Venison, root vegetable and stout stew… and navigating a camp kitchen

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Our recent trip to NZ had very slight undertones (subtle as a slap in the face with a wet fish) of cooking and/or eating whatever local produce the frozen, undulating, sheep dotted, river covered landscape could offer.

This day we were making our way back to Methven, and the company of our good friends Troppo and Lexi (real names), and we thought it pretty fit that we should cook them a nice hearty, vegetable laden dinner as fresh produce was damn expensive up this way and, well, if there’s one thing you need to be able to afford in this kind of weather it is not fresh vegetables, it is booze – Jesus’s little gift to us to help us stay warm in the cold.

About that dinner.

We finally stumbled on a wee little farmers market in a little sea side town on the east coast, at which one vendor was able to provide us with his home-grown yams, carrots and broccoli, and he was also selling the biggest fricking jerusalem artichokes I’ve ever seen. So big, in fact, I could not even recognise them. When I queried what the name of this strange, palm sized, Anakins-head-when-he-was-crawling-out-of-the-lava looking tuber may have been, the old farmer told me that it was indeed called Jerusalem artichoke and it was grown by another older gentleman up the road (points over shoulder).

“Indeed”, I remarked. “Well I will need to take a couple of those”.

The farmer then packed my produce up for me, I paid him the required toll and we were on our way.

We picked up some Dunedin venison and a bottle of stout from the peeps at Panhead Brewery, and then every item on the shopping list had a nice little tick next to it. We were clearly ready to do some cooking.

You will note my mis en place is in plastic bags. This is so I did not need to carry a box full of crap with me to the camp kitchen where the meal was cooked. “It’s pretty ingenious”, is probably what the other homies in the camp kitchen would have been thinking, and is also no doubt what you would be thinking right now.

Some booze for the stew and some booze for me

There’s those mis en place bags in the camp kitchen

Ready to go… with a big fat side of buttery sautéed cabbage

And a little more booze for me…


NZ VENISON, ROOT VEGETABLE & STOUT STEW

(serves 4)

500g venison shoulder, diced
1 onion, diced kinda chunky
2 carrot, chopped kinda chunky
2 sticks celery, chopped kinda chunky… let’s do all of the vegetables kinda chunky, ay
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 fist sized Jerusalem artichoke, chopped
6-7 yam, chopped
½ bunch thyme
1 tablespoon green peppercorns
500ml stout
500ml stock or water
Salt to season

Season venison and brown meat over med-high heat.
Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, peppercorn bag and cook out for 5 minutes.
Add booze and stock, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes. Add artichokes and yam bag and simmer for another hour, or until meat is tender and vegetables are cooked. If the gravy starts to thicken up too much feel free to add a little more moisture in the form of stock or water.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve it up with a side of NZ’s finest booze.

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.

Singapore noodles with smoked pork

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Sometimes I forget how much I love noodles. Especially Singapore noodles. Oh, how I love Singapore noodles.

This is pretty easy, mid-week (should possibly read; great for late evening after maybe one or two too many beers when you forget that a man, and of course woman, needs to eat) cooking that is tasty as fuck and can certainly be toyed with as much as your sweet little heart desires. This time ‘round I had some leftover pork ribs that I took all the meat from like a white man taking land in centuries past, but this could easily be made with pork, chicken or beef mince, or prawns that are cooked off at the start and then returned to the pan as per the recipe, or you could even crumble in a little tofu with the vegetables if that’s your scene.

But for now – less talky, more cooky.

Put all ingredients onto a chopping board to photograph them before you cut them up

…and then maybe cut it all up and take anther photo

High heat sizzle sizzle

Noodles and condiments is good times for my face

So much about this makes me happy to be alive


SINGAPORE NOODLES WITH SMOKED PORK (serves 4)

400-500g smoked pork (or some kind of meat or non meat substitute)
Rice vermicelli
1 medium brown onion or a few shallots (scallions), sliced
2 cups of chopped vegetables – today my refrigerator had celery and zucchini for me and then I found some sugar snap peas in the garden
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated or chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped chilli, crisp eshallots and fresh shallots to serve

Place noodles into a bowl that is big enough to fit them plus some. Cover noodles with room temp water for 20 minutes.
Now for another opportunity to impress your friends with your smoking hot wok antics. So yes, you will be needing a smoking hot oiled wok… or possibly a very large pan… or maybe even two regular sized pans.
Add the vegetables, garlic and ginger and give them a couple of minutes of fiery stir frying.
Now add all remaining ingredients plus the pork (or substitute meat or non-meat product) into the pan.
Give that a quick heat through and get it on the table… or possibly on a plate followed closely by onto the table, garnished with chilli and shallot.

Goodnight

Put-on-anything, back up, corny, feel good salsa

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This (or some kind of slightly bastardised, red headed step child of a version of this) is the salsa you will now use to impress people when you don’t actually have the brain capacity and/or motor skill to impress people.

This is the thesaurus of the intellectually incapacitated… it is the bath for the homeless man… it is the Google of the modern child… it is the facelift for the elderly whore… it is… time to move on.

The thing is, it will make you seem like a heaps cleverer person than you actually are.

The scenario may be something as simple as you impressing the heck out of yourself with a hangover dinner of shit-in-a-tin nachos topped with this little ray of sun shine of a salsa, or maybe you just want to mix it with a little chopped lettuce for “your own version” (wink, wink) of a chopped salad, or maybe you invite a heap of pretty girls over and impress the knickers off of them with some tasty assed tacos topped with this look-like-a-champion salsa, or maybe even your boss comes for dinner and you serve this with a beautifully roasted piece of chicken (you can find that a few posts back), sautéed spinach or kale and a delicious pan gravy.

Seriously, I am even starting to impress myself a little right now, and believe me – I’m pretty tough to win over.

Grill that corn or flash it in a pan if that’s all you got

Really close to the corn salsa

Really far away from the corn salsa


CORNY SALSA

2 sweet corn, grilled, kernels stripped
2 medium tomatoes, dice (I really can’t be too fucked to remove the seeds)
1 lebanese cucumber, deseeded and diced (Yes. I fucking deseed the cucumber. It’s heaps easier and more efficient than deseeding tomatoes though)
½ red onion, diced
50-100g feta, crumbled
½ bunch coriander and/or oregano, roughly chopped
A splash (or 10) of your favourite hot sauce
Juice of 1-2 limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Get it all into a large mixing bowl.
Mix gently to combine.
Put on something and eat it in your face.

Hastily Roasted Squab

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roasted squab
This recipe, like many of the few I have posted over the past year or so, is of a meal I cooked a while back. After which I would have scribbled a few words and maybe a piece of the story that was to accompany it a then put it on the bench with the intention of “getting onto that really soon”.

But as with many things for me at the moment I do not “get onto that really soon”. Instead I hastily type a story which requires so little thought a piece of wood could in fact write it, and is about as funny as a poo in a bathtub.

The content thing I can handle, but the humour… well, I really thought I was funnier than that.

I used to be funnier than that didn’t I?

Fuck it. I can still cook.

Glaze them up with the smoked honey for added sex appeal

Glaze them up with the smoked honey for added sex appeal

Yup

Yup

Get that salad together while the squab are resting

Get that salad together while the squab are resting

Eat it up

Eat it up

HASTILY ROASTED SQUAB WITH PEARL BARLEY & ROASTED CARROT SALAD (serves 4)

4-8 squab, depending on the size of your squably appetite
1-2 tablespoons Big Red Rub
1-2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons Blend brand smoked honey (plain ol’ honey will still do the trick)
2 cups cooked pearl barley
1 cup sauerkraut
6 medium carrots, roasted with a little oil until tender, and then cut into kinda decent chunks*
6 eshallots or baby onions, peeled and halved and roasted with the carrots*
2 spring onions or shallots, finely sliced
1 handful each parsley and mint, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
Apple cider vinaigrette to dress

• Rub the squab with butter and then season with salt and pepper and Big Red Rub. Get it into a lined baking dish and then into a preheated 200C oven for 15 minutes. Glaze with the smoked honey and return to oven for 10 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before serving (save those pan juices)
• Combine salad ingredients, dress and season
• Now if you can just put it on a plate everything is going to work out fine
• Dress with reserved pan juices and get it into your face hole

Tasty little birdy

Tasty little birdy

Shit. And I just remembered I should get onto something Christmassy pretty soon too. Really soon…

*Your smart brains will tell you that it is totally feasible to put the carrots and onions in the oven at the same time as your squab and then chop it into the salad while the squab is resting

Crumbed fish so easy my kids could do it

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crumbed breaded fish
Crumbed (breaded) fish is so easy my kids could do it.

…and they did.

Well, I would be more correct in saying that Obi made it. He made it look as piss easy as it should look too.

Flour, egg wash and then bread crumbs. That is not rocket science. Building rockets is rocket science. This isn’t even close to a chance meeting with Stephen Hawking. It is not, I repeat, not science.

It is though, a pretty satisfying way to cook some nice fresh fish at home. Also, just to reiterate, it is also very easy and has the added advantage of going to be a whole heap tidier than pulling out the battered and deep fried version of fish dinner… especially if you are a first timer…

I’ll even make it more of a showy-telly-looky kind of thing, as apposed to one of those lotsa-wordy-ready things that take all of the mental capacity of some one who is a fair bit smarter than you’re looking right now.

Whoa. Soz. Really , I’m not trying to insult anyone… except maybe you. Yeah, you know who I’m talking to.

So on with the photos then…

Get the kids up really early and get on a boat that will take you into the ocean

Get the kids up really early and get on a boat that will take you into the ocean

Suss out some whales on the way (we will not be crumbing these today)

Suss out some whales on the way (we will not be crumbing these today)

Mandatory pic of kids with fish

Mandatory pic of kids with fish

Fillet and skin fish. We cut the fillets into fish finger sort of looking pieces because the boys wanted to make home made fish fingers, but goujons is probably the more correct term

Fillet and skin fish. We cut the fillets into fish finger sort of looking pieces because the boys wanted to make home made fish fingers, but goujons is probably the more correct term

That is followed by a roll through the flour, a dip through the egg wash and then a quick romp through the breadcrumbs. Read it again if you couldn't make sense of it...

That is followed by a roll through the flour, a dip through the egg wash and then a quick romp through the breadcrumbs. Read it again if you couldn’t make sense of it…

Obi shallow fries the fish fingers over med-low heat for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly

Obi shallow fries the fish fingers over med-low heat for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly

Eaty time with a potato, roasted carrot, chorizo and corn salad and home made tartare

Eaty time with a potato, roasted carrot, chorizo and corn salad and home made tartare


You can do this shit, trust me.

And if you are thinking you might like the look of the salad we had with ours, rest assured it will be hitting these inter-web pages soon!

Very bloody tasty indeed

Very bloody tasty indeed

Winner winner, smoked chicken burgers for dinner

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smoked pulled chicken burgers
This week my eldest son Seba, informed me that he thought it was about time he got the hang of smoking.

I could’ve have been concerned and demanded that he stopped hanging out with that tough crowd down the street because they were obviously leading him astray, but I was pretty confident that wasn’t the type of smoking he was talking about. You see, around foodisthebestshitever HQ the main type of smoking we talk about is the smoking of meat.

Once again I could understand how this could be misconstrued, but believe me when I say there is nothing biblical nor quick-cash-earning about this type of smoking of the meat. Also, you should just get your filthy mind out of the gutter, this is my kid we’re talking about here…

So at this point, this 10 year old product of coital union between myself (I think) and my dear wife Jennee almost has me in tears. The lad wanting to follow in the foot steps of his old man, manning the pit and feeding the hoards who desired the smoky goodness. I was damn well impressed. This was definitely a proud dad moment for me.

After a little light reading of a few of my favourite BBQ books Seba declared he thought he would like to spatchcock a bird (his words not mine) and smoke it for a few hours.

Sound idea… except the butcher was sans whole birds today, so I suggested we may need to settle for some chicken breast, possibly pulled and sauced and made into burgers.

Seba was agreeable, so we purchased said breasts and the rest, as they say, is history.

Big Red Rub, butter and breasts... sounds like my kind of party

Big Red Rub, butter and breasts… sounds like my kind of party

Smoker, Fiskars X25 block splitter, beer brewed by the Coopers family and a full watering can just because safety doesn't take a holiday

Smoker, Fiskars X25 block splitter, beer brewed by the Coopers family and a full watering can just because safety doesn’t take a holiday

Seba get's that chicken in the smoker. The task seemed pretty easy for him...

Seba get’s that chicken in the smoker. The task seemed pretty easy for him…

Seba rolling those boobies through the red butter

Seba rolling those boobies through the red butter

Starting to turn into some really sexy breasts

Starting to turn into some really sexy breasts

Loaded as fuck

Loaded as fuck


SMOKED & PULLED CHICKEN BURGERS

(serves 4)

3x 200g chicken breast (free range, yeah. Give the little chooky a half decent life at least)
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 tablespoon butter
BBQ sauce
4 burger buns (I like a slightly sweet milk bun, but I’m sure what ever you choose will be fine)
Lettuce leaves, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise and sliced jalapeno to served

• Rub chicken boobs with butter and then Big Red Seasoning
• Set aside in the fridge to marinated for an hour or so
• Get your weber or upright smoker or whatever it is you use to smoke things ready to go. Somewhere around the 110-120C is the temp I like for this sort of thing
• Smoke chicken on a tray for approximately 2 hours or until cooked through. Turn the chicken and baste with juices every 30 minutes
• Rest chicken for 10 minutes
• Shred it, pull it, do your thing
• Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary
• Moisten chicken with 2-3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce and pile onto burger buns layered with the other ingredients. I shouldn’t need to hold your hand through this one by now, but if I do… well… I’m just not going to. Here is a picture of my 10 year old son sorting it out all by himself. That’s all

Honestly. This is Seba just rocking the "I got this pops"

Honestly. This is Seba just rocking the “I got this pops”

This was seriously one of the fucking best

This was seriously one of the fucking best

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