Paul’s Caul – Hash in all of its glory.

Now I’m sure you are either thinking where the hell have I been for the last two years, or more likely who the hell am I? Regardless of which group you fall into I don’t feel I have to answer to any of you so just relax, you don’t own this blog! We don’t work for you!

But with that said I have missed you all and have felt somewhat lacking in my expressive outlets and lets be fair that’s what this is all about, myself and G-balls scribbling about food as a cathartic exercise, that on a good day actually discusses food and on an exceptional day teaches you guys something other than we can ramble on for hours about next to nothing.

I could go into detail about the past few years but lets face it you don’t care, you don’t have the attention span to actually take it in even if you did care and most importantly it’s none of you god damn business. So lets just say I was doing what I love best, which is travelling the world cooking food, making other people cook my food and then watching with baited breath as people eat said food. All of this hoping for the all important smile or groan of love as the flavours and textures I have spend my life trying to achieve elicit the required response in people bellies and taste buds. What I haven’t been doing quite obviously is learning where to place commas or even basic grammar, but this is on my to do list.

Beyond that I did actually marry the best person I know, so as you can imagine for people like G-banger and myself this task takes up a lot of our time. Convincing good people that we are also good people is a very elaborate rouse, which is exhausting, but the end game is so worth it (not the movie as I’m yet to see it, but I did see the new spider-man the other day and managed to fucking ruin the plot of end game for myself like a complete bell-end) so all in all I’m happy, I’m married and cooking somewhere in the world loving food in every form possible from growing to eating and from cooking to serving.

Seems like a good time to actually delve into some legit food talk, I’m going to talk about hash today. Now before you start thinking this is not appropriate for such a wholesome blog to discuss an illegal substance such as hash, I assure you no actual hash was consumed by anyone involved in this website and we do not condone such reckless although hilarious and even relaxing behaviour.

When we talk about hashes in the cooking world its used to explain a mad concoction of ingredients cooked together (with potato being the star) in manner that really gets them knowing each other very intimately. Imagine loads of ingredients just hanging around having a BBQ, or just chilling at the beach. You will often find Mr Potato leading the way, he does like to invite everyone as he a social whore but the party is best when Senor chorizo comes along with his missus ‘senorita pomodoro’. They are just so much fun. I best stop that analogy there otherwise I’m at risk of writing a kids book with an ending that with scare the fuck out of any child cause let’s face it, all of your lead characters being killed is never good unless you involve some dragons, loads of incest and a dwarf.

For me cooking a hash is about using up what’s in the fridge and cupboards – it’s usually chorizo, spinach, potato, tomatoes, chilli, herbs, more herbs, some spices like paprika/cumin/fennel seed and some more herbs. Now if this doesn’t sound like what is left in your fridge and you are thinking how the hell am I going to turn a tub of margarine, a bottle of ketchup and some milk on its way to evolving into something less liquid like, then perhaps go rob your neighbours fridge or heaven forbid go to the shops and start buying some proper food in the hope that you end up buying too much leading towards a day you will have some delicious leftovers ready to cook this incredible hash.

But if you were to have tinned corn, beans of any kind, nuts, meats in any form, veg in any form, cheese can get involved, as far as spices all will work, herbs I cant think of a bad one. So basically anything will do but as with everything in life restraint is the key to success. This style of dish can be vegan it can be the most carnivorous dish you could dream up and everywhere in-between, perhaps think of a dish you already love and break its flavours and ingredients down and re-vamp them into a hash.

As a chef I actually end up having loads of pre-prepped items like confit cherry tomatoes or puy lentils kicking about that already have loads of flavour jammed into them. This isn’t to say you can’t do the same yourself, as these kinds of things are just the best building blocks for dishes. I’ll quickly go through a few items you should start getting amongst in your culinary adventures.

Confit cherry tomatoes

Simply whack load of cherry toms into a high sided oven tray or dish, try not to leave them double stacked but they will collapse a little so a few on top of each other won’t do any harm.

Now completely coat them with olive oil, don’t waste your good extra virgin gear just olive oil or even rapeseed oil will do, in fact I don’t give a fuck what oil you use. If you want to produce some extra flavoured oil as a by-product them add a bit more but for this purpose a light covering is adequate.

Now slice up a couple of chillies and bung them in with the toms and oil, how many chillies and what kind of chillies definitely fall into the I don’t care what you do category. I use green chillies and about 1 chilli per punnet and I usually make 4 punnets worth of cherry toms per batch.

Slice a few cloves of garlic and gently place them in the tray (just kidding smash, slice, crush or leave whole then recklessly throw them in) and while you are at it a couple of sprigs of thyme or rosemary can go in there too. I don’t cut them up at all, I do however remove stalks at end of cooking, but this point the leaves have generally falling off and done it job.

Now stick the tray in an oven at 150c for 2-3 hours or until the toms have collapsed and look sexy and all that.
Now they can be used straight away as a pasta sauce, you can drain off juice and oil and use as dressing, you can use toms for a mega bruschetta-esque thing. Basically this stuff will make cardboard taste good.

Puy lentils

These bad boys are without a doubt my favourite legume, easy and quick to cook and such a great vessel for flavour getting into my face hole.

To cook then you need to cook off some onions, carrot and celery diced fine then add lentils and then some stock and allow to cook for 20 minutes or so to allow them to soak up all of the goodness.

Of course I also jam some herbs in there and often use ginger and some spices but its over to you to find what you like and if this explanation isn’t enough for you, then go Google how to cook puy lentils and leave me alone.

Once you have them cooked they can be used as a side to your dinner, a base to serve your dinner on, as a salad base, placed in a soup for something a little special or just eaten like you would a risotto.

Candied chilli

Slice loads of chillies into a pan then cover with sugar and vinegar and simmer down until it starts to thicken then take off heat and allow cooling.

I don’t care what chilli, sugar or vinegar you use and to be perfectly honest I can’t imagine a combination or quantity that wont end up with something resembling a useable candied chilli.

As for uses there is just too many to start talking about, if you cant find a use for this stuff then we cant be friend, its that simple.

Get that mis en place together
CHORIZO & POTATO HASH

For this hash I slice up one chorizo and half loads of new potatoes and place them on an oven tray, drizzle every so slightly with oil as the chorizo when excited by heat releases it juices and aids in making anything close to it amazing.
Whack this in a hot oven (180c) for 30-40 minutes or until chorizo is crispy and potatoes look the business, this may require a stir half way through.

Then once cooked add half of the mix with some warmed confit cherry toms and some spinach leaves and pour onto a plate or a bowl and scatter the remaining crispy chorizo mix over the it.

Now go wild with chilli, coriander, basil, spring onions and parsley… chop or tear it up and sprinkle over the hash.

Now liberally squeeze some aioli or mayo over the top, finish with a big spoonful of yoghurt.

Its that simple, serve up straight away but be prepared to get addicted to this method of cookery as its easy, delicious and beautifully wholesome in all ways.

Other combinations are…

• Sweet potato, kale and corn
• Potato, spinach, fish and caper mayo
• Courgette, aubergine, ras el hanout, kiffler potatoes
• Mushroom, goats cheese, asparagus, potato and basil
• Puy lentils, thyme roasted potato, confit cherry toms, candied chilli mayo
• Potato gems, bacon, cheddar, spring onion, bbq sauce

I’ll leave you here to enjoy hash in all of its glorious guises and remember kids – hash is great.

Porky Thai fried rice – because it’s tops and I never get thai-ed of it.


I know. The thai-ed thing has been done before. I like it. That’s all.

Thai fried rice goes nicely with pork ribs or any other lump of BBQ pork you may like to grace it with. This rice is going to be your friend. You’re not going to kick it out of bed that’s for sure. It goes great guns hot or cold, and it’s crying out for a piece of smoky delicious pork like a newborn child screaming for his mother’s milk.

The thing with this fried rice is that it also works very well with shredded duck or seafood. In fact, my favourite incarnation of this fried rice is a pulled pork and king prawn version. Fucking A, right?

Make a full batch of the sauce and use it for chilli duck and mushroom stir-fry, stir-fried vegetables or squirt (yes, I said squirt) it in the eye of would be intruders.

PORKY THAI FRIED RICE

(serves 4)

12 cooked pork ribs or 500 – 600 g cooked pork belly, shoulder, hock, etc.
2 eggs
3 cups chopped vegetables. I used green beans, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, but use whatever it is that you like – carrot, capsicum, Asian greens, baby corn, etc.
5 cups cooked rice* from the day before, left un-covered in the fridge overnight**
150ml of fried rice sauce (recipe follows)
Chopped shallots (scallions), crisp eshallots, chilli sambal and fresh lime to garnish

• Light a burner on your stovetop and heat your wok over a high flame. Let it get hot. Proper hot. What’s that? You don’t have a wok. Well turn head down to your local hospitality supply warehouse or Asian food store (the Asians will defo give you a better deal because chances are they actually sold it to the other guys) and buy yourself a nice wok. Get home with your new wok and realise that your house is burning down because you didn’t turn the stovetop off and some shit caught on fire
• At least you still have your wok.
• Go now and rebuild your life, we’ll get back to the rice later…
• OK. Ready?
• Get that wok hot. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil. Don’t splash yourself with this oil because it will get bloody hot really fast.
• And I should have mentioned before that if you don’t have all of your mis en place ready now you should give up. This is going to be a quick process and, as with all stir-fries, you should have everything at the ready.
• Now evoke the spirit of the ancient Asian wok gods and, as the Ramones once said, Let’s Go!
• Quickly scramble the eggs and then put them aside.
• Add the vegetables and pork product to the hot wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
• Add the rice and toss for another two minutes. Toss, toss, toss.
• Add the sauce and the scrambled eggs. Give it two more minutes on the heat and that should be done.
• Plate up and garnish with shallots, crisp eshallots, chilli sambal and fresh lime.
• Nom, nom, nom, chow

FRIED RICE SAUCE

350ml yellow bean sauce, find it and enjoy its company. I use healthy boy brand
150ml fish sauce
250g grated palm sugar or castor sugar
300ml oyster sauce
250g nam prik pao (chilli in soy bean oil), once again find it etc.
200ml tamarind puree
• Mix all ingredients thoroughly until combined
• Store in the fridge for ages

*you will need approximately 2 cups of dried rice for this and then you cook it and it magically becomes 5 cups of cooked rice. Alternately, the local Asian takeaway will generally be happy you sell you your required amount of cooked rice for pretty much fuck all.

**this dries the rice out and stops it from clumping and making shitty weird rice instead of great fried rice.

Grilled pork belly tacos


Pork belly tacos.

This was smoky, grilly-meat-juicy deliciousness. I honestly feel that glowing coals are truly the way to make a piece of pig feel properly loved.

The pork belly was rubbed with sea salt and then cooked on the bottom level of the bullet smoker with no water pan at 350 F (180 C) for 3 hours. It was flipped and rotated every half hour so the crackle got a little love.

The pork was given the additional flavour boost of a chorizo sausage on the grill also, just because there’s not too many things in life that can’t be improved with a grilled chorizo sausage.

This was chopped up like a bag of Snoop Dogg’s finest sensimila and then scooped into the magical little edible plate that is the tortilla (I’m still thanking I-don’t-know-who for the invention of any kind of edible plate).

It was then pretty happy to receive a little cosmetic gratification in the way of some chopped onion, a little mango (because mango is a symbol of summer and summer is the time for Christmas in Australia and Christmas is all about the good times so mango is welcome at my house and can sleep with my sister anytime), charred jalapeno hot sauce and coriander.

This is the sort of thing that requires a bit of company and at least one beer to wash it down.

Get the eff on it.

Oh yeah, and happy Christmas and all that if I forget about all that stuff next week.

Grill that pork

Heat beads premium lump charcoal was my fuel of choice
Chop the pork belly and chorizo up together

Get that onto the table

GRILLED PORK TACOS

(serves 4)

800 g pork belly – maybe 500 g for tacos and then the rest for breakfast tomorrow
1 – 2 chorizo sausage
¼ brown, white or red onion, diced
1 mango, diced
1 handful coriander
1 – 2 limes, cut into wedges
Charred jalapeno hot sauce or whatever it is hot sauce that you love
16 soft tacos / tortillas

The words that are written above are the recipe.
Go now.
Cook and eat.

Wash it down with your favourite brew

BBQ pork nachos loaded with a few things including charred jalapeno hot sauce


Nachos are a pretty commonplace meal around these here parts, especially when it’s dinner for just me and the boys (I am father to 11 and 12-year-old boys just in case you didn’t already know that).

In fact, it would be true to say nachos, burgers and pizza form my children’s’ holy trinity of foods they would be most happy living off of for the remainder of their childhood years.

Also, I feel that nachos of some description are within the realms of most people’s kitchen skill set (just maybe not yours) so I will not give you a recipe for them today. Instead I will tell you what I put with mine and maybe you can do something like that too.

Heads up – my list of ingredients does include a charred jalapeño hot sauce for which I will be providing you with a recipe.

I am a nice guy.

Here’s what it was;
BBQ pork,
Refried beans,
Avocado / guacamole,
Sour cream,
Tomato salsa,
Cheese,
BBQ sauce (to anoint that pork),
Charred jalapeno hot sauce,
Corn chips


CHARRED JALAPENO HOT SAUCE

This is a version of my original hot sauce – the prototype being made with non-charred long red chillis. A version of this stuff is on the table with every, I repeat, every meal we have.

1 kg (2 ¼ lb) jalapeños, grilled over coals until a little charred and blistered just like in the pic
2 cloves garlic, peeled
100 g (3 ½ oz) castor sugar
1 tblsp salt
250ml (8 fl oz) white vinegar
500ml (16 fl oz) water

Blitz or chop the chilli and garlic to a rough consistency.
Transfer to a glass jar and add all other ingredients. Sit on the kitchen bench for 5 days with the lid on but ajar so the sauce can breathe, stirring every day.
Transfer chilli mixture to a pot and heat the sauce until it comes to the simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Allow to cool and then puree to a smooth-ish consistency with a stick wizz or in a blender.
Seal and store in the refrigerator.
Hot sauce will keep for… actually I don’t know how long because it’s always gone within a few weeks around here.

Ham


Ham.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of different stories floating around the world wide super-web at the moment all tell you how to cook a decent ham… well, in actual fact that may be more applicable to the couple of weeks prior to Christmas but, as we all know, I am not the most talented at being super organized for this sort of thing so for now I shall just be pretending I am super organized and on the program (and not just the methadone program for a change).

So, about that ham…

Like I said, there is a lot of different ways to cook a ham much like say, skinning a cat or pleasuring a lady-man. I am not here to tell you my method is more righteous and will light the path to the heavens for you, but let me tell you it is pretty damn good and I am feeling more than just a little enlightened right now.

Hallelujah!

The other thing about what I did is, well, I cooked the ham from scratch which automatically gets you 300% more kudos than just glazing a store bought smoky leg o’ pig. Also smoking a ham is not nearly as hard as you think it might be, as long as you have a smoker (Bullet/barrel or off-set is what I have used) and a probe thermometer.

You will also be needing a brined (or pickled) leg of pork for this exercise. You should be able to hook this up from your local decent butcher if you give him a little notice.

This recipe is for 9kg of pure porcine glory. If you have a smaller leg, or even half a leg, the cooking time is going to be reduced. Just keep an eye on that internal temperature and hoist it when it hits 170F.

You’re gonna need a smoker
This is a very sexy sight
Get the skin off it (but save it for something like baked beans at the end of the week), glaze it up and get it back into your heated barrel
Carve it at the table like a boss because let’s face it, you are definitely a boss

SMOKED HAM

(serves a small village)

1x 8-9kg leg of brined (pickled) pork
A smoker
Lump charcoal
A few bits of flavoursome smoky wood. I used ironbark

Get your smoker on and get it up to 225-250F. The ham will take somewhere in the vicinity of 8 hours to cook, so bare this in mind when you are setting up your pit.
Add a piece of smoky flavour wood.
Get that leg of pork into the smoker, insert temperature probe into thickest part of the leg and put the lid on so it may do its thing.
Drink a beer.
If you are happy your pit is going to hold its temp for a few hours you could go and have a nap or watch I little bit of that carnival folk pornography I know you love so much.
Now it’s all about keeping that temperature and chucking a bit of smoky flavour wood on the coals every hour.
Once that internal probe tells you it’s 170F in the middle of that leg it’s time to pull it out.
Now you have ham.
Rest the ham for half an hour or refrigerate for a later date. Remove skin, leaving as much of the fat as you think you like (I like to leave it all for flavour and moistness), score (I gave it 10 out of 10 ;)), place in a baking dish and glaze with something sweet and sexy – this year I used 1 cup of honey and a little rosemary.
Whack it back into the pit or a suitably heated oven for another 1-1.5 hours, reglazing with the pan juices every 15 minutes.
Carve that thing at the table like a boss.
Amen.

Enjoyed by parents and children alike

Sexy corn AKA. corn porn


Just like any other story that may be attached to anything porn-esque, I am going to keep this one short, sharp, concise, moist, yellow, wrinkly, lubed up and to the point.

Firstly, you know about the standard – buttered corn.

The entry-level corn for those amongst us who think they don’t like corn or who have not tried it previously. It is for the corn virgin. It is the missionary position of the corn world. Sure it still tastes really damn good, but sometimes after eating the same corn for the whole of your life thus far, you need to spice it up a bit… try something a little more adventurous… invite other corn into the bedroom… what the fuck am I talking about now…

If the buttered corn is the standard, the mayonnaise-y, herby, chilli, cheesy corn is definitely the glory-hole-manning-swinger-tending-towards-sexual-deviancy. Next level. Give it a bash at least once in your life type shit…

Or not.

On to the corn!

Sexy corn looking all sexy and shit.

SEXY CORN (per person for as many people as you like)

1 cob of sweet corn
1 tablespoon mayonnaise – home made or kewpie would be good choices
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 heaped tablespoon of finely grated parmesan or pecorino
1 handful of chopped mixed herbs (coriander, parsley, oregano, chives)
A little finely sliced spring onion (scallion)
¼ lime zest, lime reserved to squeeze over corn
Salt and pepper

Grill or boil the corn for 5 minutes or until it is just cooked. This should be pretty easy for you by now.
Squeeze over or roll corn through mayonnaise, douse with hot sauce and lime, and then layer with all of the other goodies.
Eat it.
Change your knickers.