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

Steamed pork rib with black beans


There is not much I do not enjoy about the yum cha (dumpling) table.

Normally I would write a few more words to introduce a recipe.

Not today.

This Christmas thing makes a chef’s life too bloody busy 

A few things I consider to be essential at the dumpling table

Pieces o’ pork
That pork ready to hit the steamer
The sticky rice ready to be tucked in covered with its #cheflife ALSCO towel
Dish that up

Just like that

STEAMED PORK RIBS WITH BLACK BEANS, STICKY RICE AND A FEW OTHER DUMPLING HOUSE GOODIES

500g pork belly with or without rib, pork spare rib or St Louis cut pork ribs, cut into 2cm pieces (your butcher might do this if you are nice to him/her. Otherwise you may need a meat cleaver…)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat of a knife
½ onion, diced
1 long green chilli, deseeded and diced
½ red capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons Chinese black beans
2 cups glutinous white rice, soaked for a day or overnight in 1lt of water
1 bunch choy sum
A splash of oyster sauce
Assorted store-bought dumplings
Sriracha, soy sauce and/or whatever it is you like to dunk your dumplings into, to serve

Combine sugar, Shaoxing, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and garlic. Mix through pork ribs to marinate. Set aside overnight or at least one hour to do its thing.
Add onion, chilli, capsicum and black beans, and transfer to a bowl that will fit in your steamer basket.

Set up steamer in the usual fashion – simmering water in the bottom, and then the layers with the holes in them go over that (dumplings, vegetables, rice and steamed pork go on these levels), and then the lid looking thing goes on top of them.

Line the bottom level of your steamer with a towel, add strained rice and then wrap extra cloth over the top like you were tucking the rice into bed. Now you should say goodnight to the rice. Place steamer basket over simmering water.
Place bowl with pork ribs into top basket. Place onto steamer and cover with lid.
Steam for 25 minutes or until rice and pork is fully cooked.
Remove rice and pork from steamer. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Line bottom steamer basket with baking paper. Place dumplings in basket, ensuring there is ½ cm between each dumpling so they don’t stick together. Place over simmering water.
Place choy sum on a dish that will fit in steamer basket and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Place steamer basket over dumplings and then cover with lid. Steam choy sum and dumplings for 6-8 minutes or whatever the instructions on the packaging of the dumplings might tell you.

Get it all on the table now.
Now is the time to eat it.
Place your chosen morsel into the big hole in your face, chew it a little or a lot and then swallow.
You are now eating.
Thumbs up.

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.

Hastily Roasted Squab

roasted squab
This recipe, like many of the few I have posted over the past year or so, is of a meal I cooked a while back. After which I would have scribbled a few words and maybe a piece of the story that was to accompany it a then put it on the bench with the intention of “getting onto that really soon”.

But as with many things for me at the moment I do not “get onto that really soon”. Instead I hastily type a story which requires so little thought a piece of wood could in fact write it, and is about as funny as a poo in a bathtub.

The content thing I can handle, but the humour… well, I really thought I was funnier than that.

I used to be funnier than that didn’t I?

Fuck it. I can still cook.

Glaze them up with the smoked honey for added sex appeal
Glaze them up with the smoked honey for added sex appeal
Yup
Yup
Get that salad together while the squab are resting
Get that salad together while the squab are resting
Eat it up
Eat it up

HASTILY ROASTED SQUAB WITH PEARL BARLEY & ROASTED CARROT SALAD (serves 4)

4-8 squab, depending on the size of your squably appetite
1-2 tablespoons Big Red Rub
1-2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons Blend brand smoked honey (plain ol’ honey will still do the trick)
2 cups cooked pearl barley
1 cup sauerkraut
6 medium carrots, roasted with a little oil until tender, and then cut into kinda decent chunks*
6 eshallots or baby onions, peeled and halved and roasted with the carrots*
2 spring onions or shallots, finely sliced
1 handful each parsley and mint, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
Apple cider vinaigrette to dress

• Rub the squab with butter and then season with salt and pepper and Big Red Rub. Get it into a lined baking dish and then into a preheated 200C oven for 15 minutes. Glaze with the smoked honey and return to oven for 10 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before serving (save those pan juices)
• Combine salad ingredients, dress and season
• Now if you can just put it on a plate everything is going to work out fine
• Dress with reserved pan juices and get it into your face hole

Tasty little birdy
Tasty little birdy

Shit. And I just remembered I should get onto something Christmassy pretty soon too. Really soon…

*Your smart brains will tell you that it is totally feasible to put the carrots and onions in the oven at the same time as your squab and then chop it into the salad while the squab is resting

Goose, Ham and Vanilla Semifreddo with Cherry Compote for “Extra Christmas”

christmas goose, ham and semifreddo
Man, I really do love Christmas.

It’s not even because of all of the presents, or Jesus, but simply because it is the end of a mental mental mental time for us in the hospitality industry and it is a day that I get to spend with the people I love, eating some tasty food and drinking some tasty beverages that may or may not have the added advantage of being acoholinated.

So that, in a nut shell, is why I love Christmas. Of course, it would need to be in more of a metaphorical nut shell than an actual nut shell because a nut shell with this kind of pertinent information in it would be some kind of hybrid fortune cookie nut, would it not?

Moving right along… nice and quickly…

Today I shall be offering you, the reader, a couple of recipes for things that can make a very tasty and delicious Christmas meal. I know I am probably a few weeks late in presenting my Christmas recipe spread but that is definitely indicative of the organizational levels of my support crew here at foodisthebestshitever… but sometimes I do think one should not expect too much of an inanimate porcelain doll and a one eyed billy goat… and I also often consider that with proper advertising I could find myself a back end team that has the skills and knowledge to help foodisthebestshitever move forward into the 21st century… or even the late 20th century would suffice…

Anyway, here are some things that, once put on the table, will make a cracking Christmas lunch. Perfect for the person who loves a second Christmas, or someone who may have accidentally slept through Christmas day and is defo still going to be having a Christmas feast today or maybe, and I feel if I was going to try and do something sensible this would be it, we can just stow this away until next year and I can repost it a heap before Christmas and look super organized and cool.

Even now I still feel as though I have one ace up my sleeve (if indeed that is an actual metaphor); Once I launch this post into the cosmos of the world wide inter web super highway, it will be immediately caught up in the bureaucracy that is the millions of other crap recipes, Christmas stories and cheesy-assed photos that are filling your feeds and clogging up your hard drives. So there is a very high, like uni physics geek high, chance that no one will notice it this year (or anytime really) anyways!

Rocking.

The boys making "ninja bread men". Pretty cute
The boys making “ninja bread men”. Pretty cute
You know I love a good spread
You know I love a good spread

What you’re gonna need…

DRINKS

My friend the Espresso Martini
My friend the Espresso Martini

Something fruity is good for the pregnant people, ballet dancers or kids if there is some, but I prefer to start the day with a Bloody Mary… or two… OK, I like to have some Bloody Marys on Christmas day. Once I have my fill of tomato juice and I’m really feeling like I could take on the whole Empire all by myself, I might have a beer or two, and even start alternating every two or three drinks with an Espresso Martini – coffee and booze in the same glass was a really good idea of someones.

HAM

Out of the smoker...
Out of the smoker…
...and then into the pizza oven
…and then into the pizza oven

I smoked a leg of brined pork for a day over hickory chips and that made my ham. It was then glazed with peach relish and then placed in a med wood fired oven for approximately 1 hour. It was very very tasty when I removed it from the wood fired oven.

GOOSE

The goose is stuffed...
The goose is stuffed…
...and then got pretty tanned and sexy looking in the pizza oven
And then got pretty tanned and sexy looking in the pizza oven

I stuffed a goose with this stuffing recipe that I did have the foresight to post a day before Christmas at least. The goose went into the wood fired oven as well – 1 hour on medium heat and then another hour and a half with residual heat and the door closed. This was also very very tasty. In fact, many people commented that it was the tastiest goose they had ever eaten. Unfortunately for my low self-esteem I do not believe any one at the table had previously eaten goose, but that’s OK, I still agreed that it was very tasty indeed.

DESSERT

Vanilla semifreddo with cherry compote - just damn well delicious
Vanilla semifreddo with cherry compote – just damn well delicious

Sometimes I wish I was English so I could call dessert “pudding”, but as I am well and truly Australian that seems like a damn silly concept and something I will not be doing any time soon. That is the sort of thing I may start doing when I call capsicum “peppers”, or eggplant “aubergine”, or even call goose “tasty”.

Not going to happen.

Jennee made semifreddo and we had a few other things too. The semifreddo was the best. It went like this;

VANILLA SEMIFREDDO WITH CHERRY COMPOTE

Semifreddo
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or a splash of real vanilla essence)
2 cups thickened cream, whipped to soft peaks

• Whisk eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla until pale. Heat gently over a baine marie (water bath) and continue to whisk constantly until thickened slightly. Cool
• Once cooled gently fold whipped cream into egg mix
• Once just combined pour into a loaf tin or bowl lined with glad wrap and place in freezer for at least 4 hours
• Slice and serve with cherry compote or just spoon it straight into your face

Cherry compote
2-3 cups fresh cherries, pitted
½ cup sugar
a splash of some kind of cherry booze

• Simmer all ingredients over a medium heat until slightly syrupy but fruit is not fully broken down. Probs 10-15 minutes
• That’s about it
• Put it on your semifreddo or just pour it straight into your face for an excellent “late night stoned monkey” snack

christmas goose, ham and semifreddo
Merry “extra Christmas” or indeed, Christmas next year ☺

Stuffing a bird…

bacon and cranberry christmas stuffing
Are you sorted for Christmas? Or are you one of the peeps who starts their Christmas hustle now? Nothing like a good Christmas Eve scurry to really get those ventricles moving in the morning, eh. You hit the local shopping square (AKA hell) and quickly notice the musty aroma of anxiety and defeat fills the room, illuminated by the deadly fluorescent lights, each one powered by a million trapped Christmas fairies, as you fight for possession of the last toy that wasn’t even cool when it was released 2 years ago. But you gotta go home with something right? Right?

I’m sure it’s not that bad… or maybe it is.

Maybe just grab a bird.

Sometimes, when you bring a bird home, don’t you just want to stuff her juicy crevice and possibly even rub her breasts with oil so they glisten in the kitchen light… yeah I said kitchen light… yeah I’m talking about stuffing your favourite bird this Christmas. What did you think I was talking about? Man, I really don’t get you guys sometimes…

This is a simple stuffing, it’s got like 6 ingredients or something similar, and it is also very tasty too – something I generally consider to be pretty important with food… tastiness and simplicity.

It is a stuffing for your chicken, duck, goose, quail, guinea fowl, emu, snake or heaven forbid, turkey. As I have said previously I am not a fan of turkey. In fact, if turkey was playing a game of sport against my children I feel I may heckle it as it approached the sports field a la one of those over-competitive, angry parents who every one just stares at because they are just being a total dick… that’s what turkey might do to me… like jokes about disabled people or ethnic minorities, I just find them to be totally tasteless. Unlike this stuffing which I find to be full of taste, jam packed with taste if you will and it has a texture that is really different to that of soggy cardboard, so in summary I guess I could simply say that this stuffing is totally different to commercial stuffing packet mixes.

It is good.

Give it a bash.

Make some fresh bread crumbs... it's pretty easy
Make some fresh bread crumbs… it’s pretty easy
Mix it all up
Mix it all up
Stuff it in there. Like, really stuff it in there
Stuff it in there. Like, really stuff it in there
Sexy, juicy, happy times
Sexy, juicy, happy times

CHRISTMAS STUFFING WITH BACON AND CRANBERRIES

2 cups fresh bread crumbs… sour dough or ciabatta is great
2-3 rashers bacon, sliced
½ onion, small dice
1 clove garlic, crushed
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (a good pinch of dried thyme will do the trick, but the fresh stuff works better I reckon)
½ cup dried cranberries
a splash of white wine (just enough to moisten the stuffing)
salt and pepper

• Sauté bacon, onions and garlic until soft
• Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly
• Stuff it into something that deserves it
• Have a great Christmas
• Remember we love you x