Stir fried water spinach and store bought dumplings for #easytastygood dinner


Oft times when it is really warm out I don’t do much.

I might sit in the pool for a bit, tighten a screw or oil a hinge (not a euphemism) and maybe watch a show, but that’s pretty much it.

I can’t even be bothered to write very much words.

I just cannot be assed.

But let’s face it; I’ve still gotta eat. Me going a day without food is like a Quentin Tarantino film without Samuel L. in it – highly fucking unlikely.

So, when it inevitably comes time to prepare our evening meal on said days I like to stay in character and stick with the whole “not doing much” theme.

This dinner is classic “not doing much”; store bought dumplings and sauces steamed and served with a really quick stir-fried water spinach number.

Piss easy enough for even you to not work up a sweat on a day like today.

Water spinach AKA morning glory, AKA kang kong, is one of my favourite things to put in a hot wok. It is quite simply just some tasty tasty shit. When we were in Vietnam and Laos it was sold as “morning glory” and was available at just about every restaurant and roadside stall we came across. Now I have a little trouble admitting this but I loved it. There you go. Never once in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day I would be admitting to the world that someone’s morning glory was one of my favourite things ever to put in my mouth… but it was.

This shit is damn well addictive. Even if you don’t like greens just try this… at the very least it might give a little life to your pasty little poster-boy-for-serving-fruit-and-vegetables-in-the-school-canteen demeanor and maybe get a little blood flowing down stairs so that poor little thing can get a little rigid again.

Eat it.

I’m out.

The ubiquitous "before" shot
The ubiquitous “before” shot
Get it on the table
Get it on the table
One more quick look before totally destroying it
One more quick look before totally destroying it
A better view of the water spinach number. Pretty sexy shit, eh
A better view of the water spinach number. Pretty sexy shit, eh

STIR FRIED WATER SPINACH WITH OYSTER SAUCE, GARLIC AND SOY (serves 4 as a side)

1 large bunch water spinach (this shit will wilt down a fair bit), sliced into 4-5cm pieces
2 spring onions/shallots, sliced into 2cm lengths
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat edge of a knife
½ tablespoon each oyster sauce and light soy sauce
vegetable oil for frying

• Add a splash of oil to a wok or decent sized pan and get it plenty hot
• Add the water spinach, spring onions and garlic and toss for a minute
• Add the sauces and toss for another minute
• Have a little taste to check for seasoning, add a little more soy if you need some more salty
• Put it on the table with a few steamed dumplings, those sticky rice and pork parcels wrapped up in banana leaves (possibly one of the sexiest of items on the dim sum trolley… the banana leaf , once gently and seductively pulled aside, reveals a sticky, soft, yielding mound of ricey porky goodness… dear good lord I’m getting myself excited…) and a heap of condiments; sriracha chilli sauce is a good start, soy sauce, chilli in soy bean oil, kimchi, something else that you can’t read the label of but grabbed anyway, etc. you get the idea.
• Go fourth, eat water spinach and dumplings and be happy

A close up of the glutinous rice and pork in banana leaf porn
A close up of the glutinous rice and pork in banana leaf porn

Oops, I did it again… cooked pork again that is, but this time with a cracking warm salad that is great for vegetarians and meat lovers alike, and will most certainly impress the heck out of Laura’s Mess. Is that title too long?

roast pork shoulder
I have accidentally cooked pork again.

When I say accidentally, I mean that I wanted pork, have been thinking about pork and 100% consciously premeditated this cooking of pork days ago when I handed over a sum of cash to purveyor of said pork and started contemplating how I would be cooking it, and there is not a court in the land that wouldn’t convict me and quite frankly I would convict me too… hmmm… I’m not sure whose side I’m on right now but I can see my lawyers’ stare as he frantically gestures the “shut the fuck up” signal, so I feel it is most definitely time to move on.

Now that I have established the fact that I definitely planned to cook the pork, the only remaining question to be answered was how that piece of porky was going to be cooked.

The porky in the pizza oven
The porky in the pizza oven

The porky coming out of the pizza oven
The porky coming out of the pizza oven

Ummm, at this stage I can't believe I am still taking photos...
Ummm, at this stage I can’t believe I am still taking photos…

(Just a little PS before I go on, although it may seem to the more astute amongst you that I only cork pork and eat burgers, I do cook and consume other things… just not that regularly…)

Enter my friend Andrea.

Andrea is Italian so obviously he owns a wood fired pizza or pasta restaurant. Andrea opted for the mobile wood fired pizza business as his career path, and recently he asked if we would like to look after one of his pizza ovens for a wee bit. Well quite frankly I was almost insulted that he thought that was even a question but I regained my usual composure quickly when he rocked up with pizza oven in tow. It is now parked happily in my backyard with it’s new friends; the fire pit, spit, bonfire and smoker. What a happy little oven it is now…

Andrea is friends with benefits.

Anyway, that’s clearly where the pork ended up along with a little roast vegetable number that is a ripper of a salad in its own right. The tahini coconut dressing is also a cracker and you should give it a go even if you think you don’t even like tahini. You are wrong and you will love it!

That salad with the tahini-coconut dressing
That salad with the tahini-coconut dressing

It is seriously worthy...
It is seriously worthy…
Yes
Yes

Just hurry up and eat it already
Just hurry up and eat it already

ROAST PORK SHOULDER with PUMPKIN AND BROCCOLI and TAHINI-COCONUT DRESSING

For the pork

1 pork shoulder roasted quite simply with a heap of salt and pepper and garlic.
I like to buy pork from Australia because quite frankly that’s where I live. You can be instructed how to roast a pork shoulder if you view this post right here… also, you can be instructed on how to make tantric sexy-time love by Katherine, the 64 year old dominatrix just down the street. I dare you to give that a try…

ROAST PUMPKIN AND BROCCOLI SALAD (serves 4)

• Cut however much pumpkin and broccoli you think you need to feed your crew
• Season and roast the pumpkin with a little oil
• When pumpkin is half cooked add the broccoli and a splash more oil
• When pumpkin is pretty much ready to go add a couple of handfuls of chopped spinach, chard or kale, and a handful of mixed nuts and seeds (I used almonds, pepitas, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds) and roast for another few minutes or until greens are wilted and nuts are toasty
• Serve with a lump of roasted pork and a good splash of tahini-coconut dressing

TAHINI-COCONUT DRESSING (serves 4 plus heaps leftover for other things)

2 cloves garlic
50g sugar
120g tahini
¼ cup soy sauce (gluten free soy is a good option to make this nice for your gluten intolerant belly)
200ml coconut cream
125ml lemon juice
250ml light oil

• Combine everything except oil in a food processer and blitz for 20-30 seconds
• While motor is still running, slowly add oil to emulsify
• Pour dressing all over everything because it tastes so damn good
• You like tahini now, eh?
• You’re welcome
roast pork shoulder

Pork Shoulder Roast with Brussels Sprouts and Apples… while you’re out doing cool shit

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Don’t worry, I am still alive… albeit just barely.

It’s been a hell of a couple of weeks in my world, as we have opened a restaurant. That’s right, our very own restaurant. So fucking exciting for us but oh how our lives have been turned a little sideways. I do know this was our choice and our doing so it is nothing I am complaining about, I am merely trying to give you an insight as to where I’ve been and let my Blogland friends know I still love you all. But just like the rest of my friends in the close and touchable world around me you will need to deal with my lack of attention and bare with me for a bit until my life settles back into some kind of routine that won’t be deemed total chaos… or there is of course the other option; you can hate me for ever, unfriend me, unfollow me and tell people that I’m shit, which is also totally fine by me ☺

Seriously my time at the moment is like the chocolate cake to the fat (possibly should read “weight challenged” if I cared) kid; there one minute and totally non existent the next.

So here is a dinner I cooked yesterday for our first day off as a family in a few weeks. This is something that works for me right now; so simple and soooo damn good. I put it in the oven in the morning when we left the house and it was ready when we returned hours later. I just needed to cook a few sides, open a bottle of wine or maybe two and then feed my face until it begged me to stop… I love it when my face begs me to stop…

#easytastygood just for you.

Out of the oven...
Out of the oven…

And ready to get into my belly. One bottle of wine would quite possibly have been enough but... well... nothing really. We just had two!
And ready to get into my belly. One bottle of wine would quite possibly have been enough but… well… nothing really. We just had two!

ROASTED PORK SHOULDER with FENNEL SEED, APPLES AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS

1 pork shoulder, 4kg is enough for our family and another
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
500g Brussels sprouts, halved
500g green apples, quartered and cored
2 brown onions, sliced kinda big
A splash of apple cider vinegar
Salsa verde to serve

• Put the pork shoulder into a baking dish. Rub it with fennel seeds and a good hit of salt and pepper
• Whack it into the oven at 100C and get the eff outta dodge. Go and do some really cool shit with your fam for the day. Seriously, this bad boy is going to be loving life for a good 7 hours
• When you return 7 hours later you can bring the pork out of the oven and admire what it has become
• Place the vegetables in another baking tray. Moisten with a cup of the roasting juices from the pork and the apple cider vinegar, season, whack it in the oven and turn up the heat to 200C
• After 15 minutes the vegetables should be close to done. Give them a bit of a toss and send them back to the chambers of the furnace for another five minutes
• Return the pork to the oven too, just to give that crackling a working over. This make take up to 10 minutes but persevere, it will be worth it (if your oven has a top heat/grill/broiler function you can use this to really get the crackle going)
• Carve the pork and serve it with salsa verde, the Brussels and apples, and any other sides you fancy… and beer or wine… or even beer and wine also does the trick

For any one keen to follow our exploits try The Stockpot Kitchen on facey or insta

Chicken, bacon, potato and sauerkraut soup… more easytastygood

chicken, bacon, potato and sauerkraut soup
This was both an ode to my German heritage and the only thing I could come up with using what I had on hand.

In keeping with simplicity of my recent mussel recipe and in the true spirit of #easytastygood this is indeed an easy recipe that is both tasty and good for you. This is the sort of food I need in my life at the moment as I have again found myself officially in the realm of the time poor. Also known as “just having such a blast at this life thing that I really can’t get enough of all of the cool shit going on”. Whatever the case, this food is getting me through.

The smell of bacon and vegetables cooking in garlic butter is truly a good smell indeed
The smell of bacon and vegetables cooking in garlic butter is truly a good smell indeed

I had some nice, smoky Borrowdale bacon in the fridge, I had some shredded roast chicken in the freezer, I had some potatoes in the cupboard and I had some sauerkraut in the downstairs fridge. I always have sauerkraut in the downstairs fridge… a great big effing bucket of sauerkraut. So you know what? I chucked that stuff and a couple of other veges in a pot (in an order that would make sense. Don’t just go chucking it all into a pot. I will reveal all in the full recipe below) and sweated it off in some garlic butter (left-over from the garlic bread we made to go with those mussels), added a few liters of stock… or maybe it was water… yep, it was definitely water, and simmered it for an hour until it was all delicious smelling and my face was begging for it. Literally begging for it, pining and shit. Dirty little whore face.

The sauerkraut does beautiful things to this soup, much like pencillin does beautiful things to that rash in your private parts, as does the smoky goodness that was gifted by that bacon. It was a combined effort resulting in a truly effective combination that my family, and indeed a lonely spinster who was wandering the night streets, thoroughly enjoyed. A combination that shall henceforth be known as “the Batman and Robin Effect”.

So clever.

That soup
That soup

CHICKEN, BACON, POTATO & SAUERKRAUT SOUP (serves 4 easily. Possibly even 6)

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
250-300g good, smoky bacon, diced
1 medium onion or leek, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 stick celery, diced
750g potato, diced into 2cm-ish cubes
3-4 cups sauerkraut with whatever juices it may be chilling out in
2 tablespoons garlic butter
2-3 liters water or stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and crusty bread to serve

• Heat a heavy based pot over a medium flame. Add bacon, onion, carrot, celery and garlic butter and sauté for a few minutes until they start to almost get a bit of colour
• Add chicken, potato and sauerkraut with enough water/stock to cover fully plus an extra cup or so
• Simmer for 1 hour or until potatoes are cooked and it smells like you need to eat it
• Taste and season with salt and a heap of pepper – it shouldn’t need too much salt because of the sauerkraut and bacon
• Serve garnished with parsley
• Bam. Damn well easy as f…

Chicken nugget type things… made by you… at home

home made chicken nuggets
Here you go. Another easy-assed recipe for the kids to get in and be a part of, and eat the shit out of to boot. Sure it’s fine if you want to feed your kids those stinky shit chicken nuggets from the freezer section at the local supermarket (yeah, the place where the idea of good food goes to die a slow, painful death, with wire in it’s eyes and everything), but just as long as you’re not thinking that you are actually feeding your kids a nice bit of chicken. You need to accept the fact that you are feeding your kids crap – ground up chicken face crap. But I guess it’s still chicken, so that’s why they get to call them chicken nuggets, eh.

It is true I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids. I’m more the guy that you turn to when you’re in need of a little chuckle, whether that be because you think I’m funny or you’re just laughing at the grasp I just barely have on the English language, either way that’s a win for me.

So if I am not making you laugh today, not making your very funny bone tingle with elation, then may I suggest The Anchorman. No, not that guy in the trench coat who is always at the wharf offering passers by a peek at his anchor tattoo, I would suggest watching the movie “The Anchorman”. That is some really funny shit. No matter how many times I’ve seen that film I still laugh myself stupid (yeah I know, that could be more of a small giggle for the desired result) at Ron Burgundy trying to talk his way out of his massive erection with new reporter, Veronica Corningstone… and everything Brick Tamland says. Everything he says. I feel a little bad because it is mentioned he is slightly less abled in his mental capacity, but it’s Ok because I know that movies are not real – movies, unicorns and good politicians – so I still LOL all over the place. I actually cannot watch this film while eating because I almost spit up my lunch.

Go watch it. Watch it now.

Make heaps of mess crumbing the chicken
Make heaps of mess crumbing the chicken

All crumbed up and looking for a pan
All crumbed up and looking for a pan
Found the pan
Found the pan
And now it's time to find my belly
And now it’s time to find my belly

HOME MADE CHICKEN NUGGETY THINGS with OVEN CHIPS and COLESLAW (for 4)

600g free range chicken breast or thigh, cut into little nugget pieces
Breadcrumbs (crumb a GF loaf if you can’t do the wheat), flour and egg mix to crumb
Seasoning
4-5 large potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chips
Coleslaw and dipping sauces to serve

• This is so simple writing this recipe down hurts me
• To crumb the chicken first coat it in flour, then eggwash and then breadcrumbs. Put it through the egg and crumbs again if you want them super crusty. Put them aside while you get the rest of dinner ready
• Cook the chips or, if you can’t do that by yourself my recipe is here
• Make coleslaw. Once again, my recipe is here
• Shallow fry the nuggets in oil over a medium heat until cooked and golden brown
• Serve it all up with some tomato sauce (ketchup) for the kids and yoghurt with pomegranate molasses for the bigger kids
• Nom nom nom

I found they were complimented perfectly by a fistful of tasty beers, while the boys preferred to wash their nuggets and chips down with more nuggets and chips.

Goulash… that’s all

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There are one thousand and forty three websites out there in the mystical land of the inter-web super-highway (yeah I counted) that are more than happy to inform you of the facts about the humble goulash; how it is the national dish of Hungary, who ate it and what the essential ingredients should be. Well, you know what? I am not going to advance that tally to one thousand and forty four… not today… not on this screen before you.

Instead I will tell you about the, well, nothing really. I shall keep this dialogue simple, much like the Goulash itself, or like me I guess, or even that guy who packs the grain at the farm supplies store.

It may or may not be traditional, but the goulash I was shown many years ago had potato, so this goulash will have potato too. Also, I have seen a Jamie Oliver recipe for a porky goulash which will defo be on my “to try” list this winter.

Goulash; simplicity in a complex world.

Get all off the goodies into the pot and let them do what they do, so the end result may be a beautiful meal for you and your family. Or just you if you are a complete animal and want to eat it all… in which case you have probably eaten the rest of your family anyway
Get all off the goodies into the pot and let them do what they do, so the end result may be a beautiful meal for you and your family. Or just you if you are a complete animal and want to eat it all… in which case you have probably eaten the rest of your family anyway
Seriously, I take some truly average photos of some damn tasty food. I wonder if there's a market for my skills...
Seriously, I take some truly average photos of some damn tasty food. I wonder if there’s a market for my skills…

GOULASH (for 4)

600g beef chuck or a similar braising cut, diced into 2cm pieces
2 brown onions, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red capsicum (bell pepper might be the Yankee term), medium dice
2 tablespoons Hungarian/sweet paprika… or smoked paprika would give it an interesting twist… you’d just need to come up with a compatible name
1 bay leaf
400g tomato passata
1lt beef stock or water if that’s all you got… stock is best, though. Stock is always best
1 cup water extra, to top up if it gets a little dry
2 medium potatoes, 2cm dice
Sour cream or natural yoghurt and chopped parsley to serve

• In a heavy based pot heat a splash of oil over a medium-high heat. Add beef and fry until browned
• Add onions, garlic, capsicum and paprika and cook out for another couple of minutes or until vegetables are starting to soften
• Add bay leaf, passata and stock, cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Add potatoes and extra water if it is looking a little thick, and continue to simmer until potatoes are cooked and meat is tender. Probably half an hour or so
• Finishing this with a bit of sour cream and parsley completes the goulash experience like the language of the gutter snipe completes my fucking sentences