Pretty easy sausage meatball pasta

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This is easy-tasty-good piss-easy mid-week cooking ala foodisthebestshitever personified.

The big secret here is if you get a good sausage you will defo be a happy woman.

Wait…

Um…

What I meant to say is; if you get a good sausage from your butcher half the work is already done for you. Yup. That’s my big secret.

Seriously.

A decent butcher will have a few different sausages to choose from so I would suggest something herby or something with some spice, like a fresh chorizo, and then half the battle is already won. Literally then the hardest thing you will need to do to get a decent dinner on the table is to boil the correct amount of pasta needed to feed only the people sitting around said table and not the population of a small northern Italian village.

Add a few vegetables that you have wrestled from the grip of the depths-of-the-back-of-the-fridge-demon, a few subtle herbs*, a splash of whatever trashy white wine you have in the coffee cup in front of you and some cooked pasta (or instant noodles if you’re feeling reals trashy), and you will be eating a pretty damn fine pasta for your dinner.

And don’t feel like this could only be done on a stove top. Anything you can cook in a pan can be cooked on the coals or on a grill… just saying… it’s a pretty good way to do camping like a boss.

Little balls of meaty goodness getting made by my children. So bloody simple.

Brown those balls

Get some green things into the pan

…and then get some pasta in there too

A few subtle herbs. Bahahahaha… subtle herbs

Get into my face time

SAUSAGE MEATBALL & GREEN STUFF PASTA

Serves 4

Enough cooked pasta for 4 people, plus a tablespoon or two of the water it was cooked in
500g good thick sausages, each sausage pushed from its skin and formed into 5-6 meatballs
1 anchovy
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large handful chopped fresh herbs – sage, thyme, lemon thyme, rosemary and curly parsley
2 cups diced green vegetables – zucchini, broccoli and green olives… even peas would work so very well
A splash of white wine
Olive oil
Grated parmesan or pecorino to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add meatballs and sauté for 2 minutes, turning every 30 seconds to get a little browning on a fair bit of the ball.
Add anchovy, garlic, half of the chopped herbs and the vegetables, and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until starting to colour a little.
Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine. Deglaze your own face with a large tumbler of said white wine. Cook out for another minute.
Toss through pasta and 1-2 tablespoons of pasta cooking water and heat through.
Toss through remaining herbs.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Distribute that good stuff between 4 bowls. Top with parmesan and a splash of olive oil if you’re feeling it.
Eat it in your face.

*Bahahaha… subtle herbs. I don’t even know what a subtle herb is. Man up and get some punch-in-face herbs in that pasta so they may party with the sausage like a cheap prostitute and they can all hit the front page of tomorrows local rag together.

Chicken and Prawn Pad Thai Noodles for your New Years Resolution

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chicken and prawn pad thai noodles
If making Pad Thai was your New Years resolution then this is a story for you… read on my friend, read on.

It’s time to say goodbye to 2015; the old suit, last years fashion and the out of date milk… or maybe just plain old out of date, and hello to 2016; the new puppy dog, the fresh threads, the shiny new car and the virgin princess.

That’s right, the New Year has welcomed it’s own self into our lives like a cheeky little gypsy squatter. Yep, 2016 is here and it is here to stay. Now is probably also a good time to bring to point out that it’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life… or at least the next 365 days…

I know it is customary in these times we live in, to make a resolution of some description. You probably want to better yourself and just make yourself a nicer person to be around and I think that is kinda reasonable because let’s face it, you are a bit of a dick but I’m sure with a good positive attitude and the help of the New Years Resolution Gods you can overcome this little hurdle and push on to become a more bearable human being.

Me on the other hand, I’m not really bothered with that whole resolution thing. Too worried about failing at this shit one more year so just staying well away from the whole thing… Well, maybe that’s a bit of a lie (bare with me here). Not more than two weeks ago my brother Matt did send my a pic of a classic Thai noodle dish called Pad Thai that he had made for his dinner. The pic made me want Pad Thai… I could taste it and I knew that with my self judged pro rank at making this aforementioned dish, it was something that I would need to cook for myself (and possibly 14 other people because, like it’s Italian cousin the pasta, this is one of those dishes that I always cook a heap too much of… the neighbours don’t seem to mind though).

Right there and then I decided that I would make Pad Thai on New Years Day. That was my New Years resolution and I was going to try my darndest to stick to it and it was indeed a resolution that was swiftly and efficiently fulfilled.

New Years Day dinner equaled a big fat wok full of prawn and chicken Pad Thai with chilli jam, some soy and garlic greens and Thai-esque coleslaw. I am fucking ruling at 2016 already. Bring on the rest of the year!

Prawn and chicken-y goodness

Prawn and chicken-y goodness

Those garlic and soy greens

Those garlic and soy greens

That Thai style 'slaw

That Thai style ‘slaw

Those Pad Thai noodles

Those Pad Thai noodles

And a close up of those same noodles

And a close up of those same noodles


PAD THAI (serves at least 6 as part of a banquette)

Some dried flat rice noodles (however many you reckon because let’s face it; it really doesn’t effing matter how much you soak because it’s always going to be enough to feed a medium to large Thai village anyways), soaked in warm water until just cooked but still a little firm in the middle AKA al dente. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have some fresh rice noodles with-in your grasp, you go ahead and use them
10 large king prawns or possibly lobster (if the extra cash in your pockets is weighing your pants down and you’re starting to look a little too much like a 90s homeboy) peeled, de-veined and chopped into 2-3 pieces
300-400g chicken thigh (for me) or breast (for other people), chopped into small bite sized pieces. It is also totally feasible to use the left over roast chicken from last night, which is what I did actually do
2 tablespoons each salted radish (chopped) and dried shrimp
4 eggs
1 bunch garlic chives, chopped into 1 inch pieces
Pad Thai sauce (recipe below)
Bean shoots, coriander, crisp eshallots and roasted peanuts
Lime, fish sauce and chilli jam (a recipe will follow in the coming days/weeks) to serve

• Get your wok hot. I mean hot. Like the super model crisping up in the midday sun sans Evian hot. Add a splash of oil and then crack the eggs in and scramble them really fast. Once they are cooked put them on a plate and set aside
• Add a little more oil and let the wok heat up again. Add the prawns, chicken, salted radish and shrimp and fry for 1 minute
• Add the noodles and egg and stir fry for another minute
• Now add most of the Pad Thai sauce (reserve a little to adjust seasoning at the end if necessary), a handful of coriander and bean shoots, and a few garlic chives, crisp eshallots and peanuts. Toss
• It is now one minute later and your Pad Thai is ready
• Check seasoning and adjust with reserved Pad Thai sauce if necessary
• Serve garnished with extra garlic chives, bean shoots, coriander, eshallots, peanuts and heaps of lime for squeezy tang
• Good work

Pad Thai Sauce

¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup tamarind puree
½ cup grated light palm sugar
• Whack it all in a jar and shake it up until the palm sugar is dissolved

That’s it; Pad Thai like a boss. Stay tuned for our foodisthebestshitever Easter food ideas real soon… only three months ahead of time – just like the supermarkets!
chicken and prawn pad thai noodles

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

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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

Salsa verde… a green sauce for steak and chicken and just about anything

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Salsa verde.

Literally translated this means green sauce. No mention of rocket science here so it kinda implies that even you’re going to be able to pull this one off! Also, with it’s literal name, the initials GS could also stand for “good shit”, as this is well and truly what salsa verde is – the good shit! On a less than interesting side note, GS is also my initials. What does that mean? Most certainly eff all I would say…

This is another one of those things that I have spoken about previously. Many times in fact, but as it was in the days when the viewing audience for this blog was literally four people and one small goat it received minimal notice and even minimal-er props. One effing like was the only respect that post received, which was just not a good enough result to make me happy. I may have let it slide at the time but really I had no choice – I had an audience of four people and a fucking goat for goodness sakes. Now I have at least double that amount of subscribers so I have decided it’s time to try again. I have blatantly pulled this little recipe from a post I wrote many, many months ago with absolutely no concern for the people that will point at me in the street and label me a slack, uncreative blahdy blahdy wah wah. Those people can lick things that aren’t an actual lollipop.

Salsa verde has more applications than the milk crate in student housing. Try these on for size;
• Sauce for the roast chicken I cooked last week, steak, pork, fish, all the meats really
• Dressing for a mixed grain, corn and kale salad
• Toss through pasta and top with parmesan for #easytastygood
• Use it to finish braised dishes like shanks or ox tail
• Spread it on grilled sour dough for herby bruschetta-y goodness
• Just put it on whatever. It’s really good

Herby goodness from 5 meters out the back door

Herby goodness from 5 meters out the back door

Blitzy blitzy

Blitzy blitzy

Serve it with everything

Serve it with everything


SALSA VERDE (green sauce)

2 cups each picked parsley, mint, basil and rocket (all from the back garden like a baws)
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers and the vinegar they live in
1-2 anchovies, or not if you are vegetarian
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup light olive oil or something less fruity

• Blitz all ingredients except oil in a food processor or blender, or bash them in a mortar and pestle until they are a smooth paste
• Slowly add oil while still mixing to emulsify
• Season*
• Mmmm

*Seasoning in cooking is a biggie. It’s not one of those things you can “just not worry about”. It is quite often what separates the home kitchen from the commercial. Seasoning. Salt and pepper. Essential to heighten taste and enhance flavour. Get into the habit of checking your seasoning. Do it now!

Moreton Bay bug and prawn spaghetti

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moreton bay bugs, prawns, past
It’s heating up.

As we charge our way through a cracking spring like a boatload of rampaging white men through any indigenous tribe they came across, we have nothing but the glory of summer in full flight, wings spread and soaring high above like some kind of really big bird (not big bird though because I am positive that big yellow bastard can’t fly), to look forward to. That is, if you live among us in the southern hemisphere. For those of you who live in the northern hemisphere it shall be getting colder because of the hand of mother nature and the world wide effect known as “opposite day”… or possibly opposite season… or perhaps it even has a more technical term that people who wear glasses might know. Alas, I do not wear glasses (although I am meant to), so that information is beyond my grasp.

But anyway, this isn’t a story about the climate on the coast of eastern Australia (I think I may have mentioned it as a prelude to needing a fresh seafood dinner but… meh), this is a story about bugs.

Not the thousands of bugs that that some how find themselves swimming together in the Olympic regulation insect pool that is my bathroom sink every morning, possibly negating the fact that they had never taken swimming lessons. And not the ferocious bugs that were the sworn enemy of Earth’s troops on Klendathu. No, I am talking about the damn well sexy tasting bug that is know to us as Thenus Orientalis, the Slipper Lobster or, in Australia, the Moreton Bay Bug (probably due to our love of just, well, making other peoples things our own out here. Like what we did with Russell Crowe).

I bet you’re wondering how I came to have bugs in my possession, or possibly how to get rid of your excess ear hair. Well, gather ‘round, for all shall be revealed in my following ramblings.

Dr Chris (my dear Jennee’s DNA test proven father) is staying with us at the moment as Jennee is away and quite frankly, those boys of ours need 24hr supervision. Now, Dr Chris is a lover of seafood, and by seafood I mean food he can see… and reach out and grab… and send on a Contiki tour of his belly. So Dr Chris crossed my palm with enough gold for me to pay a little visit to our local fish monger and return home with some of King Neptune’s finest fare. With which I made this pasta…

I’ve got nothing for the excess ear hair PS.

Awesome looking little offers, aren't they

Awesome looking little effers, aren’t they

Nom noms

Nom noms

More nom noms

More nom noms

No waiting for nom noms

No waiting for nom noms

Done with nom noms

Done with nom noms

MORETON BAY BUG AND PRAWN SPAGHETTI (for 6)

1kg fresh prawns, peeled, deveined and generally just made to look a lot more edible
3x 250g Moreton Bay bugs, cut in half between the eyes and poo poo removed
1x 500g pack dried spaghetti or, if you want to get all renegade about this shit, what ever pasta you’d like
200g good, smoky bacon*
4 tomatoes, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 long red chilli, chopped
A splash of white plonk if you have some
Olive oil
A knob of butter
Salt and pepper. Always with the salt and pepper
Lemon wedges (don’t think you can omit the lemon wedge ok? That final squeeze of fresh lemon juice really makes this dish sing) and some of the baby rocket from Jennee’s garden, to serve

• Start by getting some oil hot in a large pan
• Add the bugs and bacon and a little seasoning to get the party started. Turn the bugs every minute or so
• After 4 or so minutes the bugs should be just about cooked (they will turn an orangey-red colour and the flesh will firm up. Check by pulling a bit out of the tail if you’re unsure – you don’t want to over cook these puppies at the price you pay for them) and remove from pan
• Add prawns, chilli and garlic and sauté for a further two minutes or until prawns are just about cooked
• Return bugs back to the little party in the pan, as well as tomato and a splash of white plonk, if using
• Add pasta and a knob of butter, just to guild the lily a little, and heat through for one minute
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary, and get that shit on the table plenty pronto, garnished with some baby rocket and a pile of fresh lemon wedges

*I got my bacon from Mr Greg Cromwell around the corner from me at Cromwell Farms. He breeds old school pigs like Berkshire, and lets them run around in fields like pigs should. Then he kills them and gets another nice gentleman to cure and smoke his bacon (no, that is not a euphemism you dirty little gutter snipe) and every now and then has a pop-up shop at his farm so regular people, just like you, can go along and try his wares and try to get out without his daughters selling you something. If you’re ever in the Northern Rivers you should look him up because he has the good shit. Right here is a good start.

And just in case you’re wondering, I paid for my bacon.

Macaroni Cheese with Smoked Boar Belly… and Boys Night

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It’s boy’s night at our little abode. No, not the type of boys night where we sit around playing cards, drinking whiskey a eating nachos that are served to us by a waitress who can best be described as looking like she has just come from the beach… wearing high heels. This is the kind of boys night where is it just me and my two boys, Seba and Obi, and we hang out, watch quite a few episodes of “The Clone Wars” animated series and eat whatever the hell we want (usually not served to us by scantily clad waitresses) that is definitely not in accordance with or following any of the dietary requirements of Jennee’s gluten intolerance or paleo diet. We are sans mother and wife, and by golly we will do whatever the eff we want. We are man, hear us roar!

“Meow”.

Yeah, you get the picture.

Boys night’s are high on the list of things that make me happy. These nights make me so happy that even my smile smiles. My smile actually texts it’s friends to tell them how fucking happy it is right now. What more could a man need? Quality time catching up on cartoons, sitting around in my knickers, eating a pile of “sometimes food” and spending time with my damn fine kids.

Today I was hell bent on cooking up some mac n cheese, but the local store was void of the macaroni my heart so desired. So, with nary a hat wearing, feather doting Yankee with the magical ability to conjure up my macaroni in sight, I thought my next best option was going to be penne. So penne it was (although with hind sight I would say there is really no substitute for the macaroni). Also, I had a heap of smoked wild boar belly in the freezer (this came into my possession via the same source of the goat I used for that goat curry I posted not so far in the past. I think I should clarify that it did not come from the actual goat, as that would make it cross bred billy goat/razor back which is going to freak me out and remain barren of any votes from me. No, this boar was merely provided by the same supplier I got my goat from. I need to end this ever-so-pointless story right now), and boar is kindred to the pig so that was going to get it’s smoky ass in there, too.

A nice looking lump of smoked boar

A nice looking lump of smoked boar

The smell of this stuff cooking made me go a little week at the knees

The smell of this stuff cooking made me go a little week at the knees

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

SMOKED BOAR BELLY MAC N CHEESE with penne (for 4)

400g smoked wild boar belly, bacon or speck, sliced into lardons
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 cup grated honky dory tasty or cheddar cheese, plus 1 cup extra to top
2 tablespoons of your favourite mustard (I used that cheap American ball park stuff, but Dijon would be the goods)
1lt milk
50g flour
50g butter
400g dried macaroni (yeah, I know it’s almost a full packet but that extra 100g is that little bit too much), cooked per packet instructions and refreshed
A large handful parsley, chopped
Chopped spinach, kale or frozen peas if you need to get some greenery in there

• Fry the lardons over medium heat for 5 minutes, until browned and simmering in a pool of their own rendered fat. Discard most of the rendered fat or, if you’re keen, save it in the fridge for next time you roast potatoes. Let’s get that stuff in the fridge, eh? Put the lardons aside while you get the rest ready
• To make a béchamel sauce (white sauce. Like what you use for cauliflower cheese) first melt butter in a saucepan over med-low heat. Add flour and cook out for a couple of minutes (to get rid of the raw floury taste), stirring constantly. While stirring slowly add milk until you have a smooth, sauce-like constancy. If it doesn’t end up nice and smooth, get some whisk action onto it and beat those damn lumps into submission. Add cheeses and mustard and stir to combine
• Add the lardons, pasta and parsley and combine
• Transfer to baking dish, top with extra cheese and bake in 180C oven for 30-35 minutes. You want it bubbling and golden so don’t be afraid to chuck it back in the oven for another few minutes and even turn it up a little to get the result
• A nice little leafy salad is probably a pretty good accompaniment. That and the company of your favourite kids (hopefully the fact that they’re your favourite kids alone should mean they’re yours, but if not soz… just soz)

If you have some left overs the next day feel free to slice it into squares, crumb it up and deep fry the crap out of them for tasty fried mac n cheese bites a la Paul’s Caul.

Pasta Amatriciana… and thank you for Bacon Week

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Sugo all’amatriciana (amatriciana sauce for all us English speaking, less sexy sounding peeps) is a classic Italian sauce hailing from the town of Amatrice. Why did I think I should tell you that? I don’t know, but I did, so you can thank me later.

This is the side story that will inadvertently lead me to making this dish for our dinner tonight.

BACON WEEK

Muther effer what??

Yeah that’s right, it’s national bacon week. I don’t know who’s god it was that decided to bless our land with this celebration (I could almost guarantee it wasn’t Allah though), but bless them. Bless their cotton socks. It’s times like these that make me truly happy to be an Australian. Why, I’m so happy I could run naked through the streets, concealing my throbbing member with nothing more than a strip of (freakishly large) bacon. This week of bacon-ness should be enough to give the people a little glimmer of hope, and forget for a moment about the some how elected clown who is running the circus that is our government. It is a time to smile and reflect on the day that little baby Jesus created this multi use, can make any food more desirable, endorphin releasing, erection sustaining, child creating, cured pork product. Thank you Jesus… thank you for the bacon.

I think I have made it clear now that I love bacon. But I am truly sorry, and even a little ashamed to admit, that I had forgotten about bacon week until yesterday. Please though, before you beat me to death with boxes of prize winning root vegetables, allow me to try and redeem myself. This week I shall be eating bacon like a man possessed… and I’ll start right here and now with this pasta. Pasta amatriciana.

Traditionally made with guanciale (a spiced and cured pork cheek given to the world by our Italian friends, and we should definitely all write letters to Italy to thank them for it) but, because of this whole bacon week thing, I shall be making it with bacon. And another thing; when I say I shall be making it, I really mean my youngest son Obi shall be making it. Yeah, that’s how we roll in the northern rivers of New South Wales!

Interesting side note; it is a fact that child slaves are the next best thing to carnies, only losing out narrowly because of the laws prohibiting us from beating them.

This is indubitably another candidate for #easytastygood

Get your own child slave to prep the ingredients. Concentrate son, concentrate

Get your own child slave to prep the ingredients. Concentrate son, concentrate

Good enough to eat on toast right now...

Good enough to eat on toast right now…

But then I went and chucked a bottle of tomato passata in there

But then I went and chucked a bottle of tomato passata in there

Still damn tasty

Still damn tasty

Oh yes

Oh yes

PASTA AMATRICIANA (for 4)
6-7 rashers of bacon, chopped
1 brown onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ long red chilli, sliced
2 anchovy fillets (not very traditional but I like it)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 600ml bottle of tomato passata
Seasoning
Enough cooked pasta for four people
Grated parmesan or pecorino to serve
Forks and bowls to serve
• Sauté everything except tomato until softened and starting to colour. It will smell delicious and you will probably want to eat it on toast as it is but you should resist the urge – dinner will be on the table in 10 minutes or so
• Add the passata and simmer for 10 minutes so the bacon can spread it’s love through the sauce, like a GI spreading syphilis through a small Vietnamese village
• Check the seasoning. It may not need salt because of the bacon and anchovies, but a bit of pepper will be nice
• Stir through the pasta and serve with parmesan, via a fork, straight into your face!

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