Steak and the things I might like to have with it ie. Cafe de Paris butter


Steak is something that is honoured with no particular favourite sauce/dressing for me.

It could be something green and herbaceous. Maybe salsa verde or a twangy chimmichurri.

It might be something creamy. A porcini mushroom and bacon sauce perhaps.

Or maybe a classic jus or gravy.

I have been known to adorn a nice steak with chilli jam or a cherry tomato salsa from time to time.

Maybe I will be feeling some butter mixed into the resting juices.

Yeah. The list could go on and on but I’d imagine we’ve both got better things to do with or time… midget porn and Dominos on speed dial awaits!

Just one more thing though. Sometimes nothing is going to satisfy me like a classic Café de Paris butter on my steak. It’s pretty good.

This is the Frenchies at their very finest.

Carry on.

Smother that steak with the butter.

Look at all of those lovely buttery juices.

CAFE DE PARIS BUTTER

(enough for a few steaks. Remaining butter will last in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks)

250 g unsalted butter, softened
1 eshallot or ½ brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
20 g Indian style curry powder
1 cup picked parsley leaves, chopped
2 tbls lemon juice
1 tbls Worcestershire sauce
5 anchovy fillets
½ tbls baby capers
1 tspn sea salt
1 tspn ground pepper
4 – 5 basil leaves, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked

• To make the butter, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and curry powder over low heat until soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
• Process all ingredients until just combined. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
• Put a big ol’ spoon or two onto your steak as it’s resting.
• Get into it.
• And just, well you know, wash it down with beer.

Bloody delicious.

Braised beef cheeks in drinkable red wine


At one time in the past I was of the opinion that the wine I used for cooking would not be the wine I would consume myself. In fact, the wine I used for cooking would be bottom shelf, cheap as, nasty assed goon*.

My opinions on more than one thing have changed in the last 20 years.

My opinion on the type of wine I should be cooking with was certainly not passed over by the opinion audit.

Now I am of the opinion that the wine you would like to cook with is also a wine that you would like to drink in your face. Maybe not necessarily that bottle you’ve been saving for your 50 year wedding anniversary, and certainly not a bottle you might drink at a teenage wedding or possibly a college art exhibition opening, but more of a “had a couple of drinks already and now I’m gonna pull you out of the cupboard and drink you all up” type bottle.

So that is the wine I have used to braised these beef cheeks for you right here today.

I have had the pleasure of using the fire to cook my dinner, but you can certainly use a pot on the stove top for yours.

The start of something good

Get a bit of colour on those cheeky cheeks
Add some sautéed mushrooms
Get it on a wooden camp table and serve some drinkable red wine in a mug to go with

BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS IN DRINKABLE RED WINE

(Serves 4)

1 kg beef cheeks, each cut into 3 pieces (a nice butcher will do this for you. A mean butcher will spit in your eye and then tell you to piss off)
100 g pancetta, sliced
1 onion, chopped roughly
3 carrots, cut into 5 or 6 pieces each – keep it chunky, keep it real
8 large cloves garlic, left whole and charred slightly on the coals (or raw chopped garlic will do just fine)
1 long red chilli, sliced
1 bottle of red wine
1x 400g tin diced tomatoes
500 ml beef stock or water
500 g button mushrooms, cut in halves or quarters depending on size
Salt and pepper

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add pancetta, onion, carrots, garlic and chilli, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Add beef cheeks and season with a little salt and pepper. Sauté beef cheeks for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Pour in the wine, tomatoes and water, and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, stirring every half hour or so.
(While the beef cheek simmering is going on you can sauté your mushroom in a little oil and butter until they are browned. Set aside)
After 3 hours add the mushrooms to the pot and stir through.
Cover and simmer for one more hour.
Check that the beef cheeks are tender – they should be ready to be cut with a spoon by now. If not, simmer for another 15 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Serve with mashed potatoes, jacket potatoes or potato bake and green beans if you have some.
Eat it.

Damn well delicious

*Goon. Aust slang. Cheap arsed boxed wine. A wine one might drink in their teenage / university days.

Smoked beef ribs with BBQ sauce and paper towel

smoked beef ribs
This is another very effing worthy addition to the monthly meeting of “the Hungry Mens Club”, or indeed “the Really Attractive Gnawing Meat From The Bone Ladies Club”.

The method employed is not going to decrease any amount of jobless percentages or ensure victory for the local candidate running for election, but is in fact the exact same method used for the smoked brisket you can find right here. The time the meat spends unwrapped in the smoke is reduced by roughly 1 hour and then the time wrapped is reduced by around about the hour mark too.

I doused the shit outta this mofo with this BBQ sauce after it had rested for 1 hour, sliced it into Fred Flinstone looking chunks and five minutes later I found myself laying in a pool of my own body sweat and BBQ sauce with a very contented grin on my face… very contented indeed.

Unwrap those bad boys after a good smoking and then a little rest
Unwrap those bad boys after a good smoking and then a little rest

That is some really saucy shit right there
That is some really saucy shit right there
Textbook
Textbook
Oh dear good lord, get in my face
Oh dear good lord, get in my face

Hand towel is advised for this and other meat/bone type activities
Hand towel is advised for this and other meat/bone type activities

You’re welcome.

Beef shin chilli con carne nacho type things

beef shin chilli con carne
Chilli is pretty simple. Fried tortillas are pretty simple. I am pretty simple. This is going to work out just fine.

The thing about beef shin is that it scares a lot of people. Not like Jay Leno or carnival folk scary, but scary like changing a nappy for your best friends kid; it doesn’t conjure up images of fun times and you know the results are something that could be terrible at best. But the one thing about the beef shin is it is so damn good if you give it a bit of “low and slow” loving. Cooking a beef shin like this is a pretty sure fire way to end up with a cracking beefy meal, and granddad being able to ditch the Viagra for ever. The gelatinousness texture and meatiness of the beef shin can only be described as luxurious, with a possible secondary reference to it being unctuous… and those of you who know me know for a fact that those are words that I’m only going to use when all other avenues have been exhausted. Beef shin, when cooked properly, is a damn fine experience for all. Or possibly just the person eating it…

So this is what I am giving to the human race to make the world a happier, safer and just gosh-darn nicer place to be. Unless you are vegetarian. If you are vegetarian you will probably not enjoy this so much. I dare say it would actually be quite unusual of you to cook this recipe. This oh-so-beefy, gelantinous-y, unctuous (I know. I used it again), cheesy and still oh-so-beefy chilli

Start by cooking some chilli. Heck, just eat that with a bowl of rice if that's what you're feeling...
Start by cooking some chilli. Heck, just eat that with a bowl of rice if that’s what you’re feeling…

Fry or oven bake some tortilla crisps
Fry or oven bake some tortilla crisps
Make a little avocado and tomato salad dressed with some lime juice. That's the sort of shit that tastes good and is super healthy for you too
Make a little avocado and tomato salad dressed with some lime juice. That’s the sort of shit that tastes good and is super healthy for you too
Aw yeah she's ready
Aw yeah she’s ready

Get in my face right now
Get in my face right now

BEEF SHIN CHILLI CON CARNE NACHO TYPE THINGS (enough for a few cowboys)

1 big ol’ beef shin, 1.2kg or so. Get your butcher to cut it in half or thirds if big lumps of meat scare you
2 brown onions, diced
1 capsicum (pepper), diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons Tex-Mex spice mix (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon smoked chilli powder (or not if you’re feeding the younglings)
1 cinnamon stick
750ml beer (whatever you drink will work fine. Even if you wanna be a smart ass and use root beer, I reckon that could work too)
3x 400g tins crushed tomatoes or tomato passata
2x 400g tin black beans (or kidney beans or a beany mix if that’s how you roll)
2 pieces good dark chocolate
Seasoning
2 cups grated cheese. One type or a mix of your faves
Fried tortilla crisps, avocado salad and sour cream to serve

• Get a nice big pot out for this one
• Season beef shin and sauté in a little oil until it starts to get some colour
• Add onions, capsicum, garlic, Tex-Mex spice, chilli powder and cinnamon. Cook out for a few minutes until vegetables are soft
• Add beer, tomatoes and beans, and simmer on really low heat for 3 hours, stirring regularly. This could also be a slow cooker moment if that’s how you roll
• Check if beef is tender by pushing a bit from the bone (no rocket science or molecular gastronomy involved in that one), if not simmer for another half an hour
• Once beef is tender remove from pot, allow to cool a little and then shred
• Get the chocolate into the pot
• Return beef to pot, check seasoning and serve how ever you feel is going to do it for you on this day; with rice and a tortilla or two, over nacho chips with grated cheese followed by a short trip to the oven, or possibly what I have done today… cover the chilli with a couple of handfuls of cheese and whack it under the grill (broiler) or into the oven for 5-10 minutes to get all roof-of-your-mouth-melty.
• Serve that shit up with fried tortilla crisps, a simple avocado and tomato salad and some sour cream or natural yoghurt

TEX MEX SPICE MIX

¼ cup each dried thyme, oregano and ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
• Mix it all together and store extra in an air tight container for your next Tex Mex feast

I really liked that avocado number
I really liked that avocado number

Breakfast at a Cafe named Pablo, Newfarm, Brisbane

IMG_9239
This is definitely about Pablo, but first we have a short detour a grab ourselves a coffee at Death Before Decaf – a little 24hr take away coffee joint just down the road. This place is defo worth a look on your way to breakfast… a little bit soup nazi from Seinfeld and a little bit punk rockabilly and a lot caffeinated.

I'd go there for the name and graphic alone...
I’d go there for the name and graphic alone…

…and then it was onto Pablo.

Pablo is normally a Hollywood name for a stereotypical Mexican guy with a moustache and a big hat, but today it is also the name of a restaurant in Brisbane’s Newfarm. Mad.

This place was fully pumping. Just like the pump station at a sewerage treatment plant in Mumbai – seriously effing pumping. People are flowing from its doors out onto the street. It seems that long ago the gentle stream turned into a raging river but, as if they are in cohorts with the man above (or possibly below) they do not seem worried, they do not faulter, it doesn’t seem to make a difference to the service times at all.

This is the back door. You will probably go in the front door
This is the back door. You will probably go in the front door

After a short wait we are taken to a table right next to “the pass” (the bench/shelf that bridges the worlds between front and back of house, and is where the food gets passed from the kitchen to the server), which is coincidentally one of my favourite seats in a restaurant… front row… where the action is at.

We order coffee and it arrives before I have even had a chance to thank the waitress for taking my order. I don’t know what the fuck black magic was in play here – some kind of Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters other world shit for sure – but I was grateful for my morning caffeinated beverage so I questioned not how it cometh, but instead ordered another… and a fresh juice to really check their styles. When the juice hit the table quicker than the coffee I knew something was amiss… there was surely a warlock afoot and we would need to keep our wits about us today that is for sure…

Too many options for me here
Too many options for me here

Sometimes I get a little afraid when I see a menu that has many options that I would be happy to try to break my nightly fast. But, as I am not a cow and I have only one stomach, I need to choose only one item that I will eat. This causes issues that I am sure to eventually over-come, but this day I was experiencing said too-much-good-shit-to-choose-from menu and also said decision making issues that came with it…

I finally decided on the beef and bean chilli (pulled slow cooked beef cheek, bacon, chorizo, speck and black beans with a fried egg, house made corn bread, guacamole and tomato salad, $18) but only because Seba (#1 oldest son) had agreed that he would get the roasted lamb special (slow roasted lamb, pumpkin, beetroot puree, labne, herb salad, fried egg and damper, $18) so we may share. Jen and Obi ordered some stuff but as they were sitting on the opposite side of the table they may as well have been characters living in a magical world in a J.K. Rowling novel because I really cared not for what they may be eating for breakfast and there was no way on god’s green Earth they would be getting a go on mine.

Beef and beans, Genovese coffee and great service made me very happy
Beef and beans, Genovese coffee and great service made me very happy

Our food was delivered in spectacular time, considering (or even not considering) the still unabated flood waters that are the crowds that a good, solid performer in the restaurant industry will command… these guys were the muther fucking Charlie Chaplin of the restaurant scene right now.

We ate, we drank and we were very happy.

The beef and beans number was fantastic; a lot of shredded meat with a few beans, a tasty tasty sauce, great guac and salsa, a perfect fried egg, all the goods. One thing though, the beans were completely covering the corn bread, smothering it’s creativity and not letting it really shine like it could’ve. This is one occasion where a few inches really could’ve made a huge difference – just getting that corn bread a little to the side of the plate and letting it be loved would’ve done it for me.

Oh so good
Oh so good

The lamb was another cracker although, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t really get too much of it into my belly as I was a little pre-occupied with the bean number and Seba appeared to be enjoying plenty fine by himself so that was OK with me.

This was a truly cracking breakfast. If I was wearing knickers I would’ve be happy to throw them to the chef in a display of gratitude, but alas I was not, so it was our verbal thanks that would need to gratify him and her today.

Nice job Pablo.

Pablo, 893 Brunswick St, Newfarm

The Empire Café and Burger Bar, Mullumbimby… a really nice place to eat a burger

the empire cafe and burger bar mullumbimby
This place is doing the town of Mullumbimby a service.

It has brought to town a cracking range of burgers so that the local burgerfiles may be satisfied. And I’m sure it has done many other good things for the town to boot – fed a lonely puppy dog or mowed lawns for the elderly or something like that, just because the people who were working in the place seemed like they would do that sort of stuff. They just seemed genuinely nice and like they actually gave a fuck about how your stupid day was going or if you were enjoying your meal. When we arrived at 11am to realise that lunch started at 12, we told them no worries but we would come back in an hour when lunch (and the freaking burgers that I had driven out here to eat) were ready to get into my face, and then do you know what the young lady behind the counter said? Probably not, unless you were one of the three folks sitting along the wall, who had their faces deeply embedded in their laptops… but I don’t think that was you… well, I don’t think it was… Well what that young lady said was this; “You can order off the lunch menu now if you want”. I did want. I did want very much and I was very thankful for the offer. That is certainly something that could be called a textbook definition of hospitality.

The menu looks almost exactly like this
The menu looks almost exactly like this

I feel like I should be taking a bit more piss out of something these folks did, but I gotta tell you, everything about these peeps was just nice. Sure it was starting to seem like they may be part of some kind of alien worshipping cult, but I was going to give their burgers a go none-the-less. I was liking this place a whole heap by now, but it was way past the time that I needed to be finding out if their Grazza McFilthy Mouth winning service was backed up by premium product!

“Zorba the Greek” ($13) for Dr Chris, the boys both ordered “the Wolverine” ($14), I hooked into “the Drover” (the name of a burger. I did not try to hook into the actual drover as he seemed like he wouldn’t really be a broke back mountain type of guy) ($13) and then I grabbed some onion rings and sweet potato wedges ($4 each) for the family… or mostly for myself.

The Wolverine. What a fricking beast!
The Wolverine. What a fricking beast!

“The Wolverine” was indeed a beast that was almost enough to leave a permanent scar on my children… almost. Although it did not come with retractable hand knife things, it did indeed come with a beef pattie, bacon, fried egg, caramelized pineapple, cream cheese, beetroot, tomato and lettuce. This thing stood tall and proud and it was not going to take shit from anyone that’s for sure. I don’t know if I was more impressed with the burger or the fact I had to fight my kids for a bite, but it was damn impressive either way. Truly a beast!

Dr Chris, who you may remember from “I’m not an actual doctor but I’m more than happy to take a look for you” fame, or possibly from the “A Current Affair” exclusive, or even from the fact that he is my dearest Jennee’s birth father, gave his lamb burger the tick of approval, although he said he was yearning for a bigger chunk of meat. Now, I’m not sure if he’d gone totally off-subject or if he was still referring to the meat in the burger but that shredded lamb would’ve done me fine.

Bloody younger generation and their damn trendiness *waves fist in air like crazy old person*

That Drover
That Drover

“The Drover” was perfect. Yeah, I know, that’s what she said. Everything I need in a burger was held between the cheeks of that decent bun; well seasoned beef pattie, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, chilli jam and chipotle mayo. So damn good.

I washed my burger down with the best sweet potato wedges I have quite possibly ever eaten and a few different condiments to lube them up a little for the journey to my belly.

The best sweet potato wedges with the third best onion rings
The best sweet potato wedges with the third best onion rings

OK, the question of everybody’s lips; the onion rings. You know the humble onion ring is a pretty touchy subject around these parts but, well, I’m always going to give them a go. They were OK but they were more of a thick batter ring than an onion ring. I did not send them to the lab for testing but that batter was waaaay to thick for me to find too much onion in there, so they were kind of forgettable which is probably why I kind of forgot about them. I know that you may think that I have some kind of onion ring hex on me with my luck lately, but I’m sure they will come good soon…

I don’t even know how I found out about this place but I’m sure it was an accident. Actually, that is a complete lie. I do know how I found out about this place and I know it was an accident.

The story goes like this; Jennee was scouring the guide for the Mullum Music Festival (a pretty good reason to head to Mullum in itself) when she came across an ad for these guys. She sent me a pic of said ad and then I went here. That is it. I love a short story!

Nom nom chomp chomp
Nom nom chomp chomp

So yes, the Empire Burger Bar has done the little hinterland town of Mullumbimby a very generous service.

Go there so I may sleep well tonight for I have spread the good word.

Empire Café and Burger Bar Mullumbimby