Pretty easy, using up those Sunday BBQ leftovers, cassoulet.

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Today I realised I have not made cassoulet for quite some time. Sure, I’ve made pit beans and I’ve made cowboy beans, but I haven’t made a classic French cassoulet. And today I shan’t be making cassoulet either. Instead I shall be doing that bastardising thing I love to do so much and use a little smoked meat I have left over from the weekends cook to create my own little smoky assed, junk yard dog, mongrel cassoulet. And just like that junk yard dog, this dish is literally begging for you to give it more meat… give it all of the meat.

If I may digress just a little…

The cassoulet is basically a brothel. It has a big illuminated sign above it’s front door inviting more meat to the party. It does not care of the origin of the meat. It’s a “the more meat the better” type situation for the cassoulet… much like the brothel.

But as I said earlier, this is a mongrel version of said cassoulet so don’t go reporting me to the Traditional Cookery Police (TCP) because as we all know; dobbers wear nappies.

If you would like to make a bang up, bona fide, old school, full of fat and confit duck, Frenchy cassoulet, you can find a recipe by a great chef by the name of Guillaume Brahimi, right here.

I have also used tinned cannellini beans to keep it quick and easy. Tinned legumes defo have a place in my cupboard.

Cut the top off the garlic so it looks like this

Saute the meat and vegetables

The mongrel cassoulet sharing the table with some more beans. It’s a pretty friendly sort, really


PRETTY EASY MONGREL CASSOULET

500-750g smoky meaty leftovers (depending on how much you consumed or may have left over from that BBQ comp on the week end ) – start with pork neck or ribs and then add sausage, brisket, lamb and/or chicken – all chopped
2 tablespoons drippings from that meaty goodness
1 small onion (or half a large onion as I have used), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 bulb garlic, left whole, top sliced off to reveal a little garlic-y flesh
A few sprigs of parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
2x 400g tins cannellini beans, strained
500ml chicken stock. Homemade is best but sometimes store bought might be all you have on hand and it will still work, I can guarantee that
1 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.
Lube up a casserole dish or cast-iron pot or something that you can put in the oven with the drippings and then sauté meat and vegetables over medium heat until vegetables are starting to soften and brown a little. Alternatively, you can sauté the meat and vegetables in a pan and then transfer them to an oven proof dish.
Add all other ingredients except bread crumbs, stir to combine and season.
Top with bread crumbs and place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until golden brown and smelling delicious.
Eat it.
Put it in your face with a little green salad, or maybe some green beans with onion vinaigrette if you want to be the same as us.

One last pic of the ingredients…

Braised lamb cutlets with bubble-and-swede… and a couple of things that grow really well on the south island of New Zealand

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Yeah, I know right. Who uses lamb cutlets for braising?

Well, in the south island of New Zealand where the sheep population grossly outweighs that of the humans*, lamb cutlets are cheap as bro, so today I would do whatever the heck I wanted with them.

So many swedes for the sheep


Also, what is this whole bubble-and-swede thing, you ask? A damn clever play on words and a really tasty way to eat the humble swede, that’s what it is.

You see, on an island that seems to have the climate to grow absolutely nothing, the folks down south are pretty effing adept at growing the humble swede. Mostly to feed the ever-growing sheep population it would seem, but occasionally for human consumption also. But probably not very much for human consumption as I would imagine they’d be pretty sick of them by now. Probably the carnie folk would still relish a good swede though, I would imagine…

So much dribble.

Whatever the case, it was not uncommon to see roadside market stalls selling swedes (and swedes alone) the size of the head of the carnie folk they might eventually feed, for a buck a pop.

So, the scenario is this – we drove through the hills (there is always “the hills”) of the sheep growing, swede producing south and I said to myself, “today I shall purchase some sheep and some swedes and I shall cook them for our evening meal”.

“That would be heaps Kiwi-ish”, I agreed.

The camper kitchen

Unbelievably cheap-as lamb, bro

Get a bit o’ colour on those lamb cutlets

Mashy the swede and potato

…and then mix in the sautéed leek…

Truly delicious. Wash it all down with a local alcoholic beverage of some description


LAMB CUTLETS, TAGINE GRAVY, BUBBLE-AND-SWEDE

(serves 4)

8-12 lamb cutlets, depending on size and appetite (NZ origin)
Moroccan seasoning (dubious origin)
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (NZ origin)
1 small knob ginger, grated (origin unknown)
1 teaspoon chilli paste (origin unknown)
A splash of some white wine (NZ origin)
400g tin diced tomatoes (definitely not of NZ origin as we could not afford the barter of 12 gold doubloons and 3 sex slaves that was necessary to obtain said tomatoes)
1 decent sized swede, diced large (NZ origin)
1 leek, sliced (NZ origin)
1 potato, diced large (probably NZ origin)
50-100g butter (we had some NZ stuff earlier in the week, but… hmmm… we don’t have any more)
Salt and pepper to season

Season cutlets with Moroccan seasoning. Brown cutlets in a pan over med-high heat for 2 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and a little extra Moroccan seasoning to the same pan with all of the lamby flavour, and sauté for a few minutes or until soft.
Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine and add diced tomatoes.
Return lamb chops to pan, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or so, until lamb is nice and tender.
While that’s going on you’ll need to sort your bubble and swede.
Boil swede and potato until nice and soft. Drain.
Sauté leek with half of the butter until soft and sexy smelling.
Mash swede and potato with remaining butter, mix in sautéed leek and then season well. Taste it and make sure the seasoning is good.
Plate it up however you see fit.
A bit of parsley would be nice but as you can probably see, we didn’t have any of that on hand.
Feeling the NZ vibe? I am.

*Seriously. I grew up in the south of Western Australia and I thought that place was an oversized sheep property but this place is nek level. The locals around here would be chucking a few sheep in the front yard before they ever contemplated putting in a rose garden or a kids cubby house I can guarantee you. I have respect for that kind of sheep love.

Loaded ass jacket potatoes

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A la my recent reports on the virtues of trialing new BBQ techniques and having leftover smoked meats, here is another recipe/anecdote/bit of dribble to keep that leftover meat out of the dog’s belly and turn it into another cracking meal to make your face smile…

This time we’re talking potatoes. Everyone love potatoes, right? Jacket potatoes on the coals are the next step upwards toward the heavens for the humble spud too, right? Stuffed or loaded jacket potatoes are fully nek level fo’ sho. No denying. Am I correct?

Yup.

I thought so.

Are you keeping up?

That’s OK, neither am I… I drink way too much coffee to be able to keep up with my head… that shall not stop me from moving on though…

These potatoes are cooked to a point where they are damn well close to being labeled as a potato god and then their potato-y lily is gilded with an array of ingredients that make it even more attractiver. If a girl potato walked by these Adonis’ of the potato world, they would hook up for sure… well, there’d be a cheeky wristy involved at the very least.

I am heaps good at English, ay.

Wrap your taters and make them nice and warm

Saute an onion good and proper

Fill ‘er up



LOADED ASS JACKET POTATOES

(serves 4)

4 fist sized potatoes (I have a decent sized fist)
1-2 cups of smoky or roasted meat leftovers, chopped and heated
2 tins of baked beans or the equivalent from your last batch of homemade sexy beans, heated
100g cream cheese and/or grated cheddar cheese
Sauteed onions
Sauerkraut
Sour cream
Hot sauce
BBQ rub, chives and parsley to garnish
Leafy salad or ‘slaw to serve

Splash a little olive oil on your potato, season with a little salt and pepper and then wrap in alfoil.
Get some coals in your fire pit or BBQ or even in your fire place if you’ve got it fired up, and place potatoes around the edge, just nudging the coals a little.
Rotate potatoes every 10-15 minutes for 40 minutes or until soft in the middle – a good poke with a butter knife should be a pretty good indicator of this.
Using tongs or your tough-guy hands, remove potatoes from coals and set aside for a minute so they are not searing hot when you are trying to serve them.
Cut a cross through the middle of the potato so you may open it up a little and fill it with tasty good things and not at all because this is going to be kinda a religious experience.
Fill with beans followed by cheese, meat, sautéed onions, sauerkraut, sour cream and hot sauce if desired.
Garnish with garnishy things and serve with something green and leafy on the side.
Thank me later.

So ugly but so damn beautiful


New Zealandy snow posts coming right up…

Nachos supremo

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This is a story about some really good nachos.

I am not implying that you don’t know how to make nachos, it’s just that these nachos are, well, probably better than yours. Soz.

And these nachos also involve one of my favourite sort of early week cooking scenarios – using up the inevitable pile of smoked meat or other random goodies I have left from my weekend of backyard experimentation (just to make it clear I have not been sewing chickens bodies to pigs faces or anything freaky like that, and I certainly haven’t been doing any of that your-turn-to-take-me-roughly-from-behind, keep it in the garden shed type experimentation either. Just above board, smoky meaty goodness. Thumbs up)

If you have the skill set you could defo make a pile of delicious smoked meat and awesome condiments, (which is something I do enjoy doing with my spare time and that is the truth) but the fact of the matter is that I am a cook and that’s what I do with my life and I am not so stubborn and/or dumb that I can’t realise that often times your kitchen skills may be borderline mediocre at best and you need a little help with a meal that may involve more than one pot and indeed a slew of ingredients.

So I guess my point is this – either a) make friends with someone who loves to BBQ and more importantly is quite decent at it, and clean up their BBQ leftovers after the weekend or, b) head down to your local BBQ joint of good repute and purchase some tasty meaty goodness from someone who can actually cook this stuff, and then it’s onto some kick-ass nachos.

In the words of the late, great Ramones – let’s go!

Still life featuring nacho ingredients

Heating my pork ribs on the ol’ Warm Ray

Choppy choppy pork rib

Nachos supremo


NACHOS SUPREMO (serves 4)

1 family pack of corn chips
1-2 cups chopped left over smoked or roasted meat (I had smoked pork ribs)
2 cup of pit beans or nacho beans
2 cups grated cheese
1 cup guacamole
1 cup sour cream
½ cup tomato salsa
Pickled onions and jalapenos
Coriander
Hot sauce
BBQ rub or some kind of nacho seasoning

Spread corn chips over an oven tray, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and then bake in a pre-heated 200C oven for 5-10 minutes until chips are warm and cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, heat your meat and beans (separately) and set them aside.
When chips are where you want them, slide them off the baking tray and onto something a little cooler to serve or, you know what, just eat them the heck straight off of the oven tray. I fricking love that shit.
Scoop beans onto the chips followed by meat, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pickles, coriander, hot sauce and seasoning.
Eat that, drink beer and thank the dear sweet lord for BBQ left overs!

I would suggest the couch is a good place to eat these

Pulled pork burgers with celery and apple ‘slaw

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My opinion is that celery can be pretty savagely under-rated by the average punter (not that I’m calling you average – you are a bloody unique and beautiful, individual little snowflake. Fuck yeah you are). Pulled pork, on the other hand, is not.

I figure that if I can combine the two in a dirty little ménage au trois with the ever-willing burger bun, then it would be kinda like wing-manning that red headed, freckly kid into a coital union with someone other than his second cousin on his mother’s side. The celery would be lifted to dizzying new heights, the pulled pork would be humbled by the true love it never really thought it would find and the bun, well the bun would just mosey on outta there before anyone woke up in the morning, probably stealing a half smoked pack of fags and a warm beer on its way out, never to be heard from again… because we all know that’s just what the buns are like…

Eat celery – it’s good… and so is pulled pork.

The ‘slaw looked very ‘slawish

I made some oven chips out of potatoes which I blanched in boiling water for 1 minute and then cooled, followed by seasoning and 15 or so minutes oven time

Onion and pickles all day

A good time in my mouth, to be sure

PULLED PORK BURGERS WITH CELERY & APPLE ‘SLAW

Pulled pork (you’re pretty pro at that by now, yeah?)
Buns
Pickles
Sliced onion
Mustard sauce
BBQ sauce

Make your burgers with a bit of all of these things. Nice work.

CELERY & APPLE ‘SLAW (enough for burgers for the fam and some left for your lunch tomorrow)

3 cups shaved/chopped cabbage, from approx 1/4 – 1/8 drum head, honky dory, just like from the olden days, green cabbage
1 cup finely slice celery heart (including leaves)
1 apple, julienned (I would normally use granny smith apples for a little tarty tart, but today my refrigerator told me all I could use was the Pink Ladies so that’s what it was)
‘slaw dressing (½ cup of mayonnaise mixed with ½ cup of apple cider vinaigrette works pretty well for me – recipes follow)

Mix salad ingredients together and then dress with as little or as much ‘slaw dressing as you damn well want.

MAYONNAISE

2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (or something else acidic)
Salt and pepper to taste
200ml vegetable oil
50ml olive oil (or use an extra 50ml vegetable oil)
A splash of water if it needs thinning out

Put the egg yolks, mustard, vinegar and a pinch of salt and pepper into a bowl if you are hand whisking this, or into a round tub if you live in a country that has electricity and you have the common sense to own a stick wizz.
Whisk until the yolks start to fluff up and turn pale.
While whisking, slowly add the oil in a light trickle. Don’t stop whisking while you’re doing this.
You should notice that it is all binding as one glorious spreadable mass. Do not be tempted to pour the oil in quickly. Take it nice and slow and worry about getting it done quickly when you’re married.
Once all of the oil is in there add A DROP or two of water to get it to your desired consistency, and check seasoning. Always check in with the seasoning.
If this is your first time, smear some of your finished mayo on a piece of fresh bread and eat it like you are an eight-year-old trailer park kid with his school lunch.
Mmmmmm.
Mayonnaise will last for a week in the fridge.

APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE

1 cup yellow mustard, or whatever mustard it is you like
¾ cup castor sugar
400ml apple cider vinegar
1200ml blended oil
Salt

Slowly emulsify oils into other ingredients. The same as that mayonnaise thing you just learnt about.
Remaining vinaigrette will last for for-ever in the fridge.

pulled pork burgers with celery and apple slaw

Go that ‘slaw. Good work celery and co

Sausages and lamb ribs and eggplant… and red rice.

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I would like to start by informing you all that I really like a good sausage.

These sausages are quite frankly what I consider to be the best sausages in these here parts – made by the fine folks at Hayters Hill Butchery. His bratwurst (Well, not his bratwurst. I know nothing of this man’s sausage and that is the truth) was my sausage of choice on this day – absolutely a pleasure to put in mouth. Hmmm. I’m sounding more and more like a “lady of the night” by the word…

I’ll try again.

The sausages were reals good after 2.5-3 hours at 110C (220-230F) over ironbark. Really bloody good. The Hayters Hill crew also do a cracking chunky pork snag which is also a tasty tasty thing after a few hours in a smoker. I am also pretty sure that these sausages would even be hella tasty raw, but that it just a guess and based on absolutely zero personal raw sausage eating experience I will admit it.

You will probably not be able to find any Hayters Hill sausages at your local market because we pretty much buy all of there stuff up here in the northern rivers of NSW, so you can use whatever it is that you consider to be a great sausage in your own mind…

The lamb ribs were given that same ironbark-smoky 110C treatment, and very similarly to how you may do pork ribs, they were given 3 hours of smoke, followed by wrapping and another hour in the smoker, followed by a 1 hour rest after that. The internal temp was 92C (200F) and they were fricking perfect.

Lamb ribs are definitely not pork ribs but they are still damn tasty in the smoker and something a little different for you next BBQ. They can also offer that same sort of smoky ribby wow factor but at a heaps cheaper price tag than pork or beef ribs… that is, until the butchers work out that they are just as tasty as their high-end friends and bump the price up on these puppies too.

I also made some red rice and miso & maple glazed eggplant, and placed some peppery hot sauce and smoked salt on the table to complete the package that was our dinner on this evening. It was all plenty tasty. My eldest son, Seba, even commented that although he doesn’t like eggplant, and this was certainly no exception, it was the best eggplant he’d ever been forced to eat.

You’re welcome.

Those sexy little lamb ribs

I borrowed the recipe for red rice from right here

The eggplant looked pretty sexy

The whole thing looked rather sexy, actually


MISO AND MAPLE GLAZED EGGPLANT

(serves 4 as a side with left over miso glaze for next time)

1 large eggplant, cut into 8 wedges
3 tablespoons red miso paste
2 tablespoons each rice vinegar, maple syrup and water
1 small knob ginger, grated or finely chopped
Oil for cooking

Heat a little oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet or pan. Add eggplant and cook for 2 minutes each side until browned and starting to soften.
Using a pastry brush or your fathers best paint brush, glaze the eggplant generously with the miso number.
Place under a pre-heated grill (broiler) until caramelized and sexy.
Eat it and force your children to eat it even if they don’t like eggplant.

Herby roast chicken with a really good warm salad and salsa verde

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This one is a pretty good looking little dinner that would probably impress that love of your life/person of sexuality of your choosing that you are trying to convince that you would be a good sort to shack up with, and it is still easy enough for some one of your skill-set to put together… maybe… maybe not…

I made this with the love of my life in mind but the fact of the matter is that my Jennee is at work and it is just me and the smallish humans tonight, and let’s face it – they probably would’ve been heaps more impressed if I had made them burgers again.

I didn’t really think this one through properly, did I?

Not to worry.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

No one ever accused me of being a smart man… or good looking… or a good lover even…

Every one always comments that I do have nice hand writing for a boy, though. They’ve always said that. That’s pretty nice, isn’t it?

Getting that salsa verde going. If you have never tried salsa verde before you are about to loose your shit

Salsa verde, apple cider vinaigrette and some other things in jars

A really nice looking chicken about to get a heap of love from the oven

That chook fresh from the chooky solarium

Those salad vegetables getting ready to join the party

It was reals good

HERBY ROAST CHICKEN WITH A PRETTY FUCKING GOOD WARMISH SALAD AND SALSA VERDE

(serves 4 – 6)

1 nicely grown chicken. You know, a chook that got to eat grass and grubs and shit
100g butter
1 handful fresh herbs – thyme, lemon thyme (you should try it), rosemary, sage and parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Salsa verde to serve

For the salad
4 medium kipflers or Dutch cream potatoes, boiled or steamed for 15-20 minutes until just cooked, cooled and then sliced into 1cm disks (you could defo use a cooked grain, sweet potato or some extra green vegetables if you don’t do potatoes)
200g green beans, halved
1 small head of broccoli cut into florets or 1 bunch of broccolini cut in half
50g (2 handfuls) leaf and/or herb mix
50g (1 handful) sunflower sprouts or whatever sprouts you can get hold of
2-3 radish, sliced thinly
A good splash of apple cider vinaigrette to dress
Salt and pepper

Rub chicken down with butter. Sprinkle with herbs and season with salt and pepper, ensuring that you put a little in its bot bot* too.
Roast in pre heated 180C (350F) oven for 1 hour or until cooked, basting with sexy-buttery-chickeny juices (I think I just drooled a little) every 15 minutes. Remove chicken from roasting pan and rest in a warm spot, loosely covered in foil for 10-15 minutes.
Add potatoes to oven pan and return to oven for 10 minutes. Add beans and broccoli to oven pan and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Chuck (place gently) all of the roasted vegetables into a large mixing bowl, add apple cider vinaigrette, leaves, sprouts and radish and toss gently until combined.
Now is a pretty good time to carve that chicken. Or, if you’re heaps slow at carving the chicken, maybe get someone else to do that while you sort the salad.
Get a handful of the salad-y stuff onto a plate, put a bit of chicken on the side, dress that chicken with a little salsa verde and eat it the heck in your face.
That’s some damn fine chicken.

*Bot bot; bottom. Anal cavity.

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