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

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.

Friendly Fire; Sushi

pork sushi
“ANOTHER SHARK ATTACK AT BYRON BAY” has been the headline news a little too often in the last few months.

Are there even more sharks or are we just looking a little harder for them now?

Who knows. Either way, the sharks have been hungry this year.

I think it’s possibly because we have been taking a lot of the food from their under water cafeteria. I could be wrong, I have certainly been wrong before, but it’s a theory I have. So, due to the seemingly insatiable appetite of sharks in the Byron Bay area I have opted out of using seafood for my “Friendly Fire Sushi Challenge” on this occasion and have instead headed to the hills and found myself some pork.

Pork is not generally the primary food source for sharks or for any other creature that has been remotely sensationalized and/or thrusted (yeah I just said thrusted) into peoples lives as being a ruthless killer so I feel that it is something that I may use today with out consequence nor burden to add to the weight of my already obese conscience.

I’m sure Dana got to use some kind of delicious seafood that she wasn’t stealing from the mouths of the wee sharky bairn and therefore forcing poppa shark to work a whole heap harder for his money and actually start walking onto the beach on his fins to steal a lone, unaware, overweight, sun glazed tourist and then drag said tourist back into the ocean to feed his family, thus resulting in the end of beach going as we know it today through fear of land walking sharks… The picture I created in my own head right there was probably far more amusing to me than it actually came across…

Brain images 1 – conveying funniness to wider community 0.

So to summarize I can and will tell you that statistically you have more chance of getting killed by falling out of bed or from eating a hotdog than you do from a shark attack, and there is a 100% chance that I shall be making a porky nori rolls for the sushi challenge today.

Epic food battles of history. Who wins? You decide…

See Dana’s (more informative and possibly just darn right better) creation right here.

Get it all together
Get it all together

Mmmm, pulled pork. This was really good and I will probably sort out a recipe for it really soon
Mmmm, pulled pork. This was really good and I will probably sort out a recipe for it really soon
Get a little rice down
Get a little rice down
Stack it up... Not too up though
Stack it up… Not too up though
And then roll it up. It's as easy as that... I'm too OG to even use a rolling mat, but I reckon Dana will be nice enough to tell you about that
And then roll it up. It’s as easy as that… I’m too OG to even use a rolling mat, but I reckon Dana will be nice enough to tell you about that
The pork belly and hoisin number
The pork belly and hoisin number

Chop them up so they fit in your mouth and then fit them into your mouth with a little extra QP and possibly some soy and wasabi if you're keen
Chop them up so they fit in your mouth and then fit them into your mouth with a little extra QP and possibly some soy and wasabi if you’re keen

PORKY SUSHI #1

Cooked brown rice (it’s a Northern Rivers thing)
200g cooked (steamed or roasted) pork belly
QP Japanese mayonnaise
Hoisin sauce
Bean sprouts
Coriander (cilantro)
Shallots
Nori sheets

PORKY SUSHI #2

Cooked brown rice
200g barbecue pulled pork
QP Japanese mayonnaise
Pickles
Slaw
Shallots
Nori sheets

Now you just sorta, um, well, maybe just look at the pictures and roll them up kinda like that. The thing is, when you are rolling nori rolls you just gotta think “teenage years” and remember your mad spliff rolling skills and get them back into play. Certainly not a very good lesson on sushi rolling technique but I think we can all agree it is some sound advice and gripping social commentary from you friends here at foodisthebestshitever.

Anyhow, the sushi; they were both damn tasty but the pulled pork number defo made my face smile the most!

That’s it.
pork sushi

Campfire (or possibly home oven) Chicken with Broad Beans and Bacon

chicken with broad beans and bacon
“You may sleep like animals and smell like animals, but you shall eat like men”.

Well, I heard through a friend of mine that that is indeed what Jesus said and by jeepers I do believe I agree with that man!

I am more than happy to sleep on the floor with nothing but a rolled up old tee shirt that I had been wearing for work on the two days previous, and nary a blanket or mattress in sight, on the odd (or possibly way too oft) occasion that I’ve indulged in one too many tipples of the white man’s devil water and nodded off (passed out) on the floor while searching for my bed… which is coincidentally in the same place it has been for the last 5 years… I’m sure there should be some kind of ingrained memory thing there, but no.

I belive I told you to put coals on the top of the camp oven too...
I believe I told you to put coals on the top of the camp oven too…

That same minimal necessity sleeping theory is also applicable for camping. I will sleep on the ground (although that tune may be sung a little differently as I grow older), wear the same clothes and bath in nothing but the sweat dripping from my own pores for as many days as need be but just before I can no longer see modern civilization from the brink of Lord of the Flies syndrome I will cook up a damn fine meal that I shall devour like some kind of strange red bearded camp royalty and bam! I am human again.

Ready to bring you back from the brink of Lord of the Flies syndrome...
Ready to bring you back from the brink of Lord of the Flies syndrome…

It’s not hard to eat well while you’re camping, it really isn’t. What is hard is a brick. Bricks are very hard, but eating well while camping is not. Argue that point with me why don’t you…

Certainly no brick
Certainly no brick

Something as simple as camp oven chicken for example, can be lifted to dizzying new heights if you remember to pack a little ham stock that’s been in the freezer since last Christmas and way too many broad beans from the garden. It’s about the fore-thought – past Graz looking out for future Graz and all that. I’m certainly not implying that all of your camp meals should be like you’re staying at a five star resort, because then let’s face it – you’re going to be needing a bath robe and a little mint choccy on your pillow too and, although I am more than happy to be designated camp cook, you will not be receiving room service from me… lip service possibly, but room service definitely not. So you just get your own ass organized and pack a couple of ingredients for your tromp de monde camp dish then you are coming out on top… and in the orgy of camp cooking, on top is indeed a good place to be.

Cook it before I shoot you with my beer gun
Cook it before I shoot you with my beer gun

CAMPFIRE CHICKEN with BROAD BEANS and BACON (serves 4-6)

1x 1.6kg chicken of prime origin
3 rashers bacon
1 brown onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 cups broad beans podded from what looks like way too many broad beans for you and your family but trust me, it isn’t (if you can’t get them fresh, frozen are readily available and would do the job also)
2 cups ham stock
Salt and pepper

• Saute bacon, onion, carrot and garlic in a large camp oven (dutch oven) until just starting to colour
• Add your chicken and ham stock and season that sexy beast well
• Put the lid on your camp oven and keep it on med-low coals, with a layer of coals on the lid, for 40-50 minutes
• Sweep coals off the lid and check the chook… it should be pretty close. If not, put the lid back on, cover with coals and leave for another 10 minutes. Repeat the sweeping and checking…
• Once the chicken is done add the broad beans and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes
• Serve the chicken with bread that Jennee baked in the camp oven earlier that afternoon (not showing off or anything) and tune in to the pretty sounds of the bush at sunset
• Aaaaaahhhhhhhhh

Listen to the beautifulness
Listen to the beautifulness
Oh, and then eat some bastardised smore type thing for dessert
Oh, and then eat some bastardised smore type thing for dessert

PS this could be done in a baking dish in the oven at 180C for the same times…