There’s no such thing as a free lunch…

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It was a damn good lunch, but free it was not

It was a damn good lunch, but free it was not

Over Christmas and new years we had the pleasure of the company of our good friends, Troppo and Lexi. They stayed for a lunch or two and a good catch up old skool styleez (that involved many beers, heaps of food, board games, kuncho and many, many laughs). While they were here Jennee got it into her head that we would paint the house… yeah, paint the house. I like to oblige Jennee when she sees that crazy big light bulb above her head, but paint the house… bloody hell woman!

Troppo's sanding attire

Troppo’s sanding attire

Safety Jennee

Safety Jennee

Lexi...

Lexi…

A well deserved drinky when we were done. And what better place for a drinky then on the roof. Safety never takes a holiday around here...

A well deserved drinky when we were done. And what better place for a drinky then on the roof. Safety never takes a holiday around here…

Anyway, the plan came off for Jennee, as we do now own one freshly painted house. This is how simple it was.

Jennee: “We were thinking we might paint the house. Would you guys be keen if we provide the food and drinks?”

Troppo: “Sounds good. I need to try more handy man type shit.”

Three days later we were done.

This was the painters lunch…

Cheesey goodness

Cheesey goodness

Pork and giblet terrine. Extra sexy styles

Pork and giblet terrine. Extra sexy styles

Pork and duck heart and liver terrine
1kg pork mince
4-5 duck livers, trimmed and diced
4-5 duck hearts, diced
1 brown onion, diced finely (bruniose)
2 cloves garlic, crushed, micro planed or pounded
2 tablespoons picked thyme
a bay leaf
1 cup red wine, port, brandy or marsala
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon salt
12 or so rashers of bacon, prosciutto or speck
• Sauté the onion and garlic in butter until translucent. Deglaze pan with booze. Add bay leaf and reduce until almost dry
• Remove bay leaf and set aside to cool
• Once onion is cool, combine everything except bacon and mix thouroughly. Now put that in the fridge while you line your terrine dish, or ready your bacon for the extra sexy stlyes.
• If you are using a terrine dish, line it with enough bacon side by side so when the mix is in there you will be able to wrap it totally with bacon. Now fill the dish with the mix so it is about 1cm over the top. Pat it down with your hand to push any air pockets out. Tap it on the bench a couple of times so you look like a pro. Fold the bacon ends over the top of the terrine and bake in a pre-heat 180C oven for about 45 minutes. Check the center temperature with a thermometer, you want it to be about 70C or so. Refrigerate overnight or for a few days to really let the flavours get to know each other… who knows, they may find love…
• If you would like the extra sexy style cylindrical terrine you will need to lay a large piece of glad wrap (cling film or whatever the rest of the world calls it) on the bench. Now lay 6-7 pieces of bacon side by side about 2cm from the front edge of the grad wrap. Make sure you leave a 2cm border on the sides as well (don’t ask questions, just do it. The answer should become apparent when you roll it). Now lay half the mix on the end of the bacon closest to you and form it into a big sausage. Using the glad wrap like a sushi mat, roll the bacon around the terrine. Keep rolling until the entire glad wrap is encasing the terrine sausage. Now pinch it at the ends and keep rolling so it gets super tight and compact like the virgin midget carnie. Now wrap it again in another piece of glad wrap and tie it at the ends just to be sure it’s sealed. Do it all again with the rest of the mix. Poach or steam terrine for 45 minutes or until 70C in the center. Set in the fridge overnight etc

Eat with cheese, pickles, green tomato chutney (recipe here), more cheese, cauliflower pickles (recipe here), pate and bread

This is a great way to appreciate a bit of offal if you currently believe that you do not appreciate offal. Or you can leave the offal out if you are a total pussy.

One Ingredient – Sweet and Savoury… The Choko

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Extra language of the salty old sea dog alert.

So I got my theme ingredient for the sweet and savoury challenge from my sister in law Liz. She is clearly trying to prove that in-laws are the nasty evil new-family-member-hating peeps they are made out to be.

CHOKOS. I hate fucking chokos. I don’t mean I hate fucking chokos, like, Friday night fucking. They probably put out quite well… I hate chokos. I despise chokos. I have tried to like the company of chokos but I enjoy spending time with them as much as I enjoy talking to anesthetists about their day (and I have heard these people talk. Believe me, it is not very exciting). I like to eat them as I like to eat sand (not often).

Actually I am being harsh. Not too harsh, just a little harsh. With proper thought my mind floats back to a brief love affair I had with the choko. Well, not with the choko but with its child, its offspring, a byproduct of its love… The choko pickle. But if I break it down to the lowest common denominator, I’m happy to have almost any type of pickled vegetable with a good terrine. And we’re coming into terrine country right now, and I think if you have a brain (you’re reading this right) you know how good a good terrine and some kinda pickle is in your picnic basket?

So we have a savoury but what about the sweet? I’m pretty sure the reason chokos have such a bad wrap is because a lot of Nanas would put the in apple pies as filler… With sad results. And what does this mean to me? Absolutely nothing. So what about choko hotcakes with choko and date compote. Let’s do it. And lets try to sound a little more excited about this whole choko situation, K?

And I’ll be absolutely honest, I feel the choko in the compote is not going to be the star, but more a carrier of other flavours. I may have not met the brief completely but you know what, the brief is stupid and biased and racist and not very good-looking.

CHOKO PICKLE for a terrine or ploughmans lunch, or even a cheese sandwich
1.5kg choko, peel, deseed, cut into small dice
2 cucumber, deseed, cut into small dice
2 zucchini, small dice
2 brown onion, peeled, blah, blah
½ cup salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tspn ginger, grated
2 tspn mustard seed
1 cup castor sugar
1lt white wine vinegar
¼ cup plain flour
1 Tbls tumeric
• Salt all diced vegetables in colander overnight
• Make a slurry out of the tumeric, flour and a little vinegar
• Put everything into a heavy based pot, simmer for 10-15 minutes
• Jar up, leave for a couple of weeks and then free the love

CHOKO HOTCAKES with choko and date compote
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
80g unsalted butter, melted
400g self raising flour
a pinch of salt
1 Tbls castor sugar
1 cup of peeled and grated choko
• Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
• In another bowl, whisk butter and eggs together, then add milks
• Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and choko, and mix until just combined (a few lumps in the mix is ok. If you over-mix, the fluffy hotcakes you are expecting will be nothing but a thought, a fleeting moment in time)
• Heat a little oil and butter in a pan over a low heat
• Add dollops of the batter (make sure there is enough room in the pan to have some space between hotcakes or you’ll just end up with one big mess… tasty, but a big ol’ mess)
• Now don’t touch the hotcakes. Resist temptation. Please. Once bubbles are starting to appear you can peel back an edge and if they are golden brown then flip ‘em. Don’t be tempted to press down on hotcakes. Just let them do their thang
• Within minutes you should have nice fluffy, golden hotcakes
• Keep first batch in a warm spot or maybe in the oven (so that you and all the crew you were partying with last night can eat at the same time) and keep cooking the rest of the hotcakes in batches
• Serve with extra honey, choko and date compote (recipe down there) and icecream or mascarpone would be my choice
Choko and date compote
1 cup grated choko (peel that shit first, of course)
1 chop pitted dates, chopped
1 cinnamon quill
2 Tbls honey
1 cup orange juice
• Simmer all ingredients in a pot over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until thick and compote-y

food IS the best shit ever (and a recipe for rabbit terrine)

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Who would argue that food is not the best shit ever?? It’s a non-argument (and I’m sure there is a word out there for that and if I was a little smarter I would put it in there). Even Jesus said that food was tops.

Eating and drinking are high on my list of things I love to do. Cooking is right up there too… maybe even at the top, so I thought i would just let you know what I’ve been cooking, share a recipe, show a few drunken photos of myself… whatever. Who cares? If you don’t like it get onto Facebook, find someone you went to school with and surreptitiously watch their life for a while.

I’ve been housebound for a week now, so I’ve been cooking heaps, and one thing I have discovered is the South American caramel dulce de leche. Easily my wife’s’ new favourite food. It’s a caramel consisting of milk, sugar, vanilla, bicarb and glucose. Thick and unctuous (for lack of a better word) and perfect to spread on the South American short bread know as alfajores. Eat them straight up if you like it crunchy, but I preferred them after they were in the fridge for a few hours to soften a little. There’s a good recipe on sbsfood.com suss it out.

I am a big fan of terrine. Not enough good words can be said about a good terrine. It’s perfect food to enjoy with friends and wine or beer. A sunny afternoon, some crusty baguette and a tumbler of red wine and I could be anywhere. I like to imagine I am in a country French village the most…. hmmm…

Enough of my day dreams though. Back to the point. The terrine.

This week my wife had a hankering for rabbit, and as you will slowly learn I do love it when an ingredient or two are thrown down and I have to come up with a dish, so rabbit terrine it was.

RABBIT TERRINE

1kg pork mince
proscuitto or streaky bacon to wrap
1 rabbit, deboned, meat diced (good luck)
1 brown onion, diced
1 tablespoon each black peppercorns, coriander seed, garlic and dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
2 juniper berries
2 cups red wine
salt

  • combine all except pork and proscuitto to marinate for at least 4hrs
  • remove rabbit, reduce marinade by half, cool, strain, reserving half the onions
  • add cooled marinade, onions and rabbit to pork mince
  • check seasoning. Yeah, taste the mix. Or cook a little nugget if you’re a pussy with raw meat
  • line terrine tin with baking paper and then proscuitto, pack mixture in and wrap.
    Cook at 160C, for 45 minutes-ish
  • cool for at least 4hrs, but it is better eaten the next day or even the day after that.

I also made beer bread. Same as normal bread (put in a warm spot to rise, kneed, all that shite) but using the yeast in the beer to make the bread rise. I did it with stout and it worked a treat. Goes great with the terrine…

So I guess that’s a start.

Is it?