Category Archives: Uncategorized

Cook a Steak Like a Pro

Butter, Fresh Rosemary, Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Ground Black Peppercorns

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A Beer Note

Read the typical Kiwi response from a typical Kiwi company.

 

Home made Potato Chips – Special Update!

Not the best photo, but the best chips!

Okay,

This is simple but might take two attempts to get an idea of the power of your microwave. Yes, I said microwave (shock horror).

If you have some potatoes, a sharp knife and a microwave then you are set to go. I cook these up often when I am feeling like a snack but have either nothing in the house, or am simply too lazy to get up and go to the store. This has an added bonus. As you can only fit so many on the plate to microwave you eat less and feel quite satisfied. I would probably sit down and eat an entire bag if I bought one.

These chips taste great if you enjoy a simple salted chip that has a natural earthy taste to it. Here is what you do:

Ingredients

1 large (oval if possible) potato
Salt & olive oil (oil optional)
Method
 

Cut thin slices of the potato. The thinner these are the shorter the cook time. I try to get something about the thickness of the kitchen knife I use to cut it but it is all personal preference. If you make them too fat however you will end up with a rubbery chip rather than a crisp crunchy one.

Arrange on a waxed cooking paper on a plate as shown

Lay these out onto a plate. I place some cooking paper underneath as they tend to stick to a plate. Just find some waxed baking paper and you will be fine. I spray mine lightly with olive oil but this is not necessary. I find it gives it a slightly more deep fried taste and look and helps the salt stick to it.

Microwave on high for 3 minutes (1000w microwave). Turn slices over and repeat for a further 3 minutes. Remove and inspect. I then microwave for another minute or two keeping an eye on them making sure they do not colour too much. When they colour they taste earthier in strength.

Slice to desired thickness

Once they are done take them out, sprinkle a little salt on them and enjoy. You might want to put your next batch in. I do two batches of a single large ptoato which fills a small bowl for me to snack on as I watch the mighty Vancouver Canucks (or insert your own show in here).

Check out the photos for what these should look like. Apologies for the quality but the mobile was on hand and the camera was not.

Nom nom nom nom nom

 UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST

Okay, I was playing around with leftovers and remembered some pototo sticks that I had eaten in Prague, Czech Republic.

I chopped up some slightly thicker sliced pieces of potato and cut them into sticks. I put them in the microwave as shown in the photos below, added salt and sprayed with oil and microwaved for 3 mins on high. They became crisp with a few softish ones. Did them for another minute monitoring the colour making sure they did not go brown.

TASTY! Try them out. These may even be better than the original chips (?). I am pretty hooked on them.

Chop it into sticks

Put them on a plate (with non stick paper as usual) salt and spray with oil.

 

Microwave them............

 

The final result. Delicious crispy salty potato sticks. Share them around.

 

Nutella Shots

Who doesn’t love Nutella? Nutella is good with anything and everything; bananas, bread, in crepes, strawberries…. shots?? Yeah shots! Try out this Nutella shot recipe, you won’t be disappointed, it’s delicious!
The ingredients and measurements are:
* 1 cup ice
* ½ cup milk
* 2 tablespoons Nutella
* 1 shot Baileys
* 1 shot vanilla vodka
Instructions:
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until thick and creamy. Pour into shot glasses and enjoy!

source: http://www.luuux.com/food/nutella-shot-recipe-0

Cooking Tips

 

cardamom seeds - grab them at any bulk bin store or Whole Foods

 

Find you are bored with regular rice?

Buy Basmati rice, throw in 2-3 cardamom pods when boiling and fluff with a small knob of butter. Mmmnnnnnnnn.

Dry Rubs – The only way to get that BBQ taste in your meat

BBQ Chicken Rub

So it is no secret that I love to BBQ and I love to use my vertical smoker (see Making Bacon). One thing I love more than this though is making an amazing rub for your meat.

There are so many varying recipes for rubs out there that it is difficult to choose what would suit you and it can be a daunting task. You certainly do not want to ruin your expensive piece of meat by getting the wrong rub.

Simply cooking something on the BBQ or smoking something in your smoker is not enough. You will get minimal flavour to your food and often you will only achieve a flavour from the plate of your BBQ that you failed to clean 3 weeks ago.

I have spent a long time perfecting these rubs and I have stolen bits from all types of recipes online until I achieved something that made my friends and family moan with pleasure when eating.

Here are two that I have made. I will add some more as I perfect them. You can be sure that these recipes will work and will satisfy.

I have yet to name these so if you can think of anything leave a comment below and I will choose the best one.

BBQ Chicken Rub

BBQ Chicken Rub

This rub has a garlic flavour with the other ingredients adding an extra bit of excitement. One thing I must stress is to only coat the meat. Do not be too heavy with the rub as it will be over powering, do not be too light as it will not flavour it. I generally shake on enough to lightly coat the skin everywhere and then rub it in with my fingertips.

Recipe:
4 T Coarse Salt
2 T Coarse Pepper
4 t Garlic Powder
2 t Paprika (or smoked Paprika if you like)
4 t Ground Bay Leaf

Coat chicken with olive oil. Rub this into your chicken and let stand for around an hour to allow the flavour to permeate into the meat.

Beef Dry Rub (best on beef but works with pork and chicken also)

Beef BBQ Dry Rub

Now this rub is the absolute business.

It is the beef rub to end all other beef rubs. I can not wait when we have T-Bone steaks to cover it with this, let it sit an hour and then throw it on the Barbie.

I ALWAYS end up munching on the bone as I am sad that it has finished. I often find myself dipping my finger in when I am rummaging around te pantry and sneaking a little taste.

The key to this rub is the salt and the sweet and the heat.

Now I love BBQ but I am not one for having a burning mouth. I like to taste my food so the amount of cayenne pepper in this is tailored for my taste. It adds a slight bit of heat but nothing much. A tang at best. A tingle on your tongue.

If you can not handle anything spicy then simply 1/2 the amount.

If you love heat and spice then double it.

If you like a little but not a lot, then make it the way I have it below.

Recipe

2 cups Sugar
1/4 cup Paprika
1/2 cup Coarse Salt
2 t Coarse Pepper
1 t Garlic Powder
2 t Chili Powder
1/2 t Cayenne Pepper

Rub meat with olive oil and coat with rub. Rub in with fingertips and allow to stand for 1 hour. Throw it on the BBQ and enjoy.

Remember, if you can think of a decent name for these rubs leave a comment below and I will choose the best one.

If you enjoy these, share them with your friends and family.

Making Bacon at Home – The tasty way

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This was the most exciting project that I have done.  I have a fascination with bacon and its flavours. Watching this whole process was incredibly satisfying….and very simple. Anyone can make this no matter what their skill level.

Bacon has a tendency to make everything better, and let’s be honest here, bacon is great stuff. We have, however, a couple of problems with the bacon-like junk available in most grocery stores. First, few foods are more highly processed than mass produced bacon. It is usually prepared in a huge factory that is focused primarily with churning out as much bacon as possible. This means that every shortcut is taken during the processing to produce the most bacon in the shortest amount of time. Truck loads of pork bellies are shipped to a plant, where they are skinned and trimmed to a uniform shape, then “pumped” with a curing solution designed to cure the meat as rapidly as possible. They then go through a “thermal processing” (yes, that’s the technical term) then they are chilled, pressed and sliced. It all sounds very clinical, because it is. The result is a bright pink meat, that is always unpleasantly slimy when you open the package.

There is one main concern when curing and smoking meat, and that is botuslism. While botulism is most closely related with improper canning procedures, food-borne botulism also occurs in meats that have been improperly preserved. To prevent this, commercially cured/preserved meats contain sodium nitrite, which acts both as a preservative and a color fixer. (This is what gives store-bought bacon that bright red color.) In quantity, sodium nitrite is toxic and has been linked to migraines in certain people. While that is of concern, the quantity required to be toxic would only affect someone eating Homer Simpson levels of bacon. The main concern with sodium nitrite, is that when it is exposed to high heat in the presence of protein (like a piece of meat treated with sodium nitrite being cooked), proteins in the meat bond with the sodium nitrite to produce nitrosamines. It is also possible for nitrosamines to form from sodium nitrite in highly acidic conditions, like your stomach. Basically, the frying and eating of nitrite containing bacon presents the perfect scenario for nitrosamines to enter your system. Unlike sodium nitrite, which we know is toxic in large quantities and may make you sick if you eat too much, certain nitrosamines have been proven to be deadly carcinogens.

That sounds bad right?

The sodium nitrites are necessary in a large industrial setting, where many different individuals, machines and movements are involved to ensure that the resultant product is botulism free. The home chef can better control the variables and handling procedures, and can get those assurances without the nitrites. Oh, and your bacon will taste much, much better than anything you’ve purchased in plastic wrap, I can guarantee it.

What you will need to begin is a piece of pork belly, which you will have to get at your butcher shop. Call to see if they have any. If they don’t they will be more than happy order you one. You are going to a butcher right?

5 pounds will do nicely. Your belly should looks something like this:

P1000151

Next you want to make your cure.

I used the following, although some may find this one sweet I like it and it reminds me of the stuff I used to get living in Canada.

If you don’t like it sweet I would cut the sugar/syrup amounts by half and keep the salt amount the same.

1/2 C kosher salt (salt flakes)

1/2 C maple syrup

1/2 C brown sugar

Mix all together in a bowl and coat the pork belly. Rub it in well and when you think you are done, rub it in some more.

P1000146

Then place the pork belly into a ziplock bag which is placed into another ziplock bag (just in case the first one leaks).

Place in fridge and turn every second day. I cured this lot for 8 days but you can cure it up to 16 if you want. I can’t wait so I do the minimum amount.

You will notice lots of liquid coming out of the pork in the bag, this is normal as the curing process removes the water contained inside the meat. Just leave it in there, it will not do any harm. Just make sure you flip the bag every second day.

Once the curing process has finished remove the pork from the bag and wash it in cold water for 5-10mins. This part you DO NOT WANT TO SKIMP ON. Wash it well, you do not want bacon that is too salty.

Pat the pork dry with kitchen paper (paper towel) and place it back in the fridge for 24 hours. This is what is called “Forming the Pellicule”. The pellicule is a thin membrane that forms which allows the smoke to adhere to it.

I use a Canadian built Grill Pro propane upright smoker as seen below. You can use any smoking device though as long as it can heat the meat up to an intrnl temperature of 150 deg F (this is what kills the pathogens and makes it safe to eat).

getpic.php

It took me about 2 hours to get the internal temperature to 151 deg F and this was with the smoker temperature ranging between 20 – 300 deg F.

See the smoke?

P1000222

Once it is smoked let it cool, place in a ziplock bag and place in the fridge overnight to allow the smoke to permeate the meat.

P1000221

Once you have it chilled, slice, fry and enjoy!

You will never look back!

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And here is the final result……mmmmmmmmmmmn baaaaacon.

baconsarnie

If you have any questions feel free to comment below.

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