Nachos supremo

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This is a story about some really good nachos.

I am not implying that you don’t know how to make nachos, it’s just that these nachos are, well, probably better than yours. Soz.

And these nachos also involve one of my favourite sort of early week cooking scenarios – using up the inevitable pile of smoked meat or other random goodies I have left from my weekend of backyard experimentation (just to make it clear I have not been sewing chickens bodies to pigs faces or anything freaky like that, and I certainly haven’t been doing any of that your-turn-to-take-me-roughly-from-behind, keep it in the garden shed type experimentation either. Just above board, smoky meaty goodness. Thumbs up)

If you have the skill set you could defo make a pile of delicious smoked meat and awesome condiments, (which is something I do enjoy doing with my spare time and that is the truth) but the fact of the matter is that I am a cook and that’s what I do with my life and I am not so stubborn and/or dumb that I can’t realise that often times your kitchen skills may be borderline mediocre at best and you need a little help with a meal that may involve more than one pot and indeed a slew of ingredients.

So I guess my point is this – either a) make friends with someone who loves to BBQ and more importantly is quite decent at it, and clean up their BBQ leftovers after the weekend or, b) head down to your local BBQ joint of good repute and purchase some tasty meaty goodness from someone who can actually cook this stuff, and then it’s onto some kick-ass nachos.

In the words of the late, great Ramones – let’s go!

Still life featuring nacho ingredients

Heating my pork ribs on the ol’ Warm Ray

Choppy choppy pork rib

Nachos supremo


NACHOS SUPREMO (serves 4)

1 family pack of corn chips
1-2 cups chopped left over smoked or roasted meat (I had smoked pork ribs)
2 cup of pit beans or nacho beans
2 cups grated cheese
1 cup guacamole
1 cup sour cream
½ cup tomato salsa
Pickled onions and jalapenos
Coriander
Hot sauce
BBQ rub or some kind of nacho seasoning

Spread corn chips over an oven tray, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and then bake in a pre-heated 200C oven for 5-10 minutes until chips are warm and cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, heat your meat and beans (separately) and set them aside.
When chips are where you want them, slide them off the baking tray and onto something a little cooler to serve or, you know what, just eat them the heck straight off of the oven tray. I fricking love that shit.
Scoop beans onto the chips followed by meat, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pickles, coriander, hot sauce and seasoning.
Eat that, drink beer and thank the dear sweet lord for BBQ left overs!

I would suggest the couch is a good place to eat these

Girls vs Boys Southern Smokehouse Cook-off

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A man, a coffee and a smoker

It was to be another cook-off at foodisthebestshitever HQ. The teams were girls versus boys; the girl’s team comprising of my wife Jennee and her sister Liz (who can get an extra special mention right now because she flew in from the other side of the country especially for the occasion), while the boys team was made up of myself, yer ol’ uncle Grazza, and Jennee’s brother, Queenie. The theme was “Southern American Smokehouse” or something thereabouts. The esky was full of booze. The table was set. The competitors were ready. The Girls v Boys Foodisthebestshitever Cook-off 2016 was about to begin…

*The people in the story may be fictional, but the events are real.

The boys

We (the boys) felt there was a lot of smack talking from the girls. Like, a lot of smack talking. The girls were being particularly good at smack talking. In fact, I was walking down the street in a local town when I was approached by a young man who informed me that he had heard a rumor my man Queenie was very slightly hung. Now, Queenie may not be the manliest of guys names but I know for a fact that this brother is packing the equipment needed for the job. Well, I’ve heard he’s packing… don’t look at me like I’ve been sussing out my brother’s package. Holy shit you guys know how to contort a story… much like the women folk around these parts… great segue. That bloody smack talk.

A weaker boys team may have crumbled, but our resolve would not waver. We cleared our minds and our pipes, centered our chi and got the eff on with the job.

Our little tree motif was whittled by Queenie, made from 100% repurposed wood that was otherwise just laying around, taking up space and producing air and shit.

The rocks displayed our organic approach to our cooking and our lives, and the ebb and flow of the world we live in.

The plates were also repurposed old plates, which were recently introduced to their new life as, well, plates.

That was our story and we were sticking to it.

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Feel the emotion

Our Ode to the South was based on nothing more than a child hood obsession with KFC and an adult (or maybe more correctly termed; a 30-40 year old) obsession with smoked meat… and fried chicken… and an old Elvis 7inch. Still, it was our Ode to the South none-the-less, and it went a little something like this;

• Pulled pork finger, cheesy jalapeño crust, pickles, kimchi mayo
• Smoked rib, Big Red Rub, mustard sauce
• Tater tots injected with white trash heroin AKA cheese sauce
• Beer battered onion rings, ranch dressing
• Fried and then smoked and then fried again chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese sauce
• Smoked jalapeno popper
• Smoked brisket burger, crumbed (breaded) milk bun, slaw, barbecue sauce

The girls

The girls relied heavily on smack talk in an attempt to throw the boys from their game. But they did eventually bring some tasty and creatively produced treats to the table, ensuring a close competition.

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That layered salad was pretty special

The girls based their plate on a love of the hush puppy and 1980s layered salads. Happily re-jigged to fit with-in the guidelines of the “Smokehouse” brief, their entry went almost exactly like this;

• Layered salad with crumbled corn bread, smoked capsicum and corn, pickle and iceberg lettuce
• Smoked pork rib
• Smoked prawn, smoked Andouille sausage and smoked eggplant hush puppies

The result

Once the smoke had cleared and the gloves were un-tethered and removed to reveal calloused hands strapped crudely with ordinary house hold masking tape, the votes were tallied and the announcement of a winner was tasked to our youngest child, Obi. It was said around the table that both boys and girls had brought their A-games to the kitchen this day but unfortunately there could be only one winner – one team whose A-game was in fact a little A-er.

On this day of our lord, Sunday March 27th 2016 *drum roll please*… it would be the boys that would march away victorious from this cooking stadium, heads held high and then swiftly and smartly the victory was relegated to a distant memory, one that would not be spoken about ever again, as we were the men folk and we knew about the way of the world…

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That onion ring. Bangin’

A recipe for the WINNING BEER BATTERED ONION RINGS (enough for a few sides or maybe a Friday night on the couch watching midget wrestling)

2 med-large onions of your choosing
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub or Cajun/Créole spice mix
1 bottle o’ beer… whatever you’re drinking will be fine
Oil for deep frying
Seasoning
Ranch dressing and extra Big Red Rub to serve

• Slice onions into 1cm-ish rings, popping the first 4-5 center rings out for something else you’re cooking that has onion in it
• Heat oil in a deep fryer or pot or plastic bucket if you’re not that smart. 180C is the go
• To make batter mix flours, oil and spice mix. Slowly whisk in beer until your batter is quite smooth and is thick enough to coat your finger nicely. Not too thick is the key here
• Coat the onion rings with plain flour and then dip them into the batter. Drag them out of the batter and ever-so-slightly drag them across the side of the bowl to remove excess batter
• Lower them gently into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden, turning half way through
• Drain on kitchen towel, season with salt and pepper and a little extra Big Red Rub, serve with ranch sauce on the side

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.