Special fried rice. Why is it so special? It just is, that’s why.


This cracking way to use up extra Christmas ham (that you will probably want to book mark for next year) is based on the Aussie-Chinese take away restaurant classic – the special fried rice.

Why is it called special fried rice?

I am not really sure, but maybe it had the little pink shrimpy things in it and the bog-standard fried rice didn’t.

Whatever the reason, I do remember the special fried rice costing an extra couple o’ bucks a portion and it was worth every penny.

My big tips for cooking fried rice are;
Cook the rice in the morning or the day before so it breaks up nicely and doesn’t get all clumpy and shitty.
Get everything ready. This is called your mise en place. Translated this literally means “putting in place”. Mise en place is super important in the world of wok cookery because it’s such a hot and fast process and you really don’t have the time to be fucking around trying to chop things while the rest is cooking.

The mise en place says it all
Seriously. GET. IT. SORTED!
I used hot coals as my heat source and let me say, it worked a treat
Get all up in that!

SPECIAL FRIED RICE (serves 6)

1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 knob ginger, grated or chopped
3 cups finely diced zucchini, corn, frozen peas, carrot, capsicum etc
1-2 cups diced ham
1 cup diced cooked prawns or shrimp
1 cup chopped omelette or scrambled egg (from 3 eggs)
6 cups cooked rice (white or brown is good)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Salt and pepper to season
½ bunch shallots (spring onions, scallions), sliced
Vegetable oil
A wok and a hot fire source

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in your wok hot over a high heat.
Add onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute.
Add vegetables and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add ham and prawns and stir fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add omelette and rice and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
Add soy and shallot and stir through.
Taste to check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
Serve it with extra soy sauce and some kind of chilli sauce on the side.
Pretty easy – really good.

Ham


Ham.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of different stories floating around the world wide super-web at the moment all tell you how to cook a decent ham… well, in actual fact that may be more applicable to the couple of weeks prior to Christmas but, as we all know, I am not the most talented at being super organized for this sort of thing so for now I shall just be pretending I am super organized and on the program (and not just the methadone program for a change).

So, about that ham…

Like I said, there is a lot of different ways to cook a ham much like say, skinning a cat or pleasuring a lady-man. I am not here to tell you my method is more righteous and will light the path to the heavens for you, but let me tell you it is pretty damn good and I am feeling more than just a little enlightened right now.

Hallelujah!

The other thing about what I did is, well, I cooked the ham from scratch which automatically gets you 300% more kudos than just glazing a store bought smoky leg o’ pig. Also smoking a ham is not nearly as hard as you think it might be, as long as you have a smoker (Bullet/barrel or off-set is what I have used) and a probe thermometer.

You will also be needing a brined (or pickled) leg of pork for this exercise. You should be able to hook this up from your local decent butcher if you give him a little notice.

This recipe is for 9kg of pure porcine glory. If you have a smaller leg, or even half a leg, the cooking time is going to be reduced. Just keep an eye on that internal temperature and hoist it when it hits 170F.

You’re gonna need a smoker
This is a very sexy sight
Get the skin off it (but save it for something like baked beans at the end of the week), glaze it up and get it back into your heated barrel
Carve it at the table like a boss because let’s face it, you are definitely a boss

SMOKED HAM

(serves a small village)

1x 8-9kg leg of brined (pickled) pork
A smoker
Lump charcoal
A few bits of flavoursome smoky wood. I used ironbark

Get your smoker on and get it up to 225-250F. The ham will take somewhere in the vicinity of 8 hours to cook, so bare this in mind when you are setting up your pit.
Add a piece of smoky flavour wood.
Get that leg of pork into the smoker, insert temperature probe into thickest part of the leg and put the lid on so it may do its thing.
Drink a beer.
If you are happy your pit is going to hold its temp for a few hours you could go and have a nap or watch I little bit of that carnival folk pornography I know you love so much.
Now it’s all about keeping that temperature and chucking a bit of smoky flavour wood on the coals every hour.
Once that internal probe tells you it’s 170F in the middle of that leg it’s time to pull it out.
Now you have ham.
Rest the ham for half an hour or refrigerate for a later date. Remove skin, leaving as much of the fat as you think you like (I like to leave it all for flavour and moistness), score (I gave it 10 out of 10 ;)), place in a baking dish and glaze with something sweet and sexy – this year I used 1 cup of honey and a little rosemary.
Whack it back into the pit or a suitably heated oven for another 1-1.5 hours, reglazing with the pan juices every 15 minutes.
Carve that thing at the table like a boss.
Amen.

Enjoyed by parents and children alike

Christmas ham glaze and a tasty stuffed bird.

That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits
That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits

I’ve noticed shit is getting a fair bit Christmassy around the joint at the mo’. Like, really effing Christmassy.

My smart brains told me that due to my little issue with finding time to hit this blog up at the moment, I should get onto some kind of Christmassy type post pretty fricking quick smart or the whole thing will pass me by and I’ll be left standing out the front of the house in my freshly pressed favourite baby blue suit, ironed tie and hippest new sock-sandal combo, with no date for the school dance… again…*

I also thought that this might be one of those ever-rare occasions where I may have inadvertently been presented with the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. You see, I have been asked by a local restaurant reviewer blog (Get Forked and Fly) via our restaurant (the Stockpot Kitchen), if I might like to share a recipe with her readers. Are you keeping up with me here?

Bam. Enter my Christmassy story and a couple of cracking recipes for some tasty tasty yuletide food to wow your friends and family (or possibly just your ever-growing clowder of cats) this Christmas.

The thing about living in Australia (It’s a country. Under where you live. Kinda like your basement but with less gimp masks and more sunshine) is that it is often summer time at Christmas. In fact, I believe there is more than an 85% chance of it being summer in Australia when Christmas hits. Fact. So there you have it – it is often warm in Australia at Christmas time because of the summer.

Because of the high probability of warmth, often the people of Australia will opt for some kind of cold, salady type lunch – some fresh prawns and oysters, maybe some cold roast chicken and things of the such. Our family, well we like to have it all – cold, hot, raw, cooked, drunkly undercooked, whatever. Nothing is barred from our table. There is but one prerequisite – whatever the food is there is enough of it so that we may eat ourselves sober over the course of the day. Fo’ reals.

Prawns, oysters, a stuffed bird and ham is a damn fine start.

A good ham is quite possibly one of my favourites.

I really like ham.

For the last couple of years I have been smoking my own ham, and this is something I will continue to do as I was really effing happy with the result. I do understand that you may not have the time, inclination or facilities to smoke your own ham so I will not like you any less if you get a nice ham from your local smoker of the pork… heck, I would even understand if you ended up with a glazed log of devon on your Christmas table. It’s fine. Do what you need to do. It’s all about that sexy-assed glaze today.

The smoking of the ham
The smoking of the ham

HAM WITH SEXY-ASSED PEACHY BOURBON SMOKY HONEY GLAZE

1 leg of ham, skin removed and fat scored
1 cup peach and red pepper relish (recipe follows)
½ cup smoked honey
½ cup bourbon

• Combine all glaze ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring until it all comes together Hannibal styles
• Whack your ham into a baking dish that’s going to fit it and pour half of the glaze over the top, brushing it into all of the little score crevices
• Bake at 150C for an hour, or until ham is heated through, basting with extra glaze every 15 minutes or so
• If you like some extra crusty little over-caramelised charred bits you can bump the heat up a little for the final 15 minutes. 180C should give you what you need
• Cover ham loosely in foil and rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve and then pour extra pan juices over ham and serve
• Leftover ham is pretty much really good to eat any old how – toasties, with eggs for breakfast, on a ploughmans, chopped into croquettes or fritters, straight off of your girlfriends boobi… e… s… It’s just really good, OK?

ELEANOR CROMWELL’S PEACH & RED PEPPER (capsicum) RELISH

Eleanor is a very nice lady and she sent me this recipe for what is now my favourite peach and capsicum relish.

2 long red chilli, chopped
12 red capsicum, no stalk, with seed, chopped
12 large peaches, chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large lemons, cut in half
5 cups castor sugar

• In food processor, blitz chilli, capsicum with seeds and peaches until coarsely chopped
• Add all ingredients except sugar to a large heavy based pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times to prevent sticking
• Remove lemons and add sugar
• Simmer for ½ hour more, or until the mixture is reduced slightly and thickened (you can check viscosity by putting a couple of tablespoons of relish into the fridge for 15 minutes to set)

——————————————–

The bird after it's time in the wood fired oven
The bird after it’s time in the wood fired oven

You must know how to roast a chook by now so I shall spare you the insult to your intelligence, although I’m sure I’ll say something soon enough that will make up for this moment of compassion. Today we will concentrate on the stuffing aka. The tasty shit you get inside the local greasy spoon rotisserie chook.

Stuffing is plenty easy, made delicious with a bit of smoky bacon (but let’s be honest, what isn’t made better with smoky bacon-y goodness) and some herbs from your garden. If you don’t have a herb garden yet all I can say is that you clearly don’t listen to anything I say and don’t deserve delicious roast chicken… and you are simple.

There, that should make up for the tenderness I showed you earlier.

The stuffing of the bird
The stuffing of the bird

BACON, CRAISIN & HERB STUFFING FOR A CHICKEN OR GOOSE OR TURKEY

2 rashers bacon, diced
½ brown onion, diced
¼ cup craisins, reconstituted with enough booze to cover them. White wine, brandy, marsala, anything boozy
1 handful mixed herbs; I have parsley, sage and rosemary from the garden. Thyme would be good if you have some
¾ cup breadcrumbs made from some old sour dough bread if you have some
Seasoning

• Sauté onion and bacon until onion is soft and translucent
• Remove from heat, add craisins and toss to warm through slightly. Leave to cool
• Combine all other ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Stuff it up the wrong un of your once happily free-ranging chicken. There is no delicate way to perform this task so get your hand right in there. If you have any leftover stuffing whack that in the pan half way through cooking. It still tastes like damn tasting shit
• Roast it up
• Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes
• Carve and eat
• The stuffing goes really well in a leftover roast chicken sandwich with homemade mayo.

*No joke I wrote this thing a month ago and then bam, Christmas is here in a matter of days and I have no idea where the last month actually gone.

Cheesy ham and corn fritters – using your Christmas leftovers…

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

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)… Ham and Cheese Toastie

ham and cheese toasted sandwich
Smoking (or purchasing a pre-made product is a totally feasible option from the layman) a seemingly ridiculous amount of ham for your family Christmas is actually a pretty damn good idea. In fact, it is one of the better ideas I have seen in these parts for nigh on a while that’s for sure. Smarter than the guy who decided to put some meat in between two pieces of bread and call it a sandwich, even.

When Jennee returned from a pre-Christmas trip to town with a leg of pork (like, the whole thing in it’s 10kg unadulterated glory) for me to adulterate in ways that will not be spoken of, but would result in the purest of smoky tanned ham for the table this Christmas, I thought she had gone a little Christmas-crazy. After doing the math, Jennee also decided that she may have run mad…

Oh what fools we were.

This ham has been the gift that has kept on giving this Christmas. It embodies everything the true spirit of Christmas is all about. Unstoppable in its generosity and love, it is the Mother Teresa of the food world. So beautiful… so very, very beautiful. I’m welling up here just thinking about how much it has given, and how little it has asked in return…

I need to move on before my tears do a mischief to my laptop.

So simple, so good
So simple, so good

HAM & CHEESE TOASTIE

Sliced ham
Sliced cheese. Some kind of cheddar is good, but brie or provolone would be excellent, as will just about any cheese you have on hand
Thick sliced bread
Butter
Mustard or piccalilli

• Layer one slice of bread with ham and cheese. Spread a good layer of mustard or piccalilli on the other piece of bread and place it on top of cheese to form a “sandwich”
• Butter the top piece of bread on the outside. Mental
• Place butter side of sandwich down in a pan over medium heat. While that side is sizzling away butter the side of bread that is facing up
• Cook “sandwich” for 2-3 minutes each side, pressing down once or twice with a spatula
• It’s going to burn your mouth if you eat it straight away, but try letting one of the bad boys cool down

And please remember; Ham – it’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life.

The Twelve Days of Christmas (Ham Leftovers)… Cheesy Ham Potato Cakes

ham and cheese potato cakes
When I first set out on this little mission I thought I would have enough ham leftover for the twelve days of Christmas ham posts I intended to write about. But, as the ham stocks have dwindled away to a shadow of their former self already, I think you’re only going to see the good end of another few of these posts at best.

Oh well.

These little packages of cheesy, hammy, potatoey love were a revelation. When this idea popped into my head the heavens opened and the holy angels sang… and danced. They were fully rocking out to some old Marvin Gaye. Getting their groove on. I suspected that’s what would be going on up there…

My smart brain got down to business and nurtured the evolution from the timeless ham and cheese sandwich, working out the finer details of how said ham and cheese sandwich would reach my mouth in a crisp bread coated, soft potato centered, bronzed bodied form, and straight into the history books as a retro classic.

And then it was onto condiments. I have said previously that I am a lover of condiments and this was not a lie. Condiments are my real-life favourite, so you could understand my elation when my same smart brain realised that both piccalilli and mayo have a loving home on a ham and cheese sandy so we should possibly combine the two like some kind of mongrel tartare and serve it with our cheesy ham potato cakes. OH DEAR GOOD LORD. What a revelation this was!

Try it. That’s all I can say…

Put it all together in a big bowl and mixy mixy
Put it all together in a big bowl and mixy mixy
Once fried drain on absorbent paper and then get them into your belly
Once fried drain on absorbent paper and then get them into your belly

CHEESY HAM POTATO CAKES (serves 4-6. 4 is probably good because it’s pretty hard to stop eating them)

3 cups of mashed potato (I got that from 2 large potatoes)
2-3 cups diced Christmas ham
1 cup grated Wensleydale or good cheddar or something that looks like cheese
½ whatever onion, small dice
1 tablespoon of your favourite mustard
1 egg, plus another for crumbing
Salt and pepper
A crumbing station (flour, eggwash and breadcrumbs – bought or whack any leftover bread in the food processer to make your own)
Oil for frying
Piccallili mayo to serve (recipe below)

• Combine all ingredients except the crumbing station, and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Form mix into 15-16 potato cakes. You can press them into a small cookie cutter if you want them to be shmicko (you could make these half size for a cracking finger food type thing or bar snack while you watch whatever it is you watch on TV)
• Crumb the potato cakes by first dredging them through flour, then eggwash and then breadcrumbs
• Heat a good splash of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add potato cakes and fry for 2-3 minutes each side or until golden brown
• Serve with piccallili mayo and a nice little salad of things you found in your neighbours garden

PICCALILLI MAYO

½ cup good quality mayo or aioli
½ cup piccalilli, mustard pickles or cauliflower pickles… the yellow stuff

• Combine in a bowl and mix thoroughly
• You’re done
• Pat yourself on the back