
• If more than two staff members are English then leave as you are in the wrong country
• Finally make sure that nothing and I mean nothing at all is new, and then I feel comfortable with the fact you are standing in an authentic English Pub.

‘The Two brewers’ was all the above and more, it had Marmite portions on the breakfast buffet which was a highlight of the week for me, they had Aspall cider on tap and they served baked wheels of Camembert (which appeased Laurens veracious appetite for fromage). It was located in a quaint village which offered a nice walk around a small wooded area and… actually that is all it offered, but regardless of it lack of anything, it was brilliant to be back on home soil (or clay like mud as it was).
My memories of childhood chocolate treats were a little shattered as this country much like the entire world had become Americanised, but I still managed to get some Irn Bru, a toffee crisp and some mini cheddars (branston pickle flavour) which definitely hit the spot and most likely will bring on diabetes in some form, but well worth it.

Street pig

Street pig

Now what about pork you say? Good point, what would travelling be without seeing what different countries do with the magical creature we call Pig. Well this is the place for you my non-Islamic brothers, they effing love the stuff here,. They sell bacon rolls in just about every shop; newsagents sell them, café’s sell them, small stands/vans on the road sell them, I’m pretty sure they deliver them like papers straight to your door in the morning. I kid you not, they eat them like apples over here. There are bacon roll bowls on the kitchen bench and they are served with coffee instead of those ridiculously small biscuits… And this is just bacon. What they also do with pork will blow you mind, that is unless you’ve already seen a pork pie, in which case it may not even excite you. If this is the case stop reading now and never revisit this site ever… Good. All we left are the true pork pie loving people of this world who love the soft yet crunchy pastry made with lard and the salty jelly surrounding the blend of pork shoulder, pork belly and bacon cooked with mace and seasoned with the history of a nation that was built on such products.

Don’t get me wrong, you can get pork pies in Australia, but unless my good friend Gavin the Jordie pastry chef extraordinaire makes it then it will be pretty average. If you are in Perth go to the ‘Moon and Sixpence’ pub in the city and order the ploughman’s, as Gav has the pork pie well sorted as well as many other English treats… but I digress, what I love about here is that every second shop sells pork pies and as a whole they are delicious with the pastry being the major difference between a decent pie and a “fuck off that pie was the balls” kind of pie.

Bacon chips and beer… life just keeps getting better

Bacon chips and beer… life just keeps getting better

Other than delicious pork products I was uber excited to be back home so I could see my family, we were staying in Chipperfield purely because my Uncle and Auntie live in the town that is 5 minutes down the road, also their kids (my cousin’s) and their families all live close. We were given the royal treatment and taken out many times in the one week, really getting to sample a cross section of British food from awarded British pub food which was beyond what I expected to get from a pub in the middle of nowhere, to a nice night in with my cousins eating England’s national meal (curry) then finishing the week with Chinese (English style, which is a lot of battered meat with sweet sauce) with my other cousin and her lovely family and finally the tradition that is the Sunday roast with the family.

We choose to have our Sunday roast at a French Brassiere (Raymond Blanc’s restaurant) because they do a cracking roast with big fuck off Yorkshire puddings and bread and butter pudding for dessert (or pudding as it is over here) and lets face it, Waterloo was a long time ago so lets give those cheese eating surrender monkeys another go… well it was a triumph, the company which included two beautiful little cousins and their parents as well as my uncle and Lauren made the day very special, and I think horseradish is the best condiment for company.

Lauren (the pretty half of the Paul and Lauren crew). Somewhere with some other people taking photos

Lauren (the pretty half of team Paul and Lauren). Somewhere with some other people taking photos

We are now in Birmingham visiting some good friends Dom and Alec plus their awesome boys Francis and Jack that have just moved back from Perth where they were for a few year’s, one of our favourite bits of this trip has been catching up with friends old and new. We love getting to be part of a family for a week, cooking, drinking and having a laugh with the kid’s, we are so lucky to such great friends all over the world. And contrary to public opinion we are having a lovely time in Birmingham, so be it we go for runs in the morning around the canal wrapped up like crazy homeless people, but that just adds to the charm. We are very excited to be getting a Balti Curry from number 3 on the UK’s top takeaway joints… Balti curry was actually invented here in Birmingham by the local Pakistani community (that I believe is larger than the one in Pakistan). So needless to say we cannot wait for culinary curry cuisine served by the peeps that created and perfected the Balti curry.

I off course have been exploring local supermarkets and cooking up regular feasts for all that are lovely enough to put up with us. The supermarkets here do seem to have a larger range of many things that I love, for instance you can get rabbit, duck, venison and black pudding from Sainsbury’s, this pleases me greatly. I cooked a banging braised beef with Stilton penne last night and here is the recipe.

Marmite love

Marmite love

BRAISED BEEF with STILTON and PENNE

500g gravy beef (shin meat), left whole and sealed in a pan
1 onion
2 sticks celery
1 leek
1 fennel bulb
1 carrot
• Cut all above veg into small dice and fry off in pan of meat juices after the meat has been sealed
• Add 1 tablespoon cumin seeds and fry
• Add 1 cup of red wine, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, 2 bays leaves and a handful of fresh thyme (be generous)
• In a large oven dish with sides, place meat down first then pour veg and wine mixture over top. Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 1 cup of beef stock
• Cover with lid or with tin foil and bake @ 120c for 5-6 hours until the meat just falls apart when pushed with a spoon

At this point you could serve straight onto some mash, but I spooned all the meat into a beef braise and added some cooked green beans cut into small lengths, whacked in a handful of stilton, some spinach, chives and a whole lot of cooked penne and chucked it into bowls with a fork sticking out… then stood back and marvelled at what I had created like a proud father.

Next off we travel down to Gloucester to spend some time with Kev and Sue. We have never actually meet these lovely people but as they are my sister and husbands friends I just know that the week will be filled with laughter, wine, food and most likely more wine followed by a little more laughter… god I love travelling and more accurately I love eating and drinking with amazing people.

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