Bangers and mash with Paddy’s Day colcannon and Guinness gravy

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That time there was leftover colcannon and Guinness gravy from St Patricks day so I decided I would put some sausages on the grill with some carrots and turnips and swedes wrapped in foil so that my family may have some kind of bangers and mash for our evening meal.

You may not have any Guinness gravy left… and you probably don’t even know what colcannon is… that’s going to be OK. We’ll make some especially for it because let’s face it, bangers and mash deserves it.

Bangers and mash is good solid comfort food. Please though, do not confuse it for a big warm sausage-y, potato-y food hug – that is something that really shouldn’t exist in writing and/or real life. Case closed.

When you need* to make bangers and mash a good start is getting onto some decent sausages. The snags in the pic were provided by one of our many neighbourhood purveyors of meaty goodness – Cromwell Farms. Also worthy of note is that the herbs that go into said snags also come from the same farm.

With that foundation of good sausage we can build upwards towards the heavens with mashed potato, gravy and some other vegetable of your choosing… although it’s nearly always peas… not today though.

Hey ho, let’s go (defo a Ramones quote).

It was raining but I didn’t even care because I had my Pro Q Excel 20 (R2smoketoo) on the verandah.

Smoky, grilly sausages.

Gravy in the pot, vegetables in the foil packs.

That spread. Effort is pretty low for a pretty high yield of tasty goodness.


BANGERS & MASH (serves 4)

8 thick sausages, grilled or pan fried or baked
salt and pepper
Colcannon, vegetables and Guinness gravy to serve

Cook the sausages and serve with the other things.

I can’t believe I’m trying to write a recipe for this.

COLCANNON (serves 4)

Sauté 2-3 cups of sliced cabbage and ½ sliced onion in butter and a splash of oil until softened and just starting to brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Stir through enough mashed potato for 3 people (I know it says this is for 4 serves though… the sautéed cabbage will make up that extra serve for you… I’ve got your back on this one).

GUINNESS GRAVY

Make gravy exactly like you normally make it.

If you normally use chicken or beef stock you can replace half of that with Guinness.

If you use water and a packet gravy mix you can replace half of your water with Guinness.

Pretty easy.

* Bangers and mash is something that you can need. When you have an itch for bangers and mash, that itch can only be satisfied with bangers and mash. Fact.

Get that business in your face!

Christmas ham glaze and a tasty stuffed bird.

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That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits

That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits


I’ve noticed shit is getting a fair bit Christmassy around the joint at the mo’. Like, really effing Christmassy.

My smart brains told me that due to my little issue with finding time to hit this blog up at the moment, I should get onto some kind of Christmassy type post pretty fricking quick smart or the whole thing will pass me by and I’ll be left standing out the front of the house in my freshly pressed favourite baby blue suit, ironed tie and hippest new sock-sandal combo, with no date for the school dance… again…*

I also thought that this might be one of those ever-rare occasions where I may have inadvertently been presented with the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. You see, I have been asked by a local restaurant reviewer blog (Get Forked and Fly) via our restaurant (the Stockpot Kitchen), if I might like to share a recipe with her readers. Are you keeping up with me here?

Bam. Enter my Christmassy story and a couple of cracking recipes for some tasty tasty yuletide food to wow your friends and family (or possibly just your ever-growing clowder of cats) this Christmas.

The thing about living in Australia (It’s a country. Under where you live. Kinda like your basement but with less gimp masks and more sunshine) is that it is often summer time at Christmas. In fact, I believe there is more than an 85% chance of it being summer in Australia when Christmas hits. Fact. So there you have it – it is often warm in Australia at Christmas time because of the summer.

Because of the high probability of warmth, often the people of Australia will opt for some kind of cold, salady type lunch – some fresh prawns and oysters, maybe some cold roast chicken and things of the such. Our family, well we like to have it all – cold, hot, raw, cooked, drunkly undercooked, whatever. Nothing is barred from our table. There is but one prerequisite – whatever the food is there is enough of it so that we may eat ourselves sober over the course of the day. Fo’ reals.

Prawns, oysters, a stuffed bird and ham is a damn fine start.

A good ham is quite possibly one of my favourites.

I really like ham.

For the last couple of years I have been smoking my own ham, and this is something I will continue to do as I was really effing happy with the result. I do understand that you may not have the time, inclination or facilities to smoke your own ham so I will not like you any less if you get a nice ham from your local smoker of the pork… heck, I would even understand if you ended up with a glazed log of devon on your Christmas table. It’s fine. Do what you need to do. It’s all about that sexy-assed glaze today.

The smoking of the ham

The smoking of the ham


HAM WITH SEXY-ASSED PEACHY BOURBON SMOKY HONEY GLAZE

1 leg of ham, skin removed and fat scored
1 cup peach and red pepper relish (recipe follows)
½ cup smoked honey
½ cup bourbon

• Combine all glaze ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring until it all comes together Hannibal styles
• Whack your ham into a baking dish that’s going to fit it and pour half of the glaze over the top, brushing it into all of the little score crevices
• Bake at 150C for an hour, or until ham is heated through, basting with extra glaze every 15 minutes or so
• If you like some extra crusty little over-caramelised charred bits you can bump the heat up a little for the final 15 minutes. 180C should give you what you need
• Cover ham loosely in foil and rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve and then pour extra pan juices over ham and serve
• Leftover ham is pretty much really good to eat any old how – toasties, with eggs for breakfast, on a ploughmans, chopped into croquettes or fritters, straight off of your girlfriends boobi… e… s… It’s just really good, OK?

ELEANOR CROMWELL’S PEACH & RED PEPPER (capsicum) RELISH

Eleanor is a very nice lady and she sent me this recipe for what is now my favourite peach and capsicum relish.

2 long red chilli, chopped
12 red capsicum, no stalk, with seed, chopped
12 large peaches, chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large lemons, cut in half
5 cups castor sugar

• In food processor, blitz chilli, capsicum with seeds and peaches until coarsely chopped
• Add all ingredients except sugar to a large heavy based pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times to prevent sticking
• Remove lemons and add sugar
• Simmer for ½ hour more, or until the mixture is reduced slightly and thickened (you can check viscosity by putting a couple of tablespoons of relish into the fridge for 15 minutes to set)

——————————————–

The bird after it's time in the wood fired oven

The bird after it’s time in the wood fired oven


You must know how to roast a chook by now so I shall spare you the insult to your intelligence, although I’m sure I’ll say something soon enough that will make up for this moment of compassion. Today we will concentrate on the stuffing aka. The tasty shit you get inside the local greasy spoon rotisserie chook.

Stuffing is plenty easy, made delicious with a bit of smoky bacon (but let’s be honest, what isn’t made better with smoky bacon-y goodness) and some herbs from your garden. If you don’t have a herb garden yet all I can say is that you clearly don’t listen to anything I say and don’t deserve delicious roast chicken… and you are simple.

There, that should make up for the tenderness I showed you earlier.

The stuffing of the bird

The stuffing of the bird


BACON, CRAISIN & HERB STUFFING FOR A CHICKEN OR GOOSE OR TURKEY

2 rashers bacon, diced
½ brown onion, diced
¼ cup craisins, reconstituted with enough booze to cover them. White wine, brandy, marsala, anything boozy
1 handful mixed herbs; I have parsley, sage and rosemary from the garden. Thyme would be good if you have some
¾ cup breadcrumbs made from some old sour dough bread if you have some
Seasoning

• Sauté onion and bacon until onion is soft and translucent
• Remove from heat, add craisins and toss to warm through slightly. Leave to cool
• Combine all other ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Stuff it up the wrong un of your once happily free-ranging chicken. There is no delicate way to perform this task so get your hand right in there. If you have any leftover stuffing whack that in the pan half way through cooking. It still tastes like damn tasting shit
• Roast it up
• Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes
• Carve and eat
• The stuffing goes really well in a leftover roast chicken sandwich with homemade mayo.

*No joke I wrote this thing a month ago and then bam, Christmas is here in a matter of days and I have no idea where the last month actually gone.

Winner winner, smoked chicken burgers for dinner

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smoked pulled chicken burgers
This week my eldest son Seba, informed me that he thought it was about time he got the hang of smoking.

I could’ve have been concerned and demanded that he stopped hanging out with that tough crowd down the street because they were obviously leading him astray, but I was pretty confident that wasn’t the type of smoking he was talking about. You see, around foodisthebestshitever HQ the main type of smoking we talk about is the smoking of meat.

Once again I could understand how this could be misconstrued, but believe me when I say there is nothing biblical nor quick-cash-earning about this type of smoking of the meat. Also, you should just get your filthy mind out of the gutter, this is my kid we’re talking about here…

So at this point, this 10 year old product of coital union between myself (I think) and my dear wife Jennee almost has me in tears. The lad wanting to follow in the foot steps of his old man, manning the pit and feeding the hoards who desired the smoky goodness. I was damn well impressed. This was definitely a proud dad moment for me.

After a little light reading of a few of my favourite BBQ books Seba declared he thought he would like to spatchcock a bird (his words not mine) and smoke it for a few hours.

Sound idea… except the butcher was sans whole birds today, so I suggested we may need to settle for some chicken breast, possibly pulled and sauced and made into burgers.

Seba was agreeable, so we purchased said breasts and the rest, as they say, is history.

Big Red Rub, butter and breasts... sounds like my kind of party

Big Red Rub, butter and breasts… sounds like my kind of party

Smoker, Fiskars X25 block splitter, beer brewed by the Coopers family and a full watering can just because safety doesn't take a holiday

Smoker, Fiskars X25 block splitter, beer brewed by the Coopers family and a full watering can just because safety doesn’t take a holiday

Seba get's that chicken in the smoker. The task seemed pretty easy for him...

Seba get’s that chicken in the smoker. The task seemed pretty easy for him…

Seba rolling those boobies through the red butter

Seba rolling those boobies through the red butter

Starting to turn into some really sexy breasts

Starting to turn into some really sexy breasts

Loaded as fuck

Loaded as fuck


SMOKED & PULLED CHICKEN BURGERS

(serves 4)

3x 200g chicken breast (free range, yeah. Give the little chooky a half decent life at least)
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 tablespoon butter
BBQ sauce
4 burger buns (I like a slightly sweet milk bun, but I’m sure what ever you choose will be fine)
Lettuce leaves, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise and sliced jalapeno to served

• Rub chicken boobs with butter and then Big Red Seasoning
• Set aside in the fridge to marinated for an hour or so
• Get your weber or upright smoker or whatever it is you use to smoke things ready to go. Somewhere around the 110-120C is the temp I like for this sort of thing
• Smoke chicken on a tray for approximately 2 hours or until cooked through. Turn the chicken and baste with juices every 30 minutes
• Rest chicken for 10 minutes
• Shred it, pull it, do your thing
• Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary
• Moisten chicken with 2-3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce and pile onto burger buns layered with the other ingredients. I shouldn’t need to hold your hand through this one by now, but if I do… well… I’m just not going to. Here is a picture of my 10 year old son sorting it out all by himself. That’s all

Honestly. This is Seba just rocking the "I got this pops"

Honestly. This is Seba just rocking the “I got this pops”

This was seriously one of the fucking best

This was seriously one of the fucking best

Girls vs Boys Southern Smokehouse Cook-off

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IMG_6214

A man, a coffee and a smoker

It was to be another cook-off at foodisthebestshitever HQ. The teams were girls versus boys; the girl’s team comprising of my wife Jennee and her sister Liz (who can get an extra special mention right now because she flew in from the other side of the country especially for the occasion), while the boys team was made up of myself, yer ol’ uncle Grazza, and Jennee’s brother, Queenie. The theme was “Southern American Smokehouse” or something thereabouts. The esky was full of booze. The table was set. The competitors were ready. The Girls v Boys Foodisthebestshitever Cook-off 2016 was about to begin…

*The people in the story may be fictional, but the events are real.

The boys

We (the boys) felt there was a lot of smack talking from the girls. Like, a lot of smack talking. The girls were being particularly good at smack talking. In fact, I was walking down the street in a local town when I was approached by a young man who informed me that he had heard a rumor my man Queenie was very slightly hung. Now, Queenie may not be the manliest of guys names but I know for a fact that this brother is packing the equipment needed for the job. Well, I’ve heard he’s packing… don’t look at me like I’ve been sussing out my brother’s package. Holy shit you guys know how to contort a story… much like the women folk around these parts… great segue. That bloody smack talk.

A weaker boys team may have crumbled, but our resolve would not waver. We cleared our minds and our pipes, centered our chi and got the eff on with the job.

Our little tree motif was whittled by Queenie, made from 100% repurposed wood that was otherwise just laying around, taking up space and producing air and shit.

The rocks displayed our organic approach to our cooking and our lives, and the ebb and flow of the world we live in.

The plates were also repurposed old plates, which were recently introduced to their new life as, well, plates.

That was our story and we were sticking to it.

SAMSUNG CSC

Feel the emotion

Our Ode to the South was based on nothing more than a child hood obsession with KFC and an adult (or maybe more correctly termed; a 30-40 year old) obsession with smoked meat… and fried chicken… and an old Elvis 7inch. Still, it was our Ode to the South none-the-less, and it went a little something like this;

• Pulled pork finger, cheesy jalapeño crust, pickles, kimchi mayo
• Smoked rib, Big Red Rub, mustard sauce
• Tater tots injected with white trash heroin AKA cheese sauce
• Beer battered onion rings, ranch dressing
• Fried and then smoked and then fried again chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese sauce
• Smoked jalapeno popper
• Smoked brisket burger, crumbed (breaded) milk bun, slaw, barbecue sauce

The girls

The girls relied heavily on smack talk in an attempt to throw the boys from their game. But they did eventually bring some tasty and creatively produced treats to the table, ensuring a close competition.

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That layered salad was pretty special

The girls based their plate on a love of the hush puppy and 1980s layered salads. Happily re-jigged to fit with-in the guidelines of the “Smokehouse” brief, their entry went almost exactly like this;

• Layered salad with crumbled corn bread, smoked capsicum and corn, pickle and iceberg lettuce
• Smoked pork rib
• Smoked prawn, smoked Andouille sausage and smoked eggplant hush puppies

The result

Once the smoke had cleared and the gloves were un-tethered and removed to reveal calloused hands strapped crudely with ordinary house hold masking tape, the votes were tallied and the announcement of a winner was tasked to our youngest child, Obi. It was said around the table that both boys and girls had brought their A-games to the kitchen this day but unfortunately there could be only one winner – one team whose A-game was in fact a little A-er.

On this day of our lord, Sunday March 27th 2016 *drum roll please*… it would be the boys that would march away victorious from this cooking stadium, heads held high and then swiftly and smartly the victory was relegated to a distant memory, one that would not be spoken about ever again, as we were the men folk and we knew about the way of the world…

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That onion ring. Bangin’

A recipe for the WINNING BEER BATTERED ONION RINGS (enough for a few sides or maybe a Friday night on the couch watching midget wrestling)

2 med-large onions of your choosing
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub or Cajun/Créole spice mix
1 bottle o’ beer… whatever you’re drinking will be fine
Oil for deep frying
Seasoning
Ranch dressing and extra Big Red Rub to serve

• Slice onions into 1cm-ish rings, popping the first 4-5 center rings out for something else you’re cooking that has onion in it
• Heat oil in a deep fryer or pot or plastic bucket if you’re not that smart. 180C is the go
• To make batter mix flours, oil and spice mix. Slowly whisk in beer until your batter is quite smooth and is thick enough to coat your finger nicely. Not too thick is the key here
• Coat the onion rings with plain flour and then dip them into the batter. Drag them out of the batter and ever-so-slightly drag them across the side of the bowl to remove excess batter
• Lower them gently into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden, turning half way through
• Drain on kitchen towel, season with salt and pepper and a little extra Big Red Rub, serve with ranch sauce on the side

Pork Ribs in the Ghetto Smoker

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smoked pork ribs
Last week I got into a big jet plane… all the while never ever being able to get the song of the same name by Angus and Julia Stone out of my fricking head… they owe me money for that for sure. Anyway, I get into the plane and in turn that same plane took me from Brisbane in Southern Queensland as far as it could travel west to the worlds most isolated capital city; Perth, Western Australia.

The people on the plane were very nice. They even fed us while we were in the air.

But what gets me is, well, even on the same airline, for the same money, a flight from one destination may have some pretty average food and not much of it, yet when you head back the other way the food is almost bearable and it just keeps coming. No consistency… it’s like the meals are produced on rotating roster by the local Women’s Auxiliary Crochet Society, the Hospital canteen and possibly even the local footy club, using whatever was in the fridge and looking like it was getting close to it’s use-by date… and yes, I am seriously critiquing airline food.

I am learning to move on though… step by step… one day at a time.

So… it may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I do not carry a barbecue where ever I travel, but oft the occasion does arise where I find myself donning someone else’s kitchen apron – usually with something novel on the front like bare bosoms or “cooks do it in the kitchen” – and getting saucy with whatever barbecue apparatus it is that they may have.

How though? What if you want a bit of smoky goodness but what they have is the barbecue equivalent of a Lada Niva, what are you gonna do? Ghetto Smokehouse to the rescue! What the fuck is Ghetto Smokehouse, you ask? Also, you’re probably curious to get some kind of evidence that I have shown some kind of commitment to being permanently off the “glass barbecue”. For the answers to these questions and more you will need to read on my friends… read on…

Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff

Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff

In the Ghetto Smoker. That's the wood chip parcel on the right

In the Ghetto Smoker. That’s the wood chip parcel on the right

And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people

And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people


GHETTO SMOKED PORK RIBS WITH BIG RED RUB & CAROLINA MUSTARD SAUCE

• First you need to procure yourself some pork ribs from your favourite butcher. We got the nice man/lady/lady-man to leave a bit of extra meat on a few little pork riblets , but you can use this same method for whatever it is you would like to smoke. Unless it is a cigarette, you will need a mouth to smoke one of those
• Give your ribs a good coat of Big Red Rub* or your favourite BBQ spice rub. Set them aside to marinate while you get your “Ghetto Smoker” sorted
• To get your “Ghetto Smoker” up and running you need a barbecue with a lid, woodchips (hickory is good and also available at just about every barbecue store or the larger hardware stores, but there are heaps of other woods you can use – google “smoking wood” to suss a few… actually “smoking wood” is not a good thing to put into the big search engine) and a little alfoil (aluminum foil)
• Wrap a few large handfuls of wood chips in a little foil basket/package. That little package goes over a low flame on the grill bars until it starts smoking, and then your ribs or whatever it is that you want to be smoking go on the hot plate or grill bars just next to it. Once again you want to have little to no heat at all directly under your ribs – they are going to get most of their heat from the smoker flame once the lid goes down. If you put the heat up things can go pear shaped pretty damn quickly and your shit will end up looking worse than Anakin Skywalker after he decided it would be a good idea to head into the Jedi temple and start killing younglings… so yeah, low heat
• It’s going to take 2 ½ hours or longer for your ribs to be cooked and delicious, but if they are not quite ready when you check them (and you will mutha effing check them) you will put them back in for another half an hour or so
• NB. YOU NEED TO TAKE A PEEK EVERY HALF HOUR OR SO. You want the temp inside the chamber to be 150-160Cish. If it’s getting a little cool turn the in direct heat up a little (not the heat under the ribs… remember Anakin). If the wood chips burn out put some fresh wood chips back in to ensure your smoky satisfaction. If you need your dinner in 20 minutes head down to Micky D’s drive-through for a bagful of guaranteed disappointment
• Once ready slice ribs, brush with a little Carolina mustard sauce* and serve
• Bam. Effing bam!

*I know I said I don’t take a barbecue travelling but a man needs his condiments. Sending home made condiments to friends who reside in your holiday destination (best sent to peeps you are reasonably sure won’t use them so they remain unopened until you arrive) is also a sound way to ensure your homemade goodness is ready and waiting for you.

Burger Buns a la Stephane Raynaud’s “Gourmet Hotdogs”

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burger, burger buns
I have had burgers before, not in the biblical sense, but a good burger is something I like to eat on a regular basis. It is not about the weather, or a mood thing, or to do with religion, I just like to eat burgers… straight into my face hole.

During my last twenty years on this earth I have certainly cooked a few of these one hand delivery, covering all food groups, suductively shaped, alluring, tasty little morsels and if you’re keen you can find a recipe for one in a heap of different places on this blog. I would suggest typing “burger” into the search bar in the top right corner of this page. Or, alternately, go to someone else’s better blog and type “burger” into the search page on theirs.

But today it isn’t about the burger. Much like the sexy all-male review sans the sweaty middle-aged women and fifty dollar notes, today it is all about the sweet, buttery buns.

This recipe was handed to me from Stephane Reynaud via his book “Gourmet Hotdogs – How To Dress Your Dog With Style” which was gifted to me on my last birthday by great friends and, without even close competition, my favourite will-they-ever-actually-be-married couple, Mark and Kate, who bought (or possibly stole… I saw no receipt…) it from a bookshop, the owner of said bookshop having purchased it from a book wholesaler. So that is how I have come to be in possession of this sweet milk bun recipe… and it was a cracker. Kinda brioche-y, but not.

I’m trying the straight ol’ milk buns next to see which I prefer… who cares? I know.

The book. There's some mighty fine looking hotdogs in here too

The book. There’s some mighty fine looking hotdogs in here too

Just after the second proving, all dressed up ready for the oven

Just after the second proving, all dressed up ready for the oven

Out of the oven. Nothing wrong with those buns

Out of the oven. Nothing wrong with those buns

Burgers grilled over coals are damn good burgers

Burgers grilled over coals are damn good burgers

Especially when they have cheese and bacon on top

Especially when they have cheese and Cromwell Farms bacon on top

It looks like my burger is trying to eat the pickle. It's not though, because it is a burger

It looks like my burger is trying to eat the pickle. It’s not though, because it is a burger

(I kinda stuffed up the measurements a little because the acid was just starting to kick in, so what I’ve ended up with is a cross breed of his milk buns and sweet milk buns. Deal with it)

SWEET MILK BUNS a la STEPHANE REYNAUD (sort of)

1 sachet (7g) yeast
200ml lukewarm milk
400g strong flour
50g castor sugar
75g softened butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
Sesame seeds
• Add the yeast to the lukewarm milk
• Combine all ingredients and kneed until smooth and elastic to form a compact ball. Cover with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 1 hour at room temperature
• Punch the air out of the dough, shape into six pretty evenly sized rolls and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover with a warm damp cloth and let them rise again at room temperature for 1 hour
• Glaze with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 15 minutes
• Slice it open and fill it with whatever it is you like to put on a burger