Coal roasted fish bruschetta AKA camp bruschetta

fish bruschetta
Last week I was writing the roster at work, which is a pretty ordinary thing for someone in my position to be doing. It was going to be a pretty good one too – I had reined it back to a less-than-50-hour-week which is a more than acceptable working week for one who has chosen chef as their profession.

And then it turned into a really damn good roster really quickly.

I had completely erased my name from the graphy looking little timetable that was trying to tell me I would be attending work that next week. Bam. Gone.

“Yup. That was a heaps better idea,” my smart brains told me. “You should just piss off camping instead.”

“Brilliant,” I agreed, quickly realising that I was conducting one hell of a cracking monologue in front of the staff… again.

Not to worry. These guys have seen how much coffee I drink…. They’ve heard me talk of my carnie fetish… they knew what they were getting themselves in for when they signed up.

Before I knew it we were packing the car for the camping trip. We packed crocodile seeking missiles, a box jellyfish/ozone depletion full body protection suit, the really deadly snake deterrent, nuke ‘em from orbit tent mounted mosquito extermination technology and, of course, the drop bear trap. We never go camping with out a drop bear trap. The car was almost full but we still had just enough room for our prescription medication, a few amphetamines for who ever is on drop bear watch (they always attack at night or in the small hours of the morning) and enough rum to wash it all down.

That is what we did because that is how we go camping in Australia.

Once all of our nature defences were in place and we were high as a kite, we went fishing and caught ourselves a few plump flathead which we promptly cooked on the coals and camping-like-a-boss made them into some tasty assed fish bruschetta with herby salsa.

Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white
Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white

I could've eaten quite a few of these
I could’ve eaten quite a few of these

FISH BRUSCHETTA WITH HERBY SALSA

(serves 4 as a light meal)

2 whole fish (800g-1kg to give approx. 400g meat)
8 slices sour dough bread
1 small Lebanese cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons salsa verde (it would probably be pretty easy for you to make some before you leave)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

• Put everything except the fish and bread into a bowl, mix to combine and allow to macerate while you cook the fish.
• My fish went straight onto the coals of the campfire for 6-7 minutes each side and then we peeled the skin back and flaked the flesh off the bone with a fork. It was some seriously tasty shit. A little bit charred and smoky and still so damn moist thanks to the skin and scales – this is some seriously sexy business.
• Maybe you don’t have a campfire so you can get a similar result by wrapping your fish in foil and roasting them for 10-12 minutes at 200C.
• Now is a good time to toast your bread. You can toast bread right?
• To assemble drizzle the toasts with olive oil and then divide flaked fish between the 8 pieces. Top with salsa and spoon over salsa juices. Season with a little salt and pepper if it needs some.
• I cannot say enough how damn good this was.

My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer
My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer

Fish Wing Friday this Easter #forthesea

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Southern fried fish wings that I cooked last week for sustainable seafood day and I’m posting now so you can do something a little different for your fish thing this Easter.

That almost makes me look a little organized, eh… but I think those of us in the know certainly know the actuality is very different from the appearance…

Anyhow, you might be excused for thinking that this is a recipe that is made using flying fish and more specifically, their wings. You might also be excused for asking how the on switch works so I am certainly not going to judge…

No, this is not a recipe featuring the flighted mythical bird-fish, but instead the tasty tasty, oft forgotten or used for crab bait, pectoral wings of our oceanic dwelling friends, the fishes. Or more specifically in this case, the more sustainable line caught or farmed Australian barramundi.

Fish wings, much like fish heads or smaller fish like white bait or sardines, are commonly used for bait or just tossed away like yesterday’s rubbish… or a young hipsters razor… or a Justin Beiber CD… But fish wings are not to be tossed away, no, no, no. Tossed through seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and then deep-fried possibly, but definitely not tossed away. These tasty little morsels will have you coming back time and time again for what will probably be that one fish meal in your life that gives you the best bang for your buck. Coming in at around the $3 a serve this is like a 3 buck prostitute who is both clean and at the top of her game! Tasty and delish! There is nothing about this dish that isn’t to be loved; the price, the taste, the sustainability… I love it more than my arm. Not my right arm of course, but it defo means more to me than my lefty for now. I could do without lefty if it came down to the choice between him and the fish wings. Sorry lefty, I really am.

Coated in potato flour and then seasoned with my southern spice mix, these things came up even better than expected. Some home made hot sauce and ranch dressing to complete the package and I was ready to pat myself on the back… and then maybe get comfy… whisper a few sweet nothings into my own ear… and…

Whoa. I just get caught up in the moment way to easily.

Recipe time.

I will sort you out with a recipe for my kale and apple 'slaw soon enough
I will sort you out with a recipe for my kale and apple ‘slaw soon enough
Just really tasty little morsels
Just really tasty little morsels

SOUTHERN FRIED BARRAMUNDI WINGS with HOT SAUCE & RANCH DRESSING (serves 4)

1.5-2kg fish wings (3-4 per serve), scaled
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup of Big Red Rub or your favourite southern/creole/Cajun seasoning
2 cups potato flour (starch) and maybe a little extra
Oil for deep frying
A deep fryer, large pot or cauldron suitable for deep frying
Salt
Hot sauce, ranch dressing, lemon and coleslaw to serve

• Combine fish wings and red seasoning in a large bowl and toss to coat
• Add eggs and mix to coat
• Add potato flour and toss to coat. Rubber gloves can be handy here if you don’t like getting all icky and sticky, and only if you don’t need them for your game of “doctors and nurses” tonight. You want the wings to be quite dry coated, not a wet batter, so if you need to add a little extra potato flour you do that right now
• While this whole coaty coaty thing is going down you need to have some oil heating in the thing that you use to heat your oil. 180C is a pretty good temp for this little project
• Once the oil is up to temp give the wings a little tap to get rid of any extra flour and drop them gently into the oil. 4 minutes is pretty much bang on for a medium sized fish wing
• Once cooked remove from oil, drain in a basket or on absorbent paper, season with salt and serve drizzled with hot sauce and ranch dressing, and with a nice coleslaw on the side
• Effing A, that’s winning all over the place right there; god for Easter, good for your belly, good for your wallet and good for our oceans

For more information on sustainable seafood try the MSC website.

Seafood chowder-esque type thing in a Vienna loaf

seafood chowder in a cob
My brother is just about to head back to his humble grotto in Margaret River, Western Australia, after a mammoth stay of two months. That’s right, now I shall be in charge of my own mis en place again… and we will have to do our own washing… I’ll be sad to see him go, that’s for sure.

But before he makes like a tree and gets out of here we needed a little man time. You know, get a couple of lads together and find ourselves a little riverside cabin where we can eat, drink, fish, wear the same clothes and not make our beds each day if we did’t want to. Power to the man eh? That’s right, the new man power revolution begins with us and it begins right here, today, now! Viva la revolution. Viva le revolution! Also please note, the revolution will end at approximately noon on Wednesday when we shall be returning home, so our office/support group will not be taking any calls from that point onwards…

So I did find us a nice little riverside cabin in the sleepy seaside town of Brunswick Heads (known as Bruns to the indigenous community). It had enough beds to ensure that only two of us need sleep together (I won’t explain that one), a small kitchenette that would enable us to prepare food and stay nourished for the length of our stay and a shower, which apparently was not needed and took up valuable space that could have been used to position a cracking barbecue/smoker set up.

We caught some fish, a couple of which spent less than an hour out of the water before they went into this Creole-esque type seafood number. Kind of even a bit of a chowder… maybe. I really don’t know what to call this bad boy except damn tasty. It was taken to damn-tasty-town by the addition of some of my patented Big Red Rub, which travels with me everywhere like a faithful side kick, adding flavour boosts to food like this and generally making me look a lot better than I actually am. Which is not actually a very hard job so maybe I am giving it a little too much credit…

We did scour the shelves of the one little bakery in Bruns for the cob loaf that this chowder-y number was going to fill, but alas it seemed that there had been a run on cob loaves that morning and we had well and truly missed out… so a crusty, white, $3.10 vienna loaf was going to do the job for us today.

We were right about here
We were right about here

Hollow that bad boy out
Hollow that bad boy out
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Clean prawns in the little kitchen
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Cooking in whatever the little kitchen has on offer
Eat. Just eat
Eat. Just eat
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again
This was really effing tasty. The Big Red Rub makes me look like a champ once again

SEAFOOD CHOWER-ESQUE TYPE THING IN A VIENNA LOAF (serves 4-6)

300g each bream and flathead, cut into large chunks (any fish you want to
eat will do the job here)
500g king prawns, peeled, deveined and cut in half
1 chorizo sausage, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 medium sweet potato, medium dice, steamed/boiled until just cooked
Kernels from 1 cob of corn
600ml cream
Seasoning
1 crusty Vienna or cob
A handful of grated cheese of some description
Chopped parsley
Pickled chilli to serve

• Cut the top off the crusty loaf and hollow it out a little. Tear up insides and top. Get that puppy extra crusty in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes
• Sauté chorizo, onion and garlic in a little oil until starting to brown
• Add big red rub, prawns, sweet potato and corn and cook out for 1 minute
• Add cream and simmer for a few minutes until slightly reduced
• Add fish and stir to combine. Don’t play with it too much now because you don’t want to break this fish up
• Simmer for another few minutes until the fish is cooked
• Season
• Pour into the crusty loaf, top with cheese and parsley and serve with extra crusty bread and pickled chillis on the side. Best consumed with a lot of beer
• This would also be really effing good on some rice or even pasta

Sunset on the river. Pretty
Sunset on the river. Pretty

Easy Thai yellow curry with fish and prawns for Mother’s Day

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Recently events have transpired, things have happened and I have missed a heap of it, or at least maybe fallen a little bit behind in keeping you up to date with what is happening on my side of the proverbial fence. This is because I have been knee deep in the glorious metaphorical shit that is feeding the people who want the food. I love it though. I fricking love it. You know I love it. Why am I continuing on this weird monologue… fuck, I do not know.

Stop now Grazza, you’re going to scare them away…

One such recent event was Mother’s Day. Yes, that was quite recent. I was unsure if Mother’s Day was celebrated on the same date around the globe or if it was one of those “Queen’s birthday type events” that seem to be celebrated on different dates in different states and countries, yet all for the same Queen. Nope. My various insta-stalking had confirmed for me that it was Mother’s Day all over the place and all on the same day. Twilight zone shit right there.

With all of this Mother’s Day business all up in my (and the rest of the world’s) grill, there was no way that it was going to go un-noticed by Jennee so I would need to take the children to shops and stores in search of the ultimate Mother’s Day gifts to make sure that girl knows she is loved. And then there is the dinner. I asked Jennee for a hint or two, just something subtle, as to what she might like to be consuming on the evening of this seemingly world-recognised Mother’s Day, but instead she told me straight up; “yellow curry, prawns, seafood… like the one you cook… you know, my death row meal”. Seriously, this lady talks about her “death row meal” like she is seriously considering committing a heinous crime in the not-to-distant future.

Just in case, I did cook her a yellow curry and it did contain prawns and fish. She was happy and no crimes were committed on this evening.

This is a pretty simple curry to make but it really pays you back ten fold in the flavour depart. Do what you want with that information.

Get some of that coriander out of the tub and into the curry
Get some of that coriander out of the tub and into the curry

I made fish balls for our curry but I decided that chunks of fish would be better... that and I truly can't be assed writing out the recipe for the fish balls
I made fish balls for our curry but I decided that chunks of fish would be better… that and I truly can’t be assed writing out the recipe for the fish balls

I know it's a bit shit but I do like this pic
I know it’s a bit shit but I do like this pic

YELLOW CURRY PRAWNS & FISH (serves 6)

400g prawns, peeled and de-veined
400g firm white fish (cod or something similar is good), cut into thumb sized chunks
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tomatoes, sliced into 10 wedges
2x 400ml coconut cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
10 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife
Oil for cooking
Extra chilli and lime, picked coriander, green papaya salad and steamed rice to serve

Curry Paste

1 brown onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 thumb sized pieces of turmeric, chopped
5 coriander roots, washed and chopped
2 dried long red chilli
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

• Blitz curry paste ingredients in food processer to form a paste
• Heat a good splash of oil in a wok or something similar. Add curry paste and move it around as it cooks out
• Once smelling fragrant add fish pieces, broccoli, kaffir lime and lemongrass. Fry for 2 minutes
• Add prawns and sugar and cook out for another 2 minutes
• Add coconut cream and cook out for 3-4 minutes
• Remove from heat and stir through tomatoes
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary… a splash of fish sauce, a sprinkle of sugar or maybe the juice of a lime – you sort it out
• Garnish with the baby coriander that’s growing in the planter box on the verandah and serve with that good stuff I suggested up there a bit
• Eat, drink and rest assured in the knowledge that no major crime will be committed tonight

Paul’s Caul… Tuna Tartare and a few words about sharing

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Sharing is caring, except rashes.

One of the biggest problems facing the world is that people just don’t share the right things, people love to share the things that annoy them or the things that cause nasty rashes in the never reaches, in fact basically we could replace the word ‘sharing’ with ‘off loading’ and then we could comfortably say that people love to off load their shit, but sharing good stuff seems to evade us as a society.

But imagine a world where you came across something you like and thought “I want to do that”, and instead of having to install security camera’s and peer through peoples windows to unlock the secrets of their success, you could ask them and they would happily share with you. Now this doesn’t have to be some weird fantasy world where people fly around on huge white dogs, or a place where David Bowie lords over muppets in a maze like world, NO it could be this place we call the real world and it could all begin with you!

Now I realize it sounds like the beginning of a self help book written by some shiny white toothed freak from USA, but my amazingly disguised point is that we all have knowledge of some sort and often we cling onto it like it was a hookers last shred of self respect, as we feel it was hard to come by so why the fuck should we just give it away? Well I’ll tell you why you insecure knowledge hoarder… because allowing someone else to have the knowledge you have gained does not by any means give them the wisdom you have, a wise man once told me “knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad” so basically if some twat wants your recipe for crème brulee then give it to him, as a twat will still be a twat even if he possesses a damn fine baked custard dessert with a shiny caramel lid… FACT!

Many chefs will give recipes with missing ingredients or not give their treasured recipes out at all, well I say that’s rubbish and always think if someone else is willing to go to as much trouble as me to create delicious food then good on them, hopefully they enjoy spending fucking hours in the kitchen doing laborious shite that would be considered punishment in most peoples mind. But if they follow through and create something they are proud of, then they will have you to thank and that’s reward enough… obviously if they take said knowledge and become better than you then my entire concept is bollocks and you should sabotage those talented motherfuckers, destroy every single bit of them until no one remembers anything about them, never stop until all traces of their sickening talents is erased from this world… but other then with those people, you should always share.

Living in the French Alps looks shit
Living in the French Alps looks shit

I’m currently living and working in the French Alps and to be brutally honest, its fucking lovely here, hardly any French people, shit tonnes of cheese, foie gras as far as the eye can see and I get to create my own food every day for a chalet full of eagerly awaiting guests. So it is a fountain of creative juices, so I’ve been playing about with some new dishes and to I’m quite happy with what my juices have come up with. And in the spirit of this post I shall share one of my favourite recipes with you all… ‘Tuna tartare with a ginger oil & wasabi ice cream”

Now it’s far from a hard dish to create and I feel that in its restraint lays its beauty, but please give it go and let us know what you think.
tuna tartare with ginger oil and wasabi ice cream
TUNA TARTARE, GINGER OIL & WASABI ICE CREAM

Wasabi ice cream
Ice creams are easy as to make so go buy an ice cream machine and get amongst the creation of endless flavours.

The base for most ice creams are the same. Basically it’s a custard that you churn in a machine and freeze with flavouring.

My basic base is…
30 egg yolks
2lt cream
400g sugar

• Now all you need to do is heat the cream and add to whisked yolks and sugar then gently heat in bain maree or thermo mix (if you are a fancy prick like me) until it thickens and coated the back of a spoon, allow to cool then churn in machine, job done
• But for my savoury ice cream I only add 50g of sugar and add a tea spoon of of salt and for this wasabi ice cream I add 4 tubs of wasabi, now this recipe will make you more wasabi ice cream then you will ever need, so please divide recipe by 3 and continue. Best to always add flavouring to the cream during heating to really infuse the love
• Whack in freezer once done

Ginger oil
Chop up a massive knob of ginger (you can just grate it)
Chop up 2 eshallots
Chop up one red chilli (as hot as you like)

• Heat 500ml of veg oil with a dash of sesame oil in it, once almost smoking, add all ingredients and cook until items are brown and crispy
• Strain oil and place ingredients on paper towel to crisp up and drain, these crispy pieces of deliciousness can be used for something else, like a garnish for a salad or as a snack to chomp on whilst drinking beer
• The oil you have left is now infused with gingery goodness, we shall call it Ed Sheeran

Tuna Tartare
This is the easy bit, go buy the best looking tuna you can find, if its in a tin then go jump of a bridge you muppet… you want a nice purple piece of meat that doesn’t stink like a mermaids parts. You will only need about 50g per person so even if its expensive don’t stress.

• Chop said piece of tuna into small square dice and place in a bowl, just before you serve you add enough ginger oil to coat all tuna, then add enough good quality salt to season the mix
• Place a small handful of tuna mix in a nice bowl/jar/glass/whatever you want to serve in
• Just before you serve pour 1 teaspoon of lime juice on each serve, don’t do this too early as it will start to cook the tuna
• Finally whack a small scoop of wasabi ice cream on top of each bowl and serve
• Best to eat by mixing up and placing in your mouth

Mango & Cactus Salsa… sure to improve your life

Mango & cactus salsa goes phenomenally well with seafood tacos
Mango & cactus salsa goes phenomenally well with seafood tacos

Salsa is a child of the summer.

The moment I have made salsas three times in the same week is the exact same moment I swap my ensemble of a Darrel Summers’ jumper, sensible trousers and discount shoe mart runners for boardies, a singlet and thongs. When the salsas come out it means the weather is hot, the living is easy and I don’t look so much like I belong on the set of late 80s-early 90s Australian sitcom, “Hey Dad”.

Salsa also refers to a particularly raunchy form of Latin American dancing. It is said that salsa dancing may have been named so because it was somewhat hot and/or saucy. Nice. I really like what they did there…

You were just the recipient of a random snippet of knowledge courtesy of your friends here at foodisthebestshitever.

I am a firm believer that your life can be improved by
1. The power of a good salsa. Applying salsa with relish (heheh) at your next summer barbecue (sorry northern hemisphere peeps… you can put that on hold until next year) or your Christmas lunch shall raise you to the pedestal that you damn well deserve.
2. Plenty of booze… get some cocktail action going and you won’t even care that you can’t cook for shit and the Christmas ham is now blacker than an emo kid in a black hole.
3. A good bowel movement on a regular basis will make good life really good and on the flipside, not having a good bowel movement on a regular basis can make life very bad. Not like the call girl with the long boots and red lipstick bad, but more like the out of order toilet at the music festival bad (if you are a bit too mature to be frolicking around with thousands of sweaty hipsters insert some kind of large gathering of your kind in there).
4. An arm that was just slightly longer so you could scratch that spot in between your shoulder blades when it gets itchy. That’s got to be a god joke right there. Upstairs, laughing their heads off at us idiots down below trying to scratch ourselves. Really funny guys…

So I find it only fitting that I should offer a salsa recipe for you to create in your home kitchen today. Also, in the lead-up to this coca-cola themed craziness, I shall try to pump out a few more easytastygood recipes to impress your peeps with this Christmas.

This salsa would be great to dress a prawn salad, it would find a happy home along side roast chicken or pork and, of course it would kick-ass on tacos… any tacos as long as they are heading directly for your face.

That's the salsa down the front
That’s the salsa down the front

If you really want to impress people make a pile of fish and prawn tacos with some avocado, pickled cabbage and this salsa and hand them out to all of your friends. Popularity guaranteed
If you really want to impress people make a pile of fish and prawn tacos with some avocado, pickled cabbage and this salsa and hand them out to all of your friends. Popularity guaranteed

MANGO & CACTUS SALSA (makes approx. 3 cups)

3 medium mangoes, flesh only, diced
½ cup cactus strips*, diced
½ red (salad) onion, fine dice
1 handful coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon hot sauce**
1 lime… maybe

• Mix all ingredients together to combine
• Adjust to your taste with a squeeze of lime juice if necessary

*Available from a purveyor of Mexican goodies… or probably at every large super market chain by the time you read this as the whole Mexican food thing is trending fairly heavily

**I am using the Byron Bay Chilli Co Cayenne Hot Chilli Sauce at the moment for no other reason than it tastes damn fine