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.

The Black Sheep Espresso Baa, Cooly… not just a bunch of random words

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black sheep espresso baa
The Black Sheep Espresso Baa…

This place is a little hole-in-the-wall type set up, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it little hobbit nook, sans Saruman, Lord of Isengard, which works for me as I am not eating breakfast in the company of that nasty prick, no thank you.

My kids in the shoe box

My kids in the shoe box


You walk into this little shoe box café expecting to see myriad of little elves working away, toiling over a hot grill to get you your meal, and some how negotiating their way around a coffee machine with some kind of little step ladder arrangement so they can reach the knobs and things so you may have some coffee, too. But then when you do actually wander up to the counter there are full sized, human type characters. There was actually 5 or 6 of them, all working away in a kitchen the size of a small garden shed, or possibly a large TV cabinet and I kid you not, they were all really happy about it too. Staff were singing and being nice and just showing many tell-tale signs of being really happy about their situation.

One of those happy people took our order and then another one of them made us some coffee and I’m pretty sure another one or two of them cooked our breakfast but I didn’t really notice, all the while I was sitting down and using every ounce of my energy trying not to obviously stare in absolute awe of how acceptable it seems to be to wear budgie smugglers into and around the Coolangattata café strip…

Tasty things

Tasty things


We ordered some more coffee. They were doing a good thing with their Toby’s Estate coffee so it seemed like the common sense thing to do.

The kids AKA the pack of ravenous lions, decided they would like to share the “Board for 2” ($39) which stated in its menu description that the staff cannot tell you what exactly is on it because they don’t have that sort of time to spare.

This is the menu pic

This is the menu pic


So the “Board for 2” came out carried only by one person which came as quite the surprise as I was expecting 4 large, scantily clad men in sandles… or a goat cart at the very least. Preconceptions can truly be a bitch, right? Anyway, this thing did have everything. It was like Christmas lunch at Gina Rinehart’s pad… minus the private doctors to keep an eye out for heart attack. It was off the fricking hook displayed in wooden board form; eggs, bacon, house made sausages, lamb bacon, spicy beefy beans, corn fritters, mushrooms, roast tomato, pumpkin and beetroot, condiments and toast. It was impressive… like, Andre the Giant impressive.
Sometimes when I look back on pics and try to think of a witty title my brain just reckons nom, nom, nom

Sometimes when I look back on pics and try to think of a witty title my brain just reckons nom, nom, nom


I had the “Sir-Tory” ($16.5) for myself. The quirky little name they had conjured up for this dish, as with most of the other quirky little monikers they had come up with for their menu items, meant absolutely nothing to me. But that was A-OK because I love it when peeps can have a bit of a chuckle at themselves and what they’re doing… AS LONG AS THEY CAN STILL COME THROUGH WITH THE PRODUCT… which these folks truly did. Slow cooked beef cheek in beer and tomato sauce mixed with grumble beans (once again, no idea what they were on about but I was more than happy to eat them) and then served with poached eggs and chilli jam.

“My kind of breakfast” should be enough information to some that one up. The addition of “very effing happy” should leave no doubt in the minds of the more simple folk amongst us.

By the time we were leaving the happy that was oozing from this place had well an truly infected us so off we went to skip with unicorns and smile at rainbows and shit.

You can find the Black Sheep Espresso Baa here.
black sheep espresso baa

Chicken thighs with beans and asparagus ala Matty

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roast chicken thighs with beans and asparagus
My brother is staying with us at the moment. His name is Matt, so for the purpose of this story I shall call him Matt.

Matt lives in Margret River on the west coast of Australia and we live near Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia, so as you may or may not be able to imagine, I don’t get to see my brother heaps, which is a shame because I really like hanging out with that guy. Sometimes we do get a little carried away, and there have been more than a few occasions that we have pushed our luck a little too far and ended up relegated to sleeping in the shed… together… in the same bed. But these are definitely stories for another time…

So Matt is here for a two month holiday but he seems to like to fill his holidays with things to do around the house, so always puts his hand up when there is a job to be done. Now, I don’t know if he genuinely likes to have something to do, or if he’s just trying to impress Jennee, but either way there’s always a list of stuff that needs doing when he comes to visit. This time we have garden beds that need building and planting, a back deck getting built, catering jobs to lend a hand on, and we regularly come home to the clothes washed and folded and a clean house. This is true domestic goddess shit going on right here and this kid is getting full marks thus far. It’s like Jennee’s finishing school for boys who want to be able to live with girls. Anyway, to complete his course in domestic goddessery (more on that later), yesterday he decided he would cook us dinner. He’s a bit of a dab hand in the ol’ kitchen so our expectations were high… Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t expecting a Heston’s feast but we also new he could do plenty better than a weight-watchers frozen ready meal for one, too.

Chicken and asparagus

Chicken and asparagus

Asparagus and chicken

Asparagus and chicken

Nothing wrong with this picture

Nothing wrong with this picture

Extra greens are going to do nothing but score you a heap of bonus points with the ladies

Extra greens are going to do nothing but score you a heap of bonus points with the ladies


ROAST CHICKEN THIGHS (and legs) with BEANS and ASPARAGUS (serves 4)

3 large chicken marylands, separated into leg and thigh (or 6 chicken thighs)
1 brown onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (we didn’t have any, but agreed it would’ve been a nice touch)
A splash of white wine (apple cider would also work here)
600ml thickened cream
2x 400ml tins butter beans
A handful of chopped parsley, thyme and chives
Seasoning
Steamed asparagus, to serve

• Season chicken pieces and roast at 180C for 40 minutes
• After 20minutes of chicken roasting time start on the bean number
• Sauté onion and garlic until soft and fragrant
• Deglaze pan with a splash of wine or cider and add cream (and mustard if you got some)
• Cook out for a few minutes
• Add beans and herbs and warm through
• Serve beany goodness with chicken and asparagus and a few extra herbs and some flaked chilli on top
• Matt says cheers

Karaage Chicken, Kimchi Omelette, Miso Beans & Other Awesome Things To Put In Your Face

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karaage chicken

I really can’t be assed ironing the table cloth, and there is no way I can convince Jennee to do it, so if anyone is ever keen give me a call…

I work with a chap who has spent time in Japan and is trying to school me in the ways of correct pronunciation of Japanese words. Or one Japanese word to be more precise; karaage. I have told him numerous times that I have enough problems as it is with the English language, so I do not have the surplus time to put effort into another language. But why karaage? Karaage, however it is that you pronounce it, is without a doubt my new favourite chicken. It is Jennee’s new favourite chicken, too. And, as it is gluten free, she can eat it and not have to pay it back ten fold with a currency of stomach pains and cramps, and an annoying moan, like that of an old gypsy woman dying slowly in the corner. While we’re on the subject of whose favourite chicken this is, it is also the favourite chicken of our children, Seba and Obi, as it is fried and we eat it with mayonnaise. I think that was all it took. They really are shallow little younglings sometimes… So, when facey told me it was my lovely Jennee’s birthday this past weekend, the product of my cerebral activity declared I should be making that chicken for her birthday dinner. Lesser self tried to argue for a moment, suggesting maybe we should buy her flowers and perfume. Smart brains brought to self’s attention that we were already surrounded by a country shows worth of flower display and also noted the place had started to look like someone had just awoken from a three year coma… Finally, after a brief melee, self agreed that we would be cooking that chicken tonight… But we would give her some other really awesome shit too (don’t worry. I had this shit sorted). If you kept up with that monologue you are doing a mighty fine job and the human race should be proud of you… and, you’re welcome to date my sister, I might add.

dusty, dusty

dusty, dusty

Hot oil bath

Hot oil bath

That chicken, that work, the knowledge that there is a good time a brewin'

That chicken, that work, the knowledge that there is a good time a brewin’

Just one more chicken snap

Just one more chicken snap

OK, last one, I promise

OK, last one, I promise

KARAAGE FRIED CHICKEN (for 8 peeps as part of a feast) 1kg boneless chicken thigh fillets*, skin on if possible 3 cloves garlic, finely grated 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger ½ cup light soy sauce 2 tablespoons mirin 2 cups potato flour (potato flour is the business for this fried chicken but if you seriously can’t find it use rice or corn flour) Oil, for deep-frying A pinch of salt, sliced shallots/spring onions/scallions and lemon wedges to serve • Combine all ingredients except potato flour and mix thoroughly. Marinate for 30 minutes • Put flour into a large bowl. Remove chicken pieces from marinade one at a time and coat with flour. Really get it in there and give it a damn good coat. Don’t leave a bare assed bit of skin any where on that piece of bird. This coating is going to be the crispy goodness that will in turn delight your mouth as the chicken prances between your teeth and your tongue, as you shatter the brittle love about the place • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or wok to 180°C. Dust excess flour from the chicken, and place the chicken into the oil. Deep-fry for 1 minute. Transfer the chicken to a rack and rest for 30 seconds • Return the chicken to the oil and fry for another 1 minute, and then rest on a rack for another 30 seconds • Return the chicken to the oil and fry for a third and final minute, and then rest for 1-2 minutes in a warm place • Serve it up with or with out a heap of good shit. We had mushroom and kimchi omelette (recipe below), more kimchi, cucumber kimchi (yeah we like it spicy, OK? If you think the dinner table has some heat in it you should see our bedroom! Winky smiley face), wakame salad and miso asparagus and beans (recipe below). Oh lordy lordy

I ate a lot of this omelette

I ate a lot of this omelette

The garnish alone is enough to give me an errection

The garnish alone is enough to give me an errection

KIMCHI, MUSHROOM & BACON OMELETTE (for 8 as part of a feast) This is a relatively simple omelette that I’m sure even you could make. Shit gets real with the different garnishes giving your face a one-way ticket to flavour town. A smaller version of this is also a cracking breakfast, don’t be doubting. 1 large handful of bacon, chopped 1 large handful of kimchi (I will post a kimchi recipe real soon folks), sliced 2 large handfuls of mushrooms, sliced 10 eggs, lightly whisked Oil Light soy sauce, Japanese mayo, crisp fried shallots, sliced shallots and toasted sesame seeds to serve • Sauté bacon and mushrooms for a few minutes to soften. Set aside • Heat oil in a 25cm skillet/pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mix followed by kimchi, bacon and mushrooms • Cook for 2-3 minutes. Don’t touch it. While that is going on heat your grill (broiler) • I like to flip the omelette in view of a pretty girl because I am convinced this makes me appear fucking awesome. Do that if you have the minimals, but it is a darn sight easier (and safer) to take the pan from stove top and place under the grill for 4-5 minutes until just cooked through • To turn out place a plate over the top of the pan and, with your hand firmly securing the plate to the pan, invert the whole damn lot. Remove he pan and the plate should be holding a sexy assed looking omelette… or possibly some tasty assed scrambled eggs • Either way, garnish with a few drops of soy sauce, Japanese mayo, a handful of crisp fried and fresh shallots, and toasted sesame MISO BEANS & ASPARAGUS (for 8 as part of a feast) Too busy eating to get a photo of these, soz. They were damn tasty though… 300-400g green beans, trimmed 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut in half 2 tablespoons miso 1 teaspoon castor sugar 1 tablespoon rice wine ½ teaspoon light soy sauce A splash of sesame oil 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds to serve • Combine all ingredients except beans and asparagus, and whisk until smooth and dressing-like consistency. Add a splash of water if it is too thick • Boil or steam beans and asparagus for 2-3 minutes • Strain, add to dressing and toss to coat • Top with sesame seeds and serve *I have previously used boneless thigh for this but this time I used thigh and leg pieces and it worked really effing well. I gave them 10 minutes in a medium oven after frying just to be sure they job was done

(Jamie O’s) Crunchy Fridge Salad to go with Spit Roasted Pork Belly

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SAMSUNG CSC
This was my first day off for a while and the even more brilliant thing about the allocation of my lot in life right now is that it was my first day off in a couple more than a few and we are going to be hitting up the Bunjalung National Park for a few days of camping, eating, fishing, eating, swimming, eating, relaxing and eating! There is definitely a common theme in my life. I fricking well can not wait.

Before we leave though, I just have to fire up that spit one more time. Today, my cousin Amelia is staying with us on her way to a seven week yoga instructors course in the hills behind Byron Bay. A seven week course that requires participants to abstain from the evil of meat and booze and cigarettes, so we shall fire it up in celebration of the smoky whisps and turning metal stick that can take a piece of pork, or in fact any meat, to a higher plain; the next level, if you will. Also, Amelia’s father (my Uncle Rob) has asked that I force feed her meat if necessary as he is afraid his daughter may return a brain washed hippy who is afraid of the flesh of earthly beasts.

The spinning glory that is the spit roast

The spinning glory that is the spit roast

The salad all chopped up and waiting to get it's gear on

The salad all chopped up and waiting to get it’s gear on

And then this shit hits the table

And then this shit hits the table

I am not lying to you (I figure we’ve come this far and you’re still here, no point in starting the lying now) when I say I sat and watched this thing turning for at least three hours. There is something fully therapeutical about watching a lump of meat as it dances slowly in a smoky ménage-e-trois with the big stick and the coals. What living man could deny the truth in this simplest of pleasures?

A smoky lump of pork belly that had spent hours self basting on the twirling stick over the coals would be requiring a nice crunchy salad today, methinks. Something me old mate Jamie would do for sure. I’m not going to sit here and tell you this is only going to cost “one pound, twenty eight p per portion”, but a nice piece of pork belly for the family is only going to cost you 12 or so bucks, and the salad is one of those things that you can make with all of the crunchy salad stuff in your fridge… so we’re not too far off.

The whole spit roasting thing is not something that can be easily replicated so I will let you deal with your own demons on that one. But the salad, the salad was a cracker and I will make again… and you should make it too.

Begging to get in my belly

Begging to get in my belly

I fricking loved this salad

I fricking loved this salad

CRUNCHY FRIDGE SALAD a la JAMIE O

1 handful or so of each julienned snow peas, green beans and granny smith apple, shredded cabbage and iceberg lettuce, sprouts, fennel, radish, etc
A few torn mint leaves, just because they were staring at me from the garden
A good splash of apple cider vinaigrette, to dress
• Mix it all together
• Eat it with some deliciously smoky, juicy and melt in the mouth awesome crazy pork, with a bit of green tomato chutney on the side

Back to my cousin, Amelia.

Amelia's hands getting dessert ready. Don't be fooled by all of that fruit… this was not a trendy new age raw fruit cake

Amelia’s hands getting dessert ready. Don’t be fooled by all of that fruit… this was not a trendy new age raw fruit cake

This is what it was. Every kids dream!

This is what it was. Every kids dream!

Although she had gained entry to our humble home under the guise of a hippy, health freak, vegan, soon-to-be yoga master, she soon presented us with a dessert that can only be described as the work of some kind of she devil who was trying to make my kids lose their shit with a highly concentrated, socially lethal dose of refined sugar straight to the brain. M & Ms, meringue, whipped cream, mango, blueberries and strawberries filled our bowls, sugar filled our brains, and Amelia filled out hearts. Awwwww.

So this is your ol’Uncle Grazza signing out for another little hiatus. See you folks on the flipside.