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.

Sausages and lamb ribs and eggplant… and red rice.


I would like to start by informing you all that I really like a good sausage.

These sausages are quite frankly what I consider to be the best sausages in these here parts – made by the fine folks at Hayters Hill Butchery. His bratwurst (Well, not his bratwurst. I know nothing of this man’s sausage and that is the truth) was my sausage of choice on this day – absolutely a pleasure to put in mouth. Hmmm. I’m sounding more and more like a “lady of the night” by the word…

I’ll try again.

The sausages were reals good after 2.5-3 hours at 110C (220-230F) over ironbark. Really bloody good. The Hayters Hill crew also do a cracking chunky pork snag which is also a tasty tasty thing after a few hours in a smoker. I am also pretty sure that these sausages would even be hella tasty raw, but that it just a guess and based on absolutely zero personal raw sausage eating experience I will admit it.

You will probably not be able to find any Hayters Hill sausages at your local market because we pretty much buy all of there stuff up here in the northern rivers of NSW, so you can use whatever it is that you consider to be a great sausage in your own mind…

The lamb ribs were given that same ironbark-smoky 110C treatment, and very similarly to how you may do pork ribs, they were given 3 hours of smoke, followed by wrapping and another hour in the smoker, followed by a 1 hour rest after that. The internal temp was 92C (200F) and they were fricking perfect.

Lamb ribs are definitely not pork ribs but they are still damn tasty in the smoker and something a little different for you next BBQ. They can also offer that same sort of smoky ribby wow factor but at a heaps cheaper price tag than pork or beef ribs… that is, until the butchers work out that they are just as tasty as their high-end friends and bump the price up on these puppies too.

I also made some red rice and miso & maple glazed eggplant, and placed some peppery hot sauce and smoked salt on the table to complete the package that was our dinner on this evening. It was all plenty tasty. My eldest son, Seba, even commented that although he doesn’t like eggplant, and this was certainly no exception, it was the best eggplant he’d ever been forced to eat.

You’re welcome.

Those sexy little lamb ribs

I borrowed the recipe for red rice from right here
The eggplant looked pretty sexy

The whole thing looked rather sexy, actually

MISO AND MAPLE GLAZED EGGPLANT

(serves 4 as a side with left over miso glaze for next time)

1 large eggplant, cut into 8 wedges
3 tablespoons red miso paste
2 tablespoons each rice vinegar, maple syrup and water
1 small knob ginger, grated or finely chopped
Oil for cooking

Heat a little oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet or pan. Add eggplant and cook for 2 minutes each side until browned and starting to soften.
Using a pastry brush or your fathers best paint brush, glaze the eggplant generously with the miso number.
Place under a pre-heated grill (broiler) until caramelized and sexy.
Eat it and force your children to eat it even if they don’t like eggplant.

Really tasty campfire pork and other campsite stories

campfire roast pork
It should be known that it is not very often that we will set up our tent at an actual caravan park. Very seldom in fact. I would (will) go so far as to say unless it is the only option, we ain’t going to do it.

This was one such occasion when it was our only choice, kinda like being left with that one 56-years-young cougar when the nightclub lights come on…

Jennee did the righteous thing by going out early to set up camp, as I would be catering for a party in the hills, and it would most definitely have me well into the night.

I did finally make it to that campsite though. After battling darkness, tiredness, a bad sense of direction (something I can only now far-from-happily admit I possess) and attempted ambushing’s by several bridge trolls, I got there. Safe arrival in the middle of the night is always an occasion that requires a mild celebration at the very least, so I cranked the fire back up to a small sun and consumed a few beers.

In the spirit of all things holy I was having myself a good time.

Sometimes, when you venture into that mysterious Stepford Wives-esque world that is the inner circle of the caravan park (trailer park. Yeah, you’re getting the gist of what I’m saying now, right?) in the middle of the night, you awake to a totally different world.

The night dwellers, carnies and swamp rats had scurried back into the underground homes prior to being licked by the first rays of morning sun, but there was still “the others”.

“The others” resided almost solely in caravan parks. They were renowned for their hoarding of volumes upon volumes of 1980s Mills & Boon novels and collections of random little side-show-alley-prize fluffy toys (paraphernalia from their time on the big top circuit, no doubt). From the moment they would awake each day they waited eagerly to get their daily dose of “the Hoff” in his glory years as some bloke on that one show about the lifeguards… Our neighbor for our stay was nothing short of poster-woman for these people.

As soon as Jennee pulled up next to the semi-permanent dwelling in her semi-suburban mostly-soccer mum car the neighbor was up off of her rocking chair on her recycled pallet wooden verandah questioning the very notion that someone would be camping next to her van. “They said there would not be any one camping near here,” she said. “They said they would not let anyone camp near here.”

Jennee had no solution except to quickly erect our tent like the boobies “au natural” would erect a certain part of a young man’s anatomy.

I did not know it yet but I was definitely afraid of the lady next door.

In the same breath I spoke about my fear of the strange woman next to us and how she would possibly come into our tent this night and horribly dismember us with her neighbor’s garden spade, I realised that she was probably so desperate for her solitude as she was sheltering her half goat, half man son from a world that couldn’t love him, and he was truly the one I should fear for he has tasted human before and he was damn keen to taste it again…

What was I talking about? It didn’t really matter. It never really matters…

I did start this little anecdote with the purpose of telling you about a lovely piece of pork I was given by a lovely lady named Sally who farms a few old breed pigs and was curious to know if I would like to use those very pigs in the restaurant. Yes Sally. Yes I would like to use your pork. Very tasty shit indeed!

There, I’m done.

If you can be assed, it's pretty nice when you make some bread to go with your dinner
If you can be assed, it’s pretty nice when you make some bread to go with your dinner

Tasty, crunchy crackle up front, fields of green out back
Tasty, crunchy crackle up front, fields of green out back
Really tasty pork
Really tasty pork
Roasty vegetables with a bit of dukkah so they know we love them
Roasty vegetables with a bit of dukkah so they know we love them
Carve it up. Do it quickly
Carve it up. Do it quickly
Just eat it all up now
Just eat it all up now

CAMPFIRE PORK ROAST with VEGETABLES & ZA’ATAR (serves 4)

1.5kg rolled pork shoulder roast from Sally
1 onion, sliced roughly
3 medium potatoes, chopped kinda chunky like you would for a roast
1-2 carrots, chopped kinda chunky
2-3 zucchini, chopped kinda chunky too
5 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat edge of a knife
Salt & pepper
Za’atar
1 camp oven or witches cauldron

• Season the skin of the pork. When you think you have seasoned it enough you should probably season it a little more
• Place pork into camp oven resting in medium (170-180C) coals, rotating every 30 minutes for 2 hours
• Add vegetables, and a splash of cider if you have some in your hand, to the bottom of the camp oven and get it back into some coals. Put a few coals on the lid so the crackle starts to get a little sexy
• After 30-40 minutes it should all be smelling pretty fricking nice so maybe carve that piece of pork up, sprinkle some za’atar over the vegetables and eat it in your face
• A very nice piece of pork indeed

Have some billy tea
Have some billy tea

Some places to eat tasty food between Tweed Heads and the Goldcoast

Breakfast at Paddock was awesome. Anywhere that put's a little thought into it (and these folks certainly have) gets my vote every time
Breakfast at Paddock was awesome. Anywhere that put’s a little thought into it (and these folks certainly have) gets my vote every time

Last trip I made to Tweed Heads I pulled into the hospital and left the following day sans tonsils, appetite and with not so much as a good-bye peck on the cheek…

Bitch hospital and it’s quackish, prudish medicine men.

This trip was reserved for venturing up and down the coast between the Goldy (Goldcoast) and Tweed Heads with the sole purpose of eating all of the food with my diary totally clear of visits to the witch doctor and nary a throat sawing quack in sight.

Although a very beautiful piece of coastline it is (getting my Yoda on here) someone back in the day made a pretty big fuck up when they decided that they would slap the NSW/Queensland boarder smack bang in the middle of the place. Like Tweed Heads is here (literally here) and Coolangatta is there (once again literally). That is how far the two cities are apart. Yes it is a city and state boarder.
“That shouldn’t be an issue Graz”, I hear you say. “You’re really starting to get a bit whingy as you get older, mate.”
“Yeah and a little smellier, too.”
“Yeah and I don’t think he’s got much of a grip anymore.”
“I’ll tell you what he does have a good grip on though, his fricking c… o…”

Back to that pretty big fuck up; NSW and Queensland are on two different time zones for the 6 months of the year that daylight savings is in effect. Starting to get my gist yet? Picking up what I’m putting down, homeboy? In Tweed it’s 4:19pm and two steps away in Coolangatta it’s 3:19pm… it’s a fricking head-fuck I call tell you… trying to work out which state you’re in… I have enough trouble just trying to stay sober.

Now, we do have a few favourites up this way but this trip we made a conscious effort to stay far from our comfort zone, remove ourselves from the warm bosom of our mothers and basically just get the fuck into someone else’s place for a change of scene. The Byron-esque nature of the come-and-go restaurant scene and the ever-ready construction teams of city expansion and glorification up here truly lend themselves to a fresh experience and the customer having the opportunity to sample something new on a regular basis.

Dick yes. This was our jam!

But, first up it was time for a haircut and a beard trim – my first for the year… or maybe a year. Normally my shaggy dog looking head is something I really care very little about (FYI, one doesn’t win three “best in show ribbons” in the shaggy dog division by trimming ones shaggy dog look) but all of the hair dressers in this place, I swear to god, and they were moving in on our hotel under the cover of darkness. It was a pincer movement and a damn fine pincer movement at that. I was starting to feel more than just a little self-conscious.

In scenes not dis-similar to the shaving of Brendan Frazer in “Encino Man” or Tom Hanks in “Castaway”, or any other wookie-gets-shaved type scene from an outdated movie, suddenly I was cleansed… I was one of them… I would be pulled close to the bare, lactating breast of society once again… and fuck me I would breast-feed in public!

*How is it that, through the wonder that is the interweb super highway, I could tell millions of people about how we could make the world a better place, or share a beautiful poem or send random messages of kindness and love but instead I’m here telling fourteen people and a small dachshund about the day I got a haircut. Dear good lord*

Our regular couple o’ favourites are (in no particular order except JRs Smokehouse Barbecue is at the top because it’s my favourite);
JRs Smokehouse Barbecue
Lester and Earl
The Blacksheep Esspresso Baa
And we’ll always try in vain for a decent meal a few of the cut -from-the-same-mould, predictably shit-can restaurants from the Shit Restaurant Co. (producers of many quality dodgy restaurant strips and concepts in many popular tourist destinations. I think you would have come across their work some where on your travels)

But, as I mentioned earlier, we were on the search for something new and more importantly, quality. Here’s what we found/were pointed in the direction of by local intel;

Getting my a.m. coffee on at Larder
Getting my a.m. coffee on at Larder
A damn tasty pulled beef sandwich and cracking coffee at Griffith Street Larder
A damn tasty pulled beef sandwich and cracking coffee at Griffith Street Larder

Griffith Street Larder
• Great coffee, check
• Perfectly poached eggs, check
• Kickass sandwiches and salad bowls available at breakfast, check

Shaggy watching over the hot sauces
Shaggy watching over the hot sauces
Jamin' a bit of everything from Jamroc into our faces
Jamin’ a bit of everything from Jamroc into our faces
Kick-ass goat curry with red bean rice... just like I imagined it would taste
Kick-ass goat curry with red bean rice… just like I imagined it would taste

Jamroc
• Boondocks shopping center car park setting, check
• Moist and delicious grilled chicken and goat curry, check
• Heaps of hot sauce for the table, check
• Feed the family for a 50 bag of the finest Jamaican “green backs”, check

Breakfast at Poboy Cajun and Creole. The farmers breakfast (right) with oven roasted chicken breast, tomatoes, bacon and mornay sauce had me looking for a suitable park bench to nap on
Breakfast at Poboy Cajun and Creole. The farmers breakfast (right) with oven roasted chicken breast, tomatoes, bacon and mornay sauce had me looking for a suitable park bench to nap on
Dinner at Poboy was gumbo, jambalaya, poboy and more of the generous serves and affordable prices
Dinner at Poboy was gumbo, jambalaya, poboy and more of the generous serves and affordable prices

Poboy Cajun and Creole
• Cheap Creole and Cajun cooking, check
• Massive serves, check
• And insight as to why America is on the obesity-diabetic radar, check

Good burgers, crisp onion rings and fries, tasty dipping sauces and quick service is a winning recipe at Betty's Burgers
Good burgers, crisp onion rings and fries, tasty dipping sauces and quick service is a winning recipe at Betty’s Burgers
Simple and delicious
Simple and delicious

Betty’s Burgers
• Tasty burgers and sides that don’t cost your left arm, check
• Fast service, check
• A recipe that many other gourmet burger bars could learn a thing or two from, check

A pretty little sign and shit
A pretty little sign and shit
The fricking Philly cheese steak roll with onions, capsicum, mushrooms and jalapeños was off the hook
The fricking Philly cheese steak roll with onions, capsicum, mushrooms and jalapeños was off the hook
This pork, pistachio and apple sausage rolls was one of the best
This pork, pistachio and apple sausage rolls was one of the best

Paddock Bakery
• Massive wood fired oven and baking area enclosed with glass so it kinda like Seaworld and you can watch all of the orcas err, bakers and chefs at play… or work, check
• Great breads, pastries and breakfast in general, check
• Awesome little mythical country setting that quite probably actually has a waterfall that flows sweet, sweet lemonade, one street back from Goldcoast Highway, check

Burgster
• Closed Monday, check
• Sad face, check
• I will be back, check (Burgster was very high on my list, so you can imagine if you dare my disappointment when I was sussing their Facey page only to realise it had those dreaded words “closed today’. I almost had a tear but held it back enough for me to put it down to a high pollen count and me being a weak breed in general. It’s Monday – I know heaps of places do it (heck, I own a restaurant and even that bad boy is closed Monday), I do not hold that against anyone I was just real keen to give it a bash… next time for sure.)

• Weird checking of ones self, check

Go to these places and let your face enjoy the good times!

Main Street Burger Bar and Mr Cook, my year 11 form room teacher

main street burger bar byron bay
The café roulette wheel that is Byron Bay has been spun once again – this time revealing another new burger bar oozing with all of the qualities that new age burger bars possess; an American milkbar-esque fit out, quality local produce, home made fricking soda and lastly a certain amount of hipsterism because as we all know, if there’s two things those mother fuckers can do it’s make a decent drink (weather it be coffee, soda or a cocktail, these guys can do it… DNA programming right there) and a damn fine burger.

The menu looks pretty damn tasty
The menu looks pretty damn tasty

The place looks nice. It’s fresh and sparkly and new, and it smells pretty. It also has plenty of different seating scenarios to make everyone happy; foot path dining section for people watching, a back car park dining section for car park dodgy deal watching, and booths if you wanna get a little romantic and act like love struck teenagers section.

Winning.

The beef burger sitting aside some very impressive hot chips
The beef burger sitting aside some very impressive hot chips

We sat our weary asses down in the car park dodgy deals section and waited oh-so-keenly for our burgers.

After an impressively short (or maybe “length of time impeded” to be more PC) wait the friendly happy people made their way to our table with our order.

The beef burger... I wasn't over exaggerating
The beef burger… I wasn’t over exaggerating

The beef burger ($10) hit the table, or should I say it slinked its way onto the table. It kinda looked a little ashamed of the fact that it was mostly a big sweet bun (more on that in a second) ready-for-a-shave-lathered with mayo, encompassing a cute little grilled beef patty. That bun was the well and the poor little beef patty just kept getting forced to put the lotion on it’s skin or it got the hose again. Although it was plenty tasty in it’s own right, that cute little beef patty didn’t really stand a chance. It was like watching the hoochy mummas ass devouring her panties… The beef patty was both out gunned and out classed by the big, stronger flavoured bun, which I might add (yeah, here we go) was also damn sweet. Don’t get me wrong, I like a sweet bun just as much as the next guy (but do not necessarily like the sweet buns of the next guy), but I also like a little tang to counter that sweetness… and at the end of the day this burger just didn’t have a tang. No tang from the pickles. No tang from the mayo. No tang from the ketchup. No damn tang. I was not a huge fan of this burger.

That pork shoulder burger
That pork shoulder burger

The pork shoulder burger ($14) was in a pretty similar state of affairs. It was labeled as being crispy pork shoulder but was closer to being a little dry pork shoulder and there wasn’t a whole heap in there for your time. After we all had a try the rest was left on the plate… “Feed it to the pigs, Errol”.

Our saviour, the Sloppy Joe
Our saviour, the Sloppy Joe

The one burger that we had that was really worthwhile was the “Sloppy Joe” ($18); beef patty, brisket, barbecue glaze and house ‘slaw. This thing was moist and delicious. The tang of the BBQ glaze and ‘slaw was easily enough to foil the sweetness of the bun, and the double meat easily spanned it’s circumference plus more. The brisket was moist and delicious. This thing should’ve been called the “Happy Joe” because it certainly made me a happy, happy Joe… or Graz… Nope, this burger needs to be called the “Happy Graz”!

While we were eating the drinks mixologists went off to their little drinks mixology lab where they did some science and mixed that with a little voodoo magic and flicked out some cracking soda ($6). Like, really really good soda. That burger and the home made soda… that shit was the goods… on point…FTW.

Those chips...
Those chips…

They also served up some damn tasty chips. Chips can often be over looked in such a busy operation but these guys had it sorted. Crisp and tasty and each completed with a nice little dipping sauce; chips with rosemary salt and aioli ($6) and sweet potato chips with chipotle mayo ($6) were once again both on point and FTW.

The competition in Old Byron Town is stiff, like a virile young Dirk Diggler stiff, and although this place gets a little leeway for being the new kid on the block, I feel that if they don’t iron out a few teething problems pretty quickly they may indeed find themselves being flung out of the other end of that café roulette wheel and onto the metaphorical and/or actual pavement. But if they can get it together this place will be a gem of the local scene with out a doubt…
main street burger bar byron bay
I’m just going to finish up sounding like Mr Cook, my year 11 form room teacher, and say this place has so much potential. Sooo much potential.

Main Street Burger Bar, Byron Bay.

Rueben-ish Sandwich

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