Mussels with chorizo, saffron and tomato… so very simple

spencer gulf mussels with chorizo, tomato and saffron Mussels can be simple as fuck and really impressive and sometimes, so can this ol’ blog. Watch this… Mussels are a light bulb moment. There is a picture of a bowl of mussels with a side of crusty bread in the dictionary right next to the definition of the phrase “light bulb moment” (please don’t check… I feel that may lead to me being found out for the fraudulent cad I am). They are a great call when you need something quick and easy and still impressive. There’s not a heap of meals that fall into this category, as it is not an actual category but just a damn unfortunate twist of events that we all have to deal with from time to time. In your time of need look to the mussels for the strength to go on (see what I did there? Mussels? Strength? That shit is gold). The scientific equation is thus; Cook mussels with some kind of saucy goodness, chuck an inbred rock farmer’s sized fistful of herbs in there and then serve with some crusty bread and a salad if you can be assed. I didn’t even use garlic because of the flavour hit from the sausage. Oh yes you could if you wanted to, but for the simplicity of this whole thing I just flogged the shit out of a good sausage. Oh yes.

These puppies came cryovaced and cleaned up  ready to go. It makes it a little hard to check for freshness so it's kinda nice to have a good fish monger
These puppies came cryovacced and cleaned up ready to go. It makes it a little hard to check for freshness so it’s kinda nice to have a good fish monger
Just mussels
Just mussels
...and the other stuff that went into the pot
…and the other stuff that went into the pot
Steeping saffron looks a little like this
Steeping saffron looks a little like this
Make some garlic bread, I dare you. It's childs play. It is quite literally childs play
Make some garlic bread, I dare you. It’s childs play. It is quite literally childs play
Um, garlic bread
Um, garlic bread
Looking good
Looking good
Get it on the plate with some of that
Get it on the plate with some of that
My belly is smiling at me
My belly is smiling at me

MUSSELS WITH CHORIZO, SAFFRON & TOMATO 1kg fresh mussels that, just as all seafood should, smell just like the ocean, not the toilet door in the parlor of the ladies of the night 1 small-medium onion, finely diced 1 chorizo sausage, diced pretty small but it doesn’t need to be as small as the onion A pinch of saffron, left to steep in ¼ cup warm water for 15 minutes (leave it out if you think you don’t like it. I really didn’t want you wasting this worlds saffron supply anyway) 2x 400g tins crushed tomatoes A handful of parsley and mint, chopped Whatever you think is a decent splash of olive oil Garlic bread or crusty bread to serve • Heat oil in a large pan and sauté onion and chorizo until fragrant • Add a splash of wine if using*, the saffron in it’s water and the tomatoes and simmer for exactly 10 minutes • Add mussels and cover. Simmer for another 4-5 minutes or until it looks like all of the mussels have opened, stirring gently once or twice • Add herbs and fold through • Check seasoning – it’s usually pretty good because of the salty goodness inside the mussels – and serve it up with a heap of some kind of juice mopping implement AKA. bread *If you have white wine you can chuck a splash in there, but don’t worry if you don’t. I didn’t and I can share the knowledge that these mussels were still damn good. It would be true to say that I have indeed tasted many things that are less appealing than mussels without a splash of wine.

Pork fillet with lentils, tomato and salsa verde

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The rains are coming down noisily in our (yeah, we’ve claimed them now) not-so-long-ago tranquil Northern Rivers. There has still been a lot of heat getting about the place, but right now the heavens they are emptying their bladder that’s for sure.

These rains have made me think back to a dinner I cooked up late a few nights ago. That dinner is something that I think I would like to be eating tonight, but the thing is, I already ate it some nights ago and I don’t have the ingredients needed to cook it now. So in lieu of the things I may need to cook past dinner I have a pot of chicken ribollita on the stove as we speak… but that mere technicality is not going to stop me from telling you about my past dinner. The dinner that I want to have tonight. The dinner that haunts my memories and dreams. The dinner that was pork fillet with tomato, lentils and salsa verde.

But please don’t misunderstand me right now, I am a huge fan of ribolitta. It is definitely up there with my top three rainy day meals. Cool? Cool. I just really want that pork fillet again…

On with the story of the past tense dinner that I already ate.

I wont lie to you. When I cooked this meal I had consumed more than 1 alcoholic beverage. Details may be scant and very possibly untrue, but I shall soldier on in the name of freedom and a good story… foodisthebestshitever does that thing it does again.

As I ate that porky goodness I remember it being a lot more tender then I thought it would. It was pork fillet glory! I won’t pretend to remember every single drunken intuitive thing I put in it, but it was good… damn good. Tender, quick, magnificent and porky all in one little package. Aka my dinner. That’s all. I’m pretty sure it went a little something like this…

Cook the pork
Cook the pork
Cook the tomato and lentil sauce
Cook the tomato and lentil sauce
Add the pork to the tomato and lentil sauce
Add the pork to the tomato and lentil sauce
Put it in an old skool bowl and eat it in your face
Put it in an old skool bowl and eat it in your face

Pork fillet, lentils, tomato and salsa verde
1 pork fillet, 500g (ish). Cut that into 2-3 manageable pieces
1 brown onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 anchovy fillets
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 400g tin of French lentils
1 400g tin of crushed tomatoes or tomato passata
A splash of white wine
Salsa verde to serve (recipe can be found here)
• Season the pork fillet all over. Cook it in a pan with a splash of oil over a med-high heat. You want to get it nicely coloured but not fully cooked through. 2-3 minutes each side should be good
• Remove pork fillet and leave to rest
• To make the sauce put the pork pan back onto a medium heat. Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté onion, carrot, garlic and anchovies. Once starting to brown and stick a little, deglaze pan with a splash of wine. Add herbs and tomato and cook out on a low heat for 20 minutes, adding a splash or two of water if the sauce starts to get too thick.
• Add lentils and cook out for another five minutes
• Slice the pork fillet into 2cm medallions and add them to the sauce. Simmer for another five or so minutes, stirring regularly and ensuring pork medallions are being turned
• Once pork is done it’s time to serve (feel free to check the pork is done by slicing a couple of pieces open)
• Serve, maybe in an antique bowl, with salsa verde and some kind of bread product

My mum’s tomato, cucumber and onion salad

My mum is really neat

My mum is fantastic

I love my mum

She carried me in her belly for ages

That’s a pretty good effort

Happy Mothers Day ma xo

 

I think you’d agree excellent poetry is another feather in my cap… I really should stop putting all of those stupid looking feathers in my cap though. I look like the tuba player in an oompah band.

 

This is homage to my darling mother through the recipe for her famous (in our house) tomato, cucumber and onion salad

This would make an appearance at every Sunday BBQ we ever had. Along with its good friends, the potato salad and coleslaw. It is simple and tasty and has the potential to make the simple man look good. Actually, it’s no cure for stupidity but it still tastes damn fine. The secret is to dress and season it a bit before serving so all the juices of the salad ingredients get drawn out to help form the dressing. I put a bit of olive oil in mine just to jois (quite probably not even a word) it up a bit but I’m not sure if ma would condone my actions. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind a bit of parsley in there though…

Simple is a good word to go here
Simple is a good word to go here

 

...and here
…and here

 

It is truly at home sitting next to a nice steak, along side it's good friends, the potato salad and coleslaw
It is truly at home sitting next to a nice steak, along side it’s good friends, the potato salad and coleslaw

TOMATO, CUCUMBER AND ONION SALAD

3 ripe tomatoes, sliced

1 cucumber, sliced

1 onion, sliced

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

salt and pepper

a splash of olive oil