Wooli part 1… Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce

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We’ve hit Wooli. No not wooly, Wooli. Wooly is something like slippers or a word that is like verbal Viagra to a Kiwi. So Wooli, another of those cracking little seaside towns the boys and I like to frequent on my annual break.

We have arrived at our little holiday shack which is adorned in the very finest of beachside holiday chic; pine furniture via the 1980s, op-shop pots and pans, the odd family heirloom carafe, pelican ornaments in the front garden and, of course, ocean blue and lemon yellow painted walls through out. This never ceases to amaze and truly impress me. Maybe the owners of these places do all get their supplies from the same old junk shop and maybe the only paint they can get through the seaside village quarantine is ocean blue and lemon yellow, but it still impresses the hell out of me how the same all these places are.

We have brought with us a seafarers bounty of the finest provisions my pay check would allow thanks to Jennee (I’m pretty sure when she went shopping this week the supermarket would’ve closed for the evening to re-stock their shelves and admire their full wallet), plus (on a little more unfortunate note) a heap of cool shit from the restaurant I worked at as the owners decided to sell up and turn our two week holiday into somewhat of a permanent one. A story for another time right there.

So we’re here.

I’m sitting down having a beer and typing away, partly because it is one of those things I look forward to about a holiday partly because I think people standing up drinking and typing on a laptop just look plain silly, but soon it shall be time to cook the evening meal. And the boys, well the boys are happily catching up on the TV they don’t get to watch at home (please don’t hate me Jennee). Something easytastygood sounds like what I should make for dinner, just to ease me into this holiday thing all gentlemanly like.

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Steak. There’s plenty of steak. Steak it is – with sautéed broccoli and cauliflower (you could do a cauliflower-broccoli cheese here. That would make your life heaps simple to match your demeanor… and word skills… and performance under the sheets… I’ll stop now as this could go on forever) and blue cheese sauce. I use Nimbin Dairy Cows Blue* and their Goats Blue is a cracker too, but use whatever it is that you can get hold of.

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STEAK WITH SAUTEED BROCCOLI & CAULIFLOWER AND BLUE CHEESE CREAM (for 3)

3x 250g steaks that you like to eat. It was rump medallions for us
Seasoning
A few sprigs of thyme if you have some
2 bunches baby broccoli or broccolini, cut into 5cm pieces, any thick stalks halved through the middle
¼ cauliflower, cut into florets a bit bigger than your thumb
• Get your steaks out of the fridge for 15 minutes so they can come to room temp. Season and sprinkle with a little thyme
• Cook steaks exactly how you like to cook them, while this is happening get your sauce on and blanch your broccoli and cauliflower in boiling water for 1 minute
• While your steaks are resting (you know about resting steaks by now, yeah) get a pan on for the broccoli and cauliflower. Add a splash of oil and sauté veg until they are starting to get a little colour (a bit of sliced bacon could go in here right now and be very happy with how it’s life turned out). Season and get onto a plate or other suitable receptacle
• Serve with steak and heaps of sauce poured over

BLUE CHEESE CREAM

100-150g blue cheese, depending on how much you like it or how much was left over from your last day at work
400ml cream
1 clove garlic, chopped
A splash of white wine
Seasoning
• Combine cream, garlic and wine in a sauce pan and simmer over low heat for 5-6 minutes or until reduced by one third
• Add cheese off heat and stir to combine
• Check seasoning and adjust. It shouldn’t need too much salt because of the saltiness of the blue cheese

*I know the Nimbin Cheese folks do the Byron Bay and Bangalow Farmers Markets. Get some if you can

Cooking duck for the duckman

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…and then the duck farmer returned for one last hurrah

Why?

I know many of you people out there are curious and I know many more of you couldn’t even give one single fuck. But it appears one duck cook up (you can suss that here) wasn’t enough to satiate the appetite of the ravenous duckman. So he returned for one last night of drinking fine ales, wine and possibly a port or two, duck consumption and, of course, the mandatory late night table dance with a drunken midget cobbler from the salt mining districts of Siberia. Apparently there is quite a call for good shoe repair in those parts.

Cooking duck for the duckman and a few other friends

Have some cheese while you're waiting
Have some cheese while you’re waiting. These are some more offerings from the Nimbin Valley Dairy
Duck is a huge fan of a few root veg from the farmers market
Duck is a huge fan of a few root veg from the farmers market. Roast those bad boys up in a little duck fat
Duck, glorious duck
Duck, glorious duck

I’ve said it before and (you guessed it) I’ll say it again; get your self some duck marylands (thigh with leg attached), season them with a good hit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, roast them in a pre-heated oven at 170-180C for two hours, basting regularly with their own fatty juices. That is quite literally all you need to do for a delicious roast duck dinner.  Well, that and a few kick ass side dishes, but I think you’re more than qualified to sort out a few sides by now… hopefully… maybe… shit, just eat it with a piece of bread.

My lack of recent posts is definitely relative to the arrival of “the duckman”

I know I haven’t posted anything for a week or quite possibly longer… or maybe even less… I couldn’t actually be 100% sure. But there is a valid and just reason for my absence; drinking. I’m not talking about performing the task we all need to complete to keep our body hydrated and there fore survive. No. I’m talking about drinking. The same drinking that has been the ruin of many a man through out the annuals of history. The same drinking that has caused great wars, helped create great pieces of art, caused a billion white trash children and inspired great self confidence for the ugly man for centuries gone by (and maybe even a bit of false vision for that girl he’s trying to chat up).

Just drinking. Drinking and barely hanging on to the love of my beautiful wife. Who I might add is still here, so maybe she still holds some kind of interest in what I do and there fore may still be reading this crap I write, so I figure this is pretty much an apology. All good? All good…

Now I shall need to digress a little just to make sure we’re all up to date on what’s going on. Which clearly means I need to check to make sure I’m up to date on what’s going on. It’s been a big week.

“AJ the duckman”

Anyone who has been following this blog for a while (although the role call of followers around here is not dissimilar to that at an aged care home. I’m not saying that you’re all old and senile and possibly share a love of crocheting blankets for orphaned bridge trolls in Slovakia, I’m just saying that followers come and go ‘round these parts… they come and go) would know of the man we called “AJ the duckman”.

“AJ the duckman” received small time notoriety on these pages through our late night drunken market cook ups… and a special night he spent with one stupid duck!

A year ago he packed up his ducks and left for Australia’s top end. Chasing the sun and a chance to possibly bag himself a real live barramundi. With nary a tear or a glance backwards he left us. Our weekly duck feasts became a thing of folk tales and mutterings of toothless old carnies. Just like that, the duckman was gone.

Until now.

The druids had foreseen the return of this man in the still beating heart of a 52 year old ox… that ox died for a reason that night, only to be reborn the next day as a small river trout named Geoffery. Life works in mysterious ways…

So the duckman has returned. For the last week or so he has been staying with us, slowly working away at the nerves of my good wife and tempting me into the perils of the white mans devil water. He has been supporting the local publican and quite possibly handed him enough cash to put his first born through a tertiary education (as long as it’s a back end, second rate sort of agricultural college that is. Not one of the top end universities). So we drank, but also we ate. A weeks worth of drunken cook ups later and here you go. Some were great, others just good, but all enjoyed with great company and many beverages, and then re-enjoyed through hundreds of blurry assed photos on our new camera!!

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Ceramic R2D2 holds heat and smoke…
Smoky beef ribs
… and smoky beef ribs
Left over beef rib stir fried with eggplant and bean sprouts. Absolute cracker!
Left over beef rib stir fried with eggplant and bean sprouts. Absolute cracker!
This was a win for left overs
This was a win for left overs
Braised pork hock with duck and smoked chicken
Braised pork hock with duck and smoked chicken…
Pickled beetroot salad
Pickled beetroot salad…
Put them both together and voila
Put them both together and voila. A win for the common man
Nimbin Valley Dairy's blue cow. Not an actual cow but a damn fine blue cheese if you can ever get hold of it!
Nimbin Valley Dairy’s blue cow. Not an actual cow but a damn fine blue cheese if you can ever get hold of it!
Proof that it is an actual cheese
Proof that it is an actual cheese. Still winning
AJ is a drunken fool. Hehehe
AJ is a drunken fool. Heheheh. The kid is pumped!!
Beef rib eye roast with pretty carrots that AJ made
Beef rib eye roast with pretty carrots that AJ made
Cauliflower and broccoli gratin
Cauliflower and broccoli gratin
...and some yorkshire pud
…and some yorkshire pud
Add some red wine gravy and it ready for my belly. See the pretty little carrots AJ made
…add some red wine gravy and it’s ready for my belly. See the pretty little carrots AJ made
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Duck is good. These marylands were roasted at 180C for 2 hours, basted regularly with their own rendered fat and juices. Eff yes!

And that, my friends, is that… I think. I shall knock up a recipe or two in the not too distant future…