Cheesy ham and corn fritters – using your Christmas leftovers…

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ham, corn and cheese fritters
This is me bringing double meaning to a post (although it is questionable that any post that I have written would have even single meaning to start off with…) I did last year on using leftovers. Not only am I using re-using yesterday’s food, I am also re-using last year’s post, just with a couple of changes so I don’t look like a complete lazy bastard. Last year it was cheesy ham, cheese and potato cakes (and you can suss that recipe right here) and this year it’s going to be cheesy ham and corn fritters.

Genius.

Premium time and resource management or just straight up slackness.

I care not.

I am regurgitating this nice little Christmas leftover recipe that I wrote last year and cleverly disguising it as me doing you a favor – playing on your fears of not being organized for the post-apocalyptic, neo-consumerist, pre Christmas rush. Yes, I certainly did not do three years of a psychology degree but mother effer I have got your number!

Make these fritters with leftover Christmas ham, or just go and buy some good ham specifically for the task as these things are damn well worth it! Salty-smoky ham, oozy cheese, crunchy-poppy sweet corn and glutinous floury goodness… you know you want that.

Mix that up

Mix that up

4-5 minutes each side going to be happy times for all

4-5 minutes each side going to be happy times for all

...and then onto the flairiest "holiday house platter" I could lay my hands onto and hit with my home made tomato ketchup

…and then onto the flairiest “holiday house platter” I could lay my hands onto and hit with my home made tomato ketchup


CHEESY HAM & CORN FRITTERS (serves 4)

1-2 cups diced Christmas ham
1 cup grated Wensleydale or good cheddar or something that looks like cheese
½ whatever onion, small dice
1 cup of sweetcorn, kernals removed (roughly 1 cup of kernals)
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon of your favourite mustard
A splash or two of hot sauce
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

• Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Heat a good splash of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add a heaped dessert spoon of fritter mix per portion and keep going until your pan is full but still has enough room for a finger width or so of space between each fritter, and fry for 4-5 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked (break one open to check if they’re cooked through)
• Keep the first batch warm in a 100C oven whie you cook the second batch if you want your food hot
• These can be served with eggs, avocado and chutney for breakfast, a salad and some salsa for lunch or dinner, or tomato sauce (ketchup) for a late night a-little-bit-pissed-and-really-don’t-give-a-fuck snack
• Rocking

Paul’s Caul… The lucky country

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For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for overs 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. P

Paul is the one on the left. On the right is his lovely now fiancee, Lauren

Paul is the one on the left. On the right is his lovely now fiancee, Lauren


Bonjour my friends, I am alive and well living the European dream actually on a train on our way to Prague, my only excuse for lack of writing is pure laziness mixed with equal parts of cheese and pork pies. But with that delicious recipe comes some serious side effects, yes fellow foodies let it be known that cheese and pork products of pretty much any kind contain stuff that makes your belly big, its like magic and not the good magic that pulls fucking rabbits from hats, no on the contrary the fat bastard rabbit would in this case be stuck in the hat.

But this isn’t to say I’m so massive that I could no longer use a keyboard because of my now swollen fingers, not at all it just means that I have to run many km’s everyday just to keep the scales of my existence level (deep shit right there). This has been made extremely easy as I’ve been living in a kind of fairy-tale land in a walled estate with a huge stately hall in which we were living in a tower, so running around said estate was not a hard sell at all.

Pauly in heaven in Amsterdam

Pauly in heaven in Amsterdam


But after now living in France and the UK for the last year and in-between travelling to a ridiculous amount of other countries, I have decided that eating well over here seems a lot harder then when in Australia. Now don’t get me wrong we have eaten some incredible food in every country we have been, but in general the meat to veg ratio is never as low as when in Australia. For example we have just spent the last few days in Berlin and the food was so good, Jagarscnitzel, spatzle, flamchuken the list goes on and on, their bread is top notch but did we see any green on a plate of food? Did we fuck!

It must be against the law to serve veg unless they just see us coming dressed like the super tourist I become once travelling, dressed like a mixture of someone about to climb Everest and a member of the Taliban, they save all of the healthy stuff for the local and leave us slowly dyeing as we gobble down meat in cream sauces served with potato dumpling to fulfil the stodge factor. And before any German readers start to get all high and mighty about me pigeon holing an entire nations culinary delights of the back of a few days eating, I freely admit I may of just walked into the wrong places but its not just Germany, France is very much the same, even salads seem to be filled with so many non healthy ingredients or dressing that you truly find it hard to eat well when travelling. Amsterdam is a little better as was Belgium lots more veg but still nothing like the extensive array of goodness on offer in Australia cafes and restaurants.

Jagarscnitzel with spatzle and mushroom sauce

Jagarscnitzel with spatzle and mushroom sauce


I must say Spain is an exception and tapas lends itself to good healthy eating and we are never disappointed when dining in Española, markets are always filled with delicious fresh veges and fruit and the array of different cuisines is spectacular, even their coffee is acceptable in places.

Now lets get started on England, land of delicious food that makes me so happy as its what I grew up on, but lets not forget that I was one fat little fucker and I now know why… they class potato crisps as veg! That should be explanation enough but I will go on, I find the comparison to America and England getting a little closer as the years goes on, I was freaked out by the choice of sides offered when in America but its now pretty much the same now in England, if you order for instance a pie in an Australian café you may get the choice of chips or salad with it which in my opinion is a good thing, as I like to play the balance game of a little bad and a little good… now if you were to order a pie in England you would firstly have to choose which form of potato you would like with it. Chips, mash or jacket filled with cheese, then it would be the green component, pies are revered in England but generally served in the mushy form but can be ordered garden style (which must mean over cooked and grey) if you were to ask for a side salad instead of the usual you may be lucky enough to get a hospitable chef that will rack his culinary repertoire to find 1 piece of iceberg topped with 1 slice of cucumber and 1 slice of tomato, that its! So not to surprisingly you end up ordering chips because they are fucking delicious and when in Rome.

Vegetables

Vegetables


I want to clarify that have found exceptions to the rule everywhere we go but it is very hard work, but what we miss the most out of all the meals each day is a bloody good breakfast… no where and I mean NO WHERE does breaky like Australia, plates full of spinach, avocado, bacon, ricotta, sourdoughs, nice honeys and coffee yes coffee lets talk about coffee shall we….

How the fuck doesn’t the entire world know about good coffee? Time after time I get excited ordering my favourite beverage in the world and after finally working out what a ‘long mac topped up’ is in whichever country we are, I then prepare myself for impending misery mixed with extremely hot badly frothed milk, and with a few exceptions I’m never let down… time after time the coffee has no taste and the milk is a non event, quite often its served in one of those ridiculous glasses with a handle too low down which fucks with its centre of gravity, then one sip in and the creaminess disappears and I’m let with a murky cup of brown shit. How can this be? How did Australia become the world leader in coffee preparation? I need to know, and more importantly more Australian Barista’s need to start travelling now.

So we really do miss Australia and all of the incredible chefs and barista’s that it holds, but as it may be quite some time before we come back I just want to let it be known Europe that I’ve noticed what you’re up too and we will be keeping an eye on your progress, but in the meantime sort your shit out and make a decent coffee for the love of god.

Paul’s Caul… Penchant de Fromage

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cheese
Penchant de Fromage

We now live in the land of the cheese eating surrender monkeys, but regardless of their continual want for quitting anything they get into, you just cant go past their brilliance in the world of preserved milk, AKA cheese/fromage. This is made abundantly clear everywhere you go. Cheese is like currency in France, its sold everywhere, it’s what bacon is to the British and what beer is to the Australians, and quite possibly what sugar is to Americans.

You can’t find a menu that isn’t laden with cheesy goodness. We are living in the Alp’s so every second restaurant does fondue, not just the old pot of molten white love, they now have heat lamps that gently melt away layer by layer of semi hard cheeses like Raclette and they are perched on an ingenious rack that allows you to lower the half wheel to such an angle that you simply scrap of the top layer of gooey deliciousness… clever French bastards!

Then you walk outside thinking to yourself “I’ll go for a nice walk to burn off all of this effing cheese that seems to find its way into my ever increasing belly” so you casually stroll down the road only to be ambushed by these sneaky dairy producers, it’s a god damn rouse I tell you… they even have cheese sold and given away on the streets, yes the streets are literally paved with cheese (incorrect use of the word literally but I literally don’t give a shit) row after row of fromage and cured meats line the pavement, there is no shit cheese here, no orange shite that Americans claim to be cheese, no small triangles labelled with cows simply so that its been near a cow once in its factory raised life… NO it’s all the good stuff, the stuff that weird dreams are made of and quite frankly it’s overwhelming to say the least. And this is coming from a person who isn’t anti-cheese, quite the contrary, Lauren and I are cheeseaphiles, we are very close to being full blown cheese addicts also known as a addiction called ‘penchant de fromage’ and even for us this is border line too much.

But I’m not complaining, I’m just pointing out just how Omni-present this beautiful product is, and please do not get me wrong they treat this revered product with respect. They don’t serve cheese boards with 4 different cheeses served with pear and quince paste and feel their job is done, hell no, they treat every cheese with the kudos it deserves and bring all of its potential to the plate in which you eat it from. If it’s a cheese that needs to be left out of a fridge for a week before consumption then that’s what they do, if it needs to be baked and presented to the punter with shaved truffle on, then that’s just what this wimpy French fucks do, they may be an annoying breed of human, but by all that is holy in this world, they love their cheese.

I’m running a chalet with Lauren here in Meribel in the Rhone Alp’s and we offer some pretty decent cuisine, and for our cheese we offer a cheese course every night. This entails a fuck off piece of amazing cheese, one different cheese each night, this cheese comes with a story, in which I like to wrap up the truth in a beautifully packaged parcel of made up facts. You will recognise this process from this blog in which I use the same formula. I like to serve each cheese either by its self (if it’s that good) or in general I serve it with something that heightens its flavour.
beaufort cheese
We serve the local hard cheese called Beaufort which is known as the king of the hard cheeses (generally only by the producers) it is a great cheese and has such a subtle flavour that I like to serve it with candied walnuts as I feel it already has a certain nuttiness which works well together.
reblochon de savior
Another belting cheese we get from our storeman extraordinaire (Toby the ginger wonder boy) is the Reblochon de savoir, which is a small wheel of stinky gold, its got all the smoothness of a creamy brie but with the balls of a blue, and I like to serve it with crystalized honey, why? Just because it’s brilliant!
blue cheese with truffle honey
The blue we have been serving is good, but its no Roquefort and to be fair Toby has now sourced me some cave-aged goodness, but in the meantime this French blue called Bleu D’Auvergne with truffle honey is quite magnificent.
mont d'or
And without a shadow of the doubt the most incredible cheese I know and have the pleasure of calling my dear friend, the one, the only… Mont D’or, this is a cheese that was made to last the long hard winter, and meant to be served just after Christmas, it looks like a round wood wrapped blanket of mouldy clouds and once that lid is peeled back it is as if by some miracle nature has melted this cheese for you, yes that’s right it tastes like a melted cheese sandwich, its beyond belief and if left out of a fridge for many days before consumption then it transforms into an out of body experience. Holy fucking Cheese balls this shit is good…. I serve it with teaspoon and get people to simply hand it around scooping spoonfuls out as they go
cheese
So All in all, you can all see that we are in fromage heaven and it’s the gym or the slopes every day just to keep our cheese belly’s from taking over, but these are most definitely first world problems and problems I relish, thank god I’m a chef and get to play with such exquisite produce on a daily basis… cheeseisthebestshitever

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)… Breakfast Quesadilla

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christmas ham quesadilla
The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)

In our humble abode, post Christmas lunches, dinners and breakfasts are ofttimes (always) dictated by Christmas leftovers. There is always a tonne of cooked meats to get through as each year we seem to cook for ourselves plus a traveling troupe of carnie sex slaves… but the carnies never come… next year maybe.

Christmassy looking salad/salsa is the way to go

Christmassy looking salad/salsa is the way to go

Do not cry for us though, as Christmas leftovers are not a cruel and harsh dictator like say, Josef Stalin, Saddam Hussein or Tony Abbot. No. Christmas leftovers are a kisser of small children and a friend to the elderly. They are joyous and compassionate in dictatorship, feeding us ham and other goodies galore, and kind enough to give my tastebuds a friendly reach-around, lubing them up for the ménage-au-trois that would take place in my mouth.

As an ode to these tasty, leftover inspired meals I will do a little series of posts of what I do with my ham and hopefully help you to do something different with yours too. And with a title as clever as this one I don’t think I can go wrong (although I do need to credit Jennee with the smart title. As much as I did want to claim it as my own I think we all know has both the beauty and the smart brains in this relationship).

Now that is just about ready to get the hell into my belly

Now that is just about ready to get the hell into my belly

So without further adieu I will let my fingers take over for now, gently caressing the keys of my laptop as they make consensual love to produce the magical baby that is these words.

Bahahahaha…

At least I gave you something to read, eh?

Now that may not be the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it was damn tasty

Now that may not be the prettiest looking thing in the world, but it was damn tasty

CHRISTMAS QUESADILLA (serves 4)

8 tortillas
A large handful of ham, chopped
A normal sized handful of chopped tomato, red onion and herbs from the garden. The red and green motif keeps it looking nice and Christmassy too
A handful whatever cheese you have lying around
Fried eggs and jalapeño relish to serve

• Divide the ham between four tortillas. Top with a little of the salad/salsa mix, then cheese and then another tortilla
• Fry in a lightly oiled pan on medium heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Be careful when you flip these puppies as they do have a tendency to spew out into the pan. In hindsight, it may be a better idea to just have ham and cheese in the quesadilla and then put the tomato salsa thing on top when they’re done. You choose…
• When quesadilla is done top with a fried egg and jalapeño relish if you’re keen

Paul’s Caul from France…Bonjour my cheese eating friends

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We have finally arrived at our destination, our new home and our place of work for the next five months, we speak of course of the beautiful alpine village of Meribel.

Now at first we weren’t completely sure where we were, as we flew from Heathrow to Geneva then we were greeted by a lovely group of our fellow workers and our new boss, all of which are as English as you get. Now, if your picturing chimney sweeps and small street kids from the set of Oliver twist then think again, English they be but cockney slags they are not. Then it was into several work vehicles and on to a 2 plus hour drive to France (so they tell us), but up to this point I still hadn’t heard or seen any Frenchman. Was this an elaborate rouse, were we now smack bang in the middle of the international world of sex slavery? Well with fingers crossed and baited breath we sat there hoping to soon meet our slavers or maybe they prefer captors, not really sure I’m down with the lingo at all, but regardless we were soon to arrive somewhere and we had driven up a hill or two, so either of the previous outcomes are at this point possible.

As it so happens Karen our new boss wasn’t head of a sex ring, in fact she and her Husband Michael run a very top end chalet business, which contrary to popular opinion is nothing like the very bottom end sex slavery world, although they do both service people… Fact!

So we arrived in the very picturesque town of Meribel, the lack of white stuff was the first thing that caught me by surprise as we were here to work for the ski season, not the slide down destroying all your gear on mud and rock season, but we were here early and as Kevin Costner once said “build it and they will come” now either he was talking about brothels or he was a very wise man, most likely the latter and for this particular occasion I’m hoping for the best, and am confident that the precipitation that is inevitable will sooner rather than later come in the form of snow.

A fuck off big bag of Yorkshire tea

A fuck off big bag of Yorkshire tea


The second surprise of the season was the largest fuck off bag of Yorkshire tea I’d ever seen, not quite the French experience we’d expected but a lovely surprise.

The third surprise of the evening was being driven up the mountain in the back of utes. This was a brilliant way to get to know your fellow workmates, but having a large Manchester lad called Grant firmly wedged in-between my legs was still a shock to the system. Now I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy it but it was a shock. We arrived at the Refuge as it was aptly called, then the crazy cardigan wearing drivers of the manically driven utes changed out of their cardies and into their pinnies and in that second become our hosts. It was magical and off putting all at the same time. Within seconds bottles with no labels were being dished out willy nilly, the fondue pots on the tables were lit giving us a small clue to what was about to come… I knew we were either having cheese fondue or that this crazy French folk had skimped on the heating bill.

Cheese here is off the hook -  Reblochon de Savoie

Cheese here is off the hook – Reblochon de Savoie


The fondue arrived in all cheesy glory. A cheese fondue is a thing of beauty; it’s like having a shit ton of cheese and small grill at you table, it allows food not normally associated with melted cheese to become acquainted, it is basically a get together for food form all over the place to meet this nice guy called melted cheese… and if for some reason they don’t get on, then Mr Melty Melty McCheese just drowns them in love and love always wins in the end.

This particular fondue was no exception, although the creators had not added the small amount of corn flour needed to bind the wine and cheese together leaving us fishing for pockets of molten protein, but that just added to the game. Just to be clear the game was gather as much cheese on the wooden spoon as you think possible then lift it from the cheesy depths and if you rise form the pot with nothing then ye shall be mocked by all (Liam was terrible at this game), now this was my kind of game. Props for the game were potatoes, salumi of various types and bread, always bread in this country, nothing is complete with a French stick or just a stick as they call it here.

Parfait

Parfait


With dinner complete and a very successful first night of bonding complete we walked back down the mountain, this was by far less bumpy and felt quite a lot safer then our journey up.

Over the next few weeks we set about training, they have 5 chalets here in town and each has its own Chef and chalet manager, as well as drivers, chalet assistants, masseurs and nannies. So they really do a stand up job of making sure everyone knows what is expected of them and what everyone else is meant to be doing. They manage to do all of this whilst allowing everyone to drink, eat and be incredibly social all at the same time, this is impressive as most people coming out here to work seem to think that there genitals will explode if they are not in contact with someone else asap. So the next game called ‘sleep with fucking everyone’ begins and I can’t see the end of this game in sight.

Vanilla bean ice cream, brandy snap & cookie crumbs, raspberry coulis, freeze dried raspberries

Vanilla bean ice cream, brandy snap & cookie crumbs, raspberry coulis, freeze dried raspberries


But for me this training meant I got to work along side some amazing chefs and share knowledge as well as actually getting to try their food, and believe me these boys can cook. So it was full testosterone mode engaged and cocks were out, massive fuck off cave man stick were being swung around, but fuck me it was a great laugh. This hit its crest at a dinner which myself and three other chefs cooked for. We were drunk as sailors by the first course and to be quite honest I have no idea how mains and dessert even got plated, all I do know is I served main course naked and Grant tried to snort a serve of pudding. But we made it through and still have jobs for the season… hooray!

As for everyone else we work with, they are all made up of consummate professionals and are an absolute pleasure to work with and in turn try their hardest to sleep with each other, so the game continues.

Naked Pauly… Chefs drinking lots of booze is going to end in a good/bad situation… depending on how you look at it

Naked Pauly… Multiple chefs drinking lots of booze is together always going to end in a good/bad situation… depending on how you look at it


I really do feel that we are going to have a great season of creating some amazing food, memories and friends.

Burger Buns a la Stephane Raynaud’s “Gourmet Hotdogs”

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burger, burger buns
I have had burgers before, not in the biblical sense, but a good burger is something I like to eat on a regular basis. It is not about the weather, or a mood thing, or to do with religion, I just like to eat burgers… straight into my face hole.

During my last twenty years on this earth I have certainly cooked a few of these one hand delivery, covering all food groups, suductively shaped, alluring, tasty little morsels and if you’re keen you can find a recipe for one in a heap of different places on this blog. I would suggest typing “burger” into the search bar in the top right corner of this page. Or, alternately, go to someone else’s better blog and type “burger” into the search page on theirs.

But today it isn’t about the burger. Much like the sexy all-male review sans the sweaty middle-aged women and fifty dollar notes, today it is all about the sweet, buttery buns.

This recipe was handed to me from Stephane Reynaud via his book “Gourmet Hotdogs – How To Dress Your Dog With Style” which was gifted to me on my last birthday by great friends and, without even close competition, my favourite will-they-ever-actually-be-married couple, Mark and Kate, who bought (or possibly stole… I saw no receipt…) it from a bookshop, the owner of said bookshop having purchased it from a book wholesaler. So that is how I have come to be in possession of this sweet milk bun recipe… and it was a cracker. Kinda brioche-y, but not.

I’m trying the straight ol’ milk buns next to see which I prefer… who cares? I know.

The book. There's some mighty fine looking hotdogs in here too

The book. There’s some mighty fine looking hotdogs in here too

Just after the second proving, all dressed up ready for the oven

Just after the second proving, all dressed up ready for the oven

Out of the oven. Nothing wrong with those buns

Out of the oven. Nothing wrong with those buns

Burgers grilled over coals are damn good burgers

Burgers grilled over coals are damn good burgers

Especially when they have cheese and bacon on top

Especially when they have cheese and Cromwell Farms bacon on top

It looks like my burger is trying to eat the pickle. It's not though, because it is a burger

It looks like my burger is trying to eat the pickle. It’s not though, because it is a burger

(I kinda stuffed up the measurements a little because the acid was just starting to kick in, so what I’ve ended up with is a cross breed of his milk buns and sweet milk buns. Deal with it)

SWEET MILK BUNS a la STEPHANE REYNAUD (sort of)

1 sachet (7g) yeast
200ml lukewarm milk
400g strong flour
50g castor sugar
75g softened butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds
• Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk
• Combine all ingredients and kneed until smooth and elastic to form a compact ball. Cover with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 1 hour at room temperature
• Punch the air out of the dough, shape into six pretty evenly sized rolls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a warm damp cloth and let them rise again at room temperature for 1 hour
• Glaze with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15 minutes
• Slice it open and fill it with whatever it is you like to put on a burger

Paul’s Caul… South American Quest part 4

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EATING PETS IN SOUTH AMERICA!

My posts of late haven’t been that food orientated as I’m on a South American tour and have quite frankly been so busy doing incredible shit and fell the need to tell the world. And as you all are the closest thing I have to the world you all have copped it, but am a fair kinda guy… actually I’m more of a self centered prick, but who’s keeping score. So I felt I should share some of the culinary adventures we’ve been having as well as all of that fucking hiking and snorkeling blah blah holiday fun bollocks.

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From the first day of this trip something that has been blatantly clear is that these peeps effing love meat and cheese, now I hear you all say “so fucking what, we all love that shit” firstly I’d appreciate less of that language, and secondly I didn’t say it was a bad thing so settle the fuck down.

Of course as with any new country/continent even the simple things are done differently it may be that for some reason they seem to respect the toilet so much that dirty paper isn’t allowed in it, no they prefer to keep a small lidless bin right in front of you keep the stink paper in all its brown glory. Each to your own I say and as my dad always said don’t knock it till you try it, now even though I’m pretty sure my dad was speaking about homosexuality its still relevant in any situation. So I have tried it and I’m just not sold on the whole concept, but to be honest I only remember 50% of the time.

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I have digressed ever so slightly, back to the meat and cheese or carne and queso as we say here… the most common cheese used here is a kind of haloumi/feta/ricotta hybrid its semi soft white cheese and does melt a little when heated, but it doesn’t really pack a flavour punch. Besides that it is still cheese and any cheese is good in my book, not literally as that would ruin both the book and the cheese. The meat comes in many forms all of the usual suspects are here, but there are a few guest appearances along the way like Guinea pig, Llama and Alpaca… I have to admit all of these excited me more than a man should get excited about meat (but as my dad said…) but more about them in a minute.

Now you are all aware about the love affair that G-bags McFilthy Mouth and I have with Pork in all of its glorious guises, and seemingly we are not alone these guys are mad for the stuff. They even have a street in Cuzco (Peru) nicknamed Pork Street, so we of course went there and had a couple of belting pork dishes. Now keep in mind not all countries/chef’s create dishes in the same way and what might to the layman/simpleton look like half a dish or just a few ingredients whacked on a plate, is in fact exquisite cuisine. The first pork dish could have been mistaken for just that, it was crispy pork on giant white corn kernels, onion slices, fresh mint leaves, a wedge of lime and some green chilli sauce in the middle of the table. The pork was twice cooked, firstly I’m guessing in the oven until cooked and then it was cut into fuck off pieces, salted and deep fried… fuck yeah! It then sat in a warmer (by warmer I really mean glass box with no form of heating or cooling) but they knew what they where doing and we smashed it quick sharp and ordered a second round of the same dish, the best complement you can pay us chef’s.

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The other dish we tried on Pork St was Adobe, which is a pork soup with one of the largest chilies I’ve ever seen floating in each serve. I stupidly thought it was a capsicum as the soup was ridiculously tasty but not spicy so I cut a sizable piece of supposed capsicum only to find it was not the hottest I’d ever had, but it was the quickest to bring heat to my mouth… holy Christ on a popsicle stick it was hot, but so effing tasty and it made the everything I ate for the next hour exponentially more delicious. Chilli can be a wicked vehicle for flavour, it doesn’t, as people think, destroy taste buds. I reckon it opens up another range of flavours that have previously laid dormant.

Now about that Guinea Pig or Cuy as it is called. It came out like a small crispy bear skin rug from in front a crackling fire place in a parallel universe where a fox may wear a jacket and smoke cigars whilst sipping whiskey on a leather chair adjacent to his crispy Guinea pig rug… wow I hope you have pictured that. Now back to reality, and reality was it didn’t taste that good at all. In fact it had a slight seafood taste about but I still persisted and ate my way through the whole creature I even sucked out his eyes and ate them, his cheeks and ears where by far the tastiest bits, his eyes however were as to be expected… horrid.

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Alpaca on the other hand is a very fine meat me thinks. I have had in a quesadilla, made into burgers and as a steak all were very acceptable and the burger was divine, it’s a little stronger in flavour than beef but not gamey at all. And the Llama steak I had last night with Roquefort sauce was rib ticklingly superb, but Roquefort sauce does have a tendency to make me happy. But sauce aside the meat was tender and soft in flavour and would lend itself to many styles of cookery.

Ceviche is also very prevalent on the continent, they have it many forms and although I find most of it a little over done, they do rock the textural approach. By this I mean they use some cool crunchy components which I reckon ceviche is crying out for… they use crispy corn kernels, plantain chips and an awesome tahini sauce to lift their almost soup like version of this citrus cooked seafood and chicken.10390545_10152548664848783_8071022006900893024_n

Bananas are a contentious point with me, I have come to love eating a good banana although I lean towards breaking pieces off as not to deep throat the penis of the fruit world… but that aside they have many varieties here, some for boiling, some for roasting, deep frying and some for simply scaring us gringo’s. Seriously a banana came out on a plate the other night and I thought it was sausage, I was not impressed to find out it wasn’t. What’s my point, I hear you ask. Well I think bananas should be used for eating fresh, possible in a bread or dessert and at a push coated in coconut and served with curry… that’s it!

As for my newfound love for food carts and stalls, I really am head over heels in love with these mobile bringers of deliciousness. You can get everything from freshly squeezed juice to hot chips, roast chicken dinners, hamburgers, pastries filled with chicken, beef or corn… I kid you not, there isn’t anything they don’t try to sell from these mobile miracles of the culinary world. I have seen a crackle stand, yes a stand that just sells pork crackle, some shards as big as my arm. If its ceviche you want then bam you’ve got it, shaved ice, ice-creams, soups, buckets of weird looking congealed something… yes they have it all and for such a small cost it isn’t even worth trying to work out that cost in dollars. Yesterday we all sat in a hole-in-the-wall café like thing and without realizing it we had said yes to a set menu of soup, crispy chicken, banana & chips (KFC ain’t got nothing on this lady) and a jelly dessert all for 78 boliviano’s including a big bottle of soft drink… this equals to about $17 for the four of us, absolutely mental and delicious.

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We are going to go for a special dinner tomorrow night at a place called Gustu here in La Paz, its run by some chefs from Noma and is pushing the same culinary formula that has put Noma on the world wide foodies map. They use only local ingredients and stay true to indigenous believes and practices. I think we will be in for a treat as Bolivia has some incredible food, I can’t wait to see what Gustu do with their produce… I do know they have a bacon and onion cocktail to help wash all that goodness down. Every meal on this trip excites me, but I’m extra special excited about this one.

I will leave you now and get ready to go to a local steak house that cooks all the local goodness on a massive wood fueled char grill. Have I mentioned how much I love this place?

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