Macaroni Cheese with Smoked Boar Belly… and Boys Night

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It’s boy’s night at our little abode. No, not the type of boys night where we sit around playing cards, drinking whiskey a eating nachos that are served to us by a waitress who can best be described as looking like she has just come from the beach… wearing high heels. This is the kind of boys night where is it just me and my two boys, Seba and Obi, and we hang out, watch quite a few episodes of “The Clone Wars” animated series and eat whatever the hell we want (usually not served to us by scantily clad waitresses) that is definitely not in accordance with or following any of the dietary requirements of Jennee’s gluten intolerance or paleo diet. We are sans mother and wife, and by golly we will do whatever the eff we want. We are man, hear us roar!

“Meow”.

Yeah, you get the picture.

Boys night’s are high on the list of things that make me happy. These nights make me so happy that even my smile smiles. My smile actually texts it’s friends to tell them how fucking happy it is right now. What more could a man need? Quality time catching up on cartoons, sitting around in my knickers, eating a pile of “sometimes food” and spending time with my damn fine kids.

Today I was hell bent on cooking up some mac n cheese, but the local store was void of the macaroni my heart so desired. So, with nary a hat wearing, feather doting Yankee with the magical ability to conjure up my macaroni in sight, I thought my next best option was going to be penne. So penne it was (although with hind sight I would say there is really no substitute for the macaroni). Also, I had a heap of smoked wild boar belly in the freezer (this came into my possession via the same source of the goat I used for that goat curry I posted not so far in the past. I think I should clarify that it did not come from the actual goat, as that would make it cross bred billy goat/razor back which is going to freak me out and remain barren of any votes from me. No, this boar was merely provided by the same supplier I got my goat from. I need to end this ever-so-pointless story right now), and boar is kindred to the pig so that was going to get it’s smoky ass in there, too.

A nice looking lump of smoked boar
A nice looking lump of smoked boar

The smell of this stuff cooking made me go a little week at the knees
The smell of this stuff cooking made me go a little week at the knees
Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom

SMOKED BOAR BELLY MAC N CHEESE with penne (for 4)

400g smoked wild boar belly, bacon or speck, sliced into lardons
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup grated honky dory tasty or cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup extra to top
2 tablespoons of your favourite mustard (I used that cheap American ball park stuff, but Dijon would be the goods)
1lt milk
50g flour
50g butter
400g dried macaroni (yeah, I know it’s almost a full packet but that extra 100g is that little bit too much), cooked per packet instructions and refreshed
A large handful parsley, chopped
Chopped spinach, kale or frozen peas if you need to get some greenery in there

• Fry the lardons over medium heat for 5 minutes, until browned and simmering in a pool of their own rendered fat. Discard most of the rendered fat or, if you’re keen, save it in the fridge for next time you roast potatoes. Let’s get that stuff in the fridge, eh? Put the lardons aside while you get the rest ready
• To make a béchamel sauce (white sauce. Like what you use for cauliflower cheese) first melt butter in a saucepan over med-low heat. Add flour and cook out for a couple of minutes (to get rid of the raw floury taste), stirring constantly. While stirring slowly add milk until you have a smooth, sauce-like constancy. If it doesn’t end up nice and smooth, get some whisk action onto it and beat those damn lumps into submission. Add cheeses and mustard and stir to combine
• Add the lardons, pasta and parsley and combine
• Transfer to baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake in 180C oven for 30-35 minutes. You want it bubbling and golden so don’t be afraid to chuck it back in the oven for another few minutes and even turn it up a little to get the result
• A nice little leafy salad is probably a pretty good accompaniment. That and the company of your favourite kids (hopefully the fact that they’re your favourite kids alone should mean they’re yours, but if not soz… just soz)

If you have some left overs the next day feel free to slice it into squares, crumb it up and deep fry the crap out of them for tasty fried mac n cheese bites a la Paul’s Caul.

Burgers for boy’s night

Burgers for boy’s night

It was myself and my sons Seba and Obi, both young. Probably to young to be watching hardcore porn and drinking straight whiskey, but it was boy’s night so I’ll let the age thing slide. And we also had the company of their cousin Gareth, who was doing work experience at the restaurant I ran at the time. Needless to say, shit went down. And a lot of that shit shall not ever be repeated.

the drawing that got it all started (including knife and fork... crazy kid. Who eats a burger with a knife and fork?)
exhibit “A”. The drawing that got it all started (including knife and fork… crazy kid. Who eats a burger with a knife and fork?)
the cross section. So I did use a knife. Whatever dude
the cross section. So I did use a knife. Whatever dude

So this is how the burger went down. First it started kissing my chest, and then down to my abdomen and… whoa there nelly. Let’s keep this a C-grade comical story at the very least.

The protagonists and their steeds…

Obi. The instigator of the burger night through a drawing that made me desire a chicken burger since a few night ago. He drew a picture which we shall call exhibit “A”, and said picture had explicit detail of chicken, sausage, beetroot, lettuce, etc. Although a child’s drawing of a burger is all it takes to get me going, it was the excitement and feeling that was behind the explanation that really got me moist.

Seba. My eldest son. Eater of burgers of any race, colour or creed. He demolished a couple with the lot without a second thought.

Gareth. His mouth is an earthly end for a lot of food. And kudos to the little (a general tern of endearment, not his actual size) guy, he smothered all of the burgers he ate (yeah. ALL of the burgers. Implying that he didn’t eat just one or two burgers) in saricha hot chilli sauce. I wonder how he went the next day. His first burger was compiled thus; bun, chicko shnitto, egg, cheese, cucumber, pickle, lettuce, beetroot, mayonnaise, heaps of hot sauce. I was impressed with his love of hot sauce. I love hot sauce too. I also love hot, saucy women. Yeah that’s right Jennee.

this is how we do it
this is how we do it
yeah boyee
yeah boyee
Gareth earns his burger... no good enough for a second beer though
Gareth earns his burger… no good enough for a second beer though. Cheeky little bugger

That’s all. Go now and make a burger for thee shalt be happy.

But before I leave you today I would just like to mention that it would not surprise me in the slightest if I married a burger one day (if I ever break up with Jen). I’m sure there would be a massive protest and all of the villagers would come out with their pitch forks and goats horns and placards stating “God does not approve”. But me, not surprised at all, happy with my decision. I am in love with burgers and their seductive ways.

Re-reading that statement, maybe it would be wiser (not to mention the social acceptability) to open a burger joint… Recent studies have shown that half the people in the world love a good burger. Also, 50% of the people in the world make up half of the worlds population. Also, I may not be basing these findings on any factual evidence of any kind. That’s rock ‘n’ roll baby. On with the show…

Boys Night… Roast Pork in the Camp Oven

I know we’ve given you a bit of an amusingly-witty-great-food-cooking-blog overload today but… you’re just gonna have to deal with it. Write your local member of Parliament or something.

Cookingfoodwithyourkidsisthebestshitever

This evening the boys spent a fair while trying to decide if he said, “honey, don’t play with your food” or “Ted, don’t play with your food”… We’ll never know. Until next time we watch Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”. Which will quite frankly, probably be within the week. And apparently Luke kissed Darth Vader. Still got a bit to teach these kids obviously.

We also combined our forces like voltron, lit a fire and danced ceremonially in a ritual we call “Boys Night”*.

Riveting conversation aside, I offered them a choice for the evening meal. I had a pork shoulder roast, a leg of lamb and a kilo and a half piece of rump steak… all looked good but I was pushing them towards the lamb. I really felt like lamb roasted over the coals. But as Jesus once said, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So pork it was. We also pulled out some cabbage, onions, apples, apple cider vinegar and anchovies. We can’t eat without anchovies at the moment. Not literally of course. I can eat just fine without an anchovy there to tell me to chew my food before I swallow so I don’t choke and die. I can also clean my own bottom when I go to the toilet. Oh, how far I’ve come!

So it’s clearly not all about me… not when I have children around that’s for sure. And when you can get in the kitchen with said mini yous, then good times are to be had by all. Unless you live in a shack in the hills and your children are a product of coital union between you and your sister. Then shits gonna get fucked up when little jimmy comes in to the kitchen to help his ma (your sister) fix some road kill raccoon mighty white sandwiches fer supper. That kid has no place there…

We cooked, we poked sticks in the fire, we watched a sea of gold come flowing out from under the mother duck (and realized quite quickly that it wasn’t actual gold, instead she had hatched out 16 ducklings), we ate (Not the ducklings. Not yet anyway), and then the kids asked me if they could stay up for the whole night watching movies. To which I politely replied no. No you may not.

Shopping list, check. I especially like the spelling of anchobies.

Before the pot.

Put the pork in a camp oven, season with salt and pepper (just a little salt because we have a few anchovies heading in for the ho-down a little later), and place in your fire pit with some coals on top to create “the camp oven”. After 30 minutes add your other ingredients.

After another 30 minutes check to see if things are going as they should. If it need a bit more time let it have some. You don’t own time, you know? When it’s smelling like really awesome tasty things smell bring it to the table but let it rest for 10-15 minutes just to make sure the available awesome-ness is fully achieved.

Carve it up while your son pretends he is a Japanese tourist… again…

Nom, nom, nom, burp, aaaah. And then tomorrow we go camping so there’s sure to be more fire cookery posts from that. Rock on dark continent, we love you!

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. That’s the sound I make when I pass out because I had a little to much (or maybe just the right amount) of wine… mmmmm. Passed out…

*Boys Night. A night where you hang out with your boys and do cool shit.

Boy’s night at our place

It’s just me and the boys so we’re having a steak

Tonight is boy’s night at our place. That means no girls allowed! I am excited. We get to eat steak and lay around on the couch in our undies. Let all of our hair down. Yeah, who needs girls anyway? Yeah, go away smelly Jenny…

This is after an hour of medieval forces banding together against me this afternoon.

The events that transpired…

What a great time to start writing a post this was. I was stuck on the side of the road in the middle of the ass end of a place that used to be (this may or may not be an exaggeration), with a flat battery in my car… not my phone because that would not render me incapable of movement. Although it may do to a large % of teenagers these days…

What? I thought to myself. I can’t leave my head lights on indefinitely? I was just hanging out, playing a bit of drawfree, and waiting to pick my kids up from the bus.

Look at me now. I’m sitting here scribbling on a bit of old toilet paper I found in the bushes. The kids were going to play handball in the back of the CRV but they discovered a spew that Max (the dog) had done in there earlier today. I wish I had a stash of moonshine inside my door lining. Hmmm… I’ll be back in a minute. Nope. Nothing. Excellent. Now I may have to go and search for firewood so we may stay warm and cook our new “boys night dinner” of foraged berries and grubs…

I hope Jenny gets here soon to give us a jump start…

THE END

STEAK NIGHT WITH THE BOYS

Steak
We have 3 pieces of exactly 200g scotch or ribeye steak (this will vary for the amount of boys you have in your fam. Maybe get a couple of extras for the ones you “may have” sired so you have an extra one or twelve for yourself).

Marinate your steaks in olive oil, parsley, rosemary and thyme, garlic and salt and pepper. Set aside for 20 minute while you cook the potatoes.

When the potatoes are almost ready heat a splash of oil in another pan over a high heat. When it’s hot put your steaks in. 2 minutes either side should be perfect (Unless you like your steak well done. In which case you shouldn’t be eating steak). Remove the steak from the pan and rest in a warm spot while you make the sauce. You should be frying your eggs about now, too.

Wine sauce
Add a tablespoon of flour to the pan that has all of the awesome steaky little caramelised bits in it. Stir quickly with a whisk and then add a glass of red wine (the one you have in your other hand will be fine) and keep whisking. Add the resting juices from the steak and a splash more wine if it needs to be a bit looser. Heheh. I guess a sauce is quite like a young lady in some ways…

Potatoes
Scrub some potatoes and cut them into wedgey sized chunks. Blanch them in boiling water or steam* them in the microwave for 5-6 minutes.

Now pan fry them with a splash of oil, over a medium heat for 15 or so minutes, until they’re cooked on the inside and nice and golden and crispy on the outside. When yer ‘tatoes are just about ready, slice a few onion rings into the pan. Season and cook for a few more minutes. Potatoes are your bitch once again…

Take your potatoes and onion out of the pan and whack a little more oil in there and, do yourself a favour and add a good knob of butter to. This is to cook your eggs…

Eggs
Once the butter in the pan starts to foam, it’s time for the eggs to be fried. Crack them in there gently, and as close to the surface as you can. This way you get a nice, undamaged fried egg. Unlike my son Seba, who cracked his egg with his fist and then chucked it into the pan from a foot away. Put some seasoning on your eggs because eggs, just like potatoes, are one of those things we cook that really likes to be seasoned. It’s like a morning shower in the middle of winter for them. Rain that salt on down on me…

Plate up
Hopefully you have some kind of cooking coordination and can get this all finished within a few minutes of each other. Plate it up, put a bit or rocket and parsley on there (You may be excused for thinking I use a lot of parsley and rocket in my cooking right now because I do. I have a garden full of them and quite frankly, I love them. Yeah, I’m thinking about marrying them already), or don’t because it’s boys night so you don’t have to eat your greens if you don’t want to. I do though. Hi Jen.

*to steam “stuff” in the microwave put your “stuff” into a bowl with a splash of water in the bottom, cover well with cling wrap, and microwave.