Coal roasted fish bruschetta AKA camp bruschetta

fish bruschetta
Last week I was writing the roster at work, which is a pretty ordinary thing for someone in my position to be doing. It was going to be a pretty good one too – I had reined it back to a less-than-50-hour-week which is a more than acceptable working week for one who has chosen chef as their profession.

And then it turned into a really damn good roster really quickly.

I had completely erased my name from the graphy looking little timetable that was trying to tell me I would be attending work that next week. Bam. Gone.

“Yup. That was a heaps better idea,” my smart brains told me. “You should just piss off camping instead.”

“Brilliant,” I agreed, quickly realising that I was conducting one hell of a cracking monologue in front of the staff… again.

Not to worry. These guys have seen how much coffee I drink…. They’ve heard me talk of my carnie fetish… they knew what they were getting themselves in for when they signed up.

Before I knew it we were packing the car for the camping trip. We packed crocodile seeking missiles, a box jellyfish/ozone depletion full body protection suit, the really deadly snake deterrent, nuke ‘em from orbit tent mounted mosquito extermination technology and, of course, the drop bear trap. We never go camping with out a drop bear trap. The car was almost full but we still had just enough room for our prescription medication, a few amphetamines for who ever is on drop bear watch (they always attack at night or in the small hours of the morning) and enough rum to wash it all down.

That is what we did because that is how we go camping in Australia.

Once all of our nature defences were in place and we were high as a kite, we went fishing and caught ourselves a few plump flathead which we promptly cooked on the coals and camping-like-a-boss made them into some tasty assed fish bruschetta with herby salsa.

Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white
Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white

I could've eaten quite a few of these
I could’ve eaten quite a few of these

FISH BRUSCHETTA WITH HERBY SALSA

(serves 4 as a light meal)

2 whole fish (800g-1kg to give approx. 400g meat)
8 slices sour dough bread
1 small Lebanese cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons salsa verde (it would probably be pretty easy for you to make some before you leave)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

• Put everything except the fish and bread into a bowl, mix to combine and allow to macerate while you cook the fish.
• My fish went straight onto the coals of the campfire for 6-7 minutes each side and then we peeled the skin back and flaked the flesh off the bone with a fork. It was some seriously tasty shit. A little bit charred and smoky and still so damn moist thanks to the skin and scales – this is some seriously sexy business.
• Maybe you don’t have a campfire so you can get a similar result by wrapping your fish in foil and roasting them for 10-12 minutes at 200C.
• Now is a good time to toast your bread. You can toast bread right?
• To assemble drizzle the toasts with olive oil and then divide flaked fish between the 8 pieces. Top with salsa and spoon over salsa juices. Season with a little salt and pepper if it needs some.
• I cannot say enough how damn good this was.

My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer
My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer

The Christmas that just went…

At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze...
At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze…
So there it was.

Christmas.

It came as quickly as a teenage boy… and then left feeling just as ashamed.

The Optimus Prime-esque light displays that were clearly trying to signal another culture from the depths of a very distant solar system will soon yield to the weight of more consumerism in the form of hot crossed buns and chocolate eggs which are seemingly the incubating spawn of chocolate rabbits which are both some how meant to tie into a religious celebration-slash-holiday.

We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour... everyone else mostly chose other drinks
We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour… everyone else mostly chose other drinks

I don’t really follow this whole thing at all.

But really, who gives a fuck.

What ever it is, it is a damn fine reason to get together with your friends and family, and possibly even a random cling-on or two. You share a drink (many drinks), some food (much food) and maybe a story about how two of your squad hooked up together at the same event last year (not appropriate when only family is in attendance). Just a damn good time really. Even carnies and people who hate everything else about life will generally still enjoy the time that is Christmas.

There was much food on the table... and also a fair bit of booze
There was much food on the table… and also a fair bit of booze

As a wise man once told me, “there are systems in place just so we can stand one another”, and I agree that this is definitely one of them.

Right now I sit on a hotel balcony, enjoying a little down time after having the craziest two months of my cheffing career to date, and I ponder how beautiful that whole silly season is* – the truly satisfying climax after the fore play and gentle caress of the trickle of summer function bookings through out the year. Dates are tentatively set, invites drawn up, weddings and birthdays and Christmas parties are all in the mix.

And then it’s on.

The slippery finger that is the rest of the year is inevitably followed by the fully blown orgy (black plastic and raspberry jelly included) that is the start of summer… the silly season… our glory days. Then, as quickly as it begun it is over again. We sit on our milk crates and designated small section of brick wall out the back of the restaurant and we admire those that are still among us…. Chaffed lips and post coital haze… enlarged sphincters… mental scars that will never heal…

Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz... As is trifle... we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo
Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz… As is trifle… we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo

Thank god for Christmas.

I fucking love this shit.

#beingachefisthebestshitever

And then all of a sudden I was here... writing this...
And then all of a sudden I was here… writing this…

*And, if I’m totally honest, I also ponder an Edward Norton in “Fight Club” or the Donnie Darko guy in “Donnie Darko” type catastrophe where the balcony crumbles underneath me and I’m done. Yes I have head issues.

Paul’s Caul – food thievery and a nice walnut tart

Food thievery

Food thievery is our bread and butter, it’s the building blocks of our cooking lexicon, it’s page 22 of our next book, it’s the new chicken dish on the winter menu and to be exact, it’s the recipe in this post I’m about to write.

So is it wrong?

No absolutely not!

And for all of those twat chef’s out there with little to no confidence and extremely small penis’ (or vagina’s? not sure what the correct female version of small penis would be? Most likely, huge vagina?) get over it… it is such a complement for me if someone enjoys one of my dishes so much that they want to emulate it. I’m not saying I would like the restaurant next door to copy my entire menu, but to think you actually created something completely new is absurd…. Unless you’re a crazy Spanish son of a bitch with a test tube and way too much time.

I took my good friend and chef out for dinner the other week. This is something you should all do (I don’t mean I want you all to call up Alex and ask her out as that get weird real quick. What I do mean is if you work In a kitchen and you don’t all hate the sight of each other, go out for dinner every now and again).

This has many purposes…

  1. You get to steal heaps of ideas
  2. You can talk about food a lot with out boring the tits off of your guests
  3. You get to learn what your colleagues ethos on food is

And the most important…

  1. You get to eat delicious food and drink tasty wine

We choose ‘Jackson’s’ restaurant here in Perth, it has for many years been a favourite of mine and it still delivered (not like with a scooter and heat bag).

The menu was a 8 course degustation which we added a few extra courses onto, because quite simply we could, so we did J. Along with the superb food and exquisite company we partook in several alcoholic beverages, I won’t go into great detail about the food as It was all good but nothing really stood out… this is not to say it wasn’t superb, but the wheel wasn’t reinvented on this particular night.

My favourite dish was a simply cheese course, which I liked so much I’m actually using it on a menu for this weekend… it was a ‘walnut tart with gorgonzola’. There were a few other items on it, but this is how I steal things… I liked the concept so I have made up my own take of it. I’ve made a walnut tart (recipe below) and for the recipe I looked through my books and the interweb and found a few versions, so I took the bits I like from all of them, one said to put in raisins… “Raisins are so effing last year I’m gonna use currents” I said (plus I already had currents and couldn’t be bothered going back to the shop, you just witnessed how a dish is created J), and as for the remaining components of this dish I know I will put gorgonzola with the tart and an apple balsamic glaze I made a while back, but I’ll leave final assembly to the last minute and hope I can channel greatness or at least bluff my way through (most likely the latter).

Blind baking the shit out of my pastry... like a boss!
Blind baking the shit out of my pastry… like a boss!
Yummy mixture
Yummy mixture
Pre oven tart
Pre oven tart
Finished tart
Finished tart

Walnut tart

For this you can make individual tartlets or one big fuck off tart, like I did J

I hope by now you all know how to make pastry, roll pastry and blind bake pastry… if you don’t then I suggest you go to you-tube and learn that shit as I have no time or the inclination to teach you all… plus I’m pretty sure we taught you already, unless this is the first time you have been to our blog… then in that case where the hell have you been?

So here is the filling recipe to whack into the tart case/cases…

  • Beat together 1egg, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon butter until it is pale and creamy
  • Add the scrapings of 1 vanilla pod and ¼ cup currents
  • Crush 1 & ¼ cups of walnuts by hand or with a rolling pins and whack that in the mix
  • Finish it off with a small amount of orange zest (about a ¼-1/2 of an orange depending on size)
  • Now mix well and place in still hot blind bake pastry case
  • Bake at 160c for 25-30 minutes
  • Sorted!

I reckon this would be delicious with ice cream, with cheese, with poached peach or quince as a small starter… it can be whatever you want it to be….

“No body puts walnut tart in the corner”

*It’s seriously good to have you back bro, Grazza McFilthy Mouth