Wooli part 1… Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce

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We’ve hit Wooli. No not wooly, Wooli. Wooly is something like slippers or a word that is like verbal Viagra to a Kiwi. So Wooli, another of those cracking little seaside towns the boys and I like to frequent on my annual break.

We have arrived at our little holiday shack which is adorned in the very finest of beachside holiday chic; pine furniture via the 1980s, op-shop pots and pans, the odd family heirloom carafe, pelican ornaments in the front garden and, of course, ocean blue and lemon yellow painted walls through out. This never ceases to amaze and truly impress me. Maybe the owners of these places do all get their supplies from the same old junk shop and maybe the only paint they can get through the seaside village quarantine is ocean blue and lemon yellow, but it still impresses the hell out of me how the same all these places are.

We have brought with us a seafarers bounty of the finest provisions my pay check would allow thanks to Jennee (I’m pretty sure when she went shopping this week the supermarket would’ve closed for the evening to re-stock their shelves and admire their full wallet), plus (on a little more unfortunate note) a heap of cool shit from the restaurant I worked at as the owners decided to sell up and turn our two week holiday into somewhat of a permanent one. A story for another time right there.

So we’re here.

I’m sitting down having a beer and typing away, partly because it is one of those things I look forward to about a holiday partly because I think people standing up drinking and typing on a laptop just look plain silly, but soon it shall be time to cook the evening meal. And the boys, well the boys are happily catching up on the TV they don’t get to watch at home (please don’t hate me Jennee). Something easytastygood sounds like what I should make for dinner, just to ease me into this holiday thing all gentlemanly like.

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Steak. There’s plenty of steak. Steak it is – with sautéed broccoli and cauliflower (you could do a cauliflower-broccoli cheese here. That would make your life heaps simple to match your demeanor… and word skills… and performance under the sheets… I’ll stop now as this could go on forever) and blue cheese sauce. I use Nimbin Dairy Cows Blue* and their Goats Blue is a cracker too, but use whatever it is that you can get hold of.

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STEAK WITH SAUTEED BROCCOLI & CAULIFLOWER AND BLUE CHEESE CREAM (for 3)

3x 250g steaks that you like to eat. It was rump medallions for us
Seasoning
A few sprigs of thyme if you have some
2 bunches baby broccoli or broccolini, cut into 5cm pieces, any thick stalks halved through the middle
¼ cauliflower, cut into florets a bit bigger than your thumb
• Get your steaks out of the fridge for 15 minutes so they can come to room temp. Season and sprinkle with a little thyme
• Cook steaks exactly how you like to cook them, while this is happening get your sauce on and blanch your broccoli and cauliflower in boiling water for 1 minute
• While your steaks are resting (you know about resting steaks by now, yeah) get a pan on for the broccoli and cauliflower. Add a splash of oil and sauté veg until they are starting to get a little colour (a bit of sliced bacon could go in here right now and be very happy with how it’s life turned out). Season and get onto a plate or other suitable receptacle
• Serve with steak and heaps of sauce poured over

BLUE CHEESE CREAM

100-150g blue cheese, depending on how much you like it or how much was left over from your last day at work
400ml cream
1 clove garlic, chopped
A splash of white wine
Seasoning
• Combine cream, garlic and wine in a sauce pan and simmer over low heat for 5-6 minutes or until reduced by one third
• Add cheese off heat and stir to combine
• Check seasoning and adjust. It shouldn’t need too much salt because of the saltiness of the blue cheese

*I know the Nimbin Cheese folks do the Byron Bay and Bangalow Farmers Markets. Get some if you can

Camping, camp seasoning and camp food… and the passing of a great man

One of our favourites; Black Rock camp ground, Northern NSW
One of our favourites; Black Rock camp ground, Northern NSW

Everyone should go camping.

Even if you think you won’t like it, you should just try it once… just for me (Unless, of course, you have agoraphobia. If you have that you need to stay at home because I don’t want you freaking out my kids with all of your yelling and shit).

There is something about camping that my words will not let me explain to you. There is something about the air combined with the hum of the ocean combined with the lingering smoke. It is the crispness of the morning as the mist slowly reveals the surface of the river. It is (now that I have spawned) watching my children watching the fire as their own father did when he was a child… as did his father before him. It is the absence of the sounds and smells of the civilized world. And, it is the way I am made to feel at home like only the bush could do for a man with a beard such as mine.

When cooking breakfast for a crowd, employing the use of your family size paella pan is recommended
When cooking breakfast for a crowd, employing the use of your family size paella pan is recommended
Fresh sardines on toast… just waiting for a splash of home made tomato sauce
Fresh sardines on toast… just waiting for a splash of home made tomato sauce
Obi contemplating fire
Obi contemplating the goodness of fire

And of course there is the food.

As long as there is some kind of receptacle that may hold dead wood, which may in turn be set alight using nothing more than a regular household cigarette lighter or matches, that is. This installation, that we shall refer to as “the fire pit”, is then used as a source of heat to cook said food and also warm both your earthly being and spirit (I have found that a hip flask is also good in such occasions – not the cooking, but the warming of body and spirit). The food you cook on a set up like this cannot be repeated in an ordinary household kitchen. Why? Simply because you do not have a word fired stove. Every whisp of smoke that floats gently over your food, caressing it with it’s loveliness, is camping gold.

A big, fat rump cooked in the coals
A big, fat rump cooked in the coals
Liberally sprinkled with camp seasoning and served with roast potato, pumpkin, carrot and onion all cooked in the coals… we are not heathens
Liberally sprinkled with camp seasoning and served with roast potato, pumpkin, carrot and onion all cooked in the coals… we are not heathens

Which brings me very neatly to my next port of literary call; camp seasoning.

As we sat around the fire (not singing a chorus of “Kumbayah” thank fuck. I would have quite possibly punched myself fair in the nuts if that had have gone down) drinking our tea, we spoke about the taste of a brew from the coals and just how damn good a simple cup of tea can be when licked by the wisps of smoke that shall be affectionately known as “camp seasoning”. I definitely come for a world where everything can be made better by a dose of smoke. A big hit of tasty, tasty, smoky sexual emanation from the coital union of wood and flames.

Another cracking breakfast; fried chorizo and tomato...
Another cracking breakfast; fried chorizo and tomato…
With eggs chucked in the same pan. Hell yeah!
With eggs chucked in the same pan and once again, a good hit of camp seasoning. Hell yeah!

I’m getting aroused.

But that’s my camping experience. It’s a different beast for different people, I can understand. As I walked along the dunes today I did notice a lot of solar panels and I-pads to keep the kids occupied. Not for me, but I say that as I type away on my laptop… now contemplating the irony of the situation… now contemplating what irony is… now remembering the line from the BBC classic “Blackadder” when Baldrick suggested that irony was “just like tinny and coppery… just irony…”

And that shall segue me nicely, but with a heavy heart, into my next subject; the passing of one of my all time favourite actors slash comedians – Rik Mayall. A legend of many BBC classics such as “The Young Ones”, “Filthy Rich and Catflap”, “The Comic Strip” and, of course, “Blackadder”, in which he played the boisterous Lord Flashheart – purveyor of anything male a woman may want for. RIP Flashy. Woof, Woof!

Singapore-ish noodles with beef rump

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Today was another one of those days where there really isn’t too much left in the larder… I opened the fridge and was greeted by not much at all – certainly no ticket tape parade or novelty chauffeur driven car at the airport. I was greeted like you would greet someone you really didn’t like when you were in school and you had to hang out because your mothers were checking out the new Tupperware catalogue together. I checked the freezer and was surprised by the fact that there really wasn’t too much more than shit all in there either, but I did smile when my attention was drawn to a piece of rump steak and a pack of egg noodles. Granted, today is shopping day, but I really do get used to having a whole heap more than this to play with. Please don’t misunderstand me though; I’m certainly not saying that I’m not going to excel at playing with this meager amount that was bestowed on me today. I mean, I’ve been pleasuring myself for many years so I am well versed in the ways of getting the best out of insubstantial ingredients…

Sometimes getting inspired can be a little difficult, but this time I need look no further then the writing on the pack of egg noodles for my dinner inspiration. It said the noodles were “Singapore Style”, so I am going to make me some Singapore style noodles. Off the frickin hook, I know… and not too obvious either.

Upon defrosting and opening the noodles though, it seamed they were quite well past their time. Not to worry, I’ll head over to the pantry and grab myself some trusty, stand-by rice vermicelli. Thanks for the dinner idea though freezer noodles. Sorry it had to end this way…

This is defo in the category of easytastygood weekday cooking. Hash tag that shit for sure!

Marinate the beefy
Marinate the beefy
Cook it all up and put it on a plate
Cook it all up and put it on a plate
Transfer to another plate/bowl, garnish with some chilli because everything is better with chilli and eat it in your face
Transfer to another plate/bowl, garnish with some chilli because everything is better with chilli and eat it in your face

SINGAPORE-ISH NOODLES WITH BEEF RUMP (for 4)
400-500g rump steak, sliced thinly (you could use chicken, prawns or pork fillet here too)
rice vermicelli
1 medium brown onion sliced
¼ green cabbage, shredded
a handful of broccoli or capsicum if you have some
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped chilli, coriander, mint, shallots and sliced omelette to serve (we always have herbs in the garden and eggs from the chooks)

• Marinate beef with onions, ginger, garlic and oyster sauce for half an hour or so
• While beef is marinating, place noodles into a bowl that is big enough to fit them plus some. Cover noodles with boiling water for 4-5 minutes, stirring often
• Once noodles are softened refresh in cold water. Set aside
• This is another opportunity to impress your friends with your smoking hot wok antics. So yes, you will be needing a smoking hot oiled wok… or possibly a very large pan… or maybe even two regular sized pans
• Add the beef mix to the pan and quickly stir fry for 1 minute, set aside
• Let the pan get some heat back and then chuck in your veg and give them a couple of minutes of fiery stir frying
• Now add all remaining ingredients plus the beef back into the pan
• Give that a quick heat through and get it on the table… or possibly on a plate followed closely by on the table

A steak sandwich just so I get to use my homemade tomato sauce

Sweet, sweet steak sandwichy goodness. Stab it with a knife so you look like a boss
Sweet, sweet steak sandwichy goodness. Stab it with a knife so you look like a boss… and eat it with beer

As I stated in the title of this piece, this steak sandwich happened to come into my possession purely for the purpose of carrying my home made tomato sauce to my face. I could’ve just drank it but, quite frankly, that shit just looks plain wrong.

Make a steak sandwich exactly like you would make a steak sandwich. I had mine with a big, fat-as-your-middle-aged-ass rump steak, coleslaw (you surely know how to make that by now if you’re into this blog), slightly pickled (just like me) grated beetroot (I’m pretty sure you’ve got that sorted too), cheese and home made tomato sauce… I guess it would be pretty average if the whole purpose of this post was to do something with the tomato sauce and I didn’t even use it. I put all of that between a couple of pieces of grilled sour dough bread just so I could call this sandwich a sandwich. Yeah, it’s amazing what a man will do to achieve a result these days…

The thing that should be noted right now is the fact that this is all about the tomato sauce/ketchup/whatever. This is something that I have been working on for a few years now… just like my belly… and my carnie collection (both living and dried)… and my ability to amuse passers by with my boyish wit and charm… Seriously though, home made tomato sauce has been perplexing me for years. It had an actual Grazza proof hex on it that prevented me from ever knowing its ways. The recipe for tomato sauce was hidden from my eyes, deep with-in a gypsy’s booty chest, buried on a desert island full of hippies, right underneath the oldest naked hippy girl with the longest arm hair. As I said; a place where I would never be able to find it… until now. That’s right. I have cracked my seven year itch and now have the ability to make kick-ass tomato sauce. In your face seven year itch bitch! And heed these words that are shared with you via my finger and the keys on my laptop and the interweb super highway; it is not a recipe that is easy for me to give up, but… no use taking the thing to the effing grave with me. It’s not like I have a cute little white goatee, colonel status and a perchent for fried chicken. Although, I must say, I do enjoy good fried chicken…

So here we go, and if you think it looks like it has a lot of sugar in it that’s because it does. Three cups of that sweet, sweet shimmering goodness to one and a half kilos of tomatoes… plus it has maple syrup too. Ooh la la.

Make it. Make it now.

I grilled a 1kg piece of rump (a little overkill, but we looked after it) and then sliced it on the diagonal
I grilled a 1kg piece of rump (a little overkill, but we looked after it) and then sliced it on the diagonal
Once again, like a boss
Once again, like a boss
Seba devoured the hell out of his
Seba devoured the hell out of his
Tomato sauce. Cute bottle...
Tomato sauce. Cute bottle…

TOMATO SAUCE
1.5kg ripe tomatoes (the same amount of tomato passata will do the trick)
1 brown onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 long red chilli, chopped
2 cloves
5 drops Tabasco sauce
3 cups sugar
¼ cup maple syrup
1.5 cups white wine vinegar
• Soften onions and garlic in a little oil
• Add everything else and simmer slowly for an hour
• Blitz and pass (or just blitz really well. I don’t like chunky bits in my tomato sauce, they go in the toilet after a big nice on “the juice”)
• Check viscosity by placing a tablespoon of sauce into the fridge to set
• If it needs to be a little thicker return to heat until desired consistency is achieved
• Season with salt and pepper
• Bottle that shit up for your next hamburger, bbq or cheese sandwich