Maple baked beans


This is a pretty darn easy recipe for some pretty darn good beans.

Surely that’s enough to encourage you to have a go.

If you were smart enough to put your Christmas ham bone in the freezer so it may wait for a good and noble use, now is the time to rip that sucker out.

The beans go into the pot with all of the good bits of smoked pig

MAPLE BAKED BEANS

(serves 8 as a side)

1 ham bone with last skerricks of ham (or 300-400g chopped ham, bacon, smoked pork, smoked sausage or whatever smoky-porky goodness you may be hiding)
1 brown onion, diced
4x 400g tins cooked pinto beans
½ cup maple syrup
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1lt water
A pinch of salt and pepper to season

Sauté the onion with the ham.
(This can be done in a kettle BBQ or bullet for a little extra smoke if you like it like that. I like it like that).
Add all other ingredients and cook over low-medium coals with the lid on for 45 or so minutes, adding a splash or two of water if it starts to get a little dry (this could also be cooked in a preheated 160C (320F) oven or on the stovetop).
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Remove bone and pick over for any little bits of ham that want to be thrown back into the beans. Throw said ham back into the beans.
Eat beans with a fat slab of ham on the side… or some BBQ…or eggs… you get the picture, right?

All good to go

Special fried rice. Why is it so special? It just is, that’s why.


This cracking way to use up extra Christmas ham (that you will probably want to book mark for next year) is based on the Aussie-Chinese take away restaurant classic – the special fried rice.

Why is it called special fried rice?

I am not really sure, but maybe it had the little pink shrimpy things in it and the bog-standard fried rice didn’t.

Whatever the reason, I do remember the special fried rice costing an extra couple o’ bucks a portion and it was worth every penny.

My big tips for cooking fried rice are;
Cook the rice in the morning or the day before so it breaks up nicely and doesn’t get all clumpy and shitty.
Get everything ready. This is called your mise en place. Translated this literally means “putting in place”. Mise en place is super important in the world of wok cookery because it’s such a hot and fast process and you really don’t have the time to be fucking around trying to chop things while the rest is cooking.

The mise en place says it all
Seriously. GET. IT. SORTED!
I used hot coals as my heat source and let me say, it worked a treat
Get all up in that!

SPECIAL FRIED RICE (serves 6)

1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 knob ginger, grated or chopped
3 cups finely diced zucchini, corn, frozen peas, carrot, capsicum etc
1-2 cups diced ham
1 cup diced cooked prawns or shrimp
1 cup chopped omelette or scrambled egg (from 3 eggs)
6 cups cooked rice (white or brown is good)
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
Salt and pepper to season
½ bunch shallots (spring onions, scallions), sliced
Vegetable oil
A wok and a hot fire source

Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in your wok hot over a high heat.
Add onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute.
Add vegetables and stir fry for a further 2-3 minutes.
Add ham and prawns and stir fry for a further 2 minutes.
Add omelette and rice and stir fry for another 2 minutes.
Add soy and shallot and stir through.
Taste to check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
Serve it with extra soy sauce and some kind of chilli sauce on the side.
Pretty easy – really good.

Ham


Ham.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of different stories floating around the world wide super-web at the moment all tell you how to cook a decent ham… well, in actual fact that may be more applicable to the couple of weeks prior to Christmas but, as we all know, I am not the most talented at being super organized for this sort of thing so for now I shall just be pretending I am super organized and on the program (and not just the methadone program for a change).

So, about that ham…

Like I said, there is a lot of different ways to cook a ham much like say, skinning a cat or pleasuring a lady-man. I am not here to tell you my method is more righteous and will light the path to the heavens for you, but let me tell you it is pretty damn good and I am feeling more than just a little enlightened right now.

Hallelujah!

The other thing about what I did is, well, I cooked the ham from scratch which automatically gets you 300% more kudos than just glazing a store bought smoky leg o’ pig. Also smoking a ham is not nearly as hard as you think it might be, as long as you have a smoker (Bullet/barrel or off-set is what I have used) and a probe thermometer.

You will also be needing a brined (or pickled) leg of pork for this exercise. You should be able to hook this up from your local decent butcher if you give him a little notice.

This recipe is for 9kg of pure porcine glory. If you have a smaller leg, or even half a leg, the cooking time is going to be reduced. Just keep an eye on that internal temperature and hoist it when it hits 170F.

You’re gonna need a smoker
This is a very sexy sight
Get the skin off it (but save it for something like baked beans at the end of the week), glaze it up and get it back into your heated barrel
Carve it at the table like a boss because let’s face it, you are definitely a boss

SMOKED HAM

(serves a small village)

1x 8-9kg leg of brined (pickled) pork
A smoker
Lump charcoal
A few bits of flavoursome smoky wood. I used ironbark

Get your smoker on and get it up to 225-250F. The ham will take somewhere in the vicinity of 8 hours to cook, so bare this in mind when you are setting up your pit.
Add a piece of smoky flavour wood.
Get that leg of pork into the smoker, insert temperature probe into thickest part of the leg and put the lid on so it may do its thing.
Drink a beer.
If you are happy your pit is going to hold its temp for a few hours you could go and have a nap or watch I little bit of that carnival folk pornography I know you love so much.
Now it’s all about keeping that temperature and chucking a bit of smoky flavour wood on the coals every hour.
Once that internal probe tells you it’s 170F in the middle of that leg it’s time to pull it out.
Now you have ham.
Rest the ham for half an hour or refrigerate for a later date. Remove skin, leaving as much of the fat as you think you like (I like to leave it all for flavour and moistness), score (I gave it 10 out of 10 ;)), place in a baking dish and glaze with something sweet and sexy – this year I used 1 cup of honey and a little rosemary.
Whack it back into the pit or a suitably heated oven for another 1-1.5 hours, reglazing with the pan juices every 15 minutes.
Carve that thing at the table like a boss.
Amen.

Enjoyed by parents and children alike

The Christmas that just went…

At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze...
At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze…
So there it was.

Christmas.

It came as quickly as a teenage boy… and then left feeling just as ashamed.

The Optimus Prime-esque light displays that were clearly trying to signal another culture from the depths of a very distant solar system will soon yield to the weight of more consumerism in the form of hot crossed buns and chocolate eggs which are seemingly the incubating spawn of chocolate rabbits which are both some how meant to tie into a religious celebration-slash-holiday.

We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour... everyone else mostly chose other drinks
We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour… everyone else mostly chose other drinks

I don’t really follow this whole thing at all.

But really, who gives a fuck.

What ever it is, it is a damn fine reason to get together with your friends and family, and possibly even a random cling-on or two. You share a drink (many drinks), some food (much food) and maybe a story about how two of your squad hooked up together at the same event last year (not appropriate when only family is in attendance). Just a damn good time really. Even carnies and people who hate everything else about life will generally still enjoy the time that is Christmas.

There was much food on the table... and also a fair bit of booze
There was much food on the table… and also a fair bit of booze

As a wise man once told me, “there are systems in place just so we can stand one another”, and I agree that this is definitely one of them.

Right now I sit on a hotel balcony, enjoying a little down time after having the craziest two months of my cheffing career to date, and I ponder how beautiful that whole silly season is* – the truly satisfying climax after the fore play and gentle caress of the trickle of summer function bookings through out the year. Dates are tentatively set, invites drawn up, weddings and birthdays and Christmas parties are all in the mix.

And then it’s on.

The slippery finger that is the rest of the year is inevitably followed by the fully blown orgy (black plastic and raspberry jelly included) that is the start of summer… the silly season… our glory days. Then, as quickly as it begun it is over again. We sit on our milk crates and designated small section of brick wall out the back of the restaurant and we admire those that are still among us…. Chaffed lips and post coital haze… enlarged sphincters… mental scars that will never heal…

Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz... As is trifle... we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo
Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz… As is trifle… we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo

Thank god for Christmas.

I fucking love this shit.

#beingachefisthebestshitever

And then all of a sudden I was here... writing this...
And then all of a sudden I was here… writing this…

*And, if I’m totally honest, I also ponder an Edward Norton in “Fight Club” or the Donnie Darko guy in “Donnie Darko” type catastrophe where the balcony crumbles underneath me and I’m done. Yes I have head issues.

Christmas ham glaze and a tasty stuffed bird.

That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits
That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits

I’ve noticed shit is getting a fair bit Christmassy around the joint at the mo’. Like, really effing Christmassy.

My smart brains told me that due to my little issue with finding time to hit this blog up at the moment, I should get onto some kind of Christmassy type post pretty fricking quick smart or the whole thing will pass me by and I’ll be left standing out the front of the house in my freshly pressed favourite baby blue suit, ironed tie and hippest new sock-sandal combo, with no date for the school dance… again…*

I also thought that this might be one of those ever-rare occasions where I may have inadvertently been presented with the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. You see, I have been asked by a local restaurant reviewer blog (Get Forked and Fly) via our restaurant (the Stockpot Kitchen), if I might like to share a recipe with her readers. Are you keeping up with me here?

Bam. Enter my Christmassy story and a couple of cracking recipes for some tasty tasty yuletide food to wow your friends and family (or possibly just your ever-growing clowder of cats) this Christmas.

The thing about living in Australia (It’s a country. Under where you live. Kinda like your basement but with less gimp masks and more sunshine) is that it is often summer time at Christmas. In fact, I believe there is more than an 85% chance of it being summer in Australia when Christmas hits. Fact. So there you have it – it is often warm in Australia at Christmas time because of the summer.

Because of the high probability of warmth, often the people of Australia will opt for some kind of cold, salady type lunch – some fresh prawns and oysters, maybe some cold roast chicken and things of the such. Our family, well we like to have it all – cold, hot, raw, cooked, drunkly undercooked, whatever. Nothing is barred from our table. There is but one prerequisite – whatever the food is there is enough of it so that we may eat ourselves sober over the course of the day. Fo’ reals.

Prawns, oysters, a stuffed bird and ham is a damn fine start.

A good ham is quite possibly one of my favourites.

I really like ham.

For the last couple of years I have been smoking my own ham, and this is something I will continue to do as I was really effing happy with the result. I do understand that you may not have the time, inclination or facilities to smoke your own ham so I will not like you any less if you get a nice ham from your local smoker of the pork… heck, I would even understand if you ended up with a glazed log of devon on your Christmas table. It’s fine. Do what you need to do. It’s all about that sexy-assed glaze today.

The smoking of the ham
The smoking of the ham

HAM WITH SEXY-ASSED PEACHY BOURBON SMOKY HONEY GLAZE

1 leg of ham, skin removed and fat scored
1 cup peach and red pepper relish (recipe follows)
½ cup smoked honey
½ cup bourbon

• Combine all glaze ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring until it all comes together Hannibal styles
• Whack your ham into a baking dish that’s going to fit it and pour half of the glaze over the top, brushing it into all of the little score crevices
• Bake at 150C for an hour, or until ham is heated through, basting with extra glaze every 15 minutes or so
• If you like some extra crusty little over-caramelised charred bits you can bump the heat up a little for the final 15 minutes. 180C should give you what you need
• Cover ham loosely in foil and rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve and then pour extra pan juices over ham and serve
• Leftover ham is pretty much really good to eat any old how – toasties, with eggs for breakfast, on a ploughmans, chopped into croquettes or fritters, straight off of your girlfriends boobi… e… s… It’s just really good, OK?

ELEANOR CROMWELL’S PEACH & RED PEPPER (capsicum) RELISH

Eleanor is a very nice lady and she sent me this recipe for what is now my favourite peach and capsicum relish.

2 long red chilli, chopped
12 red capsicum, no stalk, with seed, chopped
12 large peaches, chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large lemons, cut in half
5 cups castor sugar

• In food processor, blitz chilli, capsicum with seeds and peaches until coarsely chopped
• Add all ingredients except sugar to a large heavy based pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times to prevent sticking
• Remove lemons and add sugar
• Simmer for ½ hour more, or until the mixture is reduced slightly and thickened (you can check viscosity by putting a couple of tablespoons of relish into the fridge for 15 minutes to set)

——————————————–

The bird after it's time in the wood fired oven
The bird after it’s time in the wood fired oven

You must know how to roast a chook by now so I shall spare you the insult to your intelligence, although I’m sure I’ll say something soon enough that will make up for this moment of compassion. Today we will concentrate on the stuffing aka. The tasty shit you get inside the local greasy spoon rotisserie chook.

Stuffing is plenty easy, made delicious with a bit of smoky bacon (but let’s be honest, what isn’t made better with smoky bacon-y goodness) and some herbs from your garden. If you don’t have a herb garden yet all I can say is that you clearly don’t listen to anything I say and don’t deserve delicious roast chicken… and you are simple.

There, that should make up for the tenderness I showed you earlier.

The stuffing of the bird
The stuffing of the bird

BACON, CRAISIN & HERB STUFFING FOR A CHICKEN OR GOOSE OR TURKEY

2 rashers bacon, diced
½ brown onion, diced
¼ cup craisins, reconstituted with enough booze to cover them. White wine, brandy, marsala, anything boozy
1 handful mixed herbs; I have parsley, sage and rosemary from the garden. Thyme would be good if you have some
¾ cup breadcrumbs made from some old sour dough bread if you have some
Seasoning

• Sauté onion and bacon until onion is soft and translucent
• Remove from heat, add craisins and toss to warm through slightly. Leave to cool
• Combine all other ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Stuff it up the wrong un of your once happily free-ranging chicken. There is no delicate way to perform this task so get your hand right in there. If you have any leftover stuffing whack that in the pan half way through cooking. It still tastes like damn tasting shit
• Roast it up
• Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes
• Carve and eat
• The stuffing goes really well in a leftover roast chicken sandwich with homemade mayo.

*No joke I wrote this thing a month ago and then bam, Christmas is here in a matter of days and I have no idea where the last month actually gone.

Christmas Pate for New Years Eve

christmas pate
Just three things;

You probably still have a few Christmas leftovers.

You’re probably going to need something to snack tonight on as you fill your face with ridiculous amounts of cheap domestic champagne (or should that be bubbles? I know it should definitely be bubbles. Not Mr Bubbles though – he was a very dirty man with some very nasty hobbies from back in the 80’s), so when you empty your stomach over the hedge at 1am there is actually something in there and you don’t end up turning yourself inside out like a dirty sock.

You really don’t care about my year in summary, so I’ll just get in and out plenty fast and leave you with one final recipe (and no unexpected pregnancy – that’s a different type of in and out) for 2016.

I would kinda hope that if you don’t have leftovers it would be obvious that you can cook some meat specifically for it… but hey, I’m certainly not holding my breath…. And you shouldn’t either, because if you do you could die from suffocating.

(Yep. I know that is 4 things. That whole counting thing gets me every time. And then I can’t even be assed to go back to the top of the page and change the 3 to a 4, but instead I write a paragraph about how special I am and you get to smile smugly to yourself as you realise your life aint actually that bad)

*must remember to be nicer to stupid people in 2016*

Getting it all together. This is way too easy
Getting it all together. This is way too easy

Blitz it up
Blitz it up

Eat it with crusty bread and pickled things. I really can't believe how easy that was
Eat it with crusty bread and pickled things. I really can’t believe how easy that was

CHRISTMAS PATE

250g leftover roast chicken or goose, roughly chopped
250g leftover Christmas ham, roughly chopped
½ cup of stuffing or a few cooked chicken livers if you have some
a few elves and/or reindeer if there are still some about and you need to get them the fuck out of your face
a bit of leftover Christmas cheer… although, that’s probably well and truly gone by now
¼ cup aioli
a handful of mixed herbs such as parsley, sage and thyme, chopped
100g butter, melted
seasoning (or just wait a little longer until the credit card bills start rolling in and then you can season it with your own glistening tears)

• Blitz meats in a food processer until you have a coarse paste
• Add all ingredients except butter and pulse until combined. Don’t go too far with the pulsing here because you want the pate to have a little texture
• Check seasoning. Cry a little more if it needs it
• Scoop pate into something that will hold it… enamelware seems to be quite trendy at the mo’. Top with a few extra herbs (if you have some left. It’s not like I told you to reserve some or anything. soz) and melted butter and place in the refrigerator to set for 15-20 minutes
• Serve with crusty bread and pickled things from the garden
• Seriously, happy New Year folks. Thanks for all of the fun in 2015. It’s been ripping!

A farm in the hills makes a pretty damn good setting to eat your pate
A farm in the hills makes a pretty damn good setting to eat your pate