Seafood chowder-esque type thing in a Vienna loaf

seafood chowder in a cob
My brother is just about to head back to his humble grotto in Margaret River, Western Australia, after a mammoth stay of two months. That’s right, now I shall be in charge of my own mis en place again… and we will have to do our own washing… I’ll be sad to see him go, that’s for sure.

But before he makes like a tree and gets out of here we needed a little man time. You know, get a couple of lads together and find ourselves a little riverside cabin where we can eat, drink, fish, wear the same clothes and not make our beds each day if we did’t want to. Power to the man eh? That’s right, the new man power revolution begins with us and it begins right here, today, now! Viva la revolution. Viva le revolution! Also please note, the revolution will end at approximately noon on Wednesday when we shall be returning home, so our office/support group will not be taking any calls from that point onwards…

So I did find us a nice little riverside cabin in the sleepy seaside town of Brunswick Heads (known as Bruns to the indigenous community). It had enough beds to ensure that only two of us need sleep together (I won’t explain that one), a small kitchenette that would enable us to prepare food and stay nourished for the length of our stay and a shower, which apparently was not needed and took up valuable space that could have been used to position a cracking barbecue/smoker set up.

We caught some fish, a couple of which spent less than an hour out of the water before they went into this Creole-esque type seafood number. Kind of even a bit of a chowder… maybe. I really don’t know what to call this bad boy except damn tasty. It was taken to damn-tasty-town by the addition of some of my patented Big Red Rub, which travels with me everywhere like a faithful side kick, adding flavour boosts to food like this and generally making me look a lot better than I actually am. Which is not actually a very hard job so maybe I am giving it a little too much credit…

We did scour the shelves of the one little bakery in Bruns for the cob loaf that this chowder-y number was going to fill, but alas it seemed that there had been a run on cob loaves that morning and we had well and truly missed out… so a crusty, white, $3.10 vienna loaf was going to do the job for us today.

We were right about here
We were right about here

Hollow that bad boy out
Hollow that bad boy out
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Eat. Just eat
Eat. Just eat
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again

SEAFOOD CHOWER-ESQUE TYPE THING IN A VIENNA LOAF (serves 4-6)

300g each bream and flathead, cut into large chunks (any fish you want to
eat will do the job here)
500g king prawns, peeled, deveined and cut in half
1 chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 medium sweet potato, medium dice, steamed/boiled until just cooked
Kernels from 1 cob of corn
600ml cream
Seasoning
1 crusty Vienna or cob
A handful of grated cheese of some description
Chopped parsley
Pickled chilli to serve

• Cut the top off the crusty loaf and hollow it out a little. Tear up insides and top. Get that puppy extra crusty in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes
• Sauté chorizo, onion and garlic in a little oil until starting to brown
• Add big red rub, prawns, sweet potato and corn and cook out for 1 minute
• Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced
• Add fish and stir to combine. Don’t play with it too much now because you don’t want to break this fish up
• Simmer for another few minutes until the fish is cooked
• Season
• Pour into the crusty loaf, top with cheese and parsley and serve with extra crusty bread and pickled chillis on the side. Best consumed with a lot of beer
• This would also be really effing good on some rice or even pasta

Sunset on the river. Pretty
Sunset on the river. Pretty

Mussels with chorizo, saffron and tomato… so very simple

spencer gulf mussels with chorizo, tomato and saffron Mussels can be simple as fuck and really impressive and sometimes, so can this ol’ blog. Watch this… Mussels are a light bulb moment. There is a picture of a bowl of mussels with a side of crusty bread in the dictionary right next to the definition of the phrase “light bulb moment” (please don’t check… I feel that may lead to me being found out for the fraudulent cad I am). They are a great call when you need something quick and easy and still impressive. There’s not a heap of meals that fall into this category, as it is not an actual category but just a damn unfortunate twist of events that we all have to deal with from time to time. In your time of need look to the mussels for the strength to go on (see what I did there? Mussels? Strength? That shit is gold). The scientific equation is thus; Cook mussels with some kind of saucy goodness, chuck an inbred rock farmer’s sized fistful of herbs in there and then serve with some crusty bread and a salad if you can be assed. I didn’t even use garlic because of the flavour hit from the sausage. Oh yes you could if you wanted to, but for the simplicity of this whole thing I just flogged the shit out of a good sausage. Oh yes.

These puppies came cryovaced and cleaned up  ready to go. It makes it a little hard to check for freshness so it's kinda nice to have a good fish monger
These puppies came cryovacced and cleaned up ready to go. It makes it a little hard to check for freshness so it’s kinda nice to have a good fish monger
Just mussels
Just mussels
...and the other stuff that went into the pot
…and the other stuff that went into the pot
Steeping saffron looks a little like this
Steeping saffron looks a little like this
Make some garlic bread, I dare you. It's childs play. It is quite literally childs play
Make some garlic bread, I dare you. It’s childs play. It is quite literally childs play
Um, garlic bread
Um, garlic bread
Looking good
Looking good
Get it on the plate with some of that
Get it on the plate with some of that
My belly is smiling at me
My belly is smiling at me

MUSSELS WITH CHORIZO, SAFFRON & TOMATO 1kg fresh mussels that, just as all seafood should, smell just like the ocean, not the toilet door in the parlor of the ladies of the night 1 small-medium onion, finely diced 1 chorizo sausage, diced pretty small but it doesn’t need to be as small as the onion A pinch of saffron, left to steep in ¼ cup warm water for 15 minutes (leave it out if you think you don’t like it. I really didn’t want you wasting this worlds saffron supply anyway) 2x 400g tins crushed tomatoes A handful of parsley and mint, chopped Whatever you think is a decent splash of olive oil Garlic bread or crusty bread to serve • Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onion and chorizo until fragrant • Add a splash of wine if using*, the saffron in it’s water and the tomatoes and simmer for exactly 10 minutes • Add mussels and cover. Simmer for another 4-5 minutes or until it looks like all of the mussels have opened, stirring gently once or twice • Add herbs and fold through • Check seasoning – it’s usually pretty good because of the salty goodness inside the mussels – and serve it up with a heap of some kind of juice mopping implement AKA. bread *If you have white wine you can chuck a splash in there, but don’t worry if you don’t. I didn’t and I can share the knowledge that these mussels were still damn good. It would be true to say that I have indeed tasted many things that are less appealing than mussels without a splash of wine.

The church of the holy spit roast and beer and spirits

spit roast barbecue
Please note; this is not a story. One needs brain cells to write a story. I’m sure I could make something up, but once again, brain cells are integral to this process. We did get photos, though. I can show you lots of photos…

It was Sunday and the church was in session. There was no state recognized minister, holy transcripts or alter boy (dammit), just a heap of townsfolk with hunger in their eyes, looking to have their souls fulfilled with a religious food experience. This Sunday the church would be our backyard, the steeple would be the blue skies above and the sermon would be delivered in the international tongue of great food, great people and great times.

First, I smoked my own chorizo sausages
First, I smoked my own chorizo sausages

My basting brush
My basting brush
More goodness
More goodness
The cacti
The cacti

The time was well overdue for a gathering at our place. We sorted it just like we would sort the average Sunday gathering at our place, but then we got our pocket calculators out and multiplied that shit by ten, just to keep it proper real. We used social media to coax a large group of friends into our backyard under the guise they would be entertained by small carnival folk wearing crotchless monkey suits, and also the promise of a cracking lunch. Needless to say, many among the group were sorely disappointed when they arrived and there was nary a monkey suit wearing carnie in sight, but they were in the yard now… and we had locked the gates… so they had no choice but to eat and to drink to attempt to extinguish the flame of disappointment that was burning deep inside them due to the absence of carnival style entertainment.

Antipasti flowed...
Antipasti flowed…

As did the sangria
As did the sangria
The carving station
The carving station
Chorizo
Chorizo
Pork belly
Pork belly
Salad
Salad
A bit of everything
A bit of everything

Murmurings throughout the group later suggested that the food may have redeemed our deceitful actions. I was a little tipsy by that stage so it didn’t really bother me either way.

The day would not be complete without a Jennee dessert spread
The day would not be complete without a Jennee dessert spread

We drank out way far into the night… memories were stolen by the treacherous minions of beer and scotch… there’s always the photos though. Bless this modern age and it’s 18-things-in-1 phones (until you get drunk and lose your multi tasking phone, that is. Then it’s cursing all the way).

#iphoneshelpingdrunkardstorememberwhathappenedlastnightsince2007

Now, as I am still feeling a little sleep and brain cell deficient, I am going to take myself off to bed, where I shall sleep until my name is changed to Rip Van Grazza.

Good night.

The Pork Taco Challenge

pork taco
Recently my friend Dana at I’ve Got Cake challenged me to a cook-off of an old school classic with a bit of new school flair. A bit of the old “take a dish everyone knows and loves and make it a little bit our own”. Well, at least that’s what I think we’re doing. I didn’t really understand (or even fully read) the brief… was there even a brief? I do recall the phrase “there are no rules” being in there somewhere… or maybe I just dreamt that one too. We are posting this at the same time, yes, that was definitely in the brief!

Dana had thrown the gauntlet. And by that I mean I goaded her into it like a little brother, running down the street and taunting her every second of the way until she finally submitted and said I could play with her Barbie dolls and Californian Vacation doll house. Pulling her hair and, in later pre-pubescencey, the strap of her trainer bra.

I seriously would’ve made a great younger brother. Seriously.

Sometimes I think Dana likes conversing with me because I am like a weird red-bearded, skinny assed, white boy, interweb version of the younger brother she never had… or maybe she does have a younger brother, I don’t know. She does swear at me and says she hates me a fair bit though…

So what could I do to the humble pork taco to make it my own? Make the special kind of love to it down by the fire? Marry it in a Las Vegas cathedral ceremony conducted by a fat gay man in sunglasses (or maybe it was Elvis?)? Or force a Street Fighter-esque three hit combo of my favourite pork products into my face via this little rolled corn edible plate?

I’m going for the three hit combo, don’t be doubting. And I shall cook it on the fire, eat myself fat enough to be the next Elvis and be very gay about the whole situation, with out so much as a fashionable jacket (or something else a girl would wear) on my person, but just damn happy (Happy is what gay used to mean, you know?). See what I did there?… I didn’t think so…

These things were good. Really good. I was caught a little off guard by my family’s sudden embracing of the blood sausage and their forth with consumption of a good percentage of it, as normally I get to eat the blood sausage around here and no, that is not code for anything – just a comment about a grown mans’ love for the black pud.

I would also recommend giving the home made tortillas a try. They’re well worth the effort!

PS if you want to have a look at what Dana came up with (you should because it’s going to be funny and delicious, I don’t mind telling you) you will be able you see that right here.

This is called fore-play around here. Pork belly, morcilla and chorizo, and tomato and onion charring up for the salsa
This is called fore-play around here. Pork belly, morcilla and chorizo, and tomato and onion charring up for the salsa
Damn sexy
Damn sexy
This was sooooo damn good
This was sooooo damn good
When you make you own tacos aint nobody going to deny you're the boss
When you make you own tacos aint nobody going to deny you’re the boss
I really wish I could take better photos. I really do
I really wish I could take better photos. I really do
Pretty grass
Pretty grass. I gaurentee Dana’s photos will be a heap better than this

PLENTY OF PORK TACOS (for 4)

400g pork belly, sliced into 3cm thick pieces
2 morcilla, black pudding or other kind of ethnic blood sausage
2 smoked chorizo sausage
1 chipotle chilli, if you like it hot, very finely chopped
tacos, salsa picante, cabbage & apple ‘slaw dressed with a little vinegar, radish, sheeps feta, coriander and lime wedges, to serve

• Cook the meats just as you would normally cook those meats. Just remember the pork belly is going to take a lot longer than the sausages are they are already cooked. That’s some quality free advice right there
• Once cooked to your liking chop it all up. Get two knives out and do it like a crazy Asian chef if that makes you feel good about yourself. Chuck the chipotle in there too
• That’s it
• Get it on the table and make sure you get yourself a good heap of the morcilla before your kids get to it!

SOFT TACOS (you best believe I made my own)

3 cups masa harina flour
400(ish) ml hot water

• In a medium bowl, mix together masa harina and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is dry add more hot water
• Cover dough tightly with cling wrap (plastic film) and allow to stand for 30 minutes. If it dries out while resting, sprinkle with more water
• Preheat a frying pan to medium-high.
• Divide dough into 20 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of baking paper
• Place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more and then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Wrap tortillas with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

Jennee’s Sunday Spreads… for Father’s Day

That breakfast spread
That breakfast spread

Spring has sprung. Winter is officially over. September has made it’s way past the 31 day cycle that was August, and reared its beautiful head, adorned in the royal head dress that is the glory of this backwards assed Southern Hemisphere Spring.
Everything a man could ask for plus more
Everything a man could ask for plus more

My plate was full… and consequently so was my belly
My plate was full… and consequently so was my belly

If September was a lady she would be a damn lucky one indeed. This month is the time most will say good bye to the smelly little over weight kid that isn’t very good at sports and doesn’t get invited to parties (don’t write in. That kid was probably me) that was winter, and spread their arms (and possibly their legs) to embrace and welcome that most popular, funny and down right sexy young lady that is spring.

We built a fire pit. I am more than amped to fire that sucker up
We built a fire pit. I am more than amped to fire that sucker up

September and December both really lucked in with the whole timing thing. These months get a lot of love for the seasons they bring. Even March/April get a heap of respect for giving us Easter eggs and things of the like. June though, what does June get? No happy holidays, carnie filled fan fare or love from the rich folks. Nudda.

Oh well, poor old June, eh.

Jennee cooked a chook stuffed with chorizo and preserved lemon
Jennee cooked a chook stuffed with chorizo and preserved lemon

Chooky stuffing glory
Chooky stuffing glory

This whole spring thing is special in more ways than one for me. It doesn’t lick the windows (or other un-PC things most wouldn’t talk about. This aint 80’s comedy, folks) or even offer me a sneaky under the desk reach around a la Bill Clintons glory days. No, September holds a-whole-nother realm of love and goodness in it’s could-easily-be-a-hand-model type hands, for September is also the month of my birth and fuck me if god didn’t decide it was going to be the month that entertains a special day for every father out there, the very aptly named Father’s Day. Just for me… and maybe you.

In lieu of an actual shower, I was showered with gifts; new power tools, a stubby cooler stating I was a super dad, lattern, a grooming kit (for what I will use that for I know not), a bottle of Chivas Regal and a cracking old school bowl with a recipe for coleslaw on it (possibly for my later years when I lose my shit and can't remember how to make this, my favourite of salads)
In lieu of an actual shower, I was showered with gifts; new power tools, a stubby cooler stating I was a super dad, lattern, a grooming kit (for what I will use that for I know not), a bottle of Chivas Regal and a cracking old school bowl with a recipe for coleslaw on it (possibly for my later years when I lose my shit and can’t remember how to make this, my favourite of salads)

This was my first ever Father’s Day at home, not cooking for all the other lucky dads out there, and I darn well enjoyed it. It was the absolute tops being greeted with hugs and love by my children at a time when most respectable people would still be asleep. But not me, I was up and ready for those little padiwans. I was like the kid waiting for his first Christmas, or the FIFO (fly in, fly out) worker in line at the brothel… I was keen! I got to open presents and enjoy a cup of tea in bed followed by a slap up breakfast buffet that would have even the staunchest of non-breakfast eating protagonists crumbling at their knees. Fathers Day is truly awesome. I recommend it for everyone out there… unless you’re a girl; that aint going to work to very well for you at all.

To top it all off, a baked lemon tart
To top it all off, a baked lemon tart

Now it is much later. I am three sheets to the wind up the mizenmast of the good ship Chivas Regal and well on my way to becoming the poster boy for an ad campaign for against the perils of day time drinking, Jennee has a good looking chook stuffed with chorizo and preserved lemon on the chiminea, the boys have made sure and a half that I know how much they love me… this Fathers Day lark is a good one. A damn fine day indeed!

This family of mine is the best.

King Prawns and Chorizo with Broad Beans and Apple Cider for the Anniversary

SAMSUNG CSC
For many of us gentlemen of the world the time will come that you have been with the lady of your dreams for that year marker, or possibly two, or even ten years, etc (or possibly just stuck in a shitty relationship that you have no hope of relinquishing any time soon). Whatever you may or may not think your lot in life denotes that the female of the relationship will know this date as “the anniversary” and as the male you will be required by law to acknowledge this. You will say some nice things, possibly buy her a nice gift and you need to cook her something a little special. This scenario is also perfectly relevant for the man who possibly hasn’t got “a bit” for a while… or a long while and you are gagging for it more than an inmate on a conjugal visit. Maybe you want to make something a little more appealing than your usual steak and chips or pasta carbonara or vegemite on toast or whatever it is you usually cook for dinner… or maybe you should just try changing the sheets on your bed. It is a good sign that your sheets need a wash when they follow you to the bathroom.

Just a little disclaimer before I go on; I don’t have any problems in the horizontal mambo department. My tackle is more sorted than a commercial fisherman and I am baited up and ready to go. I’m just trying to hook a brother up (pun intended). Not hook up with a brother though… that’s just not my styles.

Prawns and chorizo with broad beans (you gotta get some green things in there. Girls love their green things) is a pretty easy way to go about getting yourself some good points – yes, I would say even for you if you are still reading this blog. Team that with a few cracking but simple sides and you brother, are on a sure ticket to I-got-me-some-ville.

I feel I have made it very clear I am not in need of prescription help for my libido, but it was recently our wedding anniversary. I styled through the whole affair with this dish and Jennee followed up with a kick-ass black forest cake thing.

All in all, a great time was had by all, and we are definitely still well and truly in love. Awwwww.

What an effing good start
What an effing good start

SAMSUNG CSC

SAMSUNG CSC

Now get in my belly
Now get in my belly
And I shall wash it all down with this!
And I shall wash it all down with this!

PRAWNS & CHORIZO WITH BROAD BEANS & APPLE CIDER (for 2. If you are feeding more than one lover you need to be able to do the math)

8 large king prawns, peeled and deveined (leave the head on for sex appeal, maximum flavour and just so you can suck on it like a mongrel dog to really impress her)
200g chorizo sausage, sliced
1 cup broad beans, outer skins removed (frozen will work fine), blanched if fresh
1 onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tomato, diced
¼ preserved lemon, skin only, super finely chopped
1 bottle decent apple cider that you would drink… mostly because we only need a splash so you will get to drink the remainder
A good handful of mint and parsley, picked and chopped
Olive oil

• Sauté chorizo in a splash of oil
• Once starting to release it’s flavoursome juices, add onion and garlic, sauté for another two minutes
• Add prawns and cook out for another minute
• Add broad beans, tomato, preserved lemon and a good splash of apple cider. Simmer for another minute or until prawns are cooked
• Season, garnish with chopped herbs and serve
• Don’t wear pants to the table as you will not be needing them tonight, my friend

ROMESCO SAUCE

Use this recipe

AIOLI

Take my mayonnaise recipe and add 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic to the recipe before you add the oil

GARLIC ROASTED POTATOES

Those potatoes were good
Those potatoes were good

Season your potatoes and roast in a good splash of olive oil. Just before they get crispy add a few cloves of smashed garlic. Smashed like a teenage kid at the post ball party. Finish roasting and there you have it; garlic-y potatoes

POLENTA CRUMBED ARTICHOKES AND BABY BROCCOLI

All crumbed up and ready to go. As you can probably see, the crumbing does not need to be perfect
All crumbed up and ready to go. As you can probably see, the crumbing does not need to be perfect

Toss artichoke hearts and blanched baby broccoli through an egg mix and then into polenta. Pan fry in 1cm oil until golden and crisp. Season, douse with lemon juice and serve