Iluka and a damn tasty bowl of white curry mee

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Beach side getaway. It’s real and it’s name is Iluka.

When it comes to a weekend away, hanging out near the ocean, plenty of fresh seafood and booze on hand and a refurbished old school fisherman’s shack to keep you safe and warm and night Iluka, on the New South Wales north coast, ticks all of the boxes… and it’s nice and it’s close to where we live to boot. So this mythical Iluka joint is indeed a place we try to visit as often as possible.

This time away though, I must confess I was feeling a little under the weather. But I had a plan. A plan to make me strong like ox once again. I would be looking for my time in Iluka to rejuvenate the metaphorical worn grass and naked fields of the landscape of my life. And then I shall call upon the almost mythical three hit combo that is the fully charged power animal, the centered and sexually satisfied chi and the ginger minge to piss that under-the-weather type feeling right the heck off.

I hope you’re paying attention.

Iluka turned on the happy smily weather for us

Iluka turned on the happy smily weather for us


Iluka.

I think one of the highlights of my time in Iluka was (and please don’t think any less of me for saying this… bahahahaha. Any less of me? As if that could actually happen, ay. I just made myself laugh a fair bit) a pack of white curry mee. I don’t even know what white curry mee is or even where the hell they came from, but I do know these instant noodles were one of the pinnacles of my day. Cheap, easy, fast and somehow they kinda left you feeling just a little bit dirty, these things were not dissimilar to a three buck hooker… but they certainly were a whole heap tastier… a whole heap tastier.

I realised pretty quickly that is was indeed “taking a little break” AKA a holiday, so I found it very appropriate to obtain myself a glass of some fermented red relaxedness enhancer. Oh yes. That relaxy-dinky-donky-doo feeling.

Feel it?

When staying near the ocean I find it essential to purchase local seafood food sustenance as well as enjoyment

When staying near the ocean I find it essential to purchase local seafood food sustenance as well as enjoyment


Later in the afternoon I felt it appropriate that I should make soup. A little chickpea and vegetable number would be the go I reckoned as that would be good for me plus it would also be good for my friend Ainsley – who is one of my top 2 favourite vegetarians in the word (yeah Gitana, you’re up there too) – as it would not contain meat thus would be deemed edible by said vegetarian friend, Ainsley. Little did I know that Ainsley had also considered it a worthy day to make soup so had brought with her an offering to the soup eating vegetarian gods of her own, clevery disguised as a pot of pumpkin soup… or actually just straight up a pot of pumpkin soup.

Needless to say, much soup was enjoyed by everyone present.

The next morning I awoke at a time that I could only call ridiculously early… or maybe ridearly… or possibly even earliculous… but I certainly wouldn’t stray too much further than that. But I did get up early. Like, the kids weren’t even awake and the sun was still sleeping too.

We ate the meal often called breakfast for sustenance as well as enjoyment. I smiled at everybody’s morning hair as I find morning hair quite entertaining. This is a little known fact about me.

The day was filled with all of the activities you might expect from some kind of lakeside summer camp. Except we were all keen participants and not ostracized step-children, ditched by our families for the holidays because of our annoying belching habits and yet undiscovered skin conditions. We played scout-esque, sickeningly feel good family bonding games, skateboarded, shot hoops, went walking, blah-di-blah-blah.

And then we did that all over again some more.

That’s all.

White curry mee in all of it's glory. Props by Iluka Beach Shack Co

White curry mee in all of it’s glory. Props by Iluka Beach Shack Co


WHITE CURRY MEE

Packet instructions seemed to work fine for me.

Chicken, bacon, potato and sauerkraut soup… more easytastygood

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chicken, bacon, potato and sauerkraut soup
This was both an ode to my German heritage and the only thing I could come up with using what I had on hand.

In keeping with simplicity of my recent mussel recipe and in the true spirit of #easytastygood this is indeed an easy recipe that is both tasty and good for you. This is the sort of food I need in my life at the moment as I have again found myself officially in the realm of the time poor. Also known as “just having such a blast at this life thing that I really can’t get enough of all of the cool shit going on”. Whatever the case, this food is getting me through.

The smell of bacon and vegetables cooking in garlic butter is truly a good smell indeed

The smell of bacon and vegetables cooking in garlic butter is truly a good smell indeed


I had some nice, smoky Borrowdale bacon in the fridge, I had some shredded roast chicken in the freezer, I had some potatoes in the cupboard and I had some sauerkraut in the downstairs fridge. I always have sauerkraut in the downstairs fridge… a great big effing bucket of sauerkraut. So you know what? I chucked that stuff and a couple of other veges in a pot (in an order that would make sense. Don’t just go chucking it all into a pot. I will reveal all in the full recipe below) and sweated it off in some garlic butter (left-over from the garlic bread we made to go with those mussels), added a few liters of stock… or maybe it was water… yep, it was definitely water, and simmered it for an hour until it was all delicious smelling and my face was begging for it. Literally begging for it, pining and shit. Dirty little whore face.

The sauerkraut does beautiful things to this soup, much like pencillin does beautiful things to that rash in your private parts, as does the smoky goodness that was gifted by that bacon. It was a combined effort resulting in a truly effective combination that my family, and indeed a lonely spinster who was wandering the night streets, thoroughly enjoyed. A combination that shall henceforth be known as “the Batman and Robin Effect”.

So clever.

That soup

That soup


CHICKEN, BACON, POTATO & SAUERKRAUT SOUP (serves 4 easily. Possibly even 6)

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
250-300g good, smoky bacon, diced
1 medium onion or leek, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stick celery, diced
750g potato, diced into 2cm-ish cubes
3-4 cups sauerkraut with whatever juices it may be chilling out in
2 tablespoons garlic butter
2-3 liters water or stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and crusty bread to serve

• Heat a heavy based pot over a medium flame. Add bacon, onion, carrot, celery and garlic butter and sauté for a few minutes until they start to almost get a bit of colour
• Add chicken, potato and sauerkraut with enough water/stock to cover fully plus an extra cup or so
• Simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked and it smells like you need to eat it
• Taste and season with salt and a heap of pepper – it shouldn’t need too much salt because of the sauerkraut and bacon
• Serve garnished with parsley
• Bam. Damn well easy as f…

Still banging on about Vietnam… and a recipe for Pho

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vietnamese pho noodle soup
One thing that is very noticeable in Vietnam is the hawkers… every densely populated area (which is in fact every square meter of ground in this country) has it’s hawkers and those hawkers will hit the streets in force and advance on the populace, both local and foreign, and will all try and convince you that they are selling exactly what you need; a book, CDs, donuts and other sweet coated fried bread products, cigarettes, cigarette lighters, wallets, hats, trinkets (I don’t even know what a trinket is, but it seems like something these people would sell), watches and other bits and pieces.

For the most part they are in fact selling nothing that you need, but they will not believe you when you tell them this, so you need to walk on (see “the cardinal rule when dealing with hawkers”).

The only hawkers that truly have something that you might want are the ones who are selling the donuts. Sweetened little balls and fingers (not actual body parts) of tasty fried bread goodness, these guys are doing you a favour. But, if you do in fact make a purchase from one of these vendors you are faced with another set of problems because you have in fact communicated and, dare I say, looked the hawker in the eye and in doing so, you have broken the cardinal rule when dealing with hawkers – if I may bring it to your attention – DO NOT ACKNOWLEDGE OR LOOK AT HAWKERS.

As much as you are a nice and decent human being and they are people too and you have your obligation to be kind to your fellow man and blah blah blah. Well you need to realise that these people are the lion and you are the antelope, and if you falter, even for a second, they will pounce on you, drag you to the ground and rip you to shreds, then more of their kind will come and squabble over your remains.

It is like opening your door to a gypsy; you only see one initially and think that’s going to be fine, next minute your house is over-run and you find yourself renting your own Toyota Camry from a small man with a decisive limp and an uncanny way with goats…

Legit as heck - pho getting served in the streets of Hanoi

Legit as heck – pho getting served in the streets of Hanoi


Another thing that is very easily noticeable is the love of pho.

Everywhere you go in this place there are piles of the freshest, tastiest rice noodles you have ever had the pleasure of placing in your face, just laying there, quietly dormant, patiently waiting for their ovation once swimming in the clear, mothers-milk of a stocky broth that will finally allow this dish to be known as pho.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, summer, winter, special occasion, regular midweek dinner or lonely Friday night in for one, this noodle soup is anytime food, comfort food, party food and food to be consumed from your girl friend’s body all in one.

If you are smart you will make this, or something very similar. If you are not smart you are probably sitting at the dinner table trying to eat soup with a knife and fork.

Carry on.

Charring the onions and ginger. A cake rack over a flame works a treat

Charring the onions and ginger. A cake rack over a flame works a treat

Spices about to get slapped around a bit

Spices about to get slapped around a bit

Clear and scum-free is the result you are looking for

Clear and scum-free is the result you are looking for

Herbs. Heaps of herbs

Herbs. Heaps of herbs

The beef version

The beef version

Herbs and sprouts and other shit that goes in your pho

Herbs and sprouts and other shit that goes in your pho

The chicken version

The chicken version


PHO –BEEF or CHICKEN. YOU CHOOSE (serves 6-8)

I feel that before you embark on this mission you should know that eating pho is a life style choice. Other things that, say, the Australian Prime Minister says are a lifestyle choice, may in fact not be a lifestyle choice at all and are indeed just more words that seem to fall effortlessly from his lips with the express purpose of embarrassing the Australian people.

FOR THE BROTH
2kg beef bones (or 4-5 chicken frames)
1kg brisket (or ½ chicken. You can freeze the other half for later, eat it for dinner tomorrow, or even make a double recipe of pho so you can feed the neighbourhood… I can’t believe I need to tell you this)
500g onions
1 thumbsized piece ginger (approx. 50g)
1 cinnamon stick
3 black cardamon pods
1 star anise
2 cloves
10 black peppercorns
1 stalk lemongrass, light part only, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Water

TO SERVE
500g dried rice noodles
1 bunch garlic chives, chopped
250g bean sprouts
4-5 spring onions, chopped
A large pile of picked fresh herbs (I used mint, basil, coriander and purple shiso)
Lime quarters
Some kind of fresh chilli or chilli condiment
Sweetened fish sauce

• Put the bones and meat in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain and discard water
• Grill onions and ginger over an open flame for 5-10 minutes until nicely charred. Chop roughly
• Combine all broth ingredients in a clean pot (you could probably just clean the other pot out and use that…) and cover with approx. 4lt water
• Simmer broth for 2 hours or so, skimming a few times to remove scum from surface
• Strain through a fine sieve or muslin or even a clean chux, and return to heat. Remove meat and chop to serve (pick chicken from bones first if using)
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
• Soak rice noodles in hot (but not boiling) water for 2 minutes or until starting to soften. Drain
• In a wire basket/sieve, blanch bean sprouts in broth for 20 seconds
• Put it all on the table for people to help themselves to whatever
• Put “go to Vietnam” on your bucket list

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)… Nana Rose’s Pea and Ham Soup

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This soup was also consumed in record time as we were effing starving.These pics are seriously the best I could do at the time

This soup was also consumed in record time as we were effing starving.This pic is seriously the best I could do at the time


I was standing in front of the fridge, door wide open (checking over my shoulder, still half expecting my mother to yell at me to “close that bloody fridge door” from down the street), pondering what I would do for my next hammy adventure as I stared longingly and wantingly at the leftover ham like I was staring at my first ever vista of bare boobie glory. Then the thought entered my head that it would be really nice to have a pot of my Nana’s pea and ham soup with this limb of smoky porcine goodness but alas, the weather would not accommodate these desires as it is but a mad man with a hat full of pussy cats and dirty trousers who would cook a meal of hearty pea and ham soup during the peak of an Australian summer.

And then it happened.

It started raining and winding like it was the middle of fricking winter. I kid you not – it was cold and it was wet. Too funny. Nice little joke Jesus is playing on all the tourists who have flocked to the Northern Rivers to soak up the glory of a sun drenched Christmas. Now they can settle for just drenched and/or soaking wet…

Not being the type of man to look a gift horse in the mouth, or even get close enough to any horse, gift or not, to feel it’s warm horsey breath as I peer at it’s hairy tongue, I grasped the opportunity like the old man in the pervy cinema grasps himself, and had a pot of my Nana Rose’s pea and ham soup on the stove in record time.

NANA ROSE’S PEA & HAM SOUP (serves 4)

A couple of handfuls of chopped leftover ham, or the ham hock is the best if you still have it
1 cup yellow split peas
1 brown onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
• Get ready to be blown away by the simplicity of this
• In a pot, sweat off onion and carrot for a minute or two, until they are just starting to soften
• Add ham hock and 1.5lt of h20
• On a very low heat so it’s just ticking over, cook with the lid slightly ajar for a couple of hours
• Add split peas and cook for another 40-ish minutes
• The split peas should now look like someone has pureed them for you while you were not looking. If they don’t cook it for a little longer. If it needs a bit more moisture, add a bit more water
• Pull them ham hock out and shred the meat off the bone while it’s still piping hot so your kids can laugh at you like we would laugh at my mum and nana when they would do it
• Check the seasoning
• Eat just like you would eat any soup – with a big fat pie of buttered bread

Cauliflower Soup… and a dry, dry winter

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If it has been a dry winter for us around here… really dry. Not a drop of moisture in the air. Rain water tanks and dams have been drying up, and we have been so lacking in moisture, in fact, that it has forced the closure of several local brothels, causing uproar throughout local fat business man circles. The word moist has been banned from public use under the incitement to riot act. It’s been so dry people are opting for jerky as a moist cut of meat for their Sunday dinner. On a serious note (yes, I know those serious notes have no place on these pages. I’m sorry) local fire authority though it would be a good idea to enforce a total fire ban. Fine with me. But last night the peeps upstairs decided they’d had enough of all of this fire ban business and let the wet shit rip from above. It was time to make amends before the end of winter so they gave us a soaking. They gave us our whole winter in three days, which is totally fine, but a little more even distribution next time is also fine by me…

I made soup to take away the coldness that was slowly enveloping my body and soul. It was cauliflower soup and it went a little something like this…

I was quite literally eating that fried crumb goodness from the spoon

I was quite literally eating that fried crumb goodness from the spoon

You know what time it is little soupy? Time to get in my belly

You know what time it is little soupy? Time to get in my belly

CAULIFLOWER SOUP (for 6)

1 medium head of cauliflower, chopped into 2-3cm chunks, stem included
2 large leeks, white/very pal green part only, sliced (a couple of onions would do the trick)
2 anchovies
2lt vegetable stock or water if that’s all you got
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
torn croutons, grated gruyere cheese and chopped parsley to serve

• Sauté leek and anchovies in a little oil until soft
• Add the rest of the stuff I said you will need to make this soup and simmer for 1 hour
• Blitz that bad boy with a stick wizz or in a blender (do it in small batches… it is steaming hot soup remember, not your fricking green smoothie) and check seasoning
• Serve it up, garnished with the stuff I told you to garnish it with

We had gruyere with our soup, but it could handle just about any cheese you threw at it; cheddar, blue, parmesan, etc. also the croutons were made by tearing day old bread, crusts and all, into chunks and the frying them over low heat with a little olive oil and garlic.

Easter-ness

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Mmmmm. Roast lamb in the fire

Mmmmm. Roast lamb in the fire

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

Cyberdyne industries is ready to go online.

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

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

Old skool catch-ups are the best.

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

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

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

Duck sausage, pork rib, mushroom and kale pasta

Duck sausage, pork rib, mushroom and kale pasta

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

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

Chicken, coconut and kaffir lime broth, noodles and dumplings

Chicken, coconut and kaffir lime broth, noodles and dumplings

Have heaps of lime with this one

Have heaps of lime with this one

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

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

Nothing wrong with this picture

Nothing wrong with this picture

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

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

That pilaff

That pilaf

The boys made frittata omelette for breakfast

The boys made frittata omelette for breakfast

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

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

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

Simple chorizo, chickpea and corn soup

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This soup is simple. It is simple like the child of two cousins. Even if you are one of those less fortunate people who seem to display an unbridled level of devotion to the ancient art of fucktardery (when clearly your energy could be more wisely spent on the lesser arts of tapestry, or possibly midget throwing) you can make this soup. Even if you think you don’t have the time for cooking soups, you too can make this soup. I would suggest, that with the impending winter chill, you go out and buy yourself a slow cooker and chuck all the ingredients into that bad boy when you go to work in the morning and treat yourself to the beautiful chorizo-y smelling house and a great dinner when you arrive home… just pick yourself up a loaf of crusty bread and maybe a few homeless people to share it with on the way home…

I’m sure I have mentioned my views on the helping hand a good smoked sausage can lend to just about any meal… and I’ve harped on sufficiently about the powers of a good salsa verde… what more could you really want?

Foodisthebestshitever. Promoting easy-good!

A good start for your salsa verde… straight from the garden, I might add (yes, I am a wanker)

A good start for your salsa verde… straight from the garden, I might add (yes, I am a wanker)

A good start for any soup

A good start for any soup

A good dinner for me

A good dinner for me

Chorizo, chickpea and corn soup (for 4)
3 smoked chorizo sausage, diced
2 brown onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
5-6 ripe tomatoes, diced, or 1 400g tin diced tomato
2 cobs corn, kernels sliced from the cob
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika (hot or mild or smoked. Whatever takes your fancy)
1 400g tin chickpeas, drained
1.25lt stock or water if that’s all you’ve got… or sand if you don’t have any water
Seasoning
Olive oil
Salsa verde and crusty bread to serve
• Sauté the vegetables and spices in a little olive oil for 3-4 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to soften and the chorizo is getting a little colour on it and is painting all of it’s lovely fatty red juices upon the canvas that is this soup
• Re-read that last sentence and then ask yourself this question, “Why the hell am I still reading this bollocks?”
• Add remaining ingredients, season and simmer for 30 minutes
• Check seasoning, get those homeless peeps cleaned up and ready for dinner and eat, garnished with a splash of salsa verde and a pile of crusty bread…

Some fried tortilla crisps could also find a happy home in this soup. As would some sour cream… shredded chicken… a little pickled chilli… avocado… feta…

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