Jennee’s Sunday Spread… Thai feast a la David Thompson and her own brain

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Jennee’s Thai spread, if you will. Now please remove your filthy little minds from the gutter and your hands from the top button of your pants as this is not the type of Thai spread that will be hitting fat Australian business men in the face with ping pong balls. This is a Thai spread of even more awesome-ness than that my friends…

Read on.

Jennee is the type of girl that would have a sweet pony saddled up and waiting for me when I arrive home from work so I may trot into the hills and ride away my woes. That is not code for anything, but by Jeeves it could be!

This girl knows how to save a man from the perils of a big week at work like the homeless man knows how to rescue the stray dog… not how to feed or shelter it though, but one out of three aint bad.

At the end of lunch service at work yesterday I did declare to my co-workers and kitchen brethren that I would not be eating dinner tonight unless it was mother effing nachos. I was hell bent that I was going to finish my working week (I know. A little bit different to yours, but that’s OK yeah?) by piling a fat load of shit into my mouth hole. Not actual shit of course, that’s only at the parties the Johnston’s have on the third Friday of every month… but that’s a hell of a story for another time… or not at all. Anyway, needless to say nachos were not to be the end to this working (and actual) week. I was about to flip the fuck out and then Jennee laid this upon our table. I instantaneously realised that all would be OK… I’ll have the effing nachos tomorrow!

For this dinner Jennee drew inspiration from David Thompson’s book, “Thai Street Food”, and her own brain to boot.

A Thai spread for 4.

That rice. Top left
That rice. Top

STICKY RICE WITH GOLDEN DRESSING AND MUSHROOM TOPPING
• Cook 2 cups of sticky rice just like you would normally cook sticky rice. If sticky rice is in the too hard basket, try cooking jasmine rice instead
• Once rice is cooked stir trough golden dressing (recipe follows), cover and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes
• Serve the rice covered with mushroom topping (recipe follows)

Golden dressing
½ cup coconut cream
¼ cup white sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons sliced tumeric
• Combine the coconut cream with sugar and salt
• Add the tumeric and leave to infuse for 30 minutes
• Douse the hot rice with that and smell the glory

Mushroom topping
150g mushrooms, chopped finely
1 tablespoons dried shrimp, soaked in hot water for 30 minuntes, strained
5 coriander roots, washed and chopped
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ cup finely grated coconut
2 tablespoons shaved palm sugar
2 tablespoon white sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded. Really finely shredded
1 small handful picked coriander
• Using a mini food processer or mortar and pestle, make a fine paste out of the shrimp, coriander root, salt and pepper. Heat oil and fry paste over a medium heat until aromatic – 3-4 minutes – stirring contantly to prevent it from catching
• Add mushrooms and fry for another 3-4 minutes until cooked
• Add coconut and fry for another 3-4 minutes and then add sugars. Keep cooking until sugars are dissolved and then absorbed until almost dry
• Cool
• Check seasoning – it may need a little more salt and/or pepper
• Serve on top of golden rice, garnished with shredded kaffir leaf and coriander. Just quietly, this is well worth the effort

That beef
That beef

BEEF & CHOY SUM WITH LEMONGRASS & COCONUT
500g ribeye or rump steak, sliced into 5mm strips for stir frying
1 bunch of choy sum or gai lan or bok choy, or even broccoli if none of the other options appeal to you, cut into 4-5cm pieces
1 brown onion, diced
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
5 coriander root, washed and chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 kaffir lime leaves, chopped
Zest of 2 kaffir limes

2 tablespoons oyster sauce
• Blitz all except beef, choy sum and oyster sauce, to form a rough paste. Marinade beef in said paste for a few hours
• In a very hot wok/pan, add a splash of oil and stirfry beef for one minute. Set aside
• In the same pan add choy sum and oyster sauce and simmer for 5 minutes
• Add beef and any resting juices back to the pan and simmer for another minute
• Get it on the table

That salad
That salad

CUCUMBER, TOMATO AND SPROUT SALAD
1 continental/telegraph cucumber, chopped or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or mandoline
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (or a big handful of cherry toms straight from the garden if you’re lucky enough to have some), halved
200g bean sprouts
2 spring onions, sliced
1 handful each mint and coriander, leaves picked
½ cup black rice, shallow fried in vegetable oil until starting to puff and pop (this is some tasty shit right here and brings a bit of a tasty crunchy party to the salad, as every good Thai salad needs)
½ cup nam jim dressing (recipe right here) or a similar sweet, sour, salty, hot dressing
• Yo yo yo… Toss it all together and put it on the table

Getting pickled… lentils and beans, that is

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Huh. Sepia…

I love getting pickled. In fact, you could say that I have made somewhat of a career out of getting pickled. I don’t know if it is my German-Polish heritage rearing it’s ugly but lovable head, like the child peering around the corner while his parents are engaging in a little “special time”, but without getting pickled, my life is ass pointless as a silent letter.

I think I should probably clarify something right now… I am taking about pickling fruit or vegetables or, as in this case, legumes. What I am not talking about (but possibly actually talking about) is the pickling that occurs to your brain when you drink excessive amounts (or quite possibly just the right measure) of alcoholic beverages.

Why, as I type this now I am slowly but surely recovering from one such evening.

Quite apt really, eh?

The thing I love about pickles is, well, everything. From the taste to the preserving qualities to the taste… but I think I already mentioned that.

Lately I have been pickling lentils, chickpeas and cannellini beans with effing brilliant results. And where did this idea come from? I like to entertain the thought that I actually came up with this idea all by myself… with my smart brains. Clever, clever Grazza. I quite possibly did not come up with this idea by myself but that’s OK because for now I am living the dream.

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Lentils
Lentils
Cannellini beans. Not much to say about these pics really...
Cannellini beans. Not much to say about these pics really…

PICKLED LENTILS or CANNELLINI BEANS or CHICKPEAS
1 400g tin of lentils or cannellini beans or chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 eshallot or half a whatever onion, sliced
1 10cm stick of celery, sliced
½ small bulb fennel if you have some lying around, sliced
A chilli if you want, sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (apple cider or sherry vinegar would both be cracking too)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
• Mix everything, except oil, together in a bowl. Season well
• Pour/spoon the mix into a jar or your holding receptacle of choice
• Cover with oil
• Put them in your fridge, not mine, as they will not last for more than a few days in my fridge
• They are best after a day or two and should last for a few weeks in your fridge
• Eat them with a piece of whatever meat or fish you want, charcuterie, cheese, bread or by themselves straight from the jar

Sauerkraut is next!

Foodisthebestshitever – the home of easy-tasty!

A Mexi feast that would make a Mexican proud… possibly… i don’t know any Mexicans I can ask…

This is the Mexi Fiesta we served at work. A photo of the domestic version is down below
This is the Mexi Fiesta we served at work. A photo of the domestic version is down below

Recently, at my place of paid employment, I cooked a Mexican fiesta for anyone and everyone to try… providing they had a burro for transportation, a fake big black moustache and the fare of six silver pesos to pay their way.

 

After a day of sending out feast after feast after proud gringo Mexicano feast, I came to the conclusion that it would be silly, nay, down right irresponsible of me to not consume this same damn tasty looking spread of Mexican influenced treats for my own dinner that evening. A quick call was placed to my darling Jennee to determine if she was conducive to the idea. Upon hearing her reply in the negative, followed by a heap of other dribble that I missed due to the fact I had stopped listening and went to my special place where I was definitely eating a Mexican feast for my evening meal, I decided I WOULD BE be eating a Mexi feast all of my own because I was bloody well cooking the dinner and I am the boss of this house and… and… and Jennee could have some too if she was extra nice… or even just if she wanted to eat some because my dream bubble has burst and I have come crashing back through the walls of my dream world, all covered in bubbly juice – bubbly afterbirth if you will, into the reality that Jennee is the boss of me and she is very nice and I should start digging upwards sometime soon…

 

So in the true spirit of the theme I smuggled my dinner out of the kitchen under the dress of a pregnant woman, and then quickly got it into the back of an old F100 truck which sped away to safety…

 

We also had sangria with our Mexican Fiesta because a Mexican fiesta without sangria is not a Mexican fiesta at all. It actually becomes null and void. It becomes consciously uncoupled (yep) from the glorious heights it could have reached. So now that I have segued Gweneth’s quote of the year into that story I feel my work here is done. Time to move onto the recipe!

 

Pork and beans...
Pork and beans…
plus tortilla...
plus tortilla…
plus a bit of all of this other stuff...
plus a bit of all of this other stuff…
equals happy Grazza!
equals happy Grazza!

 

PORK WITH KIDNEY BEANS AND ROAST CAPSICUM (as part of a fiesta for 6 or so. Or a cracking dinner for one big fat bastard… I’d do it)
500g left over pork shoulder roast (or braise 500g pork shoulder on a low heat with a sliced onion, salt and pepper and 1 cup water for 1.5-2 hours or until tender), shredded with a fork
1 brown onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 fresh jalepeno chilli, sliced
2 fire roasted red capsicum (make your own or get them from a jar if you’re feeling lazy), diced
3 ripe tomatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons mexi-seasoning (recipe follows)
2 400g tins kidney beans
¼ cup olive oil
A handful of fresh coriander and sliced radish to serve
• Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until translucent
• Add everything else except pork and beans, and cook out over low heat for 10 minutes
• Add pork and beans and cook for a further 10 minutes, adding a splash of water (or pork juices if you were smart enough to keep them) if it starts to get a bit dry. For dry beans are like… um… well, other dry things that shall not be discussed on these pages now or ever
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
• Garnish and serve
• Serve with a pile of other mexi goodies. No, I am not referring to a cheap Mexican rip off of the classic English comedy from the ‘80s, The Goodies. Although I would be really keen to see it if it does exist… But I am referring to dishes like beef ribs with mole sauce, salsa picante, charred corn rice, pickled jalapeño ‘slaw, yoghurt (I always have yoghurt with my Mexican) and tortillas to make a little Mexican sandwich of mucho goodness. Ole!

MEXI SEASONING

1/2 tablespoon ground dried chilli

1/2 tablespoon dried thyme

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 tablespoons whole cumin, roasted and ground

Jennee’s Sunday Spread… Singapore chicken satay, pakoras and other stuff

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Jennee’s Sunday Spread

If there is something I’ve grown accustomed to it is returning home on a Sunday afternoon to Jen’s famous Sunday spread.

No. This is not a new weekly segment aimed at letting you in to the more intricate details of my life… or wife… or both of the above. I think you get plenty enough insight as to what’s going on with me without me needing to reduce this blog to a mega-gigabite or so of soft porn filled, wasted space on the interweb. No, no, no. There is certainly enough of that sort of stuff floating about already. And surely the gutter is not the place for a young man as pretty as myself… Who the fuck am I trying to kid? I love the gutter! Absolutely love it! Gutter born and bred!

With that out in the open and off my chest and out of the broom closet and all that, I should probably clarify that this title of this segment has nothing to do with “the little bit of extra dessert” I get when the children retire on a Sunday evening. This is all about the glory that greets me when I return home from work…. I know this has innuendo written all over it but stick with me for just a little longer, I’m sure it will clean itself up eventually… Whatever “it” is. I clearly do not have a clue what “it” is. I dare say I would not recognize “it” if it were couriered to my front door by It Couriers Inc and hand delivered to my person (signature required) in an oversized phosphorous flouro yellow box marked “IT”. There was once a point to this story I’m sure… That’s right, returning home from work on a Sunday afternoon. Not only is the house ship-shape, the washing done and the carnies all bathed and beaten, but I am always greeted with the sweet, sweet smell of something that when eaten, I just know is going to taste decent at the very least, right up the scale to down right sexy if the spirits show favour to my dear wife on her cooking adventures.

So to Jennee I dedicate this new segment. You’ve done well my love, and I’m not just talking about your choice of life partner!

This is what Jennee whipped up this week…

Cooky pastey
Cooky pasty
Marinate chicken
Marinate chicken
Cook chicken
Cook chicken
Eat chicken
Eat chicken

Singapore satay chicken (part of a feast for 4-6)
What makes this a Singapore satay? Jennee said it is, that’s what.

1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch of ginger, grated
2 long red chilli, deseeded and chopped
1.5 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon tumeric powder
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
3 tablespoons peanuts
2 candlenuts or brazil nut kernels
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1.5 teaspoon salt
2 cups coconut cream
½ chook, fat and free-range, cut into 8 pieces (you can ask the butcher to do this for you… maybe flash a little cleavage and make it worth his while…)
2 tablespoons vege oil
• Put onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and 2 tablespoons of the coconut cream into a food processer and blend to a smooth paste. Mix in ground spices, lemon rind and nuts, and pulse a couple of times to combine
• Heat oil in pan and fry the mixed ingredients, stirring constantly, until colour darkens and oil separates from the mixture. It should smell cooked and come away cleanly from the pan. Remove from heat and mix in salt and lemon juice
• Allow to cool
• Rub the mixture all over the chicken and allow to marinate for at least half an hour
• Fry chicken on all sides until starting to brown. Add remaining coconut cream and braise in oven or on a medium heat on the stovetop, until delish and tasty! (probs about 20 minutes)

The batter
The batter
The end product just about to be put in my face
The end product just about to be put in my face

Bean and spring onion pakoras (part of a feast for 4-6)
5-6 small spring onions or scallions, chopped
2 cups finely chopped green beans
½ inch ginger, grated
¼ teaspoon each red chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala powder
½ teaspoon each ground coriander and fennel seed
1 cup quinoa flour
4 tablespoons water
salt as required
oil for shallow or deep frying
• In a bowl, add everything except flour and water
• Mix well and let this mixture stand for 15-20 minutes. This is done to allow the liquids to be released from the onions, so that when you make the batter, it does not end up becoming too thin
• Add the quinoa flour part by part and stir well
• Add the water and make a smooth and medium consistency batter, adding more water if required
• Heat oil in a deep fryer or pot/pan
• Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the oil and fry in medium hot oil till the pakoras are crisp and golden

To serve
Steamed rice, chutney, yoghurt, that papaya and pineapple salad

Pulled pork with jerk spices, posh ‘slaw, pickled carrot and jalapeño yoghurt

You only get one pic today because I've almost used all of my space allowance and I am to tight to purchase a space upgrade
You only get one pic today because I’ve almost used all of my space allowance and I am to tight to purchase a space upgrade

Pulled pork just sounds wrong. It sounds like something a million teenage boys across the world may be doing at any one time. It sounds like something I should not touch if it were served to me on a plate. It sounds… well it just sounds wrong, that’s all. SO WRONG IT’S RIGHT (insert crazy pork addicted eyes and loud voice here. Mess up your hair a bit, too), in fact. This stuff is the goods. Whether it be with jerk spice, a tasty Asian inspired marinade or the traditional Tex-Mex style bbq sauce, you should (maybe you already are you filthy little boy) embrace the pulling of the pork. Do it. Eat it now. Put it in your face!!

Pulled pork with jerk spices / apple, fennel and radish slaw / jalapeño yoghurt / pickled carrot (for 4-6 with left overs)

For the pork
1 hand fresh pork (the front leg of the piggy, often found pickled/corned and also in the last century)
1 brown onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup jerk seasoning (store bought or recipe below)
• In a casserole dish, sauté onion and garlic in a little oil until starting to soften
• Add pork and cover with jerk spice, then add 2 cups of water to the dish
• Cover and cook in a preheated 150C oven (or simmer gently on the stove top. If you rock the stove top styles you will need an extra couple of cups of water) for 6 hours or until meat is falling away from the bone
• Remove pork from braising liquid and reserve liquid, skimming away excess fat (if you believe there is such a thing)
• Discard skin and pull pork away from bones. Shred into smaller pieces using two forks or your fingers if you want me to love you
• Put the pulled pork back into the reserved liquid and set aside to stay warm, or save it for later, or maybe re-heat it over a low flame if it has cooled down a little too much in the “pulling process”… which, unless you have chef’s hands, it most probably would have
• Serve with ‘slaw, jalapeño yoghurt and pickled carrot for a kinda smart casual looking dinner as I have here, or add some tortillas for a Sunday bbq type thing, or put it all into a big soft bun for a burger to be washed down with beer and plenty of good times

Jerk seasoning
1 tablespoons each dried thyme, ground allspice, coriander and black pepper
½ teaspoon each salt, ground cinnamon and cumin
1 pinch dried chilli flakes
• Mix all ingredients together
• Store left overs in an air tight container

Apple, fennel and radish ‘slaw aka. posh ‘slaw
1 granny smith apple, julienned
4 radish, julienned
1 small bulb fennel, finely sliced how ever you see fit
¼ medium green cabbage, finely sliced (a mandoline is good for the slicing if you have one… or possibly you may have an Asian supply store next door where you could purchase one for a minimal fee)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon castor sugar
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper
• Combine and mixy mixy

Jalapeño yoghurt (enough for some leftovers for your pork sandwiches tomorrow)
½ cup jalapeños (use less if you can’t handle the heat. The yoghurt does mellow the heat though… a bit)
½ brown onion, finely diced
½ bunch coriander, chopped
2 cups thick natural yoghurt
• Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly

Pickled carrot
1-2 carrots, peeled and sliced finely (possibly on that mandoline you just bought?)
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon caster sugar
• Combine all ingredients and allow to sit from 30 minutes to whenever you remember about them, to pickle the carrots

Another day, another cook-off part 3… and the winner is…

Golden, crusty goodness
Golden, crusty goodness

So it has finally happened. Jennee has produced the recipes of the dishes Sarah and she prepared at our last “Stockdale vs Cootes cook-off”. Just as I have been able to at last put that last crippling defeat of cookery at the hands of my dear wife and her family out of my mind and finally rear my shamed face in public again, she goes and presents me with these recipes so she may rub my face in it once again… it is a cruel world out there folks, mark my words. If I had been born with thirteen fingers and nary the brain capacity to remove my pants before I went to the toilet, that cruel she dog that is the world would have surely chewed me up and spat me out by now. But no, I am still here. And just in case you didn’t figure it out yet (maybe you are one of those people with thirteen figures and, just in case you are, watch out for the world… she’s after you) team Cootes won that cook-off… and this is how they did it;

Step 1. Jennee got really messed up the evening previous and couldn’t string a sentence together that day… I’m not sure how this helped, but clearly it did.
Step 2. Sarah also got really messed up the night before, but she just soldiered on and kept drinking through the day of the cook-off. I’m not sure how this helped either… I’m starting to think it may have just been me that gave them the advantage…
Step 3. They somehow managed to pull it together long enough to cook three cracking dishes. They went something like this;

Golden crusty goodness with chimmichurri
Golden crusty goodness with chimmichurri

BRAZIL – Chicken Empanadas with chimmichurri sauce
Good on the Brazilians for creating these things and a great pubic hair cut. Not quite the winner but devoured by all none-the-less.
3 cups plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
160g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 12 pieces
1 egg
4-5 tablespoons water
• Mix the flour and salt in a food processor
• Add the butter, egg and water until a clumpy dough forms
• To make the empanada dough by hand, follow the same instruction but use your hands to mix the ingredients together. To make it easier to incorporate the butter you can freeze it and then grate it into the flour mix
• Form a ball, flatten slightly, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes
• Roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (use round molds or a small plate)
Filling
2 chicken thighs chopped finely
1 onion chopped finely
2 garlic cloves chopped finely
1 teaspoon each cumin, paprika and garlic powder
½ cup water
Salt and pepper
• Fry off all ingredients except water until chicken is cooked
• Add water and braise until all ingredients are soft
• When cooled blitz slightly to make it a bit pasty to ensure easy assembly of pastries
• Boil a couple of eggs, peel and slice when cooled
• To assemble, put a teaspoon of chicken mix, and a slice of egg and roll pastry.
• Brush with oil and bake at 180 until golden brown… texture of sun!!!
• Serve with chimmichurri, which can be found here

Not sure what Sarah is doing here
Not sure what Sarah is doing here but she looks like she is enjoying herself
Pretty confident right there
Pretty confident right there
The coconut custard dessert
The coconut custard dessert

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Paradise Dessert
This is a combination of a few things that are tropical and Paupa New Guinea-ish. A damn fine combo but still not quite hitting the number one spot.

Paradise Dessert
2 frozen bananas
Coconut crème fritters
Puffed black rice
Tamarind caramel

Coconut crème fritters
3 cups coconut cream
6 egg yolks
½ cup castor sugar
¾ cup corn flour
Zest of one lime
Rice flour, egg mix and desiccated coconut to coat
• In a small saucepan, warm the milk and lime zest over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, corn flour until the mixture is completely smooth.
• Once the milk is steaming, add half of it to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk, continue stirring, it will thicken so stir like a madman until it is thick. Put in fridge until it is cold and set .
• Once set, roll into balls then roll these balls in rice flour, then egg mix then desiccated coconut and deep fry until golden

Tamarind caramel
Soak 100g tamarind in hot water and then drain off liquid from seeds. Put liquid in pan with ½ cup sugar and slowly heat until it reaches a caramel consistency.

Banana sorbet
Blitz bananas in a food processor until it turns into ice cream – its delish… and easier than pie!!!!

Puffed rice
Shallow fry tablespoons of black rice until they puff. Drain and cool on kitchen towel.

To serve
Serve fried custards with caramel, rice and ice cream and think of yourself on a tropical island!

That's the salad
That’s the salad

MADAGASCAR – Pineapple and green papaya salad

Who would of thunk it? A simple little salad takes the winners podium. This thing was everything I like about food; simple, full of flavour and quite frankly, kick-ass. That’s about all I’ve got.
1 medium green papaya, shredded
1 medium pineapple, diced
5 Spring onions, sliced finely
1 handful coriander, chopped
½ tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon powdered chilli (less or more if you like it hotter or wimpier)
Juice of one big fat juicy lemon- or 2 small ones
Olive oil- about ¼ cup
• Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Set aside for an hour or more for extra awesomeness… serve and wait for the compliments to come flowing in!