Big assed risotto with chicken, chorizo and prawns to impress a crowd

aaaah, glorious
aaaah, glorious

When I pulled myself out of bed this morning I was met with the lingering smell of smoky goodness from our adventures the previous evening (just to clarify they were cooking adventures) and they memories came flooding back. No, that’s a lie. The memories sporadically trickled in like David Hasslehoffs fan mail.

A fuck off big paella pan screams out that you are not messing around in the kitchen tonight. Even if you are pan-frying two small children, you’re still not messing around. And this evening our paella pan screamed out to me.

So for the last day of work in my current employment, I decided what better way to say “fuck you life is going to be shit without me”… or maybe “thanks for having me, it’s been swell”, then to bring out my paella pan and cook a couple of small children (not local of course) if front of their very eyes. Now I don’t know if they came to say good bye, wish me well or just celebrate the fact I was getting out of their lives, but the thing is they came so I thought I should maybe put something a little more aesthetically pleasing on the table.

mis en place ready to go
mis en place ready to go
get Zac to cook
get Zac to cook

 

a good salad is a good accompaniment
a good salad is a good accompaniment

 

mmmm
mmmm. It tasted really good

Big assed risotto with chicken, chorizo, prawns, fennel and pickled chilli for a crowd

5 chicken marylands, free range fool, cut into three pieces. Roast that shit!

4 chorizo sausage, sliced

1kg king prawns

2 brown onions, diced

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

5 cloves garlic, bashed in a back alley brawl

1 quarter preserved lemon, flesh and pith removed, bruniose

1 lemon myrtle leaf, chiffonade

1kg risotto rice (aborio etc)

4lt hot stock – chicken or vegetable is good

5 guindillas (Spanish pickled chillis)

  • First you get one of your guests, say Soraya, to light the chiminea on the verandah
  • Once the smoke has died down get the paella pan hot, splash a little oil in the pan to heat up, then tell Zac the kitchen hand that he is going to start cooking dinner now
  • Get your self a beer and start instructing Zac on his culinary adventure
  • Sauté the onions, fennel, garlic and chorizo until fragrant and the chorizo is starting to free itself of its lovely red oil
  • Season
  • Add chicken, preserved lemon, lemon myrtle and rice
  • Cook out for a couple of minutes
  • Add stock and cook for 10-ish minutes, shaking the pan every couple of minutes, until rice is almost done
  • Add prawns and, if the risotto has taken all the liquid, add a little more stock (hot water will do because you’ve probably already used all of your stock) and cover with alfoil
  • Cook for another 5 minutes until this prawns are done
  • Garnish with guindillas, a squeeze of lemon and a splash of olive oil
  • Serve straight from the pan at the table, just so everyone remembers how OG you are
  • Get another beer and sit back and bask in your glory

 

Five more things to do with vegetables… Paul’s caul

 

When I was asked to write five things to do with vegetables I must admit it was only about idea number four that included cooking them… and note I said included!

 

But midgets and turnips aside there are so many ways to use/cook vegetables, for us chefs it seems almost ridiculous to be asked what to do with veg, but I guess we use our brains differently then most where there is usually space in the brain for such things as grammer and spelling we have food imagination (see my case is quite clearly made…)

 

I reckon I’m going to make this simple for all involved I don’t think I’m going to give you recipes just theory’s, sound vague? Well it may be who knows what will come next, certainly not me I’m flying by the seat of my pants (always wanted to say that) lets start by choosing five veg… I will for the record state that I haven’t had time to fully read my dear friend and fellow chefs five things to do with veg, so if they are the same veg then so be it you get more bang for your buck (something else I’ve always wanted to say, my sayings bucket list is getting ticked today J ) and if it’s the exact same dish which I highly doubt then you can guarantee it is the best thing to do with that particular veg.

 

My veg will be…

1.

asparagus

2.

parsnips

3.

zucchini

4.

fennel bulbs

5.

corn

 

As I read the brief I think I may of missed the point, is it meant to be five things to do with one vegetable or one thing to do with five veg? fuck me I’m confused, how about you? Well since I’m sitting in this cupboard alone I think what you reckon is irrelevant, so I will run with the latter.

 

1.

asparagus is such a beautiful product and that evil substance that is sold in cans should not be permitted to be called by the same name!!!!  all you need to do with asparagus is trim of a couple of cm at the bottom whack it in a hot pan or on a bbq with olive oil and salt & pepper, splash a bit of lemon juice on it and 1 minute later your eating the most delicious thing ever… could not be simpler right? Wrong… you could just eat it raw… BAM!!!

2.

definitely one of my favourite veg, I love to make parsnip and blue cheese soup or a parnip and nutmeg puree to serve with meat,  I hope by now you could make these things from scratch but if not request the recipe and I will supply

3.

also known as the green coconut because of the water content (completely made up fact!!!) so I like to slice into slices funny enough and lightly coat in corn flour with ground cumin in and shallow fry in olive oil and serve with spinach and poached eggs…

4.

what I want you to do is replace onion in your old recipes and see what happens…BAM!! Even the simple hotdog with caramized fennel is going to be special…

5.

well corn is the item I’d take onto a dessert island so obviously there is so much that can be done from eating raw to making fritters, soups, puree’s, omelettes, muffins, salsa’s and of course corn sunscreen (yeah you got me, made up fact!!)

 

Well as stated if you want any of the above turned into recipes please just ask and it shall be done, but I’m getting cramped in this cupboard so time to get back to the real world.

 

Remember vegetable is not a rude word… cock is a rude word… just thought I’d clarify!

food school and what I learned… Pauls caul

Food school and what I learned…

For those who know me (lucky bastards you are) know that I have been lucky enough to part of opening up a brand new cooking school here in WA. In fact its in a small country town called Fremantle to be exact, Fremantle is a place where it’s normal to live in a house that is covered with grass and where small people with really hairy feet run around searching for talking trees…wait a minute that’s the shire…no hang on I had it right. That actually is Fremantle. But hippies aside it is a beautiful community (did someone say cult?) and the markets in which the school is placed is a historical gem, its always busy has so many characters and just hums with life.

The school is quite frankly the best thing to happen to the area since the America’s cup in the 80’s, its not only the coolest looking kitchen you could imagine it has magical cupboards filled with fairy’s and chef’s that look like movie stars there is even talk that a unicorn was spotted making a curry paste last week… point being the school is cool!!!!

Now I have the pleasure of teaching at said school and I love it, I learn as much as any student and I have an attentive audience which actually listen to me, this place is heaven. We are currently running a class called explore and create which consists of me taking the class around the veg markets and them choosing 7 vegetables/fruit for me to create dishes from. I’ll give you an idea of what they pick, today they picked
• Persimmon (WTF)
• Pomegranate
• Eggplant
• Asparagus
• Mushrooms
• Chilli’s
• Fennel bulbs
• Beetroot

Ok I know that’s 8 items, but I’m like that totally crazy off the wall kinds of shit always happens in my class, we start off in search of 7 and end up with 8…I know, completely mental.

So as you can see that’s not your usual bag of items to cook dinner or maybe it is, if it is then piss off and read another blog because on this one this shit is strange.

Persimmon…really? I had no real idea what to do with it other then make a nice chutney. But what I ended up doing was this;

Persimmon what ever…
Quartered then sliced 3 persimmon
2 tablespoon walnut oil
1 tablespoon rose water
½ cup fresh coriander
I fried the persimmon off in the oil then cooked it for 5-10 minutes with the rosewater then tossed through the coriander.
It was actually very tasty I served with salmon and asparagus… BAM!!!

Fennel, pomegranate and blue cheese
3 fennel bulbs, quartered, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 tablespoons of blue cheese
2 pomegranates
Fry off the fennel in the butter and oil until it browns and tastes delish (add a little salt to make this happen)
In the meantime cut pomegranates in half and remove seeds by tapping scrapping or any other method you know.
When fennel is delish add the blue cheese and stir through, place on plate and top with pomegranate seeds.
This is very nice by it self or can be a side to many thing including lamb, chicken or fish.

Chilli mushrooms with pork shin
• Basically I pressure cooked the pork shin in star anise coconut milk and cinnamon.
• Cooked the mushies in chilli, coconut cream, miso and basil.
• Drained and shredded the pork and mixed through the mushie mix.
• Checked seasoning and BAM another dish…

Eggplant & chocolate
• Simple you salt the sliced eggplant to remove the bitterness
• Wash and dry said eggplant
• Fry said eggplant in cornflour (that is coated in cornflour and fried in oil, for all the slowies out there)
• Drizzle dark chocolate all over the eggplant and serve… BAM!!!

Beetroot, goats cheese and vincotto
• roast or pressure cook beetroot with rosemary, balsamic and love for either 1-2 hours or 15 minutes according to method of cooking
• peel the cooked beetroot
• slice and place on plate
• sprinkle with crumbly goats cheese and drizzle with vincotto
• BAM!!!

So as you can see this is all a little bit different then normal but as Graeme and I are always banging on about, that is what food is all about, doing something different and taking risks… little risks are ok, eggplant and chocolate= little risk, having sex with a lady with an adams apple= big risk, so either get funky with some new ingredients or come visit me at the school.

I have seen with my own eyes the cupboards filled with fairies. And I saw with those same eyes the unicorn making curry paste… this man speaks the truth. Also, the fruit guy who lives on a farm down the road from where I work, bought in a load of said persimmons this week. At least I know what to do with them now… but that’s the glory of sharing, eh. Someone will always be there to steal your idea and call it his own… and the lady with the adams apple. It was just the once… I swear. G