Ribbed for your comfort

Ribbed for your comfort

No I am not endorsing a new range of special condoms with the slogan “guaranteed to make her reach climax in half the time”, because;

a. I know for a fact that is still going to be a full days work for a lot of you

b. I’m just not going to, and

c. Nobody asked me to…

But that’s OK. Do you know why? Probably not considering you are not a clairvoyant mind reader who knows my every thought and action. I saw her at the local show and I know she was not you. Strange looking woman. Had lots of small monkeys. Smelled like swamp. Worse 3 bucks I ever spent… No, I will tell you why; because I have beef ribs. Not like beef ribs in place of my own normal human ribs, that would look plain silly. I would be some kind of freakish half man half cow type thing straight from the set of Narnia, and would have to finally find my true lot in life beside my new wife and best friend, Sally, the swampy smelling clairvoyant with the monkeys. What a beautiful family we would have. Laughing, singing, poking fun at the people driving by in their steel chariots…

Well off point again.

Beef ribs. Actual beef ribs. Large ribs that once belonged to a cow, which was dispatched to another place so that Scotty the butcher may cut off it’s ribs for me, to grill and eat with my favourite of green sauces, the chimmichurri.

In a slight precursor to the recipe I am about to give you, it was day two of Paul and Laurens visit last week (see these posts to get your ass up to date with what I speak of). Day two of the foodisthebestshitever reunion got cracking at a decidedly slowly pace than day one. We were definitely following more of a “keep it simple theme”.

Pauly and Lauren went breakfast in Lismore but, upon realizing that our favourite, Palate at the Gallery, was closed they walked the streets like so many before them, quickly realizing this was no gourmet breakfast mecca. They got cosy at a not very nice place called Café Cappello. Pauly recounted a story of his breakfast possibly being cooked by a giant mother bird in an apron, as the sausage appeared to have been chewed up and regurgitated onto the plate. We laughed at that anecdote. Paul truly has a way with his words. They also said their coffee was unpalatable, and that nasty hangover thing was really starting to kick in. They found “the Pie Cart” which, with its selection of a lot of pies, almost made things better. Almost. Then it was a quick walk through a few of L-Smores dodgier back alleys and they were back at the car… and quickly heading back to the sanctuary of our country fortress.

Soon enough it was time for a drink.

Aaaah, that’s better…

This is how Paul says grace
This is how Paul says grace

That night I cooked a lamb shoulder on the coals with some sweet potatoes and other thing. Things which, when combined with a pile of brown rice and a good splash of the leftover chimmichurri, made a surprisingly good salad. While Paul and I were at the butcher acquiring said lamb shoulder I noticed he had just sawn the rib bones from a big fat rib eye. I looked at Paul, admittedly I got lost in his eyes for a moment, then I said “shall we get those”. He looked to where I gestured. “Yes”, he said. “Yes we should”. Scotty the butcher chucked them in for free. Legend.

You remember our old friend the chiminea
You remember our old friend the chiminea
Lamby about to be wrapped with a pile of herbs from the garden
Lamby about to be wrapped with a pile of herbs from the garden
Oh lamb how I love thee
Oh lamb how I love thee
Charred vegetables
Charred vegetables
Peel the charred bits off the vegetables, add some brown rice and chimmichurri and fuck yes. You have a cracking salad
Peel the charred bits off the vegetables, add some brown rice and chimmichurri and fuck yes. You have a cracking salad

SAMSUNG CSC

Still feeling the lamby love
Still feeling the lamby love
Lamby with sauteed spinac from the garden. Paul commented that he really liked the spinach
Lamby with sauteed spinach from the garden. Paul commented that he really liked the spinach

The rest, as they say, is history. We cooked, we drank, we laughed and we certainly loved the company of Paul and Lauren for those few days…

Marinate the ribs
Marinate the ribs
Damn they look good
Damn they look good. That could be another capriosca getting made in the back ground
I'm feeling the comfort
I’m feeling the comfort

Oh, and you need a recipe for those ribs right? Pretty simple actually, I would only suggest not playing with this one if you are actually blind because of the fire thing, but I guess if you’re blind you’re not going to be reading this one anyway…

  1. Get beef ribs
  2. Marinate in a little chilli and garlic
  3. Season
  4. Grill gently (yeah, caress them. Make them feel sexy) over the coals for 45 minutes, turning regularly. A webber would do a cracking job right now
  5. Rest for five minutes
  6. Douse with chimmichurri (recipe here) and stand up and eat them at the cutting board. Get messy and suck those bad boys dry!

Feeling saucy…

You saucey little minx…

This morning I sent out an APB to my fellow chef and long time friend Pauly regarding a post I wanted to do about my favourite sauces, and inviting him to be part of the spectacular. He cordially accepted my invitation and went on to write an absolute cracker of a story about sauces complete with moistness references as would be expected. Covering all the points that needed to be covered one might say.

So what does that leave me with? Not much actually. Just a pair of mittens hand knitted be my pet carnie, a lame reference to a saucy little minx, and three sauces that I would consider to be right up there on the top of my list right now. The reason I say they are at the top of my list right now is because that list changes from time to time. I like to keep things fresh you know? I am air wick… I am the lavender in your grandma’s undies drawer… I am a white Will Smith… I am… grasping at straws.

You heard it straight from the source (finally got a decent pun in there!).

Salsa Verde

This is the original OG all time favourite for me. It changes a little bit from time to time depending on what’s thriving in our garden so don’t be afraid to adjust the quantities or type of herbs according to your taste. Do be afraid of dragons though, them and centaurs.

Salsa verde goes kick-ass with pretty much anything you want to put it with; pork belly, steak, chicken, fish, pasta and your girlfriend’s breasts.

1 cup each picked parsley, mint, basil and rocket
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers and the vinegar they live in
1-2 anchovies, or not if you are vego or one of those strange people who just doesn’t like anchovies
1 cup olive oil

  • Put everything except oil into a food processor or blender. Blitz and add oil slowly. Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
  • This will last for a few days in the fridge no probs

Chimmichurri

This is my second favourite sauce of all time, which was the only reason I needed to put it second on the list. It is probably becoming quite apparent that I do have a penchant for fresh herby dressings and this one has the extra kick of a bit of chilli heat to weed out the men from the boys, and the bearded ladies from the carnies. This steak sauce may have originated in Argentina, but now it is destined for my belly.
2 cups each picked oregano and parsley
3 long red chilli, seeds in if you like it hot, chopped roughly
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Salt

  • Same method as the salsa verde folks

Romesco

This is a cracking sauce for seafood of any description and I love seafood so I love this sauce and it loves me.

6 red capsicum

3 ripe tomatoes

4 long red chilli

20 cloves garlic

3 slices day old bread (sour dough is good), crusts removed

1 cup whole blanched almonds

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

  • Preheat oven
  • Season capsicum, tomatoes, chilli and garlic and roast with a splash of olive oil at 240C for 10 minutes
  • Add bread and almonds and roast for a further 3 minutes
  • Push garlic out of skins, peel capsicum and chilli, deseed chilli’s if you don’t like it hot
  • Blitz with pan juices and vinegar until smooth
  • Emulsify remaining oil slowly into sauce
  • Check seasoning
  • Have a big fat pile of seafood ready to go!

You could easily halve any of these recipes for a single meal but they never last very long around these parts.

Feeling saucy? I know I am…

Food truly is the best shit ever… pulled pork with some damn fine sides

IMG_5102 Oh how I love to eat. I mean I really effing love to eat. Some days I pray to the dear lord and thank him for giving me a mouth and hands to transport things to it… actually, I could probably do with out the hands if I really had to, but I sure am damn thankful for my mouth. Food touches me like I have never been touched before (sorry Uncle Roy). I’ve mentioned previously that it is something that we all need to do to live, but eating for me is an event. I look forward to it every day. Preparing and cooking food and feeding friends and family and all of the customers that keep me in a job, and even a few that I would probably rather they ate at a different restaurant (damn smelly little bridge trolls), but I still feed them. And I still love it! I drive to work and think about what I’m going to cook that day. I eat breakfast while I’m pondering what my dinner shall be. I spend my days off slow cooking something delicious (because slow cooking season is upon us now) for dinner, making chutney or mayonnaise with eggs I have just collected from our chooks. I wonder if we should invite someone over to share this feast tonight, or have I already done that too many times this week? I can’t wait to eat. I often get asked what my favourite style of food to cook is. I was thinking about that this morning and then it dawned on me; I don’t have a particular style or point of origin of my favourite foods, they just need to be served feast style, in the company of good, nay great people, with something to wash it down. I find beer or wine is a suitable lubricant for this task. Every day for me is like the day a teenage boy knows his parents are going out, his girlfriend is coming over and he is definitely going to get a peek at his girlfriends boobies tonight. I AM REALLY EXCITED. I think the thing for me is I like to try and fit as many sides and condiments as I can on the table, thus making it easier for me to put them in my belly. It also means you and your guests can adjust seasonings and flavours to your own specific tastes. What a gracious host eh. Always thinking of others. And you know what, if putting all of those sides and condiments on the table has left you a bit slight in the wallet, just get your self a cheap bottle of wine and drink it out of a viking-esque tankard. It worked for them… Anyhoo, I’m sure you all get the picture. I love food, I love cooking, I love my family, I love your mum…err, I love life. That’ll do. This is little feast I knocked up yesterday, and then ate with my children for an impromptu Boy’s Night. This sort of food really does benefit from the presence of a couple of good sides, or it’s just going to be pulled pork on a plate… which would not be a terrible meal but… just make some effing sides OK!

This is a good time to have a mouth
This is a good time to have a mouth

PULLED PORK WITH SOME DAMN FINE SIDES   For the pork 1kg pork belly ½ cup smoked paprika 1 tablespoon each tumeric, mustard powder, white pepper and salt 2 tablespoons brown sugar 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • Mix everything together with a splash of oil to form a paste
  • Lather the paste all over the pork belly like it was body chocolate on your best friend’s mum, and let it marinate for a few hours or over night if possible (the pork, not your best friend’s mum)
  • Put the pork in a heavy based oven dish with ½ cup of water and roast that sucker for 4 hours at 150-160C. hit it with 200C or your grill for the last 10 minutes to crackle the skin up
  • Remove from oven and slice off the skin, which should now be awesomely crisp
  • Put the meat in a bowl and pull it apart with two forks, hence the term “pulled pork”
  • Add the spiced pan juices into the meat and combine
  • Season
  • Get it onto the table
Marinate the pork
Marinate the pork
Cook the pork
Cook the pork
Pull the skin off to reveal the moist, tender underside
Pull the skin off to reveal the moist, tender underside
Get your forks in there and shred it bro
Get your forks in there and shred it bro
Add a little saucy goodness
Add a little saucy goodness
Eat it fool
Eat it like this, fool
...or try it like that
…or try it like that
Grilled corn with chimmichurri is good
Grilled corn with chimmichurri is good

For the kidney beans 1 tin kidney beans 1 brown onion, sliced 1 tomato, diced 2 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole 2 bay leaves ½ cup olive oil

  • Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Season
  • Get it on the table
  • I can’t tell you enough how much I love these beans

For the tomato salsa This is but one version of 1 billion salsa recipes out there. Do it however you do it. 3 tomatoes, diced 1 onion, diced 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 pickled jalapeño chilli with a little of the pickle liquid

  • Pulse once or twice in a food prcesser
  • Season
  • On the table. Damn

  The other things that were on the table Pickled red cabbage, shredded iceberg lettuce, grilled corn, chimmichurri sauce, natural yoghurt, lime, tortillas That is how to eat!

Two Steak Sauces

TWO STEAK SAUCES. 1 FOR SCOTTY AND 1 FOR MARK

PEPPER SAUCE
“Green peppercorns, cream and gravy mix… that’s pepper sauce isn’t it?” is what I would probably say if I was head chef at the local RSL or servo tuckshop and someone had asked me how to make peppercorn sauce for steak. I would also be able to tell you six different recipes for cooking swamp rat and serve you fries seasoned with cigarette ash. Fortunately for my own state of mind (perfectly normal) and the reputation of my family, I am not such a man, so I shall answer the question thus…

“Mark”, I would say, “to make a pepper sauce first cook the steak to your liking in a pan. Remove your steak from said pan and rest it in a warm spot while you make the sauce. On a medium heat add peppercorns and onion to the pan that you cooked the steak in (this way you get all of the nice caramelised bits of steaky goodness from the pan. It’s all about the mad flavour!). Cook out for a minute and the deglaze with brandy and get all of the good bits off the bottom of the pan. Add beef stock and reduce until starting to thicken. Add cream and reduce to desired consistency. Season with sea salt and there you have it my good man. Pepper sauce!”

The actual ingredients list
1 heaped tablespoon green peppercorns in brine
1 heaped tablespoon whole black peppercorns (don’t do this with ground pepper because that’s just going to be shit), crushed in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder or with a rock in your backyard, still with a bit of texture to them
1 eshallot or ¼ red onion, brunoise
a good splash of brandy (or red wine if you drank all the brandy last night)
1 cup beef stock (if you’re not going to make your own get a good one from the supermarket. No, not a stock cube. Beef stock!)
1 cup cream

CHIMMICHURRI SAUCE
This one is for my good friend Scotty. I will go on record as saying Scotty is the nicest guy I know… even though, on our last encounter, he stated to me that he does not like to have any condiment whatsoever with his steak. So I made some chimmichurri sauce anyhow because I love it and the garden was rife with oregano. Which is basically the garden insisting that I make chimmichurri.

Scotty tried it and of course he loves it because it just tastes so damn good! And now he can make it for himself to eat when he is hiding in his room far, far away from the world he told he doesn’t do condiments with steak!

pounding the chimmichurri in Scotty’s “I used to be a pharmicist and I’ve still got the cutest little mortar and pestle” mortar and pestle
the backdrop for our lunch…

If you click on the link below it will take you to the recipe for chimmichurri…

https://foodisthebestshitever.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/and-now-a-werd…or-fresh-herbs/

And Now A Werd From Our Sponsor… Fresh Herbs

I’m gonna go on about fresh herbs are fair bit, but with good reason I think. They are the best. They can lift a dish from the realms of boring or just barely amusing to vibrant and just damn beautiful. A feat that can barely be touched by minced herbs or garlic in jars or tubes.

So you have your little herb garden now and it is cranking. You have realised that fresh herbs hold a whole new world of goodness. But what are you gonna do when that supply is too plentiful for your needs?

Well, there’s always pesto, salsa verde or chimmichurri for a start. Salsa verde is up a few posts back but the other two are right here…

Basil pesto
2 cups of picked basil
1/2 cup grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/2 cup toasted pinenuts or macadamia’s*
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil

  • Blitz in a food processor or blender, slowly adding the oil, until you have something that looks like store bought pesto but probably tastes twice as good.

Chimmichurri sauce
2 cups each picked oregano and parsley
3 long red chilli, seeds in if you like it hot, chopped roughly
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup olive oil
Salt

  • Same again. Blitz. Add oil slowly.

And if you want to store some herbs for a later date or just to have a quick mixed herb explosion on hand for a soup or pasta, then try freezing some of your fresh produce down.

Take one or more or your favourite herbs, and blitz with just enough water to get them moving until you have a nice green puree.
Divide the green goodness up into an ice cube tray and freeze.
Now you have pre-portioned cubes of herby goodness ready to go when you are.

Siiiiiiiiiiiiicko.

*to toast nuts toss them in a pan or under the grill for a coupla minutes until they are lightly browned. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.