Pretty easy sausage meatball pasta

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This is easy-tasty-good piss-easy mid-week cooking ala foodisthebestshitever personified.

The big secret here is if you get a good sausage you will defo be a happy woman.

Wait…

Um…

What I meant to say is; if you get a good sausage from your butcher half the work is already done for you. Yup. That’s my big secret.

Seriously.

A decent butcher will have a few different sausages to choose from so I would suggest something herby or something with some spice, like a fresh chorizo, and then half the battle is already won. Literally then the hardest thing you will need to do to get a decent dinner on the table is to boil the correct amount of pasta needed to feed only the people sitting around said table and not the population of a small northern Italian village.

Add a few vegetables that you have wrestled from the grip of the depths-of-the-back-of-the-fridge-demon, a few subtle herbs*, a splash of whatever trashy white wine you have in the coffee cup in front of you and some cooked pasta (or instant noodles if you’re feeling reals trashy), and you will be eating a pretty damn fine pasta for your dinner.

And don’t feel like this could only be done on a stove top. Anything you can cook in a pan can be cooked on the coals or on a grill… just saying… it’s a pretty good way to do camping like a boss.

Little balls of meaty goodness getting made by my children. So bloody simple.

Brown those balls

Get some green things into the pan

…and then get some pasta in there too

A few subtle herbs. Bahahahaha… subtle herbs

Get into my face time

SAUSAGE MEATBALL & GREEN STUFF PASTA

Serves 4

Enough cooked pasta for 4 people, plus a tablespoon or two of the water it was cooked in
500g good thick sausages, each sausage pushed from its skin and formed into 5-6 meatballs
1 anchovy
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large handful chopped fresh herbs – sage, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary and curly parsley
2 cups diced green vegetables – zucchini, broccoli and green olives… even peas would work so very well
A splash of white wine
Olive oil
Grated parmesan or pecorino to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add meatballs and sauté for 2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds to get a little browning on a fair bit of the ball.
Add anchovy, garlic, half of the chopped herbs and the vegetables, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until starting to colour a little.
Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine. Deglaze your own face with a large tumbler of said white wine. Cook out for another minute.
Toss through pasta and 1-2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and heat through.
Toss through remaining herbs.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Distribute that good stuff between 4 bowls. Top with parmesan and a splash of olive oil if you’re feeling it.
Eat it in your face.

*Bahahaha… subtle herbs. I don’t even know what a subtle herb is. Man up and get some punch-in-face herbs in that pasta so they may party with the sausage like a cheap prostitute and they can all hit the front page of tomorrows local rag together.

Bangers and mash with Paddy’s Day colcannon and Guinness gravy

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That time there was leftover colcannon and Guinness gravy from St Patricks day so I decided I would put some sausages on the grill with some carrots and turnips and swedes wrapped in foil so that my family may have some kind of bangers and mash for our evening meal.

You may not have any Guinness gravy left… and you probably don’t even know what colcannon is… that’s going to be OK. We’ll make some especially for it because let’s face it, bangers and mash deserves it.

Bangers and mash is good solid comfort food. Please though, do not confuse it for a big warm sausage-y, potato-y food hug – that is something that really shouldn’t exist in writing and/or real life. Case closed.

When you need* to make bangers and mash a good start is getting onto some decent sausages. The snags in the pic were provided by one of our many neighbourhood purveyors of meaty goodness – Cromwell Farms. Also worthy of note is that the herbs that go into said snags also come from the same farm.

With that foundation of good sausage we can build upwards towards the heavens with mashed potato, gravy and some other vegetable of your choosing… although it’s nearly always peas… not today though.

Hey ho, let’s go (defo a Ramones quote).

It was raining but I didn’t even care because I had my Pro Q Excel 20 (R2smoketoo) on the verandah.

Smoky, grilly sausages.

Gravy in the pot, vegetables in the foil packs.

That spread. Effort is pretty low for a pretty high yield of tasty goodness.


BANGERS & MASH (serves 4)

8 thick sausages, grilled or pan fried or baked
salt and pepper
Colcannon, vegetables and Guinness gravy to serve

Cook the sausages and serve with the other things.

I can’t believe I’m trying to write a recipe for this.

COLCANNON (serves 4)

Sauté 2-3 cups of sliced cabbage and ½ sliced onion in butter and a splash of oil until softened and just starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir through enough mashed potato for 3 people (I know it says this is for 4 serves though… the sautéed cabbage will make up that extra serve for you… I’ve got your back on this one).

GUINNESS GRAVY

Make gravy exactly like you normally make it.

If you normally use chicken or beef stock you can replace half of that with Guinness.

If you use water and a packet gravy mix you can replace half of your water with Guinness.

Pretty easy.

* Bangers and mash is something that you can need. When you have an itch for bangers and mash, that itch can only be satisfied with bangers and mash. Fact.

Get that business in your face!

Flood goals #2: roast chicken with fruity nutty stuffing

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roast chicken with fruit stuffing
The rivers and creeks that have swelled more than Gina Reinharts chin banks will eventually subside. The waters shall recede like George Costanza’s hairline and the semi rural vista shall become apparent once more. It shall sink to depths lower than teenage despair, it shall become shallower than last years prom queen and as weak and feeble as my famous person analogies. That’s what the water will do…

Until then we shall relax and enjoy this forced hiatus from the outside world. At a town meeting we shall decide that we actually prefer this cessation of ties with the outside world. We shall talk about forming our own government and who should be in charge. We will be divided through our options, heightened with a splash of cabin fever. Alliances would be formed. Weapons would be made. The townsfolk will become angry and fights will break out. Oh no, Piggy got smashed with a rock.

Maybe we just need to hope and pray for these waters to subside a little quicker…

While we wait I will take that chook I spoke about last post – you know, the chook of noble upbringing and reputable past – and I shall make a stuffing worthy of being rammed into it’s butthole. And then, my friends, I will indeed ram that stuffing into the chook’s butthole and then we shall roast it and eat it in our bellies.

That’s what I’m going to do.

Stuffy stuffy stuffing

Stuffy stuffy stuffing

Nah, that chook's stuffed mate

Nah, that chook’s stuffed mate

I do believe this would be called the money shot

I do believe this would be called the money shot

Oooh. Nom nom nom

Oooh. Nom nom nom

I told you braised greens were a good side...

I told you braised greens were a good side…

It was really good

It was really good


FRUITY NUTTY CHOOK STUFFING

1 thick slice sourdough bread, diced nice and small
2 dried figs, chopped,
1/4 cup almonds or cashews or whatever your favourite nut might be right now or a mix of the lot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
A big handful chopped herbs – parsley, sage, rosary and thyme (yeah, sing it)
A splash of white wine or apple cider to moisten slightly
1 chicken to put the stuffing inside of
Oil
Butter
Salt and pepper

• Pre heat oven to 180-200C

• Massage all of the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl (Yeah massage. Get right in there. But probably leave the essential oils out of this one…), season with a little salt and pepper and then leave to soak up the love for a few minutes

• Get the stuffing into the chicken. I do not believe there is polite and tidy way to do this so I just stuff it in there best I can

• Rub the chicken with a little oil to get it’s sweaty bald man sheen on, and then season with salt and pepper

• Into the oven for 1hr 20mins or something thereabouts – until the juices in the leg joint run clear is a good indicator. After 1hr rub chicken down with a little butter to get that all over tan going on. Once that sexy bitch is cooked rest for 15 minutes and then carve. Pan gravy and braised kale from the garden was a damn fine side for this delicious bird

When the water was at it's peak it would have been close to 2m up that cactus in the fore ground

When the water was at it’s peak it would have been close to 2m up that cactus in the fore ground

Slow Cooking the Winter Chill Away…

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The first chill of winter never gets any easier. If summer is the firm tanned buttocks of the physically active young lady, then the first chill of winter is the pale sagging buttocks of the aged lady… polyester slacks included.

Yes, that is the first chill of winter – it’s a bitch of a surprise initially, but soon enough I will be used to it and accept it and love it like the mother would love her inbred child. Well, maybe not that much love, but soon I will acclimatize to the winter is the point I’m trying to make… I think.

As I sit here trying to warm myself from the alien experience that is the winter chill, on the couch, eating an ANZAC cookie, wrapped in a snuggle rug type thing I have stolen from one of my children, I contemplate things… I contemplate stuff… I contemplate that to an outsider I would look almost exactly the same as the bearded, street wise old hobo who hangs out at the local shops. Well shit Mr “outsider”, I am sorry for trying to keep my ass warm in this time that coldness descends upon us, and yes I am going to have another Anzac cookie. I am effing going to have another Anzac cookie. I am addicted to those things. If they were about when our troops went to war these cookies could have been gifted to the enemy and could have very possibly resolved any conflict before it had a chance to happen…

Also, as always, I contemplate what may constitute my next meal and how that meal is going to help to warm my body and nurture my soul and, well, just get some warmth into my life really. I don’t want a “warm hug”. No, in fact the next person I hear referring to a warming wintery dinner as a “warm hug” will quite possibly receive them self a warm flat palm straight to the face. No “warm hug”. Sorted? Right.

A slow braise, a ragout, a stew… what ever you may call it, it is truly one of the best things one can do for their person in times of such ominous chill.

It need not be a difficult process to transform some fridge stuff and a few things from the larder into a pot of awesome if you just follow a few simple ground rules. Not a recipe, just a formula to success.

So here is my secret formula, my family jewels, my third nipple… or just the things you need to make a decent braised pot of heart warming goodness;

A winter stew...

A winter stew…

Goes into some dishes and then steamed potatoes are pushed through the ricer to make a funny pattern that the kids like on top...

Leftovers go into some dishes and then steamed potatoes are pushed through the ricer to make a funny pattern that the kids like on top…

And then the whole nom nom nom thing happens

And then the whole nom nom nom thing happens


1. Something wet. No, no, no, your sheets are not going to do for this one little boy. We need moisture and we need viscosity (there is a whole other world I can head to with a lead-in line like that, but quite frankly even the Germans wouldn’t touch it, so I to will not be going there today…) as a saucy conduit for flavours to the journey from the plate to your face. Something like stock, booze, tomatoes or a combination can provide you with the sauciness you need
2. Some herb. The stuff you keep in the tobacco tin next to the scissors and the pack of cigarette papers on the top of the fridge will not do for this. If you are smart enough to have a few herbs in your garden then you will be winning right now. A few dried herbs in the cupboard will even find you a place close to the podium. Use grass and dirt if you have nothing else on hand
3. A secondary cut. This is not the knife wound the mass murderer inflicts when the first slash is ineffective, but instead it is the collective term for the cheaper cuts of meat that need a little extra love to achieve the state that is going to leave you laying back in a smoky, post-coital haze, much like the farmer in the pig stall. The cuts of meat less favoured by the consumer because of fuck knows why, because the smart money is on the secondary cut every time; tasty and cheap, much like the Thai lady-boy… except tastier… and not that cheap. But still plenty cheap. Chicken wings and even thighs, beef shin, chuck, cheek or brisket, pork shoulder or shank, lamb shoulder or ribs all fall into this category. Quite conveniently these are all of my favourite cuts. Lucky me
4. Slow cooking. Slow cooking. Slow cooking. Slow cooking is the secondary cuts besty. Without slow cooking the secondary cut is but dog scraps. These guys hang out and the magic happens, much like Torvill and Dean, Thelma and Louise or that guy and girl from Swedish 90’s pop-rock sensation, Roxette. Slow is good. Winter loves slow. A slow cooker will do this job just fine for you

So go now and slow cook some heart warming wintery goodness. Do it quickly.

And if you have leftovers fear not. For when you have leftovers you can put them in the freezer for a rainy day, or even better (or at least as good), put them in a pie. Whether your pie be encased in pastry – puff or short crust, or maybe a pot pie with a filo or potato crust just like the one I made today. Which reminds me, I set out today to pen a little piece about a pie I made with some leftover beef ragout (hence the pie pics) but as I often do, I got caught up in the moment and, after a brief flirtation with the point, I end jumping into bad and going ten rounds of the very best with a short story about the first chill of winter and how I’m going to sort that out so now that has become a story for another time.

I seem to be making it quite clear that I’ve been beating the chill with the whiskey so far… plenty of the finest brown paper bag covered Scotch whiskey.

That was some tasty braised beef shin

That was some tasty braised beef shin

Salsa verde… a green sauce for steak and chicken and just about anything

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Salsa verde.

Literally translated this means green sauce. No mention of rocket science here so it kinda implies that even you’re going to be able to pull this one off! Also, with it’s literal name, the initials GS could also stand for “good shit”, as this is well and truly what salsa verde is – the good shit! On a less than interesting side note, GS is also my initials. What does that mean? Most certainly eff all I would say…

This is another one of those things that I have spoken about previously. Many times in fact, but as it was in the days when the viewing audience for this blog was literally four people and one small goat it received minimal notice and even minimal-er props. One effing like was the only respect that post received, which was just not a good enough result to make me happy. I may have let it slide at the time but really I had no choice – I had an audience of four people and a fucking goat for goodness sakes. Now I have at least double that amount of subscribers so I have decided it’s time to try again. I have blatantly pulled this little recipe from a post I wrote many, many months ago with absolutely no concern for the people that will point at me in the street and label me a slack, uncreative blahdy blahdy wah wah. Those people can lick things that aren’t an actual lollipop.

Salsa verde has more applications than the milk crate in student housing. Try these on for size;
• Sauce for the roast chicken I cooked last week, steak, pork, fish, all the meats really
• Dressing for a mixed grain, corn and kale salad
• Toss through pasta and top with parmesan for #easytastygood
• Use it to finish braised dishes like shanks or ox tail
• Spread it on grilled sour dough for herby bruschetta-y goodness
• Just put it on whatever. It’s really good

Herby goodness from 5 meters out the back door

Herby goodness from 5 meters out the back door

Blitzy blitzy

Blitzy blitzy

Serve it with everything

Serve it with everything


SALSA VERDE (green sauce)

2 cups each picked parsley, mint, basil and rocket (all from the back garden like a baws)
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers and the vinegar they live in
1-2 anchovies, or not if you are vegetarian
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup light olive oil or something less fruity

• Blitz all ingredients except oil in a food processor or blender, or bash them in a mortar and pestle until they are a smooth paste
• Slowly add oil while still mixing to emulsify
• Season*
• Mmmm

*Seasoning in cooking is a biggie. It’s not one of those things you can “just not worry about”. It is quite often what separates the home kitchen from the commercial. Seasoning. Salt and pepper. Essential to heighten taste and enhance flavour. Get into the habit of checking your seasoning. Do it now!

Herby lemony garlic really good roast chicken

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really good sunday roast chicken
Today, I think we can all agree, is Sunday. A day synonymous with relaxing, god and the Sunday roast. I am going to help you out with a recipe for a really good roast chicken, the relaxing and god things you’re going to need to sort out for yourself. I could say it’s the best roast chicken but my tastes will sometimes change more often than my underwear (yeah, like twice a week), so I will say this was a really good roast chicken that I wanted at the time besides, I’m sure there are at least a few celebrity chefs out there who have the copy right on claims “the best ever”… wait a minute…

When I made this chicken it was Thursday. I know that Thursday is not Sunday but my face wanted roast chicken. Plain and simple, my face really just wanted roast chicken.

I had spent 10 hours in the kitchen prepping for a party we were catering for, but I really needed to spend that little bit of extra time getting a roast chook on for dinner.

I’ve told you before, my face is a needy little bitch when it decides it wants something, and this occasion was no different.

I had a few bits and pieces floating around the kitchen, so I was pretty confident… or over confident… or just pretty happy with my own abilities, that I would be able to pull this one off. And no, that is not a lead in line because as you know, once I paint a picture for you, you cannot physically un-see it. It shall be with you forever and, quite frankly I have grown to like you and I don’t think that’s anything you deserve ☺.

Load the chicken up with the herby garlic lemony goodness

Load the chicken up with the herby garlic lemony goodness

Dana is not going to be happy with this photo. Not enough day light. Well Dana, there's not enough bloody day light in the day at the moment so this is all I got

Dana is not going to be happy with this photo. Not enough day light. Well Dana, there’s not enough bloody day light in the day at the moment so this is all I got


HERBY LEMONY GARLICY REALLY GOOD ROAST CHICKEN (Serves 4 or so)

1 chook, chicken, buk buk burguuuuk. Free range. We all use free range now right? Size 16 is good
5 cloves garlic, smashed roughly
¼ preserved lemon, flesh removed, chopped
1 handful each fresh thyme and tarragon
1 teaspoon coriander seed, crushed
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil or pork fat

• Combine all ingredients except chicken in a bowl and rub them together a little
• Put the chicken into a baking dish
• Pour the herb mix over the chicken and rub them a little more. Massage it a little and get it into all the little nooks and crannies. Yes, even into the chooks bottom
• Roast at 180-200C for about an hour, basting with the pan juices a couple of times during the process
• Check the chicken is cooked by gently pulling the leg away from the body
• Rest chicken for 10-15 minutes
• Carve and eat it with the roasting juices salsa verde for a little something different. I’ll tell you all about salsa verde very soon my friends

Warm salad of squid, chickpeas, olives, tomato and herbs with nutty za’atar

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warm salad of squid, chickpeas, olives, tomato, herbs and nutty za'atar
It is difficult to conjure up a cracking meal with what can be only described as eff all. I am not a magician; I don’t even have the skills to do a basic card trick and I certainly do not possess the powers of alchemy.

What is not difficult though, is creating a cracking meal with what I was faced with tonight; fresh squid, herbs, spinach and tomatoes from the garden, our own marinated capsicum (peppers), olives, chickpeas and some za’atar with a bit of nutty addition for good measure.

If we are reading from the same book (but let’s face it; we are probably not. In fact I don’t think our books are even from the same library as I am ashamed to say I would’ve skipped on straight past the public book loan place and picked myself up a magazine from the news agent next door) we both know that there shall be a damn attractive salad emerge from this stack of ingredients. A fantastic, light, summery, still-trying-to-cling-on-to-those-last-few-warm-days type salad.

Anyway, you can see this shit is going to be good so I’ll get right on with the main event.

No magic involved here

No magic involved here

Squid and chickpeas getting to know each other

Squid and chickpeas getting to know each other

Eat it quickly... and without the children

Eat it quickly… and without the children


WARM SALAD OF SQUID, CHICKPEAS, OLIVES, TOMATO AND HERBS with NUTTY ZA’ATAR (serves 2 if you feed the kids toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner and then eat yours once they go to bed)

500g fresh squid, cleaned, scored in a criss cross (not Kris Kross. That would involve pants being worn backwards and that’s just weird whatever planet you’re from) pattern on the inside of the hood and then cut into 2x4cm pieces
1 cup cooked chickpeas (the ones from a tin are fine)
1 handful tomatoes, chopped
1 handful olives
1 handful roasted and marinated capsicum (peppers), sliced
A handful of fresh mint and basil, torn
2 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons nutty za’atar (recipe follows)
A splash of oil
Juice of ½ lemon
Seasoning
A couple of beers or something white to wash it all down

• Get all of your mis en place ready before you start cooking because once you begin it’s all going to be over very quickly… yeah, a bit like your performance under the sheets last night
• Get a heavy based frying pan plenty hot. Add oil and then squid. Toss for 45ish seconds
• Remove from heat and add the chickpeas to warm through for a minute
• Combine with all other ingredients, dress with lemon juice and a splash of olive oil, season lightly and sprinkle with nutty za’atar-y goodness

NUTTY ZA’ATAR

2 tablespoons za’atar
2 tablespoons chopped almonds and walnuts

• Mix it all together and bam, there you go

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