Wooli day 7… Corn Fritter Waffles

Corny breakfast goodness
Corny breakfast goodness

If you have been paying attention to my posts over the last week and not just skim read (Oh yes that’s for you Laura. Book indeed), you would certainly be able to detect a trend in subject matter. Yes you clever heads, the boys and I are in Wooli.

A small fishing village on the north coast of NSW, Wooli is famed for it’s oysters, beautiful scenery and lack of connection with the civilized world. If I can find these things in a holiday destination I am a very happy man as it is a welcome break from the ever-tumultuous life of a chef in the Byron area.

As all good things must come to an end, so must our time in Wooli. It has been real Wooli, it really has.

One more thing before I go, though. I did come here with the intention of cooking corn fritters in the waffle maker, which was packed by Jennee bless her cotton socks, and you best believe my intentions were realised in the form of corn fritter waffle things.

The fritter batter was cooked as per waffles in a waffle maker instead of frying in a pan. Try it out if you’ve got the means…

Waffle that shit up!
Waffle that shit up!
Still waffling
Still waffling
Pile it up on the table for the hordes to dig in
Pile it up on the table for the hordes to dig in
Corn waffles with bacon, avocado and Phil's home made HP sauce
Corn waffles with bacon, avocado and Phil’s home made HP sauce
With the paper and a coffee. My life is complete
With the paper and a coffee. My life is complete

CORN FRITTERS or quinoa and corn fritters if you want (for 4)

To make quinoa and corn fritters simply replace 2 cups of corn kernels with 2 cups of cooked quinoa. It works an effing treat. Even if you think you are not a health freak, you should embrace this ancient super food now. The Incas did and look at them – they made calendars and shit… or was that the Mayans… I’m sure they all loved quinoa whatever the case.

1lt fresh corn kernels, from 5-ish cobs of corn
½ bunch spring onions or ½ red onion, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chop
½ bunch coriander, chopped
1 ¼ cups self raising flour
1 cup or so coconut cream
4 eggs, let’s make them big and free range
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Seasoning

• Mix all dry ingredients together
• In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Pour wet ingredient into dry and mix to combine. The mix should be a bit firmer than pancake batter but a littleness firm than your rock hard abs
• Form fritters with a large spoon and fry in a little oil over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes each side. You can make fritters as big or as small as you like them. Also, if you are cooking for more than a family, fry the fritters in batches until golden and then transfer to 180C oven to finish while you cook the rest. The all you need to do is transfer to the table with a pile of bacon, some avocado, fresh rocket or spinach and HP sauce or capsicum chilli jam
• And don’t think the breakfast table has sole rights to these little puppies, no no no. It’s not the effing Super Bowl, people. These fritters will happily find a place at your lunch or dinner table no worries at all

Paul’s Caul… South American Quest part 5… Gustu

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Gustu, La Paz (Bolivia)

When a couple of chefs from the worlds best restaurant decide to move to the other side of the world to open a new restaurant purely because the local produce is so different, then we should definitely take notice. Gustu is just such a place. It’s found in a La Paz (Bolivia) and the chefs are from Noma (should need no explanation) as well as several front of house staff. These guys and gal’s have started the same food movement that they kicked off in their Nordic homeland. The concept is to use produce found only locally and prepared keeping traditions alive, and what is blatantly obvious is that this concept works so very well.

I know it’s not rocket science and to be honest most of us try our hardest to follow the same simple rules, but without the financial backing and pure grit and determination it’s a lot harder to achieve then first thought. Gustu are not only pushing the food integrity they have also set up a training school to educate locals on all aspects of 5 star cuisine and all of its many careers. They have gone into the poorest neighborhoods and areas, and then given numerous amazing individuals an opportunity to achieve goals that were before out of reach.

For this I salute them from the bottom of my heart, it makes me proud to be part of an industry that is evolving, as the world is starting to look more with reverence at the creators of food, the leading champions of the food to face industry are stepping up and performing acts that are worthy of such an honour. You could see the pride that the young Bolivian staff had during our experience at Gustu, without being condescending in any way it was beautiful to see individuals grateful for a chance and embrace it with gusto (see what I did there?).

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Now with all that aside you still need banging dishes to be leaving the kitchen if you want anyone to take you seriously, and with an extremely modern and shiny open kitchen with all the bells and whistles us spoilt chefs like… even with all that expectation Gustu still really do deliver. The food was original yet traditional, it was creative without be ridiculous and it considered flavour above all else and in my opinion that is what makes a quality restaurant.

With dishes like ‘freeze-dried Q-ahti potato with duck skin’ & ‘homemade bacon with chankaka, cacao and lime’ starting the proceedings we knew were onto a good thing…. The cocktail menu was no secondary thought either, with tobacco cocktails and basil and coconut beverages arriving at our table, we were happy little campers.

As the more sizable dishes which were matched with beverages started to arrive, I was pleased to see that the simple motive had been continued as bowls filled with flavour but exempt from confusion started to flow… these were matched with wines and on occasion lovely little numbers like a local quinoa beer which was matched with a ‘Native potatoes cooked in salar salt, elderflower, capers and flowers’ one of the best matches of the day.

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Before I forget I must take a second to mention the bread and butter, three breads and three butters arrived early in the piece… I love anything a bit different and gluten free bread, served with the gluten that had been removed then fried crispy much like pork crackle is effing superb in my world, this was accompanied by another sour dough roll and the butters. One of butters was not for me and strange as it reminded me of eating straight mull butter but with none of the benefits or side effects depending on how you look at it. It was coca butter, so dried coca leaves churned in butter. Another butter was organic butter with salt flakes and we all know that’s delicious. The final butter of sorts was possible the greatest triumph of the night… it was a quinoa tofu and it was exquisite, I would of quite comfortably eating the crispy gluten smothered with quinoa tofu until the proverbial cows came home, but alas it was just a bread course and it came to an end far to quickly.

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A couple of stand out dishes are par for the course (pun intended) and this nights winners were a uber rich in texture and flavour Chicken Fricassee, which G-money was so close to ordering a full dish off. It sat on a buttery crouton and was bathed in a pristine jus, which was finished with so much butter it shone like a black star. Butter was most definitely ever present in their cookery, they used burnt butter a little too much as its so strong and should be used with a little more subtlety but that’s just me nit picking. The fricassee was so rich I don’t think much more than the 1-2 inch block would have been needed, which is just another reason that I love the dego style of eating, lots of dishes that leave you wanting.

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Lauren and I both loved the same dish, it was ‘Palm marrow, dried Alpaca and poached egg yolk’ it was served much like a Bolivian take on carbonara, strands of palm marrow, a cured alpaca that held a meaty punch, poached egg yolk and a drizzle of beurre noisette, in this particular case the butter was well at home and made this one of the most interesting I’ve eaten in a while. Four simple ingredients treated with respect, and once together and set free from the confines of the prep section become best mates on your palate ready to live the rest of their life’s out in your belly. My god I want to eat it again now, but I will have to wait until I recreate it myself once I’m home, a prospect that excites me no end, as what I will create will be a homage to said dish, but will inevitably change or evolve into something new… food is without a doubt the best shit ever.

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The entire evening was seamless with everyone from the sommelier to the food runner playing his or her part in this well orchestrated performance. We were all well full and ready to be rolled home, but then the coffee course came along and took me by surprise… I didn’t expect any thing to be done with my coffee, how wrong I was, it had theatrics, it used many senses and it delivered in the taste department. They brought out a local wood (I forget the name) and set it on fire only to put out and place under a glass as for the smoke to fill said glass. Then a pre brewed strong coffee, that had been shaken over ice once brewed and brought to the table in a science beaker, then poured into the smoky glass. It was delicious and went really well with the chocolate ganache tart it was served with.

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Sounds like a great way to finish this evening… yes it would have been but we had spotted a bacon and onion cocktail on the menu and we thought
“We must try that, how can it not be tasty?”

What we were served next was the worst tasting liquid to pass my lips, it tasted like liquid bad breath and didn’t possess any of the great characteristics of either bacon or onion. If it had the sweetness of the onion with any one of bacon’s magical flavour properties then it would have been a victory for food cocktails worldwide, instead sadly it was a swing and a miss.

But we didn’t leave with a bad taste in our mouth, in fact it was smiles all the way back to our hotel, Gustu is a shining light in the world of restaurants and I feel we will be hearing a lot more about them in the next few years.

Jennee’s Sunday Spread… Mother’s Day

Happy campers in the VIP lounge at Lilianas. Colour co-ordinated and everything!
Happy campers in the VIP lounge at Lilianas. Colour co-ordinated and everything!

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. If you do not know what that is then I daresay you would not have the ability to read this as you must have evolved from amoebas, or something similar, into a slug like person. So I am not going to bother about explaining it as I don’t care too much for amoeba slug people… too needy.

Jennee awoke to gifts bought with money as an indication of love from our children. Alas though, I was not there to cook her breakfast in bed (re: my job as a chef required that I feed all of the other mums out there on the busiest day of my working year). So she did what any self respecting mother would do on such an occasion; she got her ass into my place of work so I could cook breakfast for her there. Well done Jennee, that’s showing them you got brains I reckon…

I cooked for the hordes of hungry mothers that day, while Jennee played in the garden and marveled at her new butter dish and cock and hen salt and pepper shakers.

Upon returning home I cooked some more… for it was still Mother’s Day where I come from and I had a duty to perform… not that duty. Keep your mind out of the gutter for a bit please children. I needed to cook that girl some dinner. She wanted salmon so I got me some salmon as this seemed to be the smart thing to do at the time. I cooked that salmon with king prawns (on the faves list) and served it on a Greek-ish quinoa salad (another one of her faves) with a herby caper dressing (again, embracing the “Jennee’s Faves” theme).

All in all I did I pretty damn good job. For proof of good-ness of said job please check the following paragraph which I tore straight from the pages of Jennee’s diary… which I happen to know is hidden in her sock drawer just behind the bottle of 47% “mothers little helper”…

“Aaaaaah Mother’s Day… Or as I like to call it no arguments day! As this is the day that no child of mine shall incorporate me into any disputes between siblings. Granted it has ended in a mad max type “Thunder Dome” battle on the trampoline, but they still didn’t come crying to me, as they know the rules! I am the only human girl in the household (the dog is female but alas not human .. I do paint her nails from time to time though!), so needless to say, I don’t have a lot of sisterhood happening at Chateaux le Stockdale.. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t know what to do with a girl if I had one, I am at home with boys! On Mother’s Day though I feel they really shine, mainly because I spend the rest if the year explaining to them all the sacrifices I made to put them onto this earth, and how they had better be paying me back by lavishing me with gifts at every occasion!!! I should have been Catholic with the amount of guilt I can dish out!)

And lavish me they did… It started with gifts a plenty followed by a bang up, out of this world breakfast that saw me not eat at all until dinner!!? We had the VIP table at Lilianas for breaky… It was booked out but, although there are many cons to having a husband who is obsessed with food and cooking (some of which include not seeing him at any major hallmark event!), the pros totally outweigh the cons when we waltz into a full restaurant and can STILL get a seat!!!! The breakfast was divine. I gardened all day and then, after pulling a group of rag tag misfits together to cook on the busiest day of the year at the restaurant, Gray then came home and cooked me salmon for dinner – and it wasn’t even out of a can!!!! He is a keeper I tell you, but you can’t have him, he’s too good to me! Happy no arguments day ladies… Surround yourselves with boys and teach them the virtues of the treatment of mothers.” Jennee.

I couldn't go wrong with this combo
I couldn’t go wrong with this combo
Still life with seafood, butter dish and salt and pepper shakers
Still life with seafood, butter dish and salt and pepper shakers
The end product. The photo just doesn't do it justice
The end product. The photo just doesn’t do it justice

SALMON & PRAWNS, GREEK-ISH QUINOA SALAD, HERBY CAPER DRESSING (for 4)
4x 150g fillets salmon, pin boned (show your fish monger a cheeky photo of your sister and I’m sure he will do it for you)
12 king prawns, peeled and de-veined (your fish monger will probably tell you to do this yourself… no matter how many cheeky pics you show him)
• Season the salmon and cook, skin side down, over medium heat in an oiled pan. 3-4 minutes on the skin side (let it get nice and brown and crispy. Just remember brown is different from burnt) and then turn pan off, flip it over and let it finish cooking with the residual heat… 3-4 minutes should do the trick for med-rare. Take it out of the pan and set aside in a warm place
• Crank the pan up and sauté the prawns. 2 minutes should do the trick for those puppies
• Plate it up with the salad, a bit of fresh rocket from the garden and the dressing smattered (might be a word) over the fish and prawns

Greek-ish quinoa salad
2 cups cooked quinoa
½ red onion, bruniose
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
1 continental/telegraph cucumber, halved through the middle, de-seeded and chopped
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
100g soft feta, crumbled
1 handful parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
• Mixy mixy

Herby caper dressing
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
½ red onion, bruniose
½ cup chopped dill
A few leaves of parsley and mint, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
• Mixy mixy

And Happy Mother’s Day Ma xx

Balsamic beetroot salad with fried beetroot leaves, quinoa, soft feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs

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I sit back today, slowly winding down and reflecting on my week so far… and by that I mean I am in bed, sick, sore and whining like the small child who needs his mothers boobie. Dammit, I do need my mother’s boobie… Actually that would be a little sick, but probably encouraged in many hippy circles around these parts. I think what I meant to say was; I need the boobie of the mother of my children… Shit, that is still waaaaay too weird.

As I lay here, one thing I did actually think about was the beetroot salad we had for dinner earlier this week. I’m sure it didn’t make me sick…

It is true that it has been many times said in the kitchen that “you can beat an egg, but you can’t beat a root”. It is also true that you cannot beat Usain Bolt in a running race because he is really fast and he is also not you.

But the beetroot salad; We picked a lovely pile of beetroot from the garden this week, and it fell prey to a cracking salad of balsamic beetroot, fried beetroot leaves, quinoa, soft feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs… I’m sure it could’ve been a slightly longer title if I had have thought about it some more… dot dot dot

...and the beetroot
…and the beetroot

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This was a rally good salad. Like, really good. It ticked all five of my salad requirements at the moment;

  1. Beetroot, fresh from the garden so it came with a certain amount of pride
  2. Quinoa, I can not say enough (well, I probably could but I guarantee you wouldn’t sit through it) about this grain
  3. Cherry tomatoes straight from the garden
  4. Herbs straight from the garden
  5. Other stuff
  6. Personality
  7. It taught me how to count

As you can well gather from this dodgy assed explanation of my salad-y faves at the moment, I got nothing. Nothing except this salad that is. Well, nothing except this salad, a panpipe and a pair of novelty trousers that resemble goat’s legs with little hooves attached. Looks like I’m heading back to Narnia again… damn that fucking wardrobe.

Balsamic Beetroot and quinoa salad (the short version of the title) for 4

10 medium beetroot with leaves, unless they are not very fresh, in which case use the leaves from something else. Probably not from your teenage son’s “South American tomato plant” in the backyard though

3 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup soft feta. I like Bulgarian sheeps feta

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved… or not

½ red onion, bruniose

1 cup each picked parsley and mint

¼ cup balsamic vinegar, plus a little extra

2 tablespoons castor sugar

Extra virgin olive oil

Seasoning

  • Trim the leaves from the beetroot and set aside. Cook the beetroot in boiling water until tender, about 20-30 minute depending on size. You can check them by inserting the tip of a knife and if it is soft inside it’s done
  • Drain beetroot and cut into 6 pieces. I don’t bother about peeling them if they’re this fresh
  • Sauté beetroot in a little olive oil for ten minutes, then add ¼ cup of balsamic and the castor sugar. Reduce for 5 or so minutes, until balsamic is thick and coats the beetroots. Season and set aside
  • In another pan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add beetroot leaves. Fry on high heat for a few minutes until they start to crisp up a little. That’s crisp up, not burn
  • Now layer that salad up like the cover of a Women’s Weekly magazine circa 1981. Quinoa, beetroot, onion, leaves, feta, cherry tomatoes and herbs. Then hit it with a splash of balsamic, olive oil and seasoning
  • Magic

 

Tuna tartare with potato crisps aka. new skool fish’n’chips

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This is what 6am looks like.

How do I know what 6am looks like, you may ask. Well, apart from it being the time of day I normally start work, on this given day of our lord, Monday sometime in 2013, it was the time that we (myself, Jennee and our friends Matt and Soryah) would venture out in a sea faring vessel (which is heaps nicer then venturing out in a vessel full of seamen… or semen) with the hope of catching ourselves a belly full of fish, and returning to shore with nary among us down to the dreaded scurvy.

I wore a beard. Mostly because it comprises of hair that is deep rooted and grows out of my face (and probably because I cant be assed shaving), but also because all seafarers have a beard to protect them from the icy chill of the open ocean. Surely the captain would notice and immediately treat me as one of his own? A peer? A pear? No. That would just be silly, and silly is certainly not what I’m about.

The motley crew. Never too early for a beer...
The motley crew. Never too early for a beer…

But… Alas the captain did not have a beard. And the captain did not welcome me as one of his brethren. Instead, he immediately noticed the auburn hue of Matt and my beards and shouted “token rangas. Every boat needs a token ranga”.

It was 6am in the morning and clearly this man had already consumed way too much coffee or amphetamines or quite possibly both. And we were to trust him to return us safety to the docks after a day on the open ocean? Damn yeah, let’s have a beer!

Our gut feelings served us true. A good catch and a safe return ensued… And this is how we ate it.

This young lad caught the tuna. We later beat him up in the car park and stole half of it!
This young lad caught the tuna. We later beat him up in the car park and stole half of it!
Make it look awesome
Make it look awesome
Mix it up at the table so everyone knows you're the boss
Mix it up at the table so everyone knows you’re the boss
Mmmmm crsips
Mmmmm crisps
guaranteed to impress anyone with a mouth and tastebuds
Guaranteed to impress anyone with a mouth and tastebuds

TUNA TARTARE WITH QUINOA AND POTATO CRISPS aka. New skool fish ‘n’chips (for 4 hungry sailors)

As much extremely fresh tuna as your wife will let you buy (See what I did there? Now you’re telling yourself she’s not the boss and you can do what you want. So now you’re going to buy heaps so that means there’s going to be more for everyone. Your guests can thank me later)

1/3 cup quinoa, cooked to give you 1 cup

1 eshallot or ½ small red onion, bruniose

1 avocado, diced

pickled chilli or jalepeno

beetroot and ginger relish (I will post this recipe soonish), or pickled beetroot

extra virgin olive oil

light soy

salt and pepper

potato or beetroot crisps to serve

  • For the tartare it truly is as simple as dicing everything up and presenting it on a platter so it looks really effing edible. Just before you serve dress with 1 teaspoon pickled chilli liquid, 1 teaspoon soy and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper
  • Serve with potato crisps

POTATO CRISPS

3-4 large potatoes, sweet potato or beetroot, or a combination, sliced 1mm thick on a mandoline

oil to deep fry

  • Heat oil to 170C-ish (if you don’t have a deep frier or thermometer, put a crisp in an it should brown up in 30-40 seconds)
  • Fry the crisps in batches of 15 or so (remembering that if you are doin a mix of different vegetables you need to fry each variety together as they will have different cooking times) until crisp and golden. This will probably take 1-2 minutes
  • Drain on paper towel and season with salt
  •  Serve with your tuna
  • Listen up. That’s the sound of everyone telling you that you are awesome.

One Ingredient – Sweet and Savoury… Quinoa

One ingredient, two dishes, one sweet and one savoury. My ingredient? Quinoa. Yep, quinoa. I can picture Pauly now, sitting there in his spa bath after drinking three too many ciders, a trained monkey offering him a Cuban cigar as he types this damning word on his Hunter S. Thompson-esque typewriter… Q U I N O A.

OK. On with it.

So Pauly has brought this challenge to the culinary thunder dome. (I’ve always thought that would be a good name for a gay nightclub. The thunder dome – two man enter. One man leaves). Anyhow, Two man enter one man leaves. I’ll be master he can be blaster. Beautiful.

Bang a gong; let’s get it on.

Quinoa (you know that it’s pronounced keen-wah eh), most ancient and noble of grains. Consumed by the ancient Incas, and by their new age counterparts… The hippy. Since I am neither ancient Inca nor hippy, I shall rely on nothing but my women’s intuition to get me through this one.

A cake or sweet bread is the obvious and easy option, and I like to avoid the easy option if possible (purely through stubbornness – we had a run in in late ’84 and I haven’t felt the same way since). So it has to be the panna cotta, or the crumble, or the quinoa meringue mess…

It shall be… (Drum roll please. I always like to imagine the drummer from Def Leopard doing my drumrolls. I just think that would be maximum impact) the apple with quinoa crumble. Since I can’t appeal to the ancient Incas I will try to appeal to our living ancients (every grandma loves a crumble), the hippies and the common man alike. And, if you want to get really crazy, you can serve this with quinoa and maple syrup ice cream.

For the icecream                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I’m going to assume you know how to make icecream. Now I know I might be giving you a whole heap too much credit here, but look at it like your big break. Do me proud. You can call me dad or pappy if that makes you feel better about it… So make your icecream like you normally would except don’t do it like that. Before you do anything with your milk you need to infuse that bad boy. Warm 2lt milk, add 2 cups quinoa and take it off the heat to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain it and that is the milk you shall use to make your icecream. Sound crazy? Well it is! And just before it has set in the freezer, stir through a good splash of REAL maple syrup.

1. top it
2. cook it
3. demolish it

For the crumble mix
300g raw sugar
300g quinoa, cooked for 5 minutes so it is half way there
200g almond meal
100g P flour
100g rolled oats
350g softened US butter
• Mix everything together with the fingers on the end of your hands
• Pile it onto some sautéed apple with a splash of brandy and bake at 170C for 15-20 minutes until its bubbling around the sides and it’s brown and crusty like your undies
• Eat it, no, devour it, with some kind of icecream

Quinoa, lentil and roast vegetable salad with fresh herbs and quark to pay homage to it’s hippy following, but for everyone try
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cooked du puy lentils (don’t bother using a different type of lentil here)
2 cups roasted vegetables, try capsicum, zucchini, tomato, asparagus, eggplant, onion, etc
1/2 cup quark or goat curd or feta
1 cup fresh herbs, torn so they’re still chunky. Basil, parsley, chervil, mint, chives, rocket
A good splash of olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

  • Mix it together gently like you are a hippy
  • Season and dress with olive oil and lemon juice
  • Eat it in your face. Not so bad there was it…