Cowboy beans! Yeehaw!

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So I made some cowboy beans.

Actually, I’m not even sure what cowboy beans are, but this is what I imagine they may be. But they may not be this at all. Definitely do not tell your friends these are OG cowboy beans as that may not be fact. I would even go so far as to say there is a high chance it would not be fact. It could even be said that you pretty much just shouldn’t take any of the words on these here pages, or indeed those that pass my lips, as being fact. I’m pretty much a big fat faker. This is not gospel and I am not the lord. Onto those beans…

I feel they would be most authentic served from a big pot on the back of the chuck wagon. That is a fact.

Time for oven loving

Now it’s get into my face time


COWBOY BEANS

(For the family. Like the whole family. Like extended family, neighbours, stray kids and those carnie folk just barely clinging onto life in the cage under your back stair case… and then there will probably still be some to freeze down for later.)

500g navy beans, black beans or whatever the frick kinda dried beans you have floating about in the back of your wagon, soaked over night and then cooked until tender
500-800g whatever meat you have floating about in the back of your wagon. BBQ leftovers are the best for this – smoked brisket, pork ribs, actually any cut of pork or sausages… roast left overs… or just some nice smoky porky things from your local man
1 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder and hot sauce
1 tablespoon each American ballpark mustard and Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Big Red Rub or your favourite BBQ dry rub
½ cup tomato ketchup
3x 400g tins crushed or chopped tomatoes or something similar
Salt and pepper
Fried eggs (or crack them straight into the beans and bake for an extra 5 minutes for tasty-assed one pan glory), chopped fresh herbs, jalapenos and toast to serve

Chop meat/s into bite sized chunks.
Heat a splash of oil in a large oven pan over medium heat. Add meat/s and sauté until browned a little.
Add all other ingredients and cook out for 5 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary (that’s what your salt and pepper is for).
Place into 180-200C oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add a splash of water if mix starts to dry out – kinda saucy is kinda good I reckon. (You could finish these beans totally on the stovetop if you don’t feel like lighting your oven… or you just don’t actually have an oven… but they really do benefit from a little oven bubbly caramelized tomato bits. Jus’ saying)
That’s it. Serve it up – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty simple, just how the cowboys would’ve liked it. Yeehaw.

Porkies Barbque, Bayswater, FTW

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porkies barbque bayswater
There’s bound to be a bit of spam coming your way after my recent trip to the grand old sheep station (state) of my birth, Western Australia, but first I need to take a moment to tell you about a little place called Porkies Barbque… and secondly I need some sleep. I really need some sleep. Booking flights back home and forgetting about the three hour time difference resulting in us actually arriving home at ridiculous o’clock, like actually almost the next day, like actually almost just drive straight from the airport to work and just cross a day off the calendar type shit is a very rookie error. Young players, eh.

Yeah, I’m tired. Cut a negro some slack would ya.

I could go on about my pain forever, but this folks is mostly about Porkies Barbque.

So much good shit to choose from

So much good shit to choose from


This place is a little jewel in the crown of the appeal of a trip back to Dubya (WA) and dare I say a shining light in the local barbecue scene. A scene that appears to be booming more than the mining explosion (now that was a pretty fucking worthy pun right there) of the last ten years, more than the high fibre, pre-biotic, legume heavy, dieters’ trouser trumpet, and possibly even more booming than the voice James Earl Jones. Yeah right?

Or maybe it isn’t booming at all and I am once again spoon feeding you ill-informed rubbish from the mystic void that is my brain. Mystic void… shit’s getting creepy now…

The viking banquette hall

The viking banquette hall


Walking into Porkies was like walking into a new age version of a Viking banquette hall… and me likey modern Viking banquette hall very much. Even though there was a very limited supply of drunken wenches to take advantage of, and even more limited tolerance of raping and pillaging in 2016, I found the many options of barbecued goodness and other good things to be a suitable consolation prize. Also, the place was a lot cleaner than a Viking’s banquette hall so there would be no need for a tetanus booster today.

Something I noticed really quickly was the rolls of paper towel on the tables, which believe me was more than a little surprising considering the dodginess of my vision on this day. I was not in good shape, feeling more than just a little bit ill. I blamed a less-than-fresh seafood pasta I had eaten the previous day, Jennee claimed she had not seen be consume any pasta dish on the previous day and instead pointed the finger of blame at the ridiculous amount of alcohol I consumed the night before. I reckoned whatever, I was still very impressed by the rolls of paper towel – this meant there was a good chance things were going to get messy.

No words

No words


And messy they did get. Not quite “giving birth messy”, but messy none-the-less.

We ordered the Sampler for 2 ($59.50) topped up with ½ kg Buffalo Wings ($13.80) FTW*. This platter came with a lot of things you might expect plus more; smoked brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken breast, jalapeño bread, corn slaw and three sides of your choosing. FYI we chose crispy mac n cheese, baked beans and a mini salad.

Where shall I begin? (This is where I engage my point form skills)

Still no words

Still no words


• The smoked ribs, pulled pork and chicken were amazing. Truly effing amazing. That smoky meaty goodness definitely made my life better that day. The brisket was a little dry and not heaps smoky but still good once lathered in one of the sauces on the table
• About those sauces on the table; bloody fantastic! Sweet barbecue, mustard sauce and hot sauce for your face to get excited about
• The buffalo wings were fucking amazing, crispy little tasty flying things with a touch of spice
• The salads were a little under seasoned, as I’ve decided is often the case with barbecue meat joints (but lets face it, we were there for the meat… it’s not like you go to a brothel and critique the bedside decore is it?), but they had a big assed shaker of seasoning salt on the table so that was easily rectified
• The fried mac ‘n’ cheese was awesome. You can probably make it yourself if you take a look at this recipe from Paul’s Caul right here
• The baked beans were constituted of 4 parts porky goodness to 1 part beans. I see nothing wrong with that
• It came with jalapeno bread, which is quite possibly one of the most genius things ever. I want this stuff in my life. I will make this into my life. It was like I had finally met my long lost child. I will love this bread like it was one of my own… I realise I’m starting to sound a little desperate but I want this bread
• The place even has bottomless soft drink refills and iced tea to wash everything down, but if you like a more alcoholic version of something wet to have with your barbecue, you’ll need to pack that yourself

There you go. Porkies Barbque. Get on it!

The writing was on the wall

The writing was on the wall

*Is FTW an acronym for “for the win”? I asked a young person and they said it was but now I’m not really sure… I’m using it anyway. If it means something different in your world let’s just pretend you know it means “for the win” in mine

Another rant about home made baked beans

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baked beans
I know I have waxed the lyrical, stood atop my soap box spruked about and just down right pleaded with you to make your own baked beans. They are a totally different world of awesome. If you do not believe me and choose a path of abstinence from making your own beans then there is nothing more I can do to help you. You are on your own now child.

There are several rules when making top notch baked beans;

1. Get some smoked pork in there; Good baked beans owe a debt of gratitude to a good ham bone or smoked sausage, it just improves the flavour of these little legumes ten fold. Unless you are vegetarian or one of the other groups of people out there who are wrong about smoked pork. Except Muslims… I got no beef with them… wait, no pork I should say… beef should be A.O.K
2. Bake the beans; They are called baked beans for a reason. They can not get the same oven-generated crusty bits when cooked on the stove top and so lack a little extra depth of flavour (I’m sorry you had to read those words. I should definitely have prefixed them with a large, illuminated sign that read “wanker alert”). Also, they are more prone to sticking and burning with the direct heat from the burner. Pretty shit time all round actually…
3. Read points 1 and 2 again before you move on

This recipe is not one of those times where you have to follow it to the letter. Use different beans if you want, different herbs or whatever you got. As long as you have a bit of good smoked or cured pork product in there (you can even use salami as the meat product if you want) I garantee, yes guarantee, you will be a happy camper. Unless of course you are actually camping but hate the outdoors, in which case I can guarantee you will not be a happy camper. I’ve really got to get my story straight somewhere along the line.

From this...

From this…

To this...

To this…

To this... served up with morcilla, cottage cheese, egg and rocket, and the remainder portioned and frozen down behind the postman :)

To this… served up with morcilla, cottage cheese, egg and rocket, and the remainder portioned and frozen down behind the postman 🙂


BAKED BEANS with SMOKED PORK

3x 400g tins canellini or navy beans
2x 400g tins crushed tomatoes
300-400g ham bone or ham hock or some smoked sausage eg.chorizo
1 brown onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano or thyme, or a mix of both, or whatever herbs you like (you’ll work your favourite combo in time I’m sure)
Some kind of chilli. I had 1 fresh long green chilli but a good pinch of dried chilli flakes or a splash of hot sauce would do the trick, and a fresh jalepeno would be really good
A splash of BBQ or worcestshire sauce if you’re feeling it
Eggs (cooked), toasted sourdough, cottage cheese (or feta or pecorino), fresh herbs and olive oil are always good for that final “yeah I’m boss at this shit” flourish to serve
• Sweat off ham or sausage (hmmm, sweaty sausage. Tastes heaps better then it sounds), onion and spices
• Add beans and tomato, cook in 170C oven for 1 hour (possibly a little longer if you are using ham hock as it will need a little time to soften up), stirring a couple of times
• Check seasoning
• Serve with all the stuff it says up there
• I like to make a batch that is double to triple the size of this recipe so I can freeze it down in portions in the boxed icey tundra that is my freezer, right behind the postman… er, let’s just pretend you didn’t read that. He was a nasty prick though… had it coming…

Nothing new… But some really good old shit

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This one week during which I didn’t really do anything new or unusual in the kitchen. Well actually, one night while the boys were asleep, Jennee and I got a tub of ice cream and a shit load of chocolate syrup and then we… got… hmmm. Not today methinks. No, we shall concentrate on the regurgitated recipes of days gone by.

I will start the story right… about… here.

I would marry this

I would marry this

I made dahl again… and some flat bread to go with it… and even some sautéed kale and chilli just to top that shit right off. The sautéed kale and chilli is the way of the future. Even by itself with a bowl of rice it would keep a Phillipino factory worker going for a week just so you can strut around in your new custom Nikes.

I have discovered that the kids will eat anything if it's on pizza. These had zucchini, kale and bacon. Seba added a pile of anchovies to his and Obi a pile of capers

I have discovered that the kids will eat anything if it’s on pizza. These had tomato, zucchini, kale and bacon. Seba added a pile of anchovies to his and Obi a pile of capers

The next thing I made again was a load of something that I can’t remember… but I’m sure it’s going to come to me soon… pizzas. We made pizzas. The boys and I make pizzas every week so there was no escaping that one. Plus I got some photos so even my memory couldn’t fail me.

'nuff said

’nuff said

One night I didn’t feel like anything except hammy baked beans for dinner, so basically that story ends with me eating hammy baked beans for dinner.

Bananageddon is upon us

Bananageddon is upon us

I made these bad boys at work. I like to call them “Bananageddon Pancakes”. Banana buttermilk pancakes, fresh banana, banana chips, pecans, home made mascarpone, butterscotch sauce. Effing A!

Pork knuckle. Damn

Pork knuckle. Damn

My Aunty came to visit me all the way from West Oz and, being that Germany was the place of her birth, I thought it legitimate that we should treat her to a classic Chateau le Stockdale German inspired spread… minus the beer wenches this time. Pork knuckle, home made sauerkraut, nana’s potato salad and home made chutneys galore. She left a very happy Aunty Chris.

Queenie working on the mis en place, me mooching around in the background like a gangster

Queenie working on the mis en place, me mooching around in the background like a gangster

I am hungry looking at this pic

I am hungry looking at this pic

The spread. Add some bread and let your face enjoy the good times

The spread. Add some bread and let your face enjoy the good times

Quick face, enjoy those good times

Quick face, enjoy those good times

To top the whole effing week off Queenie and I made coq au vin. But we didn’t just make coq au vin… we made COCK U VAN. This spread was a fricking cracker. The cauli cheese needs a separate write up just for itself. It was probs one of the best things on the table in my humble opinion. Granted, I did make it, but shit that stuff is good. I didn’t even put cheese in it just because I’ll do what the heck I want in my kitchen. No cheese. Nope. Just made a damn good béchamel with a bit of nutmeg in it and that was damn near enough to make a lesser man wet his pants in an entirely inappropriate manner… and by wet his pants I actually mean eat the fuck out of the cauli cheese (no cheese) and don’t stop eating until it exists no longer. That’s right – wipe it out. Tsunami Grazza and the lesser known Tropical Storm Queenie hit the table and sent many Asian villagers (who were actually cauli cheese) to the depths of our combined monsoonal bellies. Potato gratin and sautéed Brussels sprouts were the icing on the proverbial coq au vin cake.

And I will end the story right here.

PS Laura, I put the banana chips on those pancakes just for Azza.

Harvest cafe and our anniversary…

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So today is Jennees and my wedding anniversary. Eight years of all the best shit anyone could expect from another person. Highs and lows. Blah blah blah.

“So, Grazza”, I said to myself. “It’s time to dust off the ol’ ink well and quill, and write your lucky wench a little love poem type thing. Maybe a Shakespearean sonnet. A bit of what light from yonder window breaks my love for thou o romeo”…

But then I thought she would question it’s origin and possibly be a little bit sick on the new carpet. So, I searched my inner self for something truly “Graz” and this folks, is what I came up with…

Jennee

You are the ping to my pong.

You are the carnie to my side show alley.

You are the hot sauce to my yum cha.

You are the hip to my hop, the butter to my bread.

Except in the instance of special dietary requirements in which case you are the good olive oil, which I feel, is a suitable replacement for the butter.

And a good loaf of gluten free bread shall replace its tastier, wheat based counter part.

I will love you like that forever.

When your skin is old and wrinkled and it looks like a topographical map of the Andes, and I am so old and senile I can’t distinguish that it’s not.

I will still love you.

The last eight years have been a blast and I’m sure there will be many more blasts to come.

Yeah I know what you’re thinking. Awesome eh. I will definitely be thinking romeo-esque activities and poetry writing for my next career if this cooking thing doesn’t work out for me.

Harvest

Harvest

We also went out for breakfast to a place called Harvest Café. It’s been a while since we’ve sat on the deck at Harvest in the little village of Newrybar (much like the last place we visited, Town Café) and like the caterpillar blossoming into the beautiful butterfly… wait, I think this cute shit is starting to take hold… must… fight it. Kill the cute shit. Destroy sense… and sensibilities…

………………………. (this is silence)

Whatever. I have certainly got nary a bad thing to say about the gay man, but the only way I could possibly describe that last sequence of events is gay. Back on track… Harvest has gone from a café/restaurant to a three building big café/restaurant/wood fired bakery/deli/vegetable garden. This place is every chef’s dream, and after breakfast I would say it could fulfil the dreams of many a morning punter as well.

First noticeable difference between Harvest and a lot of other cafes up this way was the amount of staff. There was a lot of staff. In the kitchen and restaurant combined there were more staff than I have fingers and genitalia. I think they’re brewing something big out there; either that or maybe they are all guards for a secret government agency that harbours its offices in the ground deep below the building. Or maybe they are all aliens secretly building a new town to house their alien brothers and sisters upon their descent to Earth (complete with their own kick-ass wood fired bakery for the aliens loaves and fishes thing). Or maybe I should just lay off the coffee… seriously.

Chargrilled watermelon with mascarpone and nut praline 4.50

Chargrilled watermelon with mascarpone and nut praline 4.50

We started with the grilled watermelon with mascarpone and praline. It was good, but I decided I am not a fan of warm watermelon, even if it has got pretty little grill marks on it. It was still damn tasty though and I could have done it twice or even thrice with crisp, cold fresh watermelon, but warm it was and into my belly it went.

We had a banging Allpress coffee and, on a side note if I may, I would like to mention that there is some fantastic coffee coming out of the Northern Rivers at the mo’, which makes this an even better home for a coffee addict such a myself.

Harvest bircher muesli, steeped in fresh apple juice   with seasonal fruit, honey and yoghurt 14.50

Harvest bircher muesli, steeped in fresh apple juice
with seasonal fruit, honey and yoghurt 14.50. Great photo Grazza

Jennee ordered the bircher muesli, which is kinda predictable for her. But saying that, I ordered the beans, which is also kinda predictable for me…  but really who gives a shit? Not you surely?

Farmgate Cassoulet: Sausages and cannellini beans braised in tomato   and served with poached eggs and fresh sourdough 21.00. Side of local bacon 3.00. Mmmmm

Farmgate Cassoulet: Sausages and cannellini beans braised in tomato
and served with poached eggs and fresh sourdough 21.00. Side of local bacon 3.00. Mmmmm

The bircher was fresh and bircher-y and had everything Jennee wanted from her muesli. My beans were flavourful and had big fat chunks of sausage floating around in them (sounds like a party I went to once. Wading pools filled with baked beans and… ummm… hehemmm), two perfectly poached eggs, fresh sour dough from the bakery, which was effing delicious. Sour, chewy, great structure, crusty… after we were done I was heading straight to their deli next door to get me some more of that shit to take home. But first, another coffee thank you my good man (or lady as was the case today).

Bread. Forgot how much this was

Bread. Forgot how much this was

We thanked ours hosts for the lovely breakfast and tipped them generously. One does not want to seem like a tight ass on ones anniversary now, does one.

Byron Bay at it's finest

Byron Bay at it’s finest

Off to lovely Byron for a swim and another coffee at our other favourite the Beach Café (although Jennee did declare after the experience at Harvest that this was her favourite now. She said the food was great at both places but Harvest had nicer toilets and Beach Café’s were more of the bog standard public toilet type scenario. I don’t recall visiting the ladies room at either establishment so it was all about the food for me. Both effing top notch!)

If you’re up this way I would defo recommend a visit to Harvest!! Do it. Do it now.

Oh, and happy anniversary Jennee.

Five ingredient exploding tastebud technique for Troppo #3… Baked beans

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I don’t know how it works for the rest of the civilized world, but starting a new job as a head chef is plenty time consuming. There are menus to be written, recipe cards to be measured and weighed, new staff to work out and quite possibly the odd flogging to be administered… and all the beer you have to drink to deal with all the additional stress… and the strange looks and constant mockery when you let it slip that you’re into ethnic carnie midget sex. I just must keep my mouth closed sometimes…

Rant done. Time it short at the moment is possibly the point I was trying to get across. Hence the lack of posting… but not today.

I’ve mowed the lawns, cleaned my car and now it’s just starting seriously pissing down rain (which is quite lucky because since the floods this year there are sea creatures in our backyard whose skin was starting to look a little dry. Sarcasm is a pretty high form of wit where I’m from) so I am going to get another post or two done while I have this time, in a sure fire and steadfast fashion… even though I do not know what that means.

The pool is full, the garden is watered, but the washing alas, did not stand a chance

The pool is full, the garden is watered, but the washing alas, did not stand a chance

I’m sure I’ve posted a baked beans recipe previously and I have noticed that I have so you can find that here. But if I had to break it down to the five lowest common denominators it would be thus… beans, tomatoes, onion, pork product and herbs. You’ve got everything you need in the cupboard. Rock and roll!

Get these things out of your cupboard and or fridge. Except the novelty moustache mug. You probably didn't get one of those

Get these things out of your cupboard and or fridge. Except the novelty moustache mug. You probably didn’t get one of those

Ready for the fire

Ready for the fire

SIMPLE BAKED BEANS FOR A COMPLEX WORLD

2 tins cannellini beans. Mine even came with a recipe that contained only five ingredients just to stick with the theme of this little segment. Winning or what?

2 tins crushed tomatoes. Or 1 tin of tomatoes and a handful of cherry tomatoes from your garden

a handful of salami, prosciutto, bacon, ham… whatever smoked or cured pork product you can get your grubby little hands on. Unless you are carnival folk in which case you will need to use your grubby little hooves

1 brown onion, diced

a sprig of rosemary or thyme or both or some dried oregano or dried mixed herbs… are you getting the picture

seasoning

I also had a few “optional extra” ingredients that didn’t quite fit into the top five. In no particular order they were some Japanese peppers, parmesan cheese, a novelty moustache mug that Jennee bought me, a fire and a camp oven because, as has been said before on these pages, good things start with fire. Unless of course your foxhole is getting flushed out with a flame thrower, in which case you should stop reading this and get the fuck out of there. Seriously, you should be more alert than that.

  • Sweat off your onion and pork product until onions a soft and smelling porky
  • Add everything else, put the lid on the camp oven and cover with a few coals to get that camp oven goodness effect (in lieu of a camp oven and a fire, at this time you may put the beans into the oven at 180-200C)
  • Bake for 45 minutes while you sit around the fire talking about how good it would be if you could have a sneaky beer right now
  • Smell the goodness? Trust your nose, it’s telling you the time has come
  • Dish it up, add a handful of parmesan cheese and a good splash of olive oil and eat it in your face!

These are clearly the goods for camp breakfast too. Crack a couple of eggs in at the end and cover for another two minutes and glory be. Awesome baked beans for breakfast and wide open spaces for you to be flatulent in…

Baked beans… and the debt they owe to a good piece of smoked meat

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Good baked beans are super easy but they do owe a debt of gratitude to a good ham bone or smoked sausage, it just improves the flavour of these little legumes ten fold. Unless you are vegetarian or one of the other groups of people out there who are wrong about smoked pork. Except Muslims… I got no beef with them. Add a good hit of patiently-slow-cooking and the holy trinity is complete (I know it’s actually a pair, but trinity really does have a more regal ring to it). These bad boys can’t be rushed. Oven baking also helps them get a nice extra flavour due to the little crusty bits, which can’t be achieved on the stove top.

This recipe is not one of those times where you have to follow it to the letter. Use different  beans if you want, different herbs or whatever you got. As long as you have a bit of good smoked or cured pork product in there (You can even use salami as the meat product if you want) I guarentee, yes guarentee, you will be a happy camper. Unless of course you hate the outdoors, in which case I can guarentee you will not be a happy camper. I’ve really got to get my story straight somewhere along the line.

easy as...

easy as…

cook yer meat and onions and spices

cook yer meat and onions and spices

add tomatoes and beans

add tomatoes and beans

bake until it's a little crusty (not like the old alcoholic who is asleep on the pub steps at 9am. Do it like the photo, fool)

bake until it’s a little crusty (not like the old alcoholic who is asleep on the pub steps at 9am. Do it like the photo, fool)

add some eggs and crumbs and cheese andn back into the oven for a wee moment

add some eggs and crumbs and cheese and back into the oven for a wee moment

put it in a bowl and get your mum to blow on it because it will be super hot and I don't want it to burn your little mouffy. Hit it up with some fresh basil if you have an abundance of it in your garden

put it in a bowl and get your mum to blow on it because it will be super hot and I don’t want it to burn your little mouffy. Hit it up with some fresh basil if you have an abundance of it in your garden at the mo’

BAKED BEANS

3 400g tins canellini beans*

2 400g tins crushed tomatoes

1 ham bone or ham hock or some smoked sausage eg.chorizo

1 brown onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon each dried oregano and thyme, or whatever herbs you like

1 pinch dried chilli flakes

1 cup of breadcrumbs if you want an extra crusty crust. I recommend the extra crusty crust

Toasted sourdough, grated pecorino, fresh herbs and olive oil are always good  for that final “yeah I’m boss at this shit” flourish to serve

  • Sweat off ham or sausage (hmmm, sweaty sausage. Sounds heaps appealing), onion & spices
  • Add beans and tomato, cook in 180C oven for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times
  • Check seasoning
  • Add eggs straight to the pot if you have them and top with bread crumbs and a bit of cheese
  • Back into the oven for another 3-4 minutes
  • Serve with all the stuff it says up there.

*or if you want to get special, soak 2 cups of dried cannellini beans over night and then cook them with parmesan rind. Yep. The hard rind that you don’t eat. It’s great to flavour stuff like this. Save it in the freezer for these occassions. You don’t eat parmesan? Not even I can help you with that one my friend…

 

NEXT POST IS NUMBER 300! HELLS YEAH BOYEEEE!!!

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