Wooli Seafood Spread

Fishy, fishy, fishy
Fishy, fishy, fishy

I don’t got much for you today.

All I have is a couple of points that have come from my ponderings and the tail end symptoms of a nasty little rash. Not exactly “strap yourself in and get ready for the ride” reading but like I said, it’s all I’ve got.

1. It is almost Christmas. That came around really effing quickly. Before you know it you will be waking up on boxing day wearing a santa hat, all areas of visible skin blanket-filled with an interesting choice of colour that could only be called sun burn red*, hungover like something that has been drinking in the hot sun for the entirety of the previous day and, if you are one of the truly lucky peeps amongst us who have chosen to work in the hospitality industry, you may even be late for the breakfast shift!
2. I have decided that the lead up to Christmas may or may not be the best time to launch a catering company. And the day job too… what was I thinking?
3. I don’t care what you’re doing right now because we are getting a bit of serious NDAFT (not doing an effing thing) time in. We have transported our asses to Wooli on the north coast of New South Wales via motorized chariot on the actual highway (as opposed to the interweb super-highway). Yes, back to Wooli. I am drawn to this place like the weight sensitive person is drawn to an extra slice of chocolate cake… We are enjoying the idiosyncrasies of staying in a cabin on the river, sampling the local seafood (those who remember my last Wooli post would probably remember that I mentioned the local oyster supplier and fish shop… a lot), swimming and kayaking in said river, fishing and just doing nice shit in general. Really feeling the love, you know?
4. I feel there is a good chance that posts may become dodgily intermittent because of my work load with catering and my day job… this is something you most probably wouldn’t offer a single shit for, which I would agree is a wise decision.
5. Once, sometime in my past, something happened to my head and made me heaps skilled at talking random rubbish all the time.

Proof that I fish
Proof that I fish

That’s it. Ponder that load of complete and utter bollocks (or don’t). As for me, I am going to enjoy these few days we have away from the centrifuge (That’s right. Big fast spinning thing) that is our lives at the moment and give it up a little for a bit of eat, drink, fish, swim, quality family time etc… you get the picture.

Proof that my children have not yet worked out which side of the kayak they should be in
Proof that my children have not yet worked out which side of the kayak they should be in

So in closing I would like to say this; enjoy your Christmas if I forget to tell you on the day, if you need someone to cater your Christmas party I am not the man (sure, mostly I am “the man”, but in this case I am most certainly not the man), I love getting the heck outta dodge and I have not forgotten about you if I don’t write for a while… just in case.

Kick-ass prawns
Kick-ass prawns

Kick-ass oysters with kick-ass bacon
Kick-ass oysters with kick-ass bacon
All round kick-ass-ness
All round kick-ass-ness

RIVERSIDE SEAFOOD SPREAD (for 4)

1 fish that you caught earlier that day, seasoned with a little salt and pepper and cooked on the barbecue. Give it a good squeeze of lemon as you are about to serve it up
500g cooked king prawns
2 dozen fresh oysters shucked before your very eyes, shown the love with the addition of a few bits of crisp bacon
3 rashers of bacon, chopped and fried until crisp to go on those oysters
Cabin marie rose sauce, aka cocktail sauce (recipe below)
Kimchi
Salads that you and yours enjoy eating – We had a Greek-ish salad with quinoa and my nana’s potato salad

CABIN MARIE ROSE SAUCE

½ cup mayo
1 tablespoon or so tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Extra seasoning if you need it

• Combine all ingredients and whisk together… unless your cabin does not have a whisk included in it’s bucket of kitchen utensils, in which case, if your name is MacGyver I would suggest you fashion a whisk from an old bicycle pump and the skeletal remains of the fish you caught today. But, as you are most likely not MacGyver, a fork will do the trick just fine. If your cabin does not have a fork I would suggest that you may have paid good money to stay in a cave or possibly a hole in the ground and it is people like you who make me question how the human race has got this far…
• Normally this sauce would also contain Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and possibly a splash of brandy, but we’ll making use of what we’ve got because I will garnish my prawns with the juices from the bottom of the wheelie bin before I use that Masterfoods stuff from the store

BTW, THE FOODISTHEBESTSHITEVER CHRISTMAS ADDRESS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. YOU’VE GOTTA BE PUMPED FOR THAT!

*Possibly only applicable to peeps living in the Southern Hemisphere

Wooli day 7… Corn Fritter Waffles

Corny breakfast goodness
Corny breakfast goodness

If you have been paying attention to my posts over the last week and not just skim read (Oh yes that’s for you Laura. Book indeed), you would certainly be able to detect a trend in subject matter. Yes you clever heads, the boys and I are in Wooli.

A small fishing village on the north coast of NSW, Wooli is famed for it’s oysters, beautiful scenery and lack of connection with the civilized world. If I can find these things in a holiday destination I am a very happy man as it is a welcome break from the ever-tumultuous life of a chef in the Byron area.

As all good things must come to an end, so must our time in Wooli. It has been real Wooli, it really has.

One more thing before I go, though. I did come here with the intention of cooking corn fritters in the waffle maker, which was packed by Jennee bless her cotton socks, and you best believe my intentions were realised in the form of corn fritter waffle things.

The fritter batter was cooked as per waffles in a waffle maker instead of frying in a pan. Try it out if you’ve got the means…

Waffle that shit up!
Waffle that shit up!
Still waffling
Still waffling
Pile it up on the table for the hordes to dig in
Pile it up on the table for the hordes to dig in
Corn waffles with bacon, avocado and Phil's home made HP sauce
Corn waffles with bacon, avocado and Phil’s home made HP sauce
With the paper and a coffee. My life is complete
With the paper and a coffee. My life is complete

CORN FRITTERS or quinoa and corn fritters if you want (for 4)

To make quinoa and corn fritters simply replace 2 cups of corn kernels with 2 cups of cooked quinoa. It works an effing treat. Even if you think you are not a health freak, you should embrace this ancient super food now. The Incas did and look at them – they made calendars and shit… or was that the Mayans… I’m sure they all loved quinoa whatever the case.

1lt fresh corn kernels, from 5-ish cobs of corn
½ bunch spring onions or ½ red onion, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely chop
½ bunch coriander, chopped
1 ¼ cups self raising flour
1 cup or so coconut cream
4 eggs, let’s make them big and free range
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Seasoning

• Mix all dry ingredients together
• In a separate bowl combine all wet ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Pour wet ingredient into dry and mix to combine. The mix should be a bit firmer than pancake batter but a littleness firm than your rock hard abs
• Form fritters with a large spoon and fry in a little oil over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes each side. You can make fritters as big or as small as you like them. Also, if you are cooking for more than a family, fry the fritters in batches until golden and then transfer to 180C oven to finish while you cook the rest. The all you need to do is transfer to the table with a pile of bacon, some avocado, fresh rocket or spinach and HP sauce or capsicum chilli jam
• And don’t think the breakfast table has sole rights to these little puppies, no no no. It’s not the effing Super Bowl, people. These fritters will happily find a place at your lunch or dinner table no worries at all

Wooli part 7… post number 500, 400 followers and a big pot of Chilli Con Carne

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Chilli Con Carne with Beer

Post number 500 and we’ve just hit 400 followers to top it all off! And what better way to celebrate than a few beers with an old friend, while on holiday and eating a big fat pot of slow cooked goodness (not the pot, just the contents, that is).

This recipe has been inspired by Matt at Inspired Food in a guest post for my good blogland friend Laura at Laura’s Mess… pretty apt that the inspiration was from him really. Very apt indeed. Thanks Matt. Thanks for the inspiration.

I knew for a fact I would be making this after we arrived in Wooli and I had surveyed the bounty of food Jennee packed. My mind thought about many of the things we may or may not cook this week, but chilli con carne was on the the-house-will-need-to-actually-burn-down-and-leave-me-with-absolutely-nothing-including-the-cash-I-would-need-to-purchase-more-ingredients-to-stop-me-from-making-this list. I spied rib eye steak (I would’ve preferred chuck or flank but this will do the job) and a fat tin of kidney beans, which were staring back at me with their “pick me, pick me” eyes. Also, I had my friend Mark (who is the champion responsible for making that little search box you can now see in the top right corner of your screen) visiting tonight with a couple of extra younglings, so we can escape our wives for a night of debauchery and male bonding our wives may have a night to sit down together with out their children and discuss the issues poignant to the survival of the human race and possibly enjoy a shandy or two. Or, in an alternate reality, maybe they will all make out and send us photos of the results. I’m hoping the alternate reality vortex gets it ass over my house and opens the fuck up tonight! And I’d better call Jennee to make sure her phone is charged just in case…

This is the sort of shit you want to cook to impress your friends. It doesn’t require a heap of culinary talent (so you’re sorted), just an afternoon to slowly simmer away and get really sexy. Like the toothless old barmaid at 2am after drinking your own body weight in beer sexy. Give this baby some time and it will be the friend you thought you’d never have.

There's a sexy looking pot of gruel if ever I saw one
There’s a sexy looking pot of gruel if ever I saw one
The compulsory spread shot. It's like Penthouse magazine around here
The compulsory spread shot. It’s like Penthouse magazine around here
Tha avocado and tomato salad. Dressed with a little red wine vinegar, seasoning and olive oil
Tha avocado and tomato salad. Dressed with a little red wine vinegar, seasoning and olive oil
Nom, nom, nom. Wash it down with extra beer if desired
Nom, nom, nom. Wash it down with extra beer if desired
Layer that bad boy up in a bowl lined with cling wrap and then do layers of store bought ice cream with some crushed tim tams in the nibble for what turned out to be a pretty impressive dessert
The kids made simple ice cream cake for dessert. Line a bowl with cling wrap and then do layers of store bought ice cream or sorbet with some crushed tim tams in the nibble for what turned out to be a pretty impressive dessert
Turn it out to reveal the mango sorbet, crushed tim tam and chocolate ice cream cake
Turn it out to reveal the mango sorbet, crushed tim tam and chocolate ice cream cake

CHILLI CON CARNE WITH BEER (enough for a party)

1kg* beef chuck or flank (or rib eye if that’s what you got), diced
2 brown onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons Tex-Mex spice mix (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon smoked chilli powder (or not if you’re feeding the younglings)
1 cinnamon stick
750ml beer. Tooheys new is what they seem to drink in Wooli so Tooheys new is what I used
3x 400g tins crushed tomatoes or tomato passata
3x 400g tins red kidney beans
2 pieces good dark chocolate
Seasoning
Steamed rice, pickled jalapenos, tomato and avocado salad/salsa (work it out) and natural yoghurt or sour cream to serve
• Get a nice big pot out for this one
• Season beef and sauté in a little oil until it starts to get some colour
• Add onions, garlic, Tex-Mex spice, chilli powder and cinnamon. Cook out for a few minutes until onion is soft
• Add beer (Seba likes to pour the beer in. I mean he really likes pouring a bottle of booze into something he’s going to eat… Hmmm, should I be concerned), tomatoes, beans and chocolate and simmer on really low heat for 3 hours, stirring regularly. This could also be a slow cooker moment if that’s how you roll
• Check if beef is tender by eating a piece (no rocket science or molecular gastronomy involved in that one), if not simmer for another half an hour
• Once beef is tender check seasoning and serve that shit up like a king!

TEX MEX SPICE MIX

¼ cup each dried thyme, oregano and ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes
• Mix it all together and store extra in an air tight container for your next Tex Mex feast

Welcome to Wooli boys!

*If you want it meatier feel free to add another 500g of beef and leave out 1 tin of kidney beans. And yes, if you don’t eat meat at all feel free to substitute the beef with a couple of tins of lentils or chickpea or whatever you think you like. I was once vegetarian too, you know

Wooli part 6… the Wooli Oyster Po’ Bo’

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Today I set about redeeming myself before the Oyster Gods for my lack of successful consumption of the exotic bivalve mollusc they had so generously laid before me yesterday… and this time I have come with a plan and a secret weapon.

We have decided we will be having oyster po’ bo’s… or as the boys like to call them; oysters burgers. That’s fine with me, as long as a receptacle of glutinous origins shall be transporting some fried oysters to my face, possibly aiding in the cause will be some coleslaw. But it is the oysters I am concerned about for now.

Enter the smoked chilli powder.

I shall be liberally dusting this smoked chilli powder, which I have made quite simply by chucking some long red chillis into the smoker for about 20 minutes and then grinding them into a powder, over my fried oysters as soon as they emerge from their exfoliating and rejuvenating 180C burning hot oil bath. Cunning, yes. Cunninglingus, no. Sometimes, as a parent, you need to pull a few little tricks out to ensure to get your share… or a share… or just some table scraps like a jester in the kings court. I’m just scared of the day they pass Chilli Appreciation 101…

Crumby photo. Bahaha
Crumby photo. Bahaha
The exfoliating and rejuvenating oil bath
The exfoliating and rejuvenating oil bath
Soooo good
Soooo good
I would do this again
I would do this again

WOOLI OYSTER PO’ BO’

Per sandwich
1 bun
6 oysters
Bread crumbs*, egg and flour for crumbing
1-2 slices prosciutto or speck
Fennel coleslaw (coleslaw just how you normally make it but with some slice fennel in there too)
Smoked chilli powder
Oil to shallow fry
Chips to serve
Flairy holiday shack plates to serve on

• Crumb oysters by first dredging in flour, then through beaten egg mix and then through the bread crumbs
• Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Once oil is hot, fry oysters for 1 minute or so each side, until golden. Remove from pan and drain on kitchen paper or your mum’s best shirt
• While oysters are draining discard most of the oil from the pan and then fry prosciutto until crisp
• Put some coleslaw in your bun, followed by oysters, prosciutto and smoked chilli powder or hot sauce
• Serve with oven chips

OVEN CHIPS (sides for 4 or a full white trash meal for 1)

6 medium potatoes skin on, washed if they need a bath, cut into 1cm chips
Seasoning
Oil
• Blanch potatoes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. This makes them better, trust me. Strain and allow to cool
• Put on an oven tray, splash with however much oil your fancy diet will allow and season generously
• Bake at 200C for 25 minutes, tossing regularly
• Serve with your po’ bo’

*if you want to make your own bread crumbs, which I generally do, and you don’t have a food processer handy, which I did not bring to the holiday shack, use a stale loaf (or frozen works well) and grate it to fulfill your dreams

Wooli part 5… Mongrel Oysters Kilpatrick

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Mongrel Oysters Kilpatrick

Wooli may not be home to hipster cafes or trendy restaurants. In fact it’s sole café is only open, and I quote the guy out the front with the sea farers moustache, “Thursdy through Sundy” (I’m pretty sure that guy does the opening hours for the café and restaurant and oyster farm because no one seems to stick to a time table around here), and it’s only restaurant is at the lawn bowls club, operates out of a 2×4 rabbit hutch of a designated service window in a darkened corner of said club, and is named, like all good Aussie-Chinese restaurants should be, Harry’s Chinese Restaurant. There may not be a reputable purveyor of fresh fruit and vegetables to be seen unless what you are seeking is an apple or possibly a carrot. And if you need to re-stock your alcohol supplies while here you will need to have a shit load of pocket change (60 bucks for a carton of domestic beer should see you right), but if you don’t have that sort of change there is an old fisherman named Jacob who frequents the bar. He will happily buy you a beer. You will just need to meet him in the car park for a few minutes first and no, he’s not running an illegal boxing ring. You will be required to pay with pleasures of the flesh. Your fleshy chequebook, if I may.

Wooli Oyster Farm
Wooli Oyster Farm

But Wooli is home to two things that I love very much;
1. Serenity – if only to walk around quoting “The Castle” saying “how’s the serenity”
2. Scenery – I like looking at pretty things (that’s why I married Jennee. She owns heaps of pretty things. No, she IS a pretty thing. Girl. Woman. Whatever)
3. It’s own oyster farm. That’s right, fresh oysters not more than 400 meters down the street from where I’m staying

I don’t count so good.

Ready to hit the grill kids
Ready to hit the grill kids

So we picked up some oysters today on our daily excursion to the local skatepark. I cooked some of them in the style of a mongrel Kilpatrick and the rest would just have to find their way into our bellies with the aid of a little lemon juice.

Quick, get some before Seba eats them all
Quick, get some before Seba eats them all

I loved them, but I knew I would. A fresh oyster is truly close to my heart. The only problem is my sons are developing quite an inclination for the humble oyster too. When Seba sees oysters he turns into some kind of Jurassic Oysterosausras who seemingly will not live another minute if he does not consume at least half of the oysters on the table. Needless to say, I got a few, not heaps but a few before the kids had gone and I was left checking shells for a stow away. Alas my search was fruitless. I think there may be another trip to the oyster shop tomorrow.

Fruitless searching revealed no extras for me
Fruitless searching revealed no extras for me

MONGREL OYSTERS KILPATRICK

All I had on hand was some pork belly prosciutto from the fine folks at Salumi Australia (gimme a break, I’m trying to get some paid advertising here) and some home made HP-ish sauce from my mate Phil (you can learn more about Phil here). It was not oysters Kilpatrick but it was something that was damn tasty… and who eats oysters Kilpatrick these days anyway?

12 fresh oysters
3 thin slices prosciutto, each cut into 4 pieces
HP sauce
• Top oysters with a piece of prosciutto and then a couple of drops of HP(ish) sauce
• Cook under hot grill for 1 minute, no more
• Eat
• Get some more tomorrow because you didn’t get to many that go

Wooli part 4… Cervapcici (Skinless Sausages)

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These are some tasty little Croatian/Serbian (I certainly won’t be taking sides in that one) sausages. Tasty little skinless sausages, much like circumcised penises except tastier… not that I would know. No circumcised throbbing member for me, thank you. Cevapcici sure. Throbbing member no thank you.

It is suggested that a fitting accompaniment to these little circumcised penises is avjar and sour cream. Avjar is a roasted capsicum and eggplant condiment, but as I have exactly zero eggplant and capsicum in my possession and also the shop in this village has zero knowledge of the existence of such exotic fruits and/or vegetables, I shant be making that. Sour cream is cream that has been soured. Once again not in my possession and far too exotic for this place… I could wait for them to order it but the next supply boat is not due from the Caribbean spice traders for another two months. Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not complaining about the cessation of any link to society these little places seem to experience. In fact that is what draws me to them the most. It’s the type of place where I could board myself in and write a book or two… and possibly end up in part 2 of The Shining. One just needs to remember to bring supplies and use what is on hand, or face the journey back to the nearest civilized major center. Which I may add is neither “that civilized” nor at all on the cards for me. So making use of what I had was my motto for the day. My brain conjured up this so-quick-I-can’t-believe-it tomato relish, which is quicker than the gypsy’s hand into your back pocket at the town fair. Also a fennel sauerkraut number made it’s way from that same brain, through my hands, into a pot and onto the table with the sausages and relish.

Mixy mixy
Mixy mixy
Form into little penises
Form into little penises
Fry little penis, fry
Fry little penis, fry
On the table like a baws
On the table like a baws
Get in my belly
Get in my belly

These sausages are well worth a try. Tasty eating right there.

CEVAPCICI HOTDOGS for 4

SKINLESS SAUSAGES (CEVAPCICI) (makes 10)
300g beef mince
200g pork mince
½ brown onion, grated (grate the other half for your quick tomato relish)
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 teaspoon paprika
Seasoning
• Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Really thoroughly. There’s nothing worse than something like this when one bite contains all of the salt and spice
• Form into little penis like sausages, about 10cm long. Slap them about a bit if that makes you feel good
• Fry sausages in a pan over medium heat, with a splash of oil. Cook for 7-8 minutes or until done, turning every 2 minutes so they don’t fuse to the bottom of the pan
• Eat in hotdog buns with fennel ‘kraut and quick tomato relish if that is what you desire

FENNEL ‘KRAUT
2 cups of your finest home made sauerkraut or store bought styleez if that’s all you got
1 medium bulb fennel, sliced
• Sauté fennel in a little oil until soft
• Add sauerkraut and warm through

QUICK TOMATO RELISH
½ brown onion, grated
1 400g tin crushed tomatoes or 400g tomato passata
1 clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar (I found some red wine vinegar in the pantry)
Seasoning
• Chuck everything into a pot and simmer over medium-high heat, stirring constantly for five minutes until thickened slightly
• Check seasoning as the salt will really bring the flavours out of the relish and into your mouth
• Cool and serve

Nom nom nom
Nom nom nom