Summer until you can summer no longer…

summer chicken pork kebab and vanilla bean pannacotta with marsala strawberries
It’s still pretty warm out here. Sure, the nights are a little chillier and already you can feel that the baby making season is quickly approaching, but we still have the sunny days and we shall be milking them for all they’re worth. We shall syphon every last bit of warmth that giant fiery orb (aka. the sun) is willing to release upon us and we shall barbecue until we can barbecue no longer. All that’s needed is three things.

Three things.

1. The Big Red Rub

Oh yes this is sexy
Oh yes this is sexy

Contrary to what you may initially believe, this does not involve a visit from a burly Scottish highlander who has just completed a 3 week course in the fine art of Thai massage. This is a dry rub for meats that is both red in colour and big in flavour. It was also created by me and through out these hills and hay stacks I am oft known by the name Big Red, so you could quite possibly see how I think I am being heaps clever.

Big, red and ready to get rubby
Big, red and ready to get rubby

THE BIG RED RUB

4 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon each smoked paprika, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ground chilli, dried oregano, dried thyme

• Mix it all together and you’re good to go
• Make heaps and give it to your friends or store in an air tight container in the cupboard for up to a month

2. The Chorken-kebab

All sorts of awesome
All sorts of awesome
Grilly grilly, turny turny
Grilly grilly, turny turny
Ooh la la
Ooh la la
Every piece of meat had a spit hole in it... funny that
Every piece of meat had a spit hole in it… funny that
Time to get the fuck into my belly
Time to get the fuck into my belly

This is quite simply a large chicken and pork kebab on a rotisserie spit. The chicken marylands and strips of pork belly were rubbed down sensually with a couple of handfuls of the Big Red Rub and then skewered onto the spit. This then spends three hours rolling around over the coals as it self bastes (masterbastes could work here) itself into a glorious big red awesome thing dappled with little hits of darkened charred glorious smoky bits and 100% made up of tasty, tasty chorken. You need a spit for the chorken-kebab and to look 100% more genius than if you cook it any other way but, you could also make yourself some mighty fine barbecued chicken and pork just by grilling the marinated meats over low coals for a few hours or you could even cook it in the oven for some kind of weak mans feeble not-even-a-barbecue. 180C for an hour or so should do the trick…

3. Pannacotta

Enamel is cool
Enamel is cool

Pannacotta is a dessert that oozes summer. Cool, sweet, sexy and a little bit jiggly, just like boobies, and as we all know summer is all about the boobies… and the beaches… well, beaches, boobies (boys also works well here if it’s boys you are into), barbecue and beverages… so summer is definitely about the “B” words at the very least. Anyway, when trying to syphon that last little bit of summer sunshine out of the barrel of seasons that we commonly know as the year, hold it upside down and shake it vigorously so as to dislodge every ounce of sunshine from it’s hold, use your “B” words and for goodness sakes make yourself (and a few other people) some pannacotta. This is me helping you look really good with minimal effort or smarts used by you… thank me later.

VANILLA BEAN PANNACOTTA with MARSALSA STRAWBERRIES and BASIL (for 6)

I told you enamel is cool
I told you enamel is cool

600ml thickened cream
600ml full cream milk
3 vanilla beans, scraped and pods reserved
200g castor sugar
4 gelatine sheets
2 punnets strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons marsala
1 tablespoon castor sugar
3 basil leaves, chiffonade

• Soak gelatin leaves in enough water to cover
• Combine cream, milk, vanilla and reserved pods and castor sugar. Heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is the temperature of hot tap water. Remove from heat
• Remove gelatin leaves from water and stir into cream mixture until dissolved
• Divide mix into 6 glasses to set. Enamel still seems to be trending at the moment but I could also imagine a vegemite jar will put you right on point. Refrigerate overnight to set
• I hope you read the recipe before starting and you haven’t got to this point an hour before your dinner party is due to start
• An hour or two before serving, macerate strawberries in booze and extra sugar
• Remove the pannacottas from the fridge and check they are set. We’re looking for something similar to a booby wobble, something we in the kitchen know as “titty consistency”
• Serve your pannas with the strawberries and syrup, and a few slithers of chiffonade basil

So there you go; find the last few rays of summer warmth, wrangle them to the ground, get your barbecue and pannacotta on and pretend like you’re living that endless summer… at least until next week when the skies become darker, the evenings and mornings cooler and short skirts and bikinis shall be replaced with long clothing… long, thick, warm, minimal skin revealing clothing.

Night time fire shadows
Night time fire shadows

But on the upside barbecues and summer salads shall soon be yielding to rich wintery braises, soups and slow roasted goodies of all descriptions… come at me winter!

One ingredient… sweet and savoury… capers

The caper challenge. Or should I say “the caper not-challenge?”

PS. This has nothing to do with what sneaky little activities you get up to on a Friday night.

The caper is a good friend of mine, and could be your friend too (if you weren’t such a prick). You should always have some hiding in the fridge. You can easily add some of their piquant goodness to a pasta, a braise, a salsa for steak and other meats (I posted a caper salsa last week), sauces, salads, and apparently a dessert.

This challenge was given to me by my other good friend and wife, Jennee. Jennee is a bit of a sly little lady sometimes, and she had a very big I’m-effing-pretty-damn-impressed-with-myself-right-now smile creeping across her face as she sat on the couch, iPhone in hand, sending it to me. I’m sure she could’ve just used her mouth (hehe. Nope. I’m keeping well clear of that one) and verbaled it to me. But no, I think she wanted to keep it legit so I couldn’t back down. Nice work Jennee Hitler. Nice work indeed.

“Oooh you want some of this. Just let me finish my pasta baby. I’ll be literally one minute…”

For the savoury dish I could think of nothing better for capers to be the headline act of then a little festival called pasta puttanesca, or whores pasta. Derived from the Italian “puttana”, or whore. Someone I may or may not work with right now was under the impression that it was called whores pasta in reference to the fishy smell of the working girls vagina. Alas no. Although I think it is effing awesome for someone to make that correlation, this dish was given its moniker because of the ease it is made. A nice, easy meal for the working girls of old to make in between clients. Or possibly even while servicing aforementioned clients.

 

 

 

PASTA PUTTANESCA
Olives, capers, anchovies, diced fresh tomato, a hobbits handful of each
Pasta of your choosing (I’m liking penne or contadina), cooked, a big handful
Olive oil
Parmesan
Optional – a handful of basil leaves, chopped chilli, whole chilli, chilli dog, chopped dog, it’s chilly outside so make sure you pop a jacket on dear…?

• Toss everything except pasta and parmo in a med-hot pan for exactly 62 seconds
• Add pasta and toss for another 28 seconds. Don’t add any salt because the olives and anchovies have got that one covered
• Plate up. Top with cheese

Easier then getting sex at a whorehouse. Even if by some awesome twist of fate you have just come across thousands of dollars and could quite literally buy as much sex as your dirty little pee-pee could handle. This recipe is still easier.

And for the sweet side of things? A caper and current praline. Am I kidding? I very well may be. Who knows? Just try it anyway. God knows I didn’t.

ROSEMARY PANNACOTTA with CURRANT AND CAPER PRALINE
Your regular pannacotta recipe can go here, unless it’s shit in which case you should use someone else’s recipe or I will post one at a later date. Infused with a sprig of rosemary when you warm the milk and cream.

For the praline
2 tablespoons baby capers
1 tablespoon currants
1 cup castor sugar
A few tablespoons of water
• Line a small oven tray with baking paper. Scatter the capers and currants on the baking paper
• Combine sugar and water in a pot to make a slurry
• Simmer over a med-high heat, not stirring, for 5-ish minutes. By this time your sugar syrup should be starting to turn caramel-y sort of colour
• Now you need to keep a close eye on this, because it can go from good to bad in a very short amount of time. Once it is all golden brown, pour it over the capers and currants. It might splutter a little so don’t have your 4 year old child holding the baking dish for you because steaming hot caramel fucking hurts
• Leave it chill out and harden up on the bench for 15 minutes, and then you can crack it up and eat with your pannacotta

AAAH. FOODISTHEBESTSHITEVER