Smile… it’s Christmas

christmas ham mojo
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”

This was true of our house this Christmas; the night before and the morning of.

It was as if we had official National Department of Communicable Diseases’ tape and a big sign with an important signature on it at the front gate stating we were quarantined due to sweaty faces and risk of E-bola contamination…

There were some ducks at the lake. We did not eat the ducks
There were some ducks at the lake. We did not eat the ducks

In actual fact, in a rare venturing from the track of entertainment central, this year we have abstained from inviting hordes of friends and relatives to stay and have instead veered down the road of the relative silence of an “us” Christmas. Just me, Jennee and the boys at home this year. No waking up and stepping over bodies scattered everywhere, cooking breakfast and brewing coffee for the state rugby team or waiting in line to use the shower.
I smoked my own Christmas ham and then hit it up with a mojo marinade, just like I said I would
I smoked my own Christmas ham and then hit it up with a mojo marinade, just like I said I would

We would have a picnic at the lake and catch up with some friends and have a few drinkies and some nice food, but this Christmas our house shall be our sanctuary. We shall be the endangered small bush land marsupial and our home shall be a refuge from the progression of modern society; a place where we shall be able to live safely and breed again… but soon they shall release us back into our natural habitat. Next year we shall be returned to the wild, in vast numbers and with a veracious appetite for loose women and the white mans devil water!
It was nom-licious (a hybrid of nom nom nom and delicious… it could take off)
It was nom-licious (a hybrid of nom nom nom and delicious… it could take off)

Oh yeah, and I did make that mojo ham with the pina colada salsa. Smoked my own ham and the whole package (not my “whole package”, I feel I should add. More of a figuratively speaking type “whole package”). I am so full of ham now I am almost past the point of having a food baby, or food baby twins or even food baby sextuplets. In fact, I am so full that if I were to have an actual food baby the call would go out to the next shire for more midwives to facilitate the delivery.
I made a cake. Chocolate fudge cake in fact, with a coconut and berry mousse centre. I based this recipe on one I found at heaps cool blog - Laura's Mess. I'll put the link at the bottom of the page because I can't put it in this caption
I made a cake. Chocolate fudge cake in fact, with a coconut and berry mousse centre. I based this recipe on one I found at heaps cool blog – Laura’s Mess. I’ll put the link at the bottom of the page because I can’t put it in this caption

It’s been a great Christmas. We hope yours was full of good food, good booze, great chums and other things that make your face smile.

Lots of love from the couch,

Your friends at foodisthebestshitever x

Find Laura’s Mess (the blog, not the actual mess) right here

Mojo Chicken (or Christmas Ham… you still have time) with Pina Colada Salsa

mojo chicken or christmas ham
First, a side note if you will entertain the notion; Please be aware that I have not been sleeping heaps lately due to the large body of people who have massed in this area like bugs around one of those fluro zapper lights, and are clearly all starving. Famished. Haven’t eaten nary as much as a small crumb for days.

We are at the mercy of these consumers… or should that be customers?

This is not the industry to enter if you are looking for a lazy holiday season. I work and then I work some more and then I sleep… and that shit is well and truly on repeat. When I wake up it feels like the Acme Concrete Co. has dumped a load of it’s finest in the corner of my eyes. I noticed an SES (State Emergency Service) recovery helicopter circling yesterday morning trying to spot survivors in the rubble. They sent in goddam sniffer dogs! Sniffer dogs!

Needless to say, this past week has not been jam packed with the most comprehendible moments of my life. So when I wrote this little number I thought I was doing a great job… or at least OK, until I re-read it and realised I seem to have written it in point form. I can’t change it, I don’t know how.

Grill that chook on some nice low coals...
Grill that chook on some nice low coals…

Yes, we’re back to the salsa thing. I told you already that summer is all about the salsa for me… well, that and the all the cooling off and rehydrating that needs to be done. Just in case you are simple, cooling off and rehydrating if definitely code for something.

I am so into this salsa thing I am actually considering enrolling for salsa dancing lessons just so there is more salsa in my life… and for a chance to finally meet Paul Mercurio. What a guy…

As I was pondering the whole salsa thing I came across a recipe for mojo chicken. I was multi-tasking the hell out of life as I pondered and trawled the interweb at the same time.

Right about now is when I feel like getting my salsa on (either definition of the word would work here)
Right about now is when I feel like getting my salsa on (either definition of the word would work here)

Please remember that a good salsa will spice up your dinner table like a good salsa would spice up a boys weekend away. Just to clear it up for you (and me too), the second salsa would be referring to the dance and it should also be made clear that you will probably want to pay a young lady dressed as some kind of scantily clad Penelope Cruz type character (or just Penelope Cruz I guess) to do the salsa, and not go for the not-very-sexy rendition of the salsa as performed by one of your drunken mates.

I will be doing a mojo ham this Christmas. That makes me excited. I am also excited by hot wax and vacuum attachments but I don’t think we need to get into that right now.

That's the first incarnation of the Pina Colada salsa at the top. It was a little chunky and has been refined as we have eaten this exact same meal again since… it's just that I forgot to get photos… or just didn't take photos… or was too tipsy to be able to take photos
That’s the first incarnation of the Pina Colada salsa at the top. It was a little chunky and has been refined as we have eaten this exact same meal again since… it’s just that I forgot to get photos… or just didn’t take photos… or was too tipsy to be able to take photos

MOJO CHICKEN (serves 6-8)

2kg chicken marylands/ pieces
½ cup fresh orange juice, plus the zest of 1 orange
¼ cup fresh lime juice, plus the zest of 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
A splash of olive oil
Seasoning

• This is really good cooked over med-low coals for 30 minutes or so, turning regularly and basting with remaining marinade
• If have neither fire nor technology needed to cook on it a hot oven will do the trick. 200C for 30 minutes, baste, turn etc

PINA COLADA SALSA

½ medium fresh pineapple, diced (you need 2 cups or so of diced pineapple)
2 shallots or ½ red onion, diced
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup coconut cream
½ long green chilli, deseeded and diced finely
10-12 mint leaves, chiffonade
A pinch of brown sugar
A splash of rum if you feel like getting real
½ – 1 lime, juiced
Seasoning

• Combine all ingredients in a food processer and pulse twice for a second or two to break it up just a touch
• If you don’t have a food processer you should go to the shop and buy one. Alternately you can dice everything nice and finely, and then mix thoroughly to combine
• Allow salsa to sit for ten minutes or so before serving so all of the ingredients can get to know each other properly
• Get that puppy on the chicken… or some prawns, a piece of pork or Christmas ham
• Thank me later

Ham Steaks with honey an’ shit

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When I was a young lad (although I did get told I was still a young lad today… Granted it was by a sixty-something-year-old. I guess that shit is comparative to your current situation. What evs)… Anyway, when I was a child once a week we would have ham steaks with pineapple for dinner. Whoa. Settle down now. That’s not what I’m making tonight. I can remember it vividly though; a thick round of over processed meat that, for the purpose of this exercise, shall be known as ham, pan-fried and topped with a ring of “Golden Circle” pineapple. We loved it. I think we may have been carnies in the early years… Suppressed memories? Could be. Blatant denial? Probably. Just didn’t happen? Most likely. But that’s just how my story telling goes. Always back to the carnie…

So tonight I cook ham steaks. Kind of Christmassy really. Yeah, have this for Christmas lunch. I dare you! But I’m doing them with the best ham I can find at the butcher up the road (pretty glad right now that he does a really really good ham), the pineapple can eff off just because its not really my thing and I’ll serve it with apple slaw. You just can’t escape slaw at Foodisthebestshitever 90210. Slaw and a whole heap of randomness. I don’t even know if Pauly is a fan of slaw. He might secretly hate my posts for it… Something I’ll learn to live with I guess.

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The slaw (get this done before you even start the ham)
1/4 drumhead (big green) cabbage, shredded as fine as your little hands can shred it. A mandoline is good for this…
1 carrot, grated
1 apple, grated (granny smith would be my choice (that’s an apple PS. Not a perverted sexual preference))
1 bulb of fennel, shredded (I didn’t have one today but I have it on good authority ie. me, that it will work great guns. I did manage to steal a few baby fennel fronds from our garden though)
1tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Enough homemade or good quality mayonnaise to coat it to your liking. I am the mayonnaise nazi remember?
• Mix all ingredients quick smart so your apple doesn’t oxidize (turn brown)

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The ham
1 lump of ham, sliced thick like your step father
1-2 tablespoons of honey
• Lets douse that ham in honey and fry it up. 2-3 minutes each side on a med-high heat
• Now that’s a ham steak
• Remove the ham from the pan and add two tablespoons of water to the caramelised honey. Add another tablespoon of honey too, if you’re keen
• Warm through just to make a nice sweet glaze
• Sauce up your ham and eat it in your face

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And next up… our roving reviewer, Liz McGuiness*

*May not be her actual name (Defo isn’t her actual name. Sounds pretty good though, eh)

Paul’s Caul… Thai-d work

Thai –d work

I just had a look over all the posts I’ve done for this blog and to my amazement I haven’t given you one Thai recipe, now this is shocking as I love Thai and cook it every week and how selfish of me not to share. But I’ll be fucked if I’m going to bore your tits off with another Thai green curry with chicken blah blah blah…

So with your tits safe from coming off I shall continue but what’s a recipe from either G Mcfilthy mouth or myself without a preamble that has some very loose ties to the topic…

Thai food to me is exciting on so many levels, it makes the cook balance flavours (so important in cooking) it fills kitchens with aroma’s that enrich your soul then for the final act it takes your taste buds out into a dark alley and kick the piss out of them. Your palate is made up of several components and with most food you only tweak one or two of these, but with good Thai you can give most a little tickle.

I, like most other Australian chefs, was taught French cuisine at tafe and that was the base for all we cooked. And that’s fine but it really limits you to some very rounded flavours (in my opinion), so when I stumbled onto Thai cuisine it was a goddamn revelation. So many ingredients, so many different flavours and somehow all tied together and they work, is this some sort of Asian magic? The same sort that allows small men with penis’ look like pretty young girls…Magic!!

Lady boys aside, there is nothing more enjoyable then grabbing out the mortar and pestle and grinding away, making a paste and then cooking it for people you love, or people who pay you money for it… both are very enjoyable and on par for me!

The recipe I’m about to give you goes back 10 generations in my family back to the Viking days when my ancestors came across a small Thai village located strangely enough on the Orkney islands, and like any Viking marauders of the time they quickly and efficiently raped and pillaged all they could find, and amongst there treasure was this recipe and for generations they handed down, and it was only in this generation did we realize it was a recipe for a curry and not the instructions on how to make penguin repellant (although it does make a brilliant repellant)

I am in fact making this very curry/repellant tonight for my very good friends and fellow foodies G-Money and Carla Da Bruce as well as my beautiful girl friend who for anonymity I shall call Lauren Alley… they are coming over for my soon to be famous Pineapple Mussel Curry and spicy crumbed chicken wings (two separate dishes) and they have recently gained a new dish into there repertoire (a prawn and fennel salad of some sort) and are going to create it for me this evening.

Now I have no idea what you are up to tonight but I suggest you find some friends like mine and start having cook offs, get drunk tell silly stories and in general enjoy yourselves.

Because although food is the best shit ever, food without people to share it with is tits on a bull… feel the love people.

Pineapple curry paste

4 dried large red chillies, deseeded & chopped

1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped

1 tablespoon galangal, peeled & sliced

4 red shallots, sliced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon lime zest

1 teaspoon white peppercorns, ground

1 teaspoon shrimp paste

1 tablespoon dried shrimp

1 teaspoon salt

To make the paste you can blend all ingredients in a blender with a little water until smooth. Or grind in a mortar and pestle.

Pineapple curry of mussel’s method

250ml coconut cream

2 tablespoons curry paste

30ml fish sauce

1 tablespoon palm sugar

15ml thick tamarind water

500ml coconut milk

500g mussels, cleaned

½ pineapple, peeled & chopped

3-4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded

2 fresh large red chillies, cut in ½ & deseeded

In a medium pan bring the coconut cream to boil until it separates, then add paste and cook until fragrant.

Add fish sauce, palm sugar and tamarind water and continue to cook until sugar is dissolved.

Pour in the coconut milk and return to a simmer.

Add the pineapple, mussels and kaffir lime leaves and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the mussels are open.

Check seasoning.

And then Pauly has forgotten to mention that you eat it in your face. But that’s what I’m here for. Nom, nom, nom. G

Pauls Caul… caramelised pineapple with lemongrass and palm sugar icecream, and other ramblings

“Paul’s Caul” is a segment written by fellow chef, friend and mentor Paul Mac. He’s an all round nice guy. He pats little fury animals and all sorts of shit. He could be your friend. Unless you are a bit “special” (was that PC? Yep. Great) in which case he will spot your “special ability” from a mile away, probably before he’s even woken up in the morn, and proceed to tear you to shreds. Basically, if you are a half-wit, Pauly is a double-wit” G. Aka Cheffy Red Beard Mcfilthy Mouth

PAULS CAUL

 

Dessert or desert?

Well as you all know I have many talents, ranging from the art of story telling to the lesser known art form that is vegetable whittlings… some may go as far to say I can cook pretty good, I am one of those for-mentioned people. But as you can see from my previously made up word, that something people never say is that I have a talent for grammar and spelling, or for general humbleness. So it is without much surprise (great sentence this one) that I inform you all that I wrote desert for many years instead of dessert… now my point is (another surprise is there actually is a point to all this insane babbling) is that… actually I was really hoping to have a point but alas I have found myself lacking in the point department…

All I wanted to get at is that desserts don’t need to be sickly sweet so fuck knows why I told you a story of my inherent lack of good English.

Well in case you have been skim reading, and I hope you have, I will place my point in big bold letters for you all…

DESSERTS DON’T HAVE TO BE SICKLY SWEET!!!!

G-bags a.k.a Gray a.k.a Grazza a.k.a Cheffy Red Beard Mcfilthy mouth asked me in the week to write a recipe for a dessert that isn’t to sweet, as I’m always banging on about them. So here I am doing just that, I have chosen what might seem to you as a very sweet dessert. But what the fuck would you know, it is…

 

Caramelized pineapple with lemongrass & palm sugar ice cream

Now on the surface it seems sweet but it has a lot of natural sweetness and plenty of other flavours to take away from the sweet part of your palate.

First the ice cream…

Coconut ice cream

250ml coconut cream
250ml milk
40g palm sugar
6 egg yolks
1 lemongrass stalk, smashed
1 small knob ginger (knob…hehe)
100g shredded coconut

Mix coconut cream, milk, sugar, ginger & lemongrass together and place in a saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to get to know each other.
Then strain the mixture into a metal bowl with the yolks in and whisk over a pot of simmering water (baine marie) and stir continuously till it thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Take away from heat, transfer to cool bowl and allow to completely cool down.
Place in an ice cream machine and churn it till it freezes into ice cream.

Caramelized pineapple

Fresh pineapple, as much as you want, cut into 1cm slices
1 cinnamon quill
4 dried chillies
½ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ cup brown sugar

Roast off the spices and grind in a mortar and pestle, once ground add the sugar and grind some more.
Sprinkle the pineapple with the chilli sugar (yes that’s what we now call it) and fry in a dry pan until it goes a nice brown/black colour depending on how caramelized you like it.
Whack in oven on glad bake (and a tray) for five minutes and then serve with ice cream and some fresh mint… BAM!!!!

So whether you’re in the middle of the Sahara or just finished main course this is going to suit you, as it’s refreshing, not to sweet and very adult… what ever that means???