Wooli part 6… the Wooli Oyster Po’ Bo’

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Today I set about redeeming myself before the Oyster Gods for my lack of successful consumption of the exotic bivalve mollusc they had so generously laid before me yesterday… and this time I have come with a plan and a secret weapon.

We have decided we will be having oyster po’ bo’s… or as the boys like to call them; oysters burgers. That’s fine with me, as long as a receptacle of glutinous origins shall be transporting some fried oysters to my face, possibly aiding in the cause will be some coleslaw. But it is the oysters I am concerned about for now.

Enter the smoked chilli powder.

I shall be liberally dusting this smoked chilli powder, which I have made quite simply by chucking some long red chillis into the smoker for about 20 minutes and then grinding them into a powder, over my fried oysters as soon as they emerge from their exfoliating and rejuvenating 180C burning hot oil bath. Cunning, yes. Cunninglingus, no. Sometimes, as a parent, you need to pull a few little tricks out to ensure to get your share… or a share… or just some table scraps like a jester in the kings court. I’m just scared of the day they pass Chilli Appreciation 101…

Crumby photo. Bahaha
Crumby photo. Bahaha
The exfoliating and rejuvenating oil bath
The exfoliating and rejuvenating oil bath
Soooo good
Soooo good
I would do this again
I would do this again

WOOLI OYSTER PO’ BO’

Per sandwich
1 bun
6 oysters
Bread crumbs*, egg and flour for crumbing
1-2 slices prosciutto or speck
Fennel coleslaw (coleslaw just how you normally make it but with some slice fennel in there too)
Smoked chilli powder
Oil to shallow fry
Chips to serve
Flairy holiday shack plates to serve on

• Crumb oysters by first dredging in flour, then through beaten egg mix and then through the bread crumbs
• Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, fry oysters for 1 minute or so each side, until golden. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper or your mum’s best shirt
• While oysters are draining discard most of the oil from the pan and then fry prosciutto until crisp
• Put some coleslaw in your bun, followed by oysters, prosciutto and smoked chilli powder or hot sauce
• Serve with oven chips

OVEN CHIPS (sides for 4 or a full white trash meal for 1)

6 medium potatoes skin on, washed if they need a bath, cut into 1cm chips
Seasoning
Oil
• Blanch potatoes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. This makes them better, trust me. Strain and allow to cool
• Put on an oven tray, splash with however much oil your fancy diet will allow and season generously
• Bake at 200C for 25 minutes, tossing regularly
• Serve with your po’ bo’

*if you want to make your own bread crumbs, which I generally do, and you don’t have a food processer handy, which I did not bring to the holiday shack, use a stale loaf (or frozen works well) and grate it to fulfill your dreams

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday.

Last night I got enough beer into my belly to give me one hell of a head ache. I quite literally feel like I did get older last night. The boys were up at 5:30am (yeah, there’s a 5:30am now) hiding my presents which in turn meant that I was up shortly after, questioning what ungodly soul would make a 5:30 in the morning on a mans birthday. One’s birthday should include a clause that omits times like that and possibly moves straight onto a 9:30 or even 10:00. Was it the Myans? I told myself right there and then that I would investigate further…

I guess I should start at the beginning.

Yesterday I invited a few friends over for dinner and quite possibly a drink or two. We cooked an absolute cracker of a meal, and when I say “we”, what I actually mean is that I put the pork in the oven when I left for work. It would be correct to say that even our friend Scotty did more work than me. Jen had him rolling tortillas like a small Mexican grandmother by the time I got home from work, but that’s what you’d expect if you rock up to a birthday dinner at 1:30pm… at least 3 hours early, right? Claiming ignorance, or stupidity, or something? But the best I could figure is this was only going to benefit my situation. With the preparation for the meal all but complete, I could get started on a crispy cold birthday drink. On with the day.

It was my birthday and I felt not even a small urge to shed a tear.

And that, my friends, is where the details start to get a little sketchy. Photo diary from here I think.

Greg tried to camouflage    himself with the table cloth. Chameleon skills
A lovely afternoon for some corn chips and salsa. Greg tried to camouflage himself with the table cloth. Chameleon skills
Too many good things on one table; 12 hour shoulder of pork with beer and spices, chicken mole, red rice, corn with cheese and chilli powder, home made tortillas, guacamole, pickled 'slaw, salsas, pickled chilli... some recipes will follow
Too many good things on one table; 12 hour shoulder of pork with beer and spices, chicken mole, red rice, corn with cheese and chilli powder, home made tortillas, guacamole, pickled ‘slaw, salsas, pickled chilli… some recipes will follow
Emma is going to be happy with this one. She's been keen for a mention/photo/song dedication on this blog for a while. She's on the left with her "I'm in the photo" face on
Emma is going to be happy with this one. She’s been keen for a mention/photo/song dedication on this blog for a while. She’s on the left with her “I’m in the photo” face on
There it is folks
There it is folks

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Finish the night with a croquembouche so every body knows you're a boss
Finish the night with a croquembouche so every body knows you’re a boss

Right now all I have left are the memories of a swell night of eating, drinking and all round merriment, a cracking headache and a brand spanking new MacBook. So I’m going to go out on a limb and see if I can predict how the day shall go from here; I will lay in bed or possibly on the couch. No, let’s do bed today and then I can really look like a little girl, I will watch some cooking shows, eat more of last nights dinner, drink some coconut water because I am convinced it has the power to make me feel better, have a little snoozey, try to write some witty words that will camouflage themselves cunningly inside my brain so I can’t find them, then I shall repeat this scenario until I come good. Hopefully that will be today. The big problem for me seems to be that as soon as I start to feel a little better, a little more like I could possibly conduct a legible dialogue, or maybe that I should get up and go and give those carnies a damn good flogging, the bloody thing is back. BAM! In the face like a bitch. Like the woman scorned she demonstrates her wrath upon me, and like a bad acid trip it just keeps coming back around again. And it’s only bloody 10am.

I truly have to get on with my tasks for the day…

But before I do that I think that I’ll check my facey, see how popular I am and all that and this is what greets me. A message from my mate Jaz. It made me smile and it is what I shall leave you with today; “Happy birthday Graeme! I’m glad I know you because you’re Graeme, but also because you’re ginger and its my goal in life to know as many gingers as I can. Thanks for being my friend and being ginger hehe”…

Fathers Day and a bounty of bacon

Bacon roses are my favourite flowers ever
Bacon roses are my favourite flowers ever

This past Sunday was Fathers Day. I’m not sure if that shit has gone viral and all of the world does it or how it works so if I am stating a really obvious fact maybe, before you start writing your local MP about some ignorant dick from outback Austraaaalia, just chill the fuck out, sit back in your comfy chair with a nice big pile of 1970’s midget porn and a bottle of your mums best hand moisturiser and sort yourself out. And just remember; I don’t care if you think I’m stupid because you’re ugly and at least I can fix stupid… wait… errrr… ugly… umm… stupid can’t be fixed can it? Dammit!

So Fathers Day it was and I arrived, a year since we last celebrated this occasion, with two children still intact and accounted for. Magic. Always a good start.

They showered me with hand written cards stating that I was the best dad ever, and also and array of bacon based paraphernalia. What more could a man want? What’s that? A slap a dinner of pork belly with coleslaw and potato salad? Sure thing. That sounds like a truly effing great fitting finish to a great day. Which leads me, somewhat poorly, into a short story about my friend bacon.

Roast pork belly. Check
Roast pork belly. Check
My favourite sides. Check
My favourite sides. Check
Plate, fork, face. Check! Let's get this show on the road
Plate, fork, face. Check! Let’s get this show on the road
Jennee even made a Vienetta type thing because that's Dr Chris' favourite dessert
Jennee even made a Vienetta type thing because that’s Dr Chris’ favourite dessert
Bacon things to make my face smile
Bacon things that the boys picked out. Damn well love those kids

Bacon

It was a glorious day for all humanity the day that bacon was discovered, fantastic for the people but not so good for the pig. The pig was most likely previously left to its own devices, maybe even living amongst the human man as a companion, a friend. Maybe the pig was named Arthur. They would read books, go out for coffee and go for long walks on the beach together. At the time it was harmless fun but this seemingly harmless leisure time activity would spell the end for the ungodly relationship between man and pig and the beginning of breakfasts of bacon and what would become its new best friend, the egg. Lunches of bacon butties, crisp bacon in salads or maybe a nice steak wrapped in bacon. And dinner? Well dinner my friends, was more of the same. Yes it was unfortunate for our porcine friends that they had begun to “cure” themselves after many swims in the salty ocean “brine”. Then drying off the pig had inadvertently started to “cook” itself after falling asleep under the midday sun. The poor piggy awoke to the horrible shock of his longtime friend, Geoffrey, slicing him up for mans first bacon feast.

Since that day bacon has fed kings and queens, porters and paupers, white, black, jungle bunny and gigolo. It has bridged the language gap and crossed cultural borders, wars have been reasoned and solved with the help of a slice of bacon in the belly, many pages of the history books of the world have been written with pen in one hand and bacon in the other, bacon has been buried in time capsules and sent to the furthest reaches of our known universe in the hope that it will attract alien interest and to prove to them that we have some kind of intelligence going on.

In conclusion I would just like to say bacon is really good.

I like bacon and my children.

Thank you.

Ham Steaks with honey an’ shit

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When I was a young lad (although I did get told I was still a young lad today… Granted it was by a sixty-something-year-old. I guess that shit is comparative to your current situation. What evs)… Anyway, when I was a child once a week we would have ham steaks with pineapple for dinner. Whoa. Settle down now. That’s not what I’m making tonight. I can remember it vividly though; a thick round of over processed meat that, for the purpose of this exercise, shall be known as ham, pan-fried and topped with a ring of “Golden Circle” pineapple. We loved it. I think we may have been carnies in the early years… Suppressed memories? Could be. Blatant denial? Probably. Just didn’t happen? Most likely. But that’s just how my story telling goes. Always back to the carnie…

So tonight I cook ham steaks. Kind of Christmassy really. Yeah, have this for Christmas lunch. I dare you! But I’m doing them with the best ham I can find at the butcher up the road (pretty glad right now that he does a really really good ham), the pineapple can eff off just because its not really my thing and I’ll serve it with apple slaw. You just can’t escape slaw at Foodisthebestshitever 90210. Slaw and a whole heap of randomness. I don’t even know if Pauly is a fan of slaw. He might secretly hate my posts for it… Something I’ll learn to live with I guess.

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The slaw (get this done before you even start the ham)
1/4 drumhead (big green) cabbage, shredded as fine as your little hands can shred it. A mandoline is good for this…
1 carrot, grated
1 apple, grated (granny smith would be my choice (that’s an apple PS. Not a perverted sexual preference))
1 bulb of fennel, shredded (I didn’t have one today but I have it on good authority ie. me, that it will work great guns. I did manage to steal a few baby fennel fronds from our garden though)
1tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Enough homemade or good quality mayonnaise to coat it to your liking. I am the mayonnaise nazi remember?
• Mix all ingredients quick smart so your apple doesn’t oxidize (turn brown)

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The ham
1 lump of ham, sliced thick like your step father
1-2 tablespoons of honey
• Lets douse that ham in honey and fry it up. 2-3 minutes each side on a med-high heat
• Now that’s a ham steak
• Remove the ham from the pan and add two tablespoons of water to the caramelised honey. Add another tablespoon of honey too, if you’re keen
• Warm through just to make a nice sweet glaze
• Sauce up your ham and eat it in your face

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And next up… our roving reviewer, Liz McGuiness*

*May not be her actual name (Defo isn’t her actual name. Sounds pretty good though, eh)

Grilled chicken ‘n’ slaw and a heap of side stories…

Grilled chicken ‘n’ slaw and a heap of side stories…

The first real warm weather arrived this week by courier.

With the first real warm weather comes the real responsibility of having to adhere to the non-inferno house clause of the 1974 housewives treaty. Or, in layman’s terms, I can’t spend all day with the oven and stovetops glaring their redness (and in a stovetop or ovens case, that means heat) at me with such persuasive intent… Because that makes the house hot. With this in mind, and using the information offered to me by the natural temperature gauge in my body (or did I leave an actual thermometer up there again?) that was telling me it is effing hot, I decided I would not roast the chicken inside, but outside over the coals of a thousand rock star apprentice chefs that just didn’t quite work out.

But first, a dip in my jelly wrestling pit to cool off.

The chicken was roasted with anchovy and rosemary, purely because I can’t put the jar of anchovies down at the moment, which creates obvious anxiety at the urinal I don’t mind telling you. We battered and deep-fried a pile of anchovies the other day at work, we ate them with aioli and they were effing delicious. All that was needed was a fridge full of beer… And a slackening of the occupational health and safety laws. Point being, anchovies are really good. Try some good ones if you can afford it; imported white anchovies or pickled anchovies for something a little different (not little AND different. That would be some kind of freakish little carnie, all stinky and dressed in a 60 year old ring masters outfit. Freaky little carnie). You should keep some in the fridge next to your capers…

This is a mandolin.

This is someone playing a mandolin at a concert I went to on the weekend. We were amazed that she made such wonderful music. We danced a jig and a sailor’s yardarm and then it was off to bed.

This is a mandoline.

A mandoline is great to make short work of shredding cabbage and slicing things nice and thin. It has also been known in its time to scalp the fingertip of the over confident user, and take it back to the tribal dwelling to decorate the new cave. Some of the above story may not actually be fact.

I shall call this healthy slaw. It has all the good shit that I could steal from local gardens buy from the farmers market. And it feels like mid spring sort of styles. It’s dressed by Calvin Klein… I mean dressed with a mix of apple cider vinegar and soya mayonnaise. Delicious. Homemade or Japanese mayonnaise would do the job too. Just not praise creamy and rich. Save that for your white trash kids’ school sandwiches with lettuce on mighty white. And yes, I am a mayonnaise nazi.

Served with my home made hot sauce that I can’t remember how I made but am stoked that I made enough of it to survive the holocaust. And a pickle just to show ’em who’s the boss. And that’s Obi garnishing with some parsley he had chopped…

And maybe when you say grace, have an extra little moment for the creator of chicken and ‘slaw.

In a totally unrelated but related and related story, my bro Queenie made chicken burgers with ‘slaw for dinner last night. Pure coincidence.

Amazing.

Great. Nice. OK. Off you go then.

Mussaman curry spiced lamb by Gareth the work experience kid

While I am in the mood for doing odes and paying homages, this one is for Gareth, the work experience kid we had in the kitchen last week. Gareth is also my nephew. I think he thought he may have got off quite lightly working with his ol’ Uncle Graz, but we worked that little teenage ass of his into the ground. He truly deserved to go to bed each night, and especially on the day he worked a 10hr shift with me. Anyhoo, I told him if he came up with a good concept for a dish we would work it into the specials at the end of the week. He did… and we did… and it went off. So Gareth here is the child I took from you at birth, reared as my own, chiseled to my own image, taught him/her the necessary skills to succeed, so I may bask in the compliments as a proud parent would… And now I return him/her to you. So that you may show your girlfriend that you are cool and now famous.

Nice one Gareth. Nice one.

dericious (that’s asian for delicious)

MUSSAMAN CURRY PASTE aka muss-yer-mum curry
This is enough to marinate some stuff plus freeze down the extra to make a kick-ass mussaman beef or chicken curry next week
2 Tbls ea coriander seed, cumin seed, paprika
2 tspn ea black peppercorns, tumeric, fennel seed, nutmeg
1 stick cinnamon
2 black cardamon pods
5 cloves
8 star anise
10 dried long red chilli, soak and deseed
2 red onion, dice
10 cloves garlic
4 stalks lemongrass
100g galangal
4 coriander root, washed
1 Tbls shrimp paste, dry roast
1 Tbls palm sugar
2 Tbls fish sauce
• Toast coriander and cumin seeds
• Grind all dry spices in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle
• Blitz spices with everything else and a splash of oil to lubricate it a little bit, to form a sort of smooth paste

Make a Mussaman curry paste with all of this shit.
Marinate enough lamb of your choosing (we used chump chops. One of my faves) to feed the amount of people you are feeding. By now you know how to marinate meat yeah?
Cook said lamb with a method best suited to the cut (chump chops – 4 minutes each side on a med-high heat, lamb shanks and neck get braised, shoulder gets roasted, etc).
Serve with steamed rice, Vietnamese slaw dressed with nam Jim (recipe back some posts) and tamarind caramel (recipe follows).

I’m feeling a little tired and more than a little tipsy tonight but I will continue for at least long enough… Nope. Couldn’t do it. Intoxicated Graz thought he’d better retire (bloody good idea actually. I tip my hat to him. He doesn’t pull through with the good ones all that often) and leave it to future Graz to finish this up with the tamarind caramel…

Tamarind caramel
1 jar of tamarind purée
1 cup water
2 cups palm or castor sugar
3 dried long red chilli
• Simmer until thick and syrupy – medium heat, 15-20 minutes