Sunday, March 25, 2012

Me Oh My Oh! My First USA Gumbo Experience.

We get out of the taxi at the bottom of Austin's South Congress. Just near the big Allens Boot shop and the Continental. There's a little park full of food trailers. One of them is a sausage shop called Texas Wurst. They sell rattlesnake wurst which apparently tastes like chicken. 
Walk to the back of the food lot and there's this. It's beautiful. It's my dream. For the many years since seeing Mickey Rourke's Angel Heart (the thriller where he has crazy voodoo sex with Lisa Bonet), I've yearned for real gumbo. Sure, I've made a lot of it based on the recipes at the brilliant old website, Gumbo Pages, but how do I know I've been making the right stuff? I needed a sign. I needed a gumbo made by a great man like Big Chief Darold Gordon.

Big Chief Darold Gordon of the Young Navaho Mardi Gras Tribe and his family were of the many families who moved from New Orleans to Austin when Hurricane Katrina hit. In an apparently common story, it's been a great move. The place was buzzin'.

Waiting for my order, I admired a man chatting to the girls working the trailer. He could've been the Chief himself or a family friend. Each of his several teeth were made of gold. He wore a cape-like shirt and a few kilos of New Orleans gold bling hung from his neck. I didn't take a photo of him but boy, he was impressive.

Talking 'bout impressive, here's the gumbo. USD$4.49 of peppery soulful soupy goodness. Pepper sausage spiciness in every mouthful. Exactly how I imagined a gumbo to be. Great. Similar in flavour to the gumbo I've made, but what makes this sing, is the sausage base. Slightly smoked. Me oh my oh.

I look back at the trailer. I look back at the stars and stripes. I want to weep. I want to sing. Mates came with Lone Star beer. Nothing can top this. God bless America and all that.

Here's my crawfish po boy. Battered in breadcrumb crayfish meat, tomato, lettuce and Louisiana hot sauce.

Soft bread.

I'm starting to think Americans know fuck all about bread. Too soft. No flavor. No balls. Or is bread just a stark backdrop in a Brecht play? Bread Equals Bread. Simple. Matter of fact.

The workers left the truck to load some stuff into their cars. This is my time to take a shot at the sacred gumbo pot. Look at it. Just look at it. It's been burning there since some time last year. New Orleans, Hanoi, Bangkok and Osaka. The world's great soups all come from big boilers exactly like this one. It's impossible to make perfect soup without one.   

A satisfied local. Texas longhorn pride.

Over the road from the  there's a great second hand book shop called South Congress Books. I get this. Published in the 30s, 1963 printing, it's your CWA ladies recipe collection. Recipes coming soon to a themed dinner near you. That's when I can find few good sized terrapins to stew.

So good bye Joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh, now I've had gumbo just like on the bayou.

Take it away Hank!

I had a crazy big focaccia in San Francisco. See it and read about it here

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This Is How They Do Focaccia In San Francisco.

click for bigger image.
So what we have here is a roast beef with gorgonzola pine nut spread, tomato and baby greens in a super soft foccacia. Just if that wasn't enough to get the heart from performing a drum solo to rival a pre-Pam Anderson Tommy Lee, there's a few bits of tortellini in an anchovy and semi dried tomato oil dressing.

I really liked it, though the gorganzola was a bit strong towards the end of it. 

Yours for US$6.99 from AG Ferrari Foods on Mission Street San Francisco. All the delis nearby had similar looking sandwiches. They really try hard to at least look healthy. But really, that's at least half a kilo of sandwich. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My First Meal: Market Stylee Assome Laksa

Here it is.

The first meal of my first day of my life overseas.

And it was spectacular.

After ten hours of flight to Kuala Lumpur via Singapore, an hour of mucking about in the airport, another getting out to the hotel and a lot of gee it’s humid talk, a walk through KL’s Chinatown into some chicken/quail/littlier bird killing alleys to this.

Local market styleee Assam Laksa.

Fishy, sour, minty, sweet marvellousness at 4.5 ringgit (A$1.47) a bowl.

First the bloke plops a pile of freshly made by nice ladies, thick noodles into a bowl.
He adds a little bit of pineapple, mint, onion, greens, cucumber, chili and tomato sauce mackerel from these bowls and then fills up with hotter than wahooey, sourer than your grandmother on a bad day, soup base.

The sauce in the spoon was some sort of sour hoisin chili concoction.
Here's the incredible chicken laksa soup base from the same stall.

Now, this all sounds unbearably hot and sour for a Melbourne boy but I do like Assam Laksa. When I have it at the few places they serve it in Melbourne (Penang Coffee House, Hawthorn is good), I've asked the bemused waiters to serve it up No Holds Barred Style.

But there was no need for the pre-holiday preparation.

This Assam Laksa was amazing. It wasn't over the top sweet nor sour. It was minty. So minty. And fresh. The cucumber snapped and the red onions played all the right moves. The mackerel, well, the mackerel came out of a can. I'll give them that. You don't go eatin' Assam Laksa to appreciate the delicate flavors of mackerel fished off the coast of Spain. The fish in Assam may as well be Ass Fish because it's an afterthought and roughed up too much by the rest of the battling ingredients.

There was a bowl of chili/anchovy/mystery sambal oil north by five centimetres from my bowl.

I probably overdid it.

Here's me having a moment.
See the lady in the background? She's rich. Dripping in gold. Gold glasses, shoes, watches, all sorts of stuff all gold. By the way they pampered her, I reckon she runs the joint.

And here's a bonus dish. Chopped by hand by a nice lady in front of you, flat noodles with chili sauce, hoisin, green chili and sesame seeds. Cool and slippery. Hey, kids! You can do this one at home!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pissweak Pestles Mortify

What a load of shit.

Here's my other one.

It's not like I hit them that hard.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Orsm Beer Osso Bucco

Osso Bucco has been my winter value flavour hit. At around $5 a kilo you can't go past the thick slabs of veal wrapped around crazy marrow bone eyes.

Here's my variation of Larousse Gastronomique's Osso Bucco a la milanaise cooked last night.

Om Nom Nom Nom's Dark Beer Osso Bucco
serves 2

2 big osso buccos, 1 onion, 1 bottle of dark beer, 2 garlic bulbs, 1 cup of stock, 1 can of diced tomatoes, assorted vegetables like carrot, fennel and celery, salt, pepper and flour.

Your first task in preparing this noble dishe is to get yourself married or engaged...

And put one of these big boys on your wedding registry.
Surely that's the only way people get these. I didn't. It's Lucy's. She maintains she's never been married or engaged before we met. I find it hard to believe but after using one, woah... they're great.
If you don't have one, use something big with a lid.

Once you've walked down the isle, made a fuck of yourself at your reception and had your wallet taken from you by monkeys at your honeymoon...


Pour yourself a big fat foreign dark beer. Put some in a cup for later, get the pot hot with oil and get yer meat outta the fridge.

Season lots with salt and pepper (a cheeky pile of salt on the marrow bit), and dust with flour. Then brown them big beauties both sides in the oil.
Chop and add the onions and when they soften..Image011#2.jpg
Pour in at least a cup of beer. While that is reducing, get the can of tomatoes from the pantry and play the Farken Shithouse Can Opener game.
Image014#2.jpgThis time I had some tomato pasta sauce left over from earlier in the week which I used instead of the can of tomatoes. That's the deal with making osso bucco or any other dish like this. Lots depend on the ingredients you use. Real stock always beats cubes and fresh made tomato sauce beats the canned tomatoes. No big need to use fresh tomatoes though.

Image015#3.jpgSo while that's boiling away with a cup of stock, chop up some vegetables you have lazing about in the bottom of your crisper. Here I cut up equal quantities of carrot, celery and fennel. Fennel rocks. Also add the chopped garlic and some fresh herbs like thyme or parsely. Do what you like but don't go too wacky. Thai basil would suck balls.Image016#1.jpg
Close the lid and muck about for at least an hour. THE LONGER THE BETTER. Maybe mash some potatoes or make up some couscous or rice to serve with. Oh yeah, gremolata (parsely, lemond rind and garlic pulsed to buggery), should be made to add as a tasty garnish.Image024#2.jpg
After all that time is should look brown and saucy. Image028.jpg
Serve on mashed potatoes and if you don't want to suck the marrow out of the bones, call me over and I'll suck it out for you.

Yes, the phone camera doesn't do it much justice. Let's use the flash.
You get the idea.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mighty Helpful BBQ Tips

In my day job I found this.

I agree with every word.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


If I die overnight by heart explosion, this bit of prawn toast eaten at today's Victoria Street New Year's festival, is the reason.

It's bread deep fried in vegetable, sesame and fish oils.

Then they get some taro, nuts, carrot, minced shrimp and a king prawn and deep fry the lot in them evil oils.

Then they pour some hoisin on top.

Then I bite.

And then my heart and stomach start a long and explosive demarcation dispute.

Afterwards I shared a big cup of iced sugar cane water, some minced beef wrapped in betel leaves skewered on a stick, some honey pork mince skewered on a stick, a crazy massive prawn cracker drizzled with molasses and sprinkled with fresh, shredded coconut, and for irony's sake an icy cold can of coke from the Vietnam veterans stall.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to line the walls with plastic for when my heart explodes outta my chest later on in the evening.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


USA Foods is a small warehouse shop in Moorabin full of ridiculous American chilli sauces, drinks, mixers, powders, chocolates, cake mix, junk, instant dinners, rice dinners, gumbo ingredients, crab flavored nuts and most importantly stomach ulcer medicines.

Here’s a roundup of the crazy ingredients I bought when I visited last week.

Chef Paul’s Smokey Cowboy Beans and Rice
An impressive looking box of instant rice and dried black beans which was cooked up for dinner as soon as I got home. Added some chopped up Christmas ham marinated in the tequila BBQ sauce I bought and a can of lentils. Surprisingly, no saddles blazed afterwards. Great meal but.

Wright’s Liquid Smoke Hickory
Yes, you read it right. 1.5 litres of liquid fucking smoke. But isn’t smoke a smokey thing? Surely not. Well, that’s why Americans are ace. Someone thought smoke was such a great tasting thing they decided to work out a way to bottle it. Splash a teaspoon or two in tomato sauce and you got yourself Glenn MacGrath’s Smokey Tomato sauce circa 1998. Drizzle some on top of a steak and whack the whole thing in the microwave for ten minutes and you could swear Ian Hewitson, before his tragic flirtation with healthy eating, barbequed it.

Louisana Hot Chipotle

A saucier, smokier tabasco sauce based on chipotle peppers which are favored for their smokiness. Yes, there’s a theme here. Americans and me love smokey flavored shit.

Zat’s Gumbo File

Hank Williams referred to it when he sang, Jambalaya crawfish pie, file gumbo. File powder is powdered sassafras flowers used to thicken gumbo when okra is out of season. Mentioned in so many gumbo recipes, I’ve been looking for this stuff for the ten years I’ve been making gumbo. Seeing the small jar priced at $3.99 was for me, an epiphany. It smells like arse.

A&W Root Root Beer

Didn’t buy this for me. Don’t like the stuff but it did taste better than I expected with a heap o’ ice.

Brazo's Legend Tequila BBQ Sauce
I like cooking with tequila. Goes well in salsas and a splash with a creamy prawn pasta also works. Not sure if I’ll be adding it to my barbecue sauce recipe.

Blueberry Pop Tarts
Just like our very own pink lamington, pop tarts look so good, sound so good but ultimately, are disappointing.

David’s BBQ Sunflower Seeds
Great pack with the ever versatile catch-cry emblazoned, Chew, spit and be happy! Also the directions on how to eat sunflower seeds entertain. Did you know that the more experienced sunflower seed eater stores broken shells between his left cheek and teeth while chewing the meat with his teet on the opposite sid e of his mouth? Tasty as buggery and such fun to spit the shells out the car window in times of road rage.

Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup (can)
Bliss in a can. This morning I drizzled it on my muesli. Why? Because I rock. That’s why.

Hunt’s BBQ Manwich
You read it right. Manwich. A smokey, tomatoey sauce to mix with mince meat to make a hamburger patty to grow hairs on your chest. Haven’t opened the can yet but when I do it will be a celebration. A celebration of man-dom.

Dale & Thomas’ White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Popcorn

Heaven is not in the back seat of no fucker’s Caddilac. It’s in the packet of Dale & Thomas’ White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Popcorn. Not very peanut buttery which is a relief. Why are Americans so obsessed with peanut butter flavor? Just a slightly nutty white chocolate drizzled™ (yes, they’ve trademarked the word ‘drizzled’) on Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs. If only the Pies’ Dale Thomas could be so consistently marvelous.

Appetite Pleasin’ Real Western Flavor Ranch Style Pinto Beans

I bought them because of the Western style fonts on the can. Tastes better with a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke Hickory and a splodge of Tequila BBQ Sauce. Half a can of Hunt’s BBQ Manwich wouldn’t hurt either.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


One of the great olden days bogue memories is when you would order the number 42 beef and black bean (now replaced by XO sauce), sizzler from your local chew’n’spew Chinese establishment.

Nothing. No, NOTHING is more impressive than brown food coming to your table sizzling and smokin’ like a peppy Paul Licuria dance routine. Nothing.

It’s pizazz.

It’s pizizzle.

But wouldn’t it be mighty fine to sizzle at home?

Well folks, I got me a set of these babies- each individually wrapped in their original cardboard boxe. When me mum bought them she was infected with pure and fabulous genius.

Though she hates them now and wants to get rid of them. Something to do with space in the pantry to put more cake decorating accouterments.

It’s not going to happen. Hell. No. These Gourmet Sizzlers are mine oh mine for life and I fricken well love them.

And here’s my favorite Sunday night watching bloody good period drama on the ABC Gourmet Sizzler dish.

Stephanie Alexander’s Spanish Ham and Eggs
Serves 1

It’s in Stephanie's big book if you got it. You gotta have her big book by the way. Don’t have it and you’re a dumby.

2 chunks of ham (especially tops if taken off the Christmas supply)
2 eggs broken and emptied into a coffee cup
1/4 cup of vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 sprig of parsley chopped up a bit
Olive oil
1 cup of love
1/2 a cup of tenderness

Cook both bits of ham in a big splash of olive oil until both sides until they’re brownish. Transfer the ham to a plate. Sprinkle the sugar in the oil until it bubbles like a mad bastard and starts to caramelise. Pour on top the vinegar and wait half a minute until all hell breaks loose. Drop the ham back into the Gourmet Sizzler, get excited and then carefully drop the egg on top and around the ham. Cook until the egg consistency impresses the hell out of you. Get it off the heat and serve with the parsley, love and tenderness evenly sprinkled on top of the fine production.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Om Nom's First Special Guest Star!

Mate and invitee at our recent Melbourne Cup BBQ, Matt Strempel is funny bastard photoshop genius.

He was frustrated readers didn't get a good look at my gaypron on the day.

So he did this.

Click it for a bigger version.

Anyone else wants to do some stuff like recipes or restaurant reviews on Om Nom Nom Nom Nom, bail me up at a party or send me a message via the facebook and email box over there to the right hand side of this page.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let's Work Together: The Melbourne Cup BBQ

Sous chef to the stars, Katia Zanutta, is the only human on this earth I can tolerate in the kitchen when I cook. Anybody else should get the fuck outta my way. If you so much as pierce the meniscus of my paella while it's cooking, I'll at least, stab you repeatedly in the throat.

We work well together. There's yelling and swearing and accusing and shit and we love it. Okay, the time we made Teague Ezard's prawn paper rolls, things got a little testy but we did eventually get the job done. Spectacularly.

Every six weeks or so, we put on a big themed meal for 8-10 lucky invitees.

The most recent: A Day At The Races: The Melbourne Cup BBQ.

This is not how we do it.

On Cup Eve I suggested to Katia we add to the menu, the AMAZING fairy bread with Nutella I learned a couple weeks ago from another lovely young chef, who I reckon I could almost tolerate in my kitchen.

Katia's SMS reply?
"I am mortified by that suggestion."
So here's the line-up we agreed on.

Moro's White Gazpacho. Yeah, chilled Spanish blanched almond soup with lotsa garlic, sherry vinegar, ice and grapes, yes grapes in soup ferfucksake!

Home made falafel (Katia excelled with this, with cries of "best falafel ever" coming from the stands), with tahini (which I thought was great but unfortunately Katia copped a grilling from the one fine Muslim fella at the table who claimed it was "nothing like what my mum makes.")


Salads: Beetroot, goats cheese and leaves; black bean and corn; and asparagus, avocado and crazy leaves.

Pork and fennel sausages and Greek sausages (Kokkoretsi i think).

Spanish marinated overnight (smoked paprika, lemon, fresh thyme, dried Spanish oregano, garlic, olive oil, salt and red wine vinegar), lamb cutlets.

Also marinated in all the salad dressings and some brown sugar, some bbq calamari, followed by a fruit platter.

There was also this delightful tiramisu made by guest, Pere who being Spanish shouldn't be permitted to nail a tiramisu like this.

Here's the marvelously bourgoise eating scene, reminiscent of Stephanie Alexander's Shared Table TV series when we om nom nom nom nom the food while discussing Proust's earlier work, whether opera goers will ever dig Massenet's stuff again and homosexual drinking establishments that permit and encourage sex on the premises.

Two of our guests, who I had executed by firing squad, crossed the kitchen border "just having a taste" and one guest had the temerity to suggest I might have been overcooking the cutlets. He was cut to pieces and fed to Milo the cat.

So apart from a few quibbles with me making a mess while grinding the almonds for the gazpacho, and the little blow up over the nutella fairy bread which could have got quite nasty, Katia and I again teamed nicely in the kitchen.

Note: The people in this photo are actually friends of ours and not actors hired to make it look like we have mates. Hello Jamie Oliver!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some Days Life Is Right

Today at Oakleigh Cakes, Oakleigh after a chicken souvlaki nearby at Orexi.

Click on the picture for a ridiculously mouthsharting, detailed image.

Om nom nom nom nom zzzzzzzzzz.......

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Chicken schnitzel, lettuce, margarine, salt and pepper from the milkbar around the corner (click image for the full experience).

$5.10, thank you very much.

And a further $7,365 ambulance and hospital fees for my imminent heart attack.

Old favorite, the mixed grill at The Rose, Fitzroy.

What's under the egg?

More meat, that's what's under the egg.

First course at a footy function last week in the club rooms at Windy Hill, the home of the Essendon Football Club.

The menu described it as:
"Roast Lamb served with Roasted Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables."
I described it as:
"Gee, she's stodgy. Thank Gawd for the mint sauce. What the fark's going on with this potato?"
I didn't get to finish the "carrots".

The pavlova wasn't too bad, especially the passionfruit sauce.

Well, the passion was good but the fruit, ordinary.