Prawn and Chorizo Spaghetti that is so damn simple even Niels can make it

prawn and chorizo pasta
I did a fair bit of tossing up as to whether I would be telling you about some of my new friends in the world of food or a crackingly simple prawn and chorizo pasta that is one of my all time faves, a flavour combination I have used in many different applications… except the bedroom… well, there was that one time but I was hella trash-bagged. So it was a toss up. There was a small tussel, some eye gouging and a cheeky finger up the bot bot, but at the end of the day it was the prawn pasta that won… the bond of old friends would not waver under the pressure of any brazen young upstart. Or something like that. Or even possibly nothing at all like that. Listen, I just decided that I’m going to tell you about the pasta today Ok? I’ll tell you about something cool and hip and contemporary next time… or maybe the time after that. I don’t know. FUCK!

I really need to cut down on my coffee intake.

So this is a damn tasty pasta that is so effing easy even Niels can make it. That’s right, even Niels can make it. You know Niels right? No? Well I shall take a moment to introduce you folks; Niels is an old friend. His name is definitely Niels and not Neil. Niels has an acupuncture clinic and spends his days healing people through the flick of a needle. Niels is not a chef, or a cook. Well, he wasn’t until we opened this restaurant and he kindly put his hand up to do whatever it was (well, anything as long as it was within the international humanitarian guidelines) we needed of him to get this restaurant thing up and running, and in exchange for his services we would cross his palm with silver so that he may appease this guy called Bill who seems to require a lot of Niels’ money… and he seems to get a fair bit from just about everyone else I know too… hmmm. Anyway, Niels showed some skills, a keen-ness that is scarce in this industry at the moment, and the capacity to follow instructions and retain information so before he knew it he was chained to the stove, flipping the pan like his name was Peter… did that work? No, I didn’t think so. I really need to work out how I can stop being so damn lame… maybe they offer a course in that these days? Community college possibly? No, you know what? If I was going to do a course it should definitely be a course in how to stick to the fucking point!!

The bottom line is this; three months ago Niels couldn’t even flip a pan, but he could still cook a damn fine pasta. I am out.

Just simple tasty food
Just simple tasty food

...that even Niels can make.
…that even Niels can make

I have nothing for this except my face hole and a fork.
I have nothing for this except my face hole and a fork

PRAWN AND CHORIZO SPAGHETTI (serves 4)

16-20 large prawns that come from the ocean near where you live (unless the closest ocean is a grey water treatment plant, in which case you use whatever you can find and go with my blessing), peeled and deveined
2 chorizo sausage, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
1-2 long red chilli depending on how hot you like it, chopped nice and small
15 cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
A good splash of something white and wine-like
250g spaghetti, fettuccine or whatever the hell pasta you like to eat, cooked per packet instructions
Olive oil
A large handful of parsley, chopped
An even larger handful of mint, picked
Seasoning
Pangrattata and lemon wedges to serve
You’re going to need a large pan for this one, or two medium pans will also do the trick

• Heat a splash of oil in the pan over a high flame. Add prawns, chorizo and a good pinch of salt and pepper
• Toss for one minute (the pan that is… filthy person) until prawns are almost done and then get the garlic, chilli and tomatoes in there
• Give them another minute and then deglaze with the white wine. Add pasta and a tablespoon of water from the pot
• Toss, toss, toss
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary
• Add parsley, roughly tear in mint, toss, add a little more olive oil if it looks like it need a little more sheen, and the get that bad boy into some bowls, top with pangrattato, put a little lemon on the side and serve
• Bam. There is a high chance you will thank me for this one

Eat it
Eat it

WilliamsBurg, Lennox Head, NSW – A really really good place to go to eat a burger.

williamsburg lennox head
A new burger joint within the distance that I may ride my donkey from my house and not need to use public facilities on the way is the type of thing that is going to get me excited. I also get quite excited by midget porn … and midget wrestling… just midget anything really. Or should I be saying little people? Small people? I don’t bloody know. Somebody hook a brother up with the low down eh.

So,
1. New burger joint
2. Close enough to our house
3. Got a bit of a weird little thing going on in my brain where it feels like there is a few of those aforementioned little people in my brain and they are trying to punch their way out from the inside. (I’m not sure what the heck happened but I do remember going to our good friends wedding, having a beer, owning the dance floor and the microphone, having another beer, groping the bride’s mother, or was that the father? Yep, definitely the father. Had another beer, paid way too much for a taxi home, had another beer, retired gracefully to bed, woke up with said pain in head. Best I can deduce with nary the capabilities or funds needed to purchase a junior detective’s kit so I may take the investigation further, is some bastard did something to my brain while I was sleeping. Not cool… not cool at all)
4. New burger joint
5. They have deep fried pickles

That little list meant that I had 5 reasons to get my ragged ass out of bed on this day, and take that same ass for a leisurely drive through the winding roads that make up these back hills of the far north coast of NSW, and what a journey it was.

The burger menu looked like this
The burger menu looked like this

We found WilliamsBurg perched quite aptly on the corner of William St and another street that I can’t remember the name of (but if you’re super curious it is the one that runs along the beach front) in the little beachside town of Lennox Head and with that I found my self a new reason to go on and dare I say, love. We made our way inside, sat down, looked at menus and ordered some stuff… pretty much the things you would expect of someone going into a restaurant…

There was plenty of booze to choose from including local new kid on the block, the Top Shed, amber liquid on tap (but I will be honest and tell you that my face did choose an apple and guava juice due to the pummeling it had taken from old matey booze the night previous), and then there were the burgers. These burgers were almost godly. They could’ve almost done themselves more justice by calling the place heaven… if that wasn’t the shittiest name you could actually call anything except actual heaven… These guys truly know how to treat a piece of meat (nudge nudge, wink wink). This place should be the template for what a gourmet burger joint should strive to be – a well cooked burger put together with a slew of local ingredients produced by some of the regions finest, and the sides to back it up. I don’t know if I am conveying this point successfully but I think these guys make REALLY EFFING GOOD BURGERS.

That burger coming down from heaven to go into my face

After visiting WilliamsBurg for the first time recently I declared on other social media that there was not one single thing about my experience that I did not love, which was almost entirely true, but then I just remembered the mayonnaise. The mayonnaise was not as excellent as every other thing I tasted. The mayonnaise tasted kinda like some eggs and oil emulsified together (which we as a reality cooking show watching public know is a damn good start, right?) but then it didn’t seem to have too much else in it… like mustard or vinegar or seasoning. But that was the only little thing, like the only little thing. Yeah, I could have let it go, but I didn’t get the moniker “the mayonnaise nazi” by letting things like this slide 😉

Back to the good stuff.

“The William” with a few onion strips

Seba and I both went straight for the jugular of “the William” (beef patty, bacon, double cheese, lettuce, bacon jam, special sauce and deep fried pickles $16) which was without a doubt the best burger I have ever eaten in my life and the benchmark to which I will measure all burgers from here on in, and I do believe that’s all I need to say about that. (PS Laura’s Mess, something similar to this will be going down at the burger challenge my friend)

Jennee opted for “the Moocher” with it’s beer battered local fresh fish (today it was blue eye cod), ‘slaw and tartare sauce ($15.5). simple and delicious… or simply delicious… or something.

I didn't really get any pics of anything else because I was too busy having the time of my life with this sexy thing
I didn’t really get any pics of anything else because I was too busy having the time of my life with this sexy thing

Obi just wanted chips, which is highly unusual when there’s a burger on offer, but you know what? This was one of those days that if one of the kids want to have just chips for lunch, they can have just chips for lunch. So we got those chips, which were so crisp and tasty and just damn good, and we also got some crispy battered onion strips of awesome just to round it all off.

We all left so very very satiated and possibly a little smarter and better looking, the healing qualities of a damn fine burger fully realised.

I will go back to WilliamsBurg very soon. In fact, I feel that if it were just a wee bit closer, I would go there very often and very quickly turn into a red bearded Elvis type character.

Corner of Williams St and Pacific Parade (yeah I looked it up for you), Lennox Head, NSW. Go there now

Easy Thai yellow curry with fish and prawns for Mother’s Day

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Recently events have transpired, things have happened and I have missed a heap of it, or at least maybe fallen a little bit behind in keeping you up to date with what is happening on my side of the proverbial fence. This is because I have been knee deep in the glorious metaphorical shit that is feeding the people who want the food. I love it though. I fricking love it. You know I love it. Why am I continuing on this weird monologue… fuck, I do not know.

Stop now Grazza, you’re going to scare them away…

One such recent event was Mother’s Day. Yes, that was quite recent. I was unsure if Mother’s Day was celebrated on the same date around the globe or if it was one of those “Queen’s birthday type events” that seem to be celebrated on different dates in different states and countries, yet all for the same Queen. Nope. My various insta-stalking had confirmed for me that it was Mother’s Day all over the place and all on the same day. Twilight zone shit right there.

With all of this Mother’s Day business all up in my (and the rest of the world’s) grill, there was no way that it was going to go un-noticed by Jennee so I would need to take the children to shops and stores in search of the ultimate Mother’s Day gifts to make sure that girl knows she is loved. And then there is the dinner. I asked Jennee for a hint or two, just something subtle, as to what she might like to be consuming on the evening of this seemingly world-recognised Mother’s Day, but instead she told me straight up; “yellow curry, prawns, seafood… like the one you cook… you know, my death row meal”. Seriously, this lady talks about her “death row meal” like she is seriously considering committing a heinous crime in the not-to-distant future.

Just in case, I did cook her a yellow curry and it did contain prawns and fish. She was happy and no crimes were committed on this evening.

This is a pretty simple curry to make but it really pays you back ten fold in the flavour depart. Do what you want with that information.

Get some of that coriander out of the tub and into the curry
Get some of that coriander out of the tub and into the curry

I made fish balls for our curry but I decided that chunks of fish would be better... that and I truly can't be assed writing out the recipe for the fish balls
I made fish balls for our curry but I decided that chunks of fish would be better… that and I truly can’t be assed writing out the recipe for the fish balls

I know it's a bit shit but I do like this pic
I know it’s a bit shit but I do like this pic

YELLOW CURRY PRAWNS & FISH (serves 6)

400g prawns, peeled and de-veined
400g firm white fish (cod or something similar is good), cut into thumb sized chunks
1 small head of broccoli, cut into small florets
2 tomatoes, sliced into 10 wedges
2x 400ml coconut cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime
10 kaffir lime leaves
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised with the back of a knife
Oil for cooking
Extra chilli and lime, picked coriander, green papaya salad and steamed rice to serve

Curry Paste

1 brown onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 thumb sized pieces of turmeric, chopped
5 coriander roots, washed and chopped
2 dried long red chilli
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

• Blitz curry paste ingredients in food processer to form a paste
• Heat a good splash of oil in a wok or something similar. Add curry paste and move it around as it cooks out
• Once smelling fragrant add fish pieces, broccoli, kaffir lime and lemongrass. Fry for 2 minutes
• Add prawns and sugar and cook out for another 2 minutes
• Add coconut cream and cook out for 3-4 minutes
• Remove from heat and stir through tomatoes
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary… a splash of fish sauce, a sprinkle of sugar or maybe the juice of a lime – you sort it out
• Garnish with the baby coriander that’s growing in the planter box on the verandah and serve with that good stuff I suggested up there a bit
• Eat, drink and rest assured in the knowledge that no major crime will be committed tonight

Hangover breakfast… and lunch

hangover lunch
It’s been a bit touch and go for the old Grazza McFilthy Mouth today.

The precursor to this story if I may…

Yesterday I was paid a visit by an old friend and fellow chef who, for the purpose of this anecdote, shall be known as Toodles (mostly because that is his name). We proceeded to dive face first into a heap of beer, adding authenticity and conviction to the age old adage “chef’s really should not drink together”.

Oh, we did indeed drink together. I even invited a few more fellow chefs to come and join us on the verandah as if that was going to douse the flames of our drunkenness a little. Alas it appeared they had not received that memo and indeed proceeded to attempt to quell the fire that was our drunkenness with what could’ve only be described as regular house hold diesel fuel AKA. Their own drunkenness.

That same inebriation made me smile at the time but I must confess today has been a bit of a struggle. I have not even been able to trust myself with what I would normally consider the more simple of my daily tasks. Holding a conversation, pulling together a coherent sentence, brushing my teeth and simple grade 2 mathematics were all just beyond my grasp today.

I got through it with the help of some food. A lot of food.

This is what I reckon…

The sardines in the bacon fat ruled
The sardines in the bacon fat ruled

There was heaps of other good shit too
There was heaps of other good shit too
So much of this went into my face
So much of this went into my face

Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom

Breakfast consisted of grilled bacon, sardines that had been marinated in rosemary, olive oil and a splash of vinegar and then grilled in the bacon fat, my nana Rose’s potato cakes, toad in the hole (out here that’s what we call the bread with the hole cut in it and then fried with an egg cracked in the hole), fresh tomato and herb salad and coffee. A heap of coffee…
Chips
Chips

Chips loaded with good things
Chips loaded with good things

Lunch was home made mixed potato chips covered with a layer of beef chilli that spent a couple of hours in the smoker last night, then some crumbled feta and a bit of grated honky dory fridge cheese (this is whatever gratable cheese you have in the fridge).
Out the the grill and into my belly
Out the the grill and into my belly

Under the grill (broiler) for a few minutes until golden brown and then anointed with jalapeño relish, natural yoghurt and sriracha hot sauce. Straight the heck into my face hole.
So damn good
So damn good

This really is the sort of food you can only truly appreciate like it deserves to be appreciated when you are feeling the wrath of the decisions your drunken self made the previous evening.

I make me good now.

Mango & Cactus Salsa… sure to improve your life

Mango & cactus salsa goes phenomenally well with seafood tacos
Mango & cactus salsa goes phenomenally well with seafood tacos

Salsa is a child of the summer.

The moment I have made salsas three times in the same week is the exact same moment I swap my ensemble of a Darrel Summers’ jumper, sensible trousers and discount shoe mart runners for boardies, a singlet and thongs. When the salsas come out it means the weather is hot, the living is easy and I don’t look so much like I belong on the set of late 80s-early 90s Australian sitcom, “Hey Dad”.

Salsa also refers to a particularly raunchy form of Latin American dancing. It is said that salsa dancing may have been named so because it was somewhat hot and/or saucy. Nice. I really like what they did there…

You were just the recipient of a random snippet of knowledge courtesy of your friends here at foodisthebestshitever.

I am a firm believer that your life can be improved by
1. The power of a good salsa. Applying salsa with relish (heheh) at your next summer barbecue (sorry northern hemisphere peeps… you can put that on hold until next year) or your Christmas lunch shall raise you to the pedestal that you damn well deserve.
2. Plenty of booze… get some cocktail action going and you won’t even care that you can’t cook for shit and the Christmas ham is now blacker than an emo kid in a black hole.
3. A good bowel movement on a regular basis will make good life really good and on the flipside, not having a good bowel movement on a regular basis can make life very bad. Not like the call girl with the long boots and red lipstick bad, but more like the out of order toilet at the music festival bad (if you are a bit too mature to be frolicking around with thousands of sweaty hipsters insert some kind of large gathering of your kind in there).
4. An arm that was just slightly longer so you could scratch that spot in between your shoulder blades when it gets itchy. That’s got to be a god joke right there. Upstairs, laughing their heads off at us idiots down below trying to scratch ourselves. Really funny guys…

So I find it only fitting that I should offer a salsa recipe for you to create in your home kitchen today. Also, in the lead-up to this coca-cola themed craziness, I shall try to pump out a few more easytastygood recipes to impress your peeps with this Christmas.

This salsa would be great to dress a prawn salad, it would find a happy home along side roast chicken or pork and, of course it would kick-ass on tacos… any tacos as long as they are heading directly for your face.

That's the salsa down the front
That’s the salsa down the front

If you really want to impress people make a pile of fish and prawn tacos with some avocado, pickled cabbage and this salsa and hand them out to all of your friends. Popularity guaranteed
If you really want to impress people make a pile of fish and prawn tacos with some avocado, pickled cabbage and this salsa and hand them out to all of your friends. Popularity guaranteed

MANGO & CACTUS SALSA (makes approx. 3 cups)

3 medium mangoes, flesh only, diced
½ cup cactus strips*, diced
½ red (salad) onion, fine dice
1 handful coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon hot sauce**
1 lime… maybe

• Mix all ingredients together to combine
• Adjust to your taste with a squeeze of lime juice if necessary

*Available from a purveyor of Mexican goodies… or probably at every large super market chain by the time you read this as the whole Mexican food thing is trending fairly heavily

**I am using the Byron Bay Chilli Co Cayenne Hot Chilli Sauce at the moment for no other reason than it tastes damn fine

Sri Lankan-esque Prawn Curry a la Peter Kuruvita

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This is a prawn version of the pork and black pepper curry recipe that I was given by Peter Kuruvita, and when I say given to me I really mean I fair and square pulled the recipe straight off his website. Cheers Peter! Smiley face all up in my head right now as this is my new “go to” curry, my default curry setting, my special blanky that I cuddle when I am afraid of the night horrors (or uncle Bo, which ever comes first), if you will. Also, Peter Father Christmas (as I shall now know him because of his generosity and give, give, give attitude) gifted me with the knowledge of the carrot and coconut sambal, which I now make often as it is effing delicious and a great side dish with curry.

So recently, when I came across a nice big pile of prawns, I came to the conclusion this curry sauce was going to flavour them and also provide a conduit and worthy lubrication for the prawn’s final journey into my stomach. Also, the carrot sambal would stand by its side, much like the wife of an adulterous politician.

I feel it is worthy of mention that when I went to visit my peeps at the local seafood joint the 1kg of prawns that I’d asked for quickly turned into an amount that was easily closer to 2kg. They must’ve got a few too many off the boat that week, which was not a problem for me as I love eating prawns, and there was not a chance in hell I was going to be peeling them. On this day I would rather swim naked in raw sewage then peel prawns. Neinen peel prawnen for Grazza.

Enter Jennee’s dad, Dr Chris.

Upon hearing of my lack of interest (no interest, in fact) he summoned the regions finest carnie mobile prawn-peeling troupe. As this prawn-peeling troupe was clearly fictitious, Dr Chris decided it was time he scrubbed up. For the next 30 minutes he would not answer to the nom de guerre Dr Chris, but would be know simply as Chris the Prawn Peeler!

You really need to try this curry whether it is with pork, chicken, prawns or dry roasted endangered wood-pigeon hearts… I really don’t care. One thing I do care about though is a small monkey-man named Kevin. He fetches my slippers. Nice Kevin.

I don't even know how to make this look nice… you need to be able to smell it with your nose… but you can't so do me a favour and go cook it would you
I don’t even know how to make this look nice… you need to be able to smell it with your nose… but you can’t so do me a favour and go cook it would you

I've seen worse pics than this one
I’ve seen worse pics than this one
I couldn't leave you with at least one overhead shot
I couldn’t leave you with at least one overhead shot

SRI LANKAN-ISH PRAWN & BLACK PEPPER CURRY (for 4)

Marinade
1kg fresh prawns, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon roasted curry powder
2 black cardamom pods
½ bunch coriander, chopped
1 sprig of curry leaf
½ teaspoon ground chilli
1 teaspoon salt

To cook
1 brown onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumbsized knob ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 tablespoon ghee or oil
1x 400ml tin coconut milk

• Marinate prawns for 1 hour so it can get to know the spices, have a little party, a couple of drinks – you know the deal
• Add all “to cook” ingredients except tamarind and coconut milk to a hot wok and cook out for a minute until aromatic… as apposed to acrobatic… which would have them jumping about all over the place and not flavouring your food like they should be
• Now add prawns and cook out for another 2 minutes
• Add tamarind and coconut milk and simmer for another 2 minutes until the prawns are cooked and the gravy has thickened

RICE
Cook some rice or buy some already cooked from someone who knows how. Asian or Indian take-aways are usually a good spot to start

CARROT SAMBAL
1 large carrot, grated
1 
green chilli, finely chopped
1
 small onion, finely diced
2
 limes, juiced
1 
clove garlic, very finely chopped
½ cup 
shredded coconut
2-3 
curry leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
• Combine all ingredients and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate