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.

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