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…

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

Beef shin chilli con carne nacho type things

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beef shin chilli con carne
Chilli is pretty simple. Fried tortillas are pretty simple. I am pretty simple. This is going to work out just fine.

The thing about beef shin is that it scares a lot of people. Not like Jay Leno or carnival folk scary, but scary like changing a nappy for your best friends kid; it doesn’t conjure up images of fun times and you know the results are something that could be terrible at best. But the one thing about the beef shin is it is so damn good if you give it a bit of “low and slow” loving. Cooking a beef shin like this is a pretty sure fire way to end up with a cracking beefy meal, and granddad being able to ditch the Viagra for ever. The gelatinousness texture and meatiness of the beef shin can only be described as luxurious, with a possible secondary reference to it being unctuous… and those of you who know me know for a fact that those are words that I’m only going to use when all other avenues have been exhausted. Beef shin, when cooked properly, is a damn fine experience for all. Or possibly just the person eating it…

So this is what I am giving to the human race to make the world a happier, safer and just gosh-darn nicer place to be. Unless you are vegetarian. If you are vegetarian you will probably not enjoy this so much. I dare say it would actually be quite unusual of you to cook this recipe. This oh-so-beefy, gelantinous-y, unctuous (I know. I used it again), cheesy and still oh-so-beefy chilli

Start by cooking some chilli. Heck, just eat that with a bowl of rice if that's what you're feeling...

Start by cooking some chilli. Heck, just eat that with a bowl of rice if that’s what you’re feeling…

Fry or oven bake some tortilla crisps

Fry or oven bake some tortilla crisps

Make a little avocado and tomato salad dressed with some lime juice. That's the sort of shit that tastes good and is super healthy for you too

Make a little avocado and tomato salad dressed with some lime juice. That’s the sort of shit that tastes good and is super healthy for you too

Aw yeah she's ready

Aw yeah she’s ready

Get in my face right now

Get in my face right now


BEEF SHIN CHILLI CON CARNE NACHO TYPE THINGS (enough for a few cowboys)

1 big ol’ beef shin, 1.2kg or so. Get your butcher to cut it in half or thirds if big lumps of meat scare you
2 brown onions, diced
1 capsicum (pepper), diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons Tex-Mex spice mix (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon smoked chilli powder (or not if you’re feeding the younglings)
1 cinnamon stick
750ml beer (whatever you drink will work fine. Even if you wanna be a smart ass and use root beer, I reckon that could work too)
3x 400g tins crushed tomatoes or tomato passata
2x 400g tin black beans (or kidney beans or a beany mix if that’s how you roll)
2 pieces good dark chocolate
Seasoning
2 cups grated cheese. One type or a mix of your faves
Fried tortilla crisps, avocado salad and sour cream to serve

• Get a nice big pot out for this one
• Season beef shin and sauté in a little oil until it starts to get some colour
• Add onions, capsicum, garlic, Tex-Mex spice, chilli powder and cinnamon. Cook out for a few minutes until vegetables are soft
• Add beer, tomatoes and beans, and simmer on really low heat for 3 hours, stirring regularly. This could also be a slow cooker moment if that’s how you roll
• Check if beef is tender by pushing a bit from the bone (no rocket science or molecular gastronomy involved in that one), if not simmer for another half an hour
• Once beef is tender remove from pot, allow to cool a little and then shred
• Get the chocolate into the pot
• Return beef to pot, check seasoning and serve how ever you feel is going to do it for you on this day; with rice and a tortilla or two, over nacho chips with grated cheese followed by a short trip to the oven, or possibly what I have done today… cover the chilli with a couple of handfuls of cheese and whack it under the grill (broiler) or into the oven for 5-10 minutes to get all roof-of-your-mouth-melty.
• Serve that shit up with fried tortilla crisps, a simple avocado and tomato salad and some sour cream or natural yoghurt

TEX MEX SPICE MIX

¼ cup each dried thyme, oregano and ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
• Mix it all together and store extra in an air tight container for your next Tex Mex feast

I really liked that avocado number

I really liked that avocado number

Rueben-ish Sandwich

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reuben sandwich
Today I will instruct you on how to make my version of the Reuben sandwich – a sandwich made famous by someone, but it is one of those culinary historical events that are damn near fucking impossible to pin down one actual origin for. Thus I shall be calling this a Reuben-ish sandwich, as I shall be basically making it with ingredients I have on hand and/or are readily available in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales, and not even referring to any type of kitchen tested, pre-typed, recipe AKA. I shall be winging it.

Since making this sandwich I have well and truly fell in love with this Russian dressing business. Once again I have created my own version of said dressing, thus it shall be known as the Russian-esque dressing.

Oh yeah, and I put some really nice ham in there too, just because I really like the idea of ham in this sandwich/burger and not at all because that is what goes into a Reuben sandwich. This shit just keeps getting better and better!

I will be putting all of these almost-Reuben sandwich ingredients together using sorta-sense-making sentences.

So as you should be able to see by now, this is the usual miss-matched, slung together, fly by the seat of your pants, shit you have grown to expect from foodisthebestshitever. You’re welcome. For what I’m not sure, but you truly are very welcome ☺.

Pile it up exactly like a bossss

Pile it up exactly like a bossss

Get your pickles ready... I will give you the recipe for these in a post or two

Get your pickles ready… I will give you the recipe for these in a post or two

Nommy nommy goodness

Nommy nommy goodness


MY REUBEN-ISH SANDWICH/BURGER

3-4 slices pastrami (or I am been led to believe that corned beef will also do a grand job here)
2-3 slices decent ham
1 slice Swiss cheese
½ cup sauerkraut
A good slather of Russian dressing (recipe below)
A burger bun or sliced bread
Some pickles and potato crisps to serve

• For toasted sandwich stylee; put everything together between two slices of quality bread (rye is traditional, but I’m pretty sure this whole thing is about giving traditional a “cheeky one” roughly from behind, so just use whatever bread you damn well feel like), get a little butter and oil in a pan over medium heat and then fry sandwich for 2 or so minutes each side until browned and toasty and warm. Once again, eat it in your face
• For the burger stylee; heat the meats through in a pan over medium flame. Once warmed pile meats on top of each other so they will fit in your bun and put cheese on top to melt a little. Put meat pile onto base of burger bun, put sauerkraut on top and then Russian dressing. Eat it in your face

RUSSIAN-ESQUE DRESSING

1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
¼ cup diced onion (from roughly ½ small onion)
¼ cup chopped dill pickles
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon each Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce

• Pulse all ingredients in a food processer until combined or chop the onion and pickles nice and fine and mix it all together in a bowl
• Left over dressing is relly good to dip chips (French fries) into, or pretty much just put it on everything…

Bye bye

Bye bye

Cheesy ham and corn fritters – using your Christmas leftovers…

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ham, corn and cheese fritters
This is me bringing double meaning to a post (although it is questionable that any post that I have written would have even single meaning to start off with…) I did last year on using leftovers. Not only am I using re-using yesterday’s food, I am also re-using last year’s post, just with a couple of changes so I don’t look like a complete lazy bastard. Last year it was cheesy ham, cheese and potato cakes (and you can suss that recipe right here) and this year it’s going to be cheesy ham and corn fritters.

Genius.

Premium time and resource management or just straight up slackness.

I care not.

I am regurgitating this nice little Christmas leftover recipe that I wrote last year and cleverly disguising it as me doing you a favor – playing on your fears of not being organized for the post-apocalyptic, neo-consumerist, pre Christmas rush. Yes, I certainly did not do three years of a psychology degree but mother effer I have got your number!

Make these fritters with leftover Christmas ham, or just go and buy some good ham specifically for the task as these things are damn well worth it! Salty-smoky ham, oozy cheese, crunchy-poppy sweet corn and glutinous floury goodness… you know you want that.

Mix that up

Mix that up

4-5 minutes each side going to be happy times for all

4-5 minutes each side going to be happy times for all

...and then onto the flairiest "holiday house platter" I could lay my hands onto and hit with my home made tomato ketchup

…and then onto the flairiest “holiday house platter” I could lay my hands onto and hit with my home made tomato ketchup


CHEESY HAM & CORN FRITTERS (serves 4)

1-2 cups diced Christmas ham
1 cup grated Wensleydale or good cheddar or something that looks like cheese
½ whatever onion, small dice
1 cup of sweetcorn, kernals removed (roughly 1 cup of kernals)
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon of your favourite mustard
A splash or two of hot sauce
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
Salt and pepper
Oil for frying

• Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Heat a good splash of oil in a pan over medium heat. Add a heaped dessert spoon of fritter mix per portion and keep going until your pan is full but still has enough room for a finger width or so of space between each fritter, and fry for 4-5 minutes each side or until golden brown and cooked (break one open to check if they’re cooked through)
• Keep the first batch warm in a 100C oven whie you cook the second batch if you want your food hot
• These can be served with eggs, avocado and chutney for breakfast, a salad and some salsa for lunch or dinner, or tomato sauce (ketchup) for a late night a-little-bit-pissed-and-really-don’t-give-a-fuck snack
• Rocking

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?

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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

The Empire Café and Burger Bar, Mullumbimby… a really nice place to eat a burger

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the empire cafe and burger bar mullumbimby
This place is doing the town of Mullumbimby a service.

It has brought to town a cracking range of burgers so that the local burgerfiles may be satisfied. And I’m sure it has done many other good things for the town to boot – fed a lonely puppy dog or mowed lawns for the elderly or something like that, just because the people who were working in the place seemed like they would do that sort of stuff. They just seemed genuinely nice and like they actually gave a fuck about how your stupid day was going or if you were enjoying your meal. When we arrived at 11am to realise that lunch started at 12, we told them no worries but we would come back in an hour when lunch (and the freaking burgers that I had driven out here to eat) were ready to get into my face, and then do you know what the young lady behind the counter said? Probably not, unless you were one of the three folks sitting along the wall, who had their faces deeply embedded in their laptops… but I don’t think that was you… well, I don’t think it was… Well what that young lady said was this; “You can order off the lunch menu now if you want”. I did want. I did want very much and I was very thankful for the offer. That is certainly something that could be called a textbook definition of hospitality.

The menu looks almost exactly like this

The menu looks almost exactly like this


I feel like I should be taking a bit more piss out of something these folks did, but I gotta tell you, everything about these peeps was just nice. Sure it was starting to seem like they may be part of some kind of alien worshipping cult, but I was going to give their burgers a go none-the-less. I was liking this place a whole heap by now, but it was way past the time that I needed to be finding out if their Grazza McFilthy Mouth winning service was backed up by premium product!

“Zorba the Greek” ($13) for Dr Chris, the boys both ordered “the Wolverine” ($14), I hooked into “the Drover” (the name of a burger. I did not try to hook into the actual drover as he seemed like he wouldn’t really be a broke back mountain type of guy) ($13) and then I grabbed some onion rings and sweet potato wedges ($4 each) for the family… or mostly for myself.

The Wolverine. What a fricking beast!

The Wolverine. What a fricking beast!


“The Wolverine” was indeed a beast that was almost enough to leave a permanent scar on my children… almost. Although it did not come with retractable hand knife things, it did indeed come with a beef pattie, bacon, fried egg, caramelized pineapple, cream cheese, beetroot, tomato and lettuce. This thing stood tall and proud and it was not going to take shit from anyone that’s for sure. I don’t know if I was more impressed with the burger or the fact I had to fight my kids for a bite, but it was damn impressive either way. Truly a beast!

Dr Chris, who you may remember from “I’m not an actual doctor but I’m more than happy to take a look for you” fame, or possibly from the “A Current Affair” exclusive, or even from the fact that he is my dearest Jennee’s birth father, gave his lamb burger the tick of approval, although he said he was yearning for a bigger chunk of meat. Now, I’m not sure if he’d gone totally off-subject or if he was still referring to the meat in the burger but that shredded lamb would’ve done me fine.

Bloody younger generation and their damn trendiness *waves fist in air like crazy old person*

That Drover

That Drover


“The Drover” was perfect. Yeah, I know, that’s what she said. Everything I need in a burger was held between the cheeks of that decent bun; well seasoned beef pattie, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, chilli jam and chipotle mayo. So damn good.

I washed my burger down with the best sweet potato wedges I have quite possibly ever eaten and a few different condiments to lube them up a little for the journey to my belly.

The best sweet potato wedges with the third best onion rings

The best sweet potato wedges with the third best onion rings


OK, the question of everybody’s lips; the onion rings. You know the humble onion ring is a pretty touchy subject around these parts but, well, I’m always going to give them a go. They were OK but they were more of a thick batter ring than an onion ring. I did not send them to the lab for testing but that batter was waaaay to thick for me to find too much onion in there, so they were kind of forgettable which is probably why I kind of forgot about them. I know that you may think that I have some kind of onion ring hex on me with my luck lately, but I’m sure they will come good soon…

I don’t even know how I found out about this place but I’m sure it was an accident. Actually, that is a complete lie. I do know how I found out about this place and I know it was an accident.

The story goes like this; Jennee was scouring the guide for the Mullum Music Festival (a pretty good reason to head to Mullum in itself) when she came across an ad for these guys. She sent me a pic of said ad and then I went here. That is it. I love a short story!

Nom nom chomp chomp

Nom nom chomp chomp


So yes, the Empire Burger Bar has done the little hinterland town of Mullumbimby a very generous service.

Go there so I may sleep well tonight for I have spread the good word.

Empire Café and Burger Bar Mullumbimby

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