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Kitchenhands!

July 7th, 2019

For the true backbone of any restaurant I’ll drop some tips in here as they come to mind.

  • Putting a bit of hand creme/moisturiser on before putting on gloves makes the gloves go on really easy and leaves your hands nice and soft after as a bonus!
  • White Vinegar is the best, organic, cheapest rinse aid for dishwashers.  No vinegar smell remains.
  • Mikes Dishie Rule #1 – if the dishwasher (machine) is silent, you’re not going fast enough (or the place is empty)

 

Banana and Honey Bread

April 29th, 2019

This is for Christopher!  (and any other hungry kidz)

INGREDIENTS

2 Big Bananas, Peeled
4 Tablespoons Honey
1 Cup Self-Raising Flour
4 Tablespoons Soft Butter
1 Egg
1/2 cup milk

TOOLS
Bread Tin
Baking Paper
Measuring Spoons
Measuring Cups
Spatula
Stick Mixer
Stick Mixer Beaker
Big plate to put cooking things on.

METHOD
Step 1
Turn on the oven to 170C.  This will make sure it’s hot (preheated) when you are ready to cook!

Step 2
Wipe a bread loaf pan all over inside with oil.  Line it with baking paper, pushing into the corners and leaving 3cm poking out the top.

Step 3
Put Milk, 1/2 Banana in pieces, Honey, Milk and butter into Beaker and blend with Mixer until smooth like a smoothie.

Step 4
Take out the mixer and put it on the plate to stop drips.  Add 1/2 the flour and mix in with the mixer until smooth.  When smooth take out the mixer again, put in the rest of the flour and mix it all until it’s smooth.  Remove, unplug, detach and wash the mixer.

Step 5.
Get the remaining banana and break it into little pieces with your fingers into the mixture.  Gently stir in with the Spatula.

Step 4
Pour into pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into centre comes out clean. Set aside in pan for 10 minutes to cool slightly. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Beer and Cheese Dip

March 25th, 2019

Oh yeah, here’s a real healthy one!

I found this recipe on the net (often referred to as “Pub Cheese”) when cooking 20kgs of potatoes on St Patrick’s day for a bunch of Irish (and other) mates.  Every Fenian Fiend at the party said they’d never heard of it, so it’s not as traditional as many of the the articles on St Paddy’s day food said but anyway it’s *awesome*!

Ingredients

1 Cup Beer

Guinness would be an obvious choice for the occasion but I went for Coopers Pale – of course.  Some said Guinness is a bit overpowering and I would think so too but might novel.

250 g Cream Cheese

1250 g shredded cheddar

1:5 or 1:4 of the two cheeses would really depend on what was easiest at hand and note that the beer really dilutes the melted cheese.  I’ll put up fondue some time, kinda similar.

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tsp Mustard Powder

1 tsp Hot Paprika

Salt and Pepper.

With the seasonings – Garlic, Mustard, Paprika use as much as you like, I went heavy on the garlic and paprika.

As always remember that the correct level of salt can make or break all foods so use taste here.  Suggestion: if it’s going with beer then salty can be more fun.

Method

Melt everything in a saucepan stirring over a low heat.  When it looks right you’re done!  Some recipes used a blender to mix it together, I guess that would work but there wasn’t one where I was cooking.

Garnish with a sprinkle of chopped garlic and a line of the paprika.

Chippies!

March 14th, 2019

I’ve been meaning to write this down for ages now and haven’t had time, it’s kind of an extension of the mayonnaise posts.  While it’s definitely a “sometimes food” dipping chips into mayo is something everyone loves, so here we go.

One thing that has always blown my mind is the trillions of dollars made by simple potato, fried in oil, covered in salt.  Think of all the restaurants, junk food joints, sporting events, pubs, and bars that serve hot chips – then add on to that all the bags of “crisps” that are sold around the world and you get what I mean.

I’ve personally cooked tonnes of the things.  (busy pub, Saturday night, 10 x 10kg boxes = 100kg, ten Saturday nights and you’ve hit a tonne! – this is of course ignoring every other night of the week!!)

 

Pomme Frittes (French Fries)

March 14th, 2019

Blanching is the trick with these bad boys.  Blanching really just means pre-cooking in this context.  Peel and cut the potatoes into French fry sized pieces – I’m sure you know what they look like.  Spread them out on a tea towel for a bit so they dry out.  Pat them with another, you want them quite dry as their starchy juice will only exhaust your oil faster.

Next heat your deep frying oil, whether you use a fryer, saucepan or even a wok doesn’t matter.  Drop the chips into the oil into batches and remove them when they start to float, and change colour a bit.  You could eat them at this stage but they’ll be really bland and hard.

Take the blanched potato slices and put them aside to cool.  You can refrigerate or freeze them at this point – this is how they arrive in most commercial kitchens.  If you freeze them use something like freezer go between to stop them clumping too much.

When it comes time to cook and serve, just repeat the process again, hot oil, batches and this time cook them until they’re golden brown.  Be careful because they will taste burnt well before they look it.  Serve them with all sorts of stuff – anything on the mayonnaise derivative post is a great start.

 

Potato Wedges

March 14th, 2019

A pub favourite.  It always disappoints me places use frozen ones because they are so easy to make from scratch and from a commercial point of view so better for the business.

1. Blanch a heap of potatoes in boiling water, it is *essential* to only par cook them, remember they’re going to be cooked again soon, if you boil them until they’re soft they’ll just explode in the fryer.  The point here is to cook the inside of the potato so it’s edible, the outside crunchiness and final cooking will come from the frying.  I don’t peel them, for me the crispy skin is the best bit.

2.  Drop them into cold water to stop the cooking process.  You’ll probably want to put the pot into the sink and run cold water over them – the heat in the spuds is enough to warm a pot of still water.

3. Cut them in half long ways, then cut each half into three wedges, depending on the size of the potato you might get two or four, but for the regular sized ones three seems to be the number.  This means you’re getting six wedges for each potato – consider this next time you pay $10 for a bowl of a dozen or so wedges!

4. Now you should have a nice batch of cool, semi cooked wedges of potato, deep fry them as you would anything, once it’s nice and golden and floating it’s cooked.  As with fries remember potato will taste burned about when it’s a dark brown, so goldilocks is the magic word.

 

Perfect Roast Pork and Crackling

December 2nd, 2014

There are a few steps you might not consider when roasting a joint of pork, but they make all the difference.

Prep

  1. First up is washing the meat. This is an unusual step, but with pork it removes a lot of the spare fat and juices that would otherwise spoil the taste of the end result.
  2. Secondly dry it afterwards. You want to use a (clean!) tea towel or paper towels to remove all of the water. Particularly the skin for crackling, that needs to be patted down so that it’s super dry.
  3. The third thing you want to do is score the skin. Many butchers will have done this already, but if not make cuts three quarters the way into the skin, about 1 – 1.5cm apart across the whole piece of skin.
  4. Fourth is to rub olive oil into the skin. Use lots, we’re cooking almost pure fat here, so give up on the idea this is healthy – but it will be extremely delicious!
  5. Now rub in salt. Lots of salt. Preferably freshly ground sea or river salt. Pretend you’re trying to push it through the skin, really work it, the flavour you’ll end up with will be well worth it.

Cooking

  • Cook for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 220C
  • Turn down to 180C and cook for about 30-45 minutes for each 500g
  • If the crackling starts to brown too much cover with foil, but remove it 10 minutes before serving.
  • Tap the crackling with the back of your cooking knife and you can hear it’s progress.
  • Poke it with a skewer. When it’s fully cooked the juices should run clear.

That’s it! These tips should produce a roast that will satisfy even the fussiest pork eater.

I’d serve the meat in a stack with a sauce made from grainy mustard, cream and finely chopped shallots, sweetened, cooked shredded carrots and a slice of poached apple.  Serve the crackling on the side of course, you didn’t go to all the trouble of getting it crunchy to cover it in sauce hey!

Basic Mayonnaise

February 8th, 2013

Nothing beats fresh mayonnaise, the stuff in jars just isn’t the dish. Once you can make it, you can try some of the derivatives listed here.
Using an immersion mixer and a small jug you can do this with the below technique in a minute, it’s one of my favourite magic tricks.

The rules of mayonnaise:

1) the ratio is always 1 egg to one cup oil.
2) it needs an emulsifier.
3) it needs flavour.

Ingredients

  • Rule 1
    • One egg
    • One cup (250ml) good oil
  • Rule 2
    • One largish teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Rule 3
    • 1 tsp Good White Wine Vinegar
    • 2 tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
    • Salt and White Pepper

Method

Be prepared, this is quite a shock when it first works, it happens very quickly, but following these instructions to the letter a child can do it.
1. Pour the oil into a one litre plastic jug, or the beaker that comes with the stab mixer. Note that the jug or beaker probably has measurements on the side, use them to save cleaning up measuring things.
2. Crack the egg straight into the oil, being careful not to break the yolk, landing in the oil should cushion it’s fall. Remove any shell at this point.
3. Add everything else, try and get the mustard next to the yolk.
4. This is the magic part. Leaving it switched off place the stab mixer right down to the bottom of the jug so that the cup that covers the blades completely covers the egg yolk and mustard.
Now activate it (whatever speed, we don’t care) and slowly pull it up to the top of the oil.
If everything has worked for you, you should have a jug of mayonnaise before your eyes, go up and down a couple of times to catch any oil that was not mixed in.
5. If it worked for you the most important thing to do now is to taste it and add more vinegar and lemon juice as you see fit.
Storing It
This sauce contains fresh, raw egg, so it must be refrigerated. Ironically my favourite thing to keep it in is a re-used mayonnaise jar… One with a plastic screw on lid will be easiest to keep clean, so buy a jar of the best you can find, eat it then compare it to what you make here. Make sure you wash it very well between uses. You’ll find that for price and taste hand made is way better. Keep it for about a week.
What Happened
The mustard acted as an emulsifier, joining the water from the egg to the oil, and making that creamy sauce everybody loves.

Mayonnaise Derivitives

February 7th, 2013

Dill Aioli / Ranch Dressing

Make the Mayonnaise listed opposite, add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and as much fresh dill as you like. I like a lot, so that would be a good handful. You can cheat and add some dried dill as well, but make sure there is some fresh stuff there, the flavour is completely different, and you don’t have to wait for the fresh stuff to rehydrate before it’s not gritty.

Blue Cheese and Basil Dressing

Put half a cup (125g) of your favourite blue cheese into a coffee cup – of course Roquforte is best but you’ll have to buy twice as much because eating it straight is so beautiful! Half fill the cup with water and microwave for about 45 seconds. The cheese should go soft and the water warm.
Add this, water and all, with a whole bunch of fresh basil (this is meant to be a very rich sauce) to the mayonnaise and give it a good going over with the stab mixer again. You should end up with something you can pour over a salad. Try rocket and/or baby spinach, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes, sliced in half.  It doesn’t need many ingredients.

Caesar Dressing

Add three anchovies and half a cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the mayonnaise and give it a good going over again with the stab mixer.
Now you know what’s in it, you can understand why cooks everywhere are driven mad by people who ask for their Caesar Salad with “No Anchovies” – if the person is allergic to fish they will still be eating them in the sauce. If you think you like Caesar Salads but don’t like the anchovies, think again – now you know you’ve been eating them all along 🙂

Sauce Tartare

To the to the mayonnaise made opposite stir in about 2 tsp finely chopped capers and gherkins, about 2 Tbsp chopped parsley, the finely grated rind of one lemon. I also like to add some red capsicum, slightly less finely chopped, to give it some colour and freshness.

Wasabi Mayonnaise

This is the best stuff for sticking chips into. Add a big teaspoon of wasabi paste or powder to the mayonnaise noting that the powder is quite a bit stronger. You might like the wasabi flavour it a bit weaker, so add a bit, taste it and repeat until you have what you like.
Also note the powder will need to be mixed (with the mixer) a lot more, and may well need a tablespoon or two of water, as it’s very dry. A lump of wasabi powder will ruin the experience of whatever you put it on.  I would keep adding wasabi until it’s quite a bright green, it should have a kick.