Foodisthebestshitever reunion dinner/pissup part 2… Paul’s Caul and a nice spice rub

So Lauren and I have been on holiday for just over a week and have drank and eaten our way around southern Queensland and northern NSW, so would expect us to be well conditioned in the art of drunken eating… well it would seem that assumption was incorrect.

Yesterday we arrived in Byron bay and shopped to our hearts content buying nearly every t-shirt in town, then at about 1.40pm we where picked up by no other then G-bags McFilthy mouth and Jennee… yes that’s right we finally made it to the home of Foodisthebestshitever, and no we hadn’t become avatars of ourselves and fallen into the interweb, we were on our way to the Bexhill home of the Stockdale’s.

It had been several years since my last visit to these parts in fact I believe it was for their wedding in 2005 and I had assumed they were still living in the same house, once again I assumed incorrectly, as they had moved into a very cool abode that is filled with love and built with fairy dust, or at least that’s what the local population of filthy hippies would have you believe. So upon arrival I was greeted by the young Stockdale’s and then the magic began, like out of Disney movie or a page of a fairy tale, a character I’d only ever read about appeared before my very eyes… Dr Chris was a real boy, Geppetto had created an older more vet like boy this time.

I was given a brief tour of the grounds, dogs, ducks and chickens where seemingly Omni-present and tasty products that grow where also in abundance.

I must admit by this stage we where only three beers deep each but with all the magic in the air it did start to get blurry around about now…

Jennee and Lauren left us whilst they drove to get some grey goose (vodka) I clarified that only because in these parts you could most likely just as easily pop down the road to get an actual grey goose, but that how ever would make a very untasty caprioska.

So with the simple twist of a cap shit went side ways, the remarkably normal act of pouring red fluid into a stemmed vessel caused the world to come of its axis… Its was about now that G-bags ripped out a pork belly on the bone, cut it in half and whacked it in a pot of water and simmered the shit out of it… it was at this point I realized we where already in a cook off and I was playing away from home in a land I was not familiar with, scared? Yes I was scared… but I had a trick up my sleeve, it came in the form of a many bottles of wine.

G-bags lit the chiminea, yet more unfamiliar territory for me, and he graciously let me in on what he was prepping to do with his pork belly… he was keeping the belly untainted with ingredients and cooking it free of flavourings, or as I choose to call it PLAIN! But that’s where the plain jokes ended as he had chosen to make his famous ‘three flavour sauce’ or as I like to call it ‘crazy sauce’ and I can’t explain how fucking tasty that shit is, I was hating that god damn sauce, how was I going to trump such a delicious sauce?

Pauly tastes the three flavour crazy sauce
Pauly tastes the three flavour crazy sauce
Disgusting
Disgusting
Many lost memories are contained in this bottle
Many lost memories are contained in this bottle

So they I was scared alone and tipsy to say the least, so like a lost child from Narnia I opened the cupboard hoping for a hidden world to appear, but alas no talking lions that had a perchant for young children or freaky fucking bowed legged goat people all I had was every spice known to man and a can of lentils… now in reality there was much more in the cupboard but I’m lazy and like a challenge so lentils it is.

I made a banging spice mix for basting purposes it went a little something like this…

Pork belly spice rub
4 star anise
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorn
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
4 dried red chilli
*fry then grind the shit out of the top four in a mortar and pestle
2 tablespoons dark soy
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
*mix all together and whack still warm belly in mix to absorb goodness.

Lentil coconut & herb thing
The girls now arrived back and the drinks keep a flowing and I started to chop ingredients up one by one like a half assed Noah… of course I begun with 1 diced onion and a few cloves of garlic gently sautéed off with a touch off salt.
Then a crossed path with a couple off small sweet potato so I diced them up small and whacked them in the pot, once they had got a bit off heat in them I poured in the remainder of a bottle of marsala approx. 1 cup and cooked till it disappeared. I had come to think that I needed more moisture so I opened a can of chopped tomatoes and in the pot that went along with the drained and washed lentils (two tins in the end) and then allowed all of these items to get to know each other whilst slowing cooking away for 10-15 minutes… I went to find some herbs to help with the flavour as at present it didn’t stand a chance against ‘crazy sauce’ (most likely this would be Graeme’s Indian name)… I found and used a little thyme, oregano and rosemary all just finely chopped and tossed in the pot, stirred and seasoned with salt and lots of it.
This is where I left the pot with the heat off and the lentils tasting alright, not bad but definitely not brilliant.
So I drank and started cooking and basting my belly…every now and again I’d pop in the kitchen dip my finger in both the crazy sauce and my not so crazy lentils, and I’ll be honest I wasn’t happy at all with how I was doing in this challenge… but I was by now very very drunk which I was quite proud of.
Then I decided, fuck it, I was going to put a can of coconut cream in it and in turn it then must have fish sauce and a little sugar to help with the transition. This all worked extremely well and I feel that it was in the delicious but not even in the same ball park as ‘crazy sauce’, but fuck him its his house let him have this one.

Now I’ll not entirely sure what went on for the next few hours but there are a few photos to help fill in the gaps, our belly’s both cooked supremely well on the open fire and all sides, sauces and accompaniments were served in some form or another…we ate and not much longer after that the girls in there very inebriated state vanished like young boys innocence at a catholic school camp, leaving just the lads, now we seemed to of gained an extra person during the evening and I’ll be honest I have no idea who he was, but he left along with Dr Chris just after the girls so lets just pretend he was never there, cool, sorted ☺

Next thing I know I awoke with a belting head ache and vague memories of telling G-bags he looks like the guys who sell the big issue… but I do have an over whelming sense that good times where had by all that crossed our path. Love this place, love these people and without a doubt Foodisthebestshitever.

…and follow that up with a great soup and throwing-of-the-glove by Pauly

PAUL’S CAUL

Supposedly I’m meant to write about food.

Word on the street is I’m meant to be writing about food… maybe I have a tendency to get a little carried away with a rant here and an opinion there, but I figured that’s why you love me. Now it has also come to my attention that Graeme and I may very well be writing this purely for ourselves as I have no evidence that any of you are real. So I’d like to conduct a small experiment, I will write this blog chock-a-block full of food goodness with a recipe to finish it. But I want photographic evidence that someone has actually cooked something at least similar to my recipe.

Have we got a deal?

Well have we?

What’s that, this is not what you signed up for and would prefer that I stop pretending I’m having a discussion with you… fair enough.

So lets walk over to the fridge and see what’s in there for us to use, hopefully by now this small exercise doesn’t end with you looking at a few cans of beer, some margarine, a withered half lemon and a chunk of poorly glad wrapped cheese which by all accounts is more closely related to wood rather than a dairy product.

Lets just pretend that’s there is a few onions, some celery and a couple of other veggie’s (you should always have onions and celery). What we are going to make is a soup. For me a soup is such a brilliant way to get involved in the kitchen, it teaches you so many basic cooking techniques that can be used in a variety of other areas of the kitchen.

Just about every soup starts of the same way, with a couple of onions and a few sticks of celery sweat off in either oil or butter with a pinch of salt…

Now I’m not going to go through the whole recipe here, what I want to do is get the overall concept to you and later I’ll write down a recipe for you, but by then you shouldn’t need one…

Back to the pot, simply whack in whatever is in the fridge (no not the half lemon and wood cheese) I mean a zucchini or a sweet potato, left over cauliflower, a couple of rashers of bacon and some tomatoes. You can even spread your gathering as far as the cupboard and grab some tinned corn, tomatoes or beans… there is literally so much scope when searching for soup ingredients.

Just make sure you stick to a few flavours and don’t get to carried away, and if it’s so old you weren’t going to eat it, don’t think boiling it will magically make it better.

Now for some flavor, this is the best part of the process, this can make or break the soup, your flavouring arsenal should consist of spices, herbs, stocks even vinegars… but most importantly you must never forget the salt and pepper. And if in doubt finish with some cream, that stuff makes everything taste better.

Here’s one of my favourite soups for you to have a crack at…

Now don’t forget I require feedback, do you like the recipe? Would you like me to talk more about world politics? Is it rants you want about random topics?

We aren’t mind readers… or are we???

No, we’re definitely not.

Potato, mushroom, leek and miso

2 onions sliced
2 sticks of celery sliced
2 cloves of garlic
1 large leek sliced
1 ½ cups mushrooms sliced
4 potatoes peeled & sliced
1 tablespoon miso
5 sprigs of thyme (leaves removed and stalks disguarded)
2 litres of chicken stock or veg stock
1 cup white wine
1 cup pouring cream
50g butter
50ml olive oil
Salt
White pepper
• Place butter and oil in a medium sized pot, add the onion, leek and celery with a pinch of salt and cook until they start to caramelize…
• Add the garlic, miso, thyme and white wine and then reduce wine by half…
• Add the potatoes and stock then simmer for an hour or until the potatoes are soft…
• Blend the soup with a stick blender and add cream, check seasoning and pass through a strainer…
• Serve immediately with heaps of crusty bread and butter.