Grilled seafood with garlicky butter sauce while the kids are away

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A simple, three-step recipe for a damn fine night with your one and only while the children are absent on school camp.

1. Ship the children off to school camp. It is important to remember that this involves more than just sending your offspring to their place of learning (yes, that’s questionable but we’ll get back to that gripping social commentary at a later date) and leaving them with a packed bag and no intention of returning to pick them up. In fact, you can get into a lot of trouble for that type of behavior. You will need the school that your children are attending to host a student camp and take those little cherubs off of your hands, and you need them to be gone for a few nights at the very least.

2. Once the children have stepped out of the car and the doors have been closed behind them it is time to head straight down to your local purveyors of home entertainment goods, quality seafood and booze and, in that order, get yourself a new home entertainment system – something big… and in colour… and with wireless remote control. Yeah, we’re going all out on this one (or maybe you already have one of these and this step can be omitted), get a pile of fresh seafood – we chose prawns (shrimp), scallops, ocean trout and oysters, and defo get some quality booze of some kind – some ingredients for a mojito plus a decent bubbly for later was a pretty good call methinks.

3. Drink some booze and cook that seafood and serve it with garlicky butter as per following recipe. Pretty simple huh…

Outstanding prep to flavour ratio right there

Get it going on

Seafood, butter sauce and booze. That is a good time


GARLICKY BUTTER DIPPY SAUCE FOR SEAFOOD

(serves 2-4, depending on how buttery you like it)

250g unsalted butter
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning, we used Lanes Q-Nami to absolutely outstanding effect
1 handful parsley, chopped
Juice of ½ lemon
A little extra salt and pepper if needed
A decent pile of fresh seafood, straight off the coals
Bread to mop up any extra buttery goodness

Sauté the garlic with one tablespoon of butter to get the show on the road. Once garlic has softened, add remaining butter and seafood seasoning and cook out over medium heat until butter start to foam.
Pour lemon juice into butter and remove from heat.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Get it onto the table with a pile of seafood.
Use bread to mop up any extra puddles of that liquid gold and, if the mood encourages it, maybe even save a little butter sauce for garlic butter boobies later on.
Hey, I don’t know what you freaking pervs get up to when the kids are away…

Smoky grilled chicken

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I really do like a good yard bird.

This is a good yardbird type experience.

A smoking hot bronzed bird splayed out in front of you… so moist and ready for the taking… it’s good times.

Euphemisms aside, if they should really ever be put aside, this is some damn tasty bird.

If you can split a whole bird down the backbone you can win this one, because the rest of it is keeping a few coals glowing and you can do that, right? Right?

This isn’t even so much a recipe as it is a little anecdote about what I made for dinner. I feel the time I am spending typing right now would be better spent explaining to you how to butterfly (spatchcock) a bird or even how to make a good chicken stock for the chicken gravy… but you know what? Yeah you know what. You know I am not going to do that because quite frankly, that is just not my style. No, I’m more of a don’t-really-care-about-what-you-reckon, unkept face hair and trucker cap kinda of guy, with maybe a bit of an air of a slight acquired brain injury from one too many stacks on my skateboard when I was younger… or was it from when attempted to form myself into a human snowball while snowboarding last month? Who knows, maybe I’m one of the lucky ones and I scored myself two ABIs… Lucky guy indeed.

Season the bird, inside and out, with your favourite bird seasoning type BBQ rub. I mix a few things together and call it “Big Red Rub”. There is a recipe for it right here. It works for me.

Let the bird hang out in the seasoning for half an hour or so while you get your BBQ fired up.

Get some coals going in your BBQ (pro Q or Weber are the sort of thing you’ll need for this job, or a grill plate over a fire with an old wok over the chicken to keep a little heat in will even do the job. I’m not even joking) exactly like you would normally get some coals going in your BBQ, and get it up to 150C (300F) ish.

Place the chicken skin side up over indirect heat and cover for 1 hour. The chicken should be looking pretty good at this stage… hopefully… I don’t know how I’m going to help you if it isn’t…

Brush the skin of the chicken with a little melted butter or olive oil and then, using two sets of tongs, carefully turn the chicken over, your goal now being to crisp up the skin a little.

The chicken can handle a little direct heat now, but it may need some turning so it doesn’t get “extra crispy” (AKA burnt), so get your comfy chair out, crack another tinny and keep a closer eye on it from here on in. Cook for another 15-20 minutes or until chicken is sexy as and juices from the leg run clear.

Carve it up and drizzle (yes, I know I would normally punch myself in the face for using the word “drizzle”, but I feel it has a place here) with smoked honey to gild the lily. Gilding the lily. Heck yeah, kid!

We served it with roasted carrot and sweet potato, braised kale, cornbread and homemade chicken gravy and I must say, it was damn well delicious.

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…

Herby roast chicken with a really good warm salad and salsa verde

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This one is a pretty good looking little dinner that would probably impress that love of your life/person of sexuality of your choosing that you are trying to convince that you would be a good sort to shack up with, and it is still easy enough for some one of your skill-set to put together… maybe… maybe not…

I made this with the love of my life in mind but the fact of the matter is that my Jennee is at work and it is just me and the smallish humans tonight, and let’s face it – they probably would’ve been heaps more impressed if I had made them burgers again.

I didn’t really think this one through properly, did I?

Not to worry.

This certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

No one ever accused me of being a smart man… or good looking… or a good lover even…

Every one always comments that I do have nice hand writing for a boy, though. They’ve always said that. That’s pretty nice, isn’t it?

Getting that salsa verde going. If you have never tried salsa verde before you are about to loose your shit

Salsa verde, apple cider vinaigrette and some other things in jars

A really nice looking chicken about to get a heap of love from the oven

That chook fresh from the chooky solarium

Those salad vegetables getting ready to join the party

It was reals good

HERBY ROAST CHICKEN WITH A PRETTY FUCKING GOOD WARMISH SALAD AND SALSA VERDE

(serves 4 – 6)

1 nicely grown chicken. You know, a chook that got to eat grass and grubs and shit
100g butter
1 handful fresh herbs – thyme, lemon thyme (you should try it), rosemary, sage and parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
Salsa verde to serve

For the salad
4 medium kipflers or Dutch cream potatoes, boiled or steamed for 15-20 minutes until just cooked, cooled and then sliced into 1cm disks (you could defo use a cooked grain, sweet potato or some extra green vegetables if you don’t do potatoes)
200g green beans, halved
1 small head of broccoli cut into florets or 1 bunch of broccolini cut in half
50g (2 handfuls) leaf and/or herb mix
50g (1 handful) sunflower sprouts or whatever sprouts you can get hold of
2-3 radish, sliced thinly
A good splash of apple cider vinaigrette to dress
Salt and pepper

Rub chicken down with butter. Sprinkle with herbs and season with salt and pepper, ensuring that you put a little in its bot bot* too.
Roast in pre heated 180C (350F) oven for 1 hour or until cooked, basting with sexy-buttery-chickeny juices (I think I just drooled a little) every 15 minutes. Remove chicken from roasting pan and rest in a warm spot, loosely covered in foil for 10-15 minutes.
Add potatoes to oven pan and return to oven for 10 minutes. Add beans and broccoli to oven pan and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Chuck (place gently) all of the roasted vegetables into a large mixing bowl, add apple cider vinaigrette, leaves, sprouts and radish and toss gently until combined.
Now is a pretty good time to carve that chicken. Or, if you’re heaps slow at carving the chicken, maybe get someone else to do that while you sort the salad.
Get a handful of the salad-y stuff onto a plate, put a bit of chicken on the side, dress that chicken with a little salsa verde and eat it the heck in your face.
That’s some damn fine chicken.

*Bot bot; bottom. Anal cavity.

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!