Category Archives: Barbecue

velcome to the veal vorld

So, after a few, ok, a lot of roadkill drive-by’s, we looked at each other and said ‘was that a cow’. It was, and it was in the middle of the road, and it was a baby cow, poor thing. It had clearly been hit not long prior, and we were around the South Australian/ NT border with cool morning temperatures. So, knives sharpened and I went to work. Some of the meat was a bit bruised, but a lot wasn’t. So two back legs, one front leg and the backstraps off. (Though I wish I’d had a look for the thymus….).

So here’s the haul, with Patrick looking on at about 2months worth of food……..

First night in Alice and I was lacking a grill to put over the fire. Two spare bike spokes through the length of a backstrap steak covered in olive oil and slowly grilled over embers. Yum. I made a leek and back garlic risotto to have too, though I think the guanciale was a bit much given the meaty accompaniment.

I can’t recall the last time I cooked schnitzel, and this is where I rediscovered the Guardian ‘how to cook the perfect…’ series, which is very very good. The cuts I had from the roadkill weren’t obvious or perfectly formed, hence when bashed with a wine bottle, the curiously formed Australian shape ensued (although it also looks a bit like a thymus….). The Guardian article states one source of making the schnitzel 4mm thick. The roadhouse beef schnitzel I had was about 10mm- I guess folks expect to get a protein hit from their schnitty.img_0290

A light dusting of flour, dipped in egg and then fresh breadcrumbs and fried in lard/ butter and olive oil- I like the 3. The slight offcutness led to it curling up so it became irregular in all dimensions……

I later made one with a curry powder/ flour dip which was sensational.


So here going very old school with some saurkraut cooked with white cabbage- just what you want in the tropics???

So, the shoulder screamed out for a slow barbecue, and after I’d slow roasted the wedding pork (in a conventional fan oven…) with a dusting of curry powder, it only seemed  small leap to use curry powder as a rub for a slow smoked shoulder of veal……..

So, about 5-6hrs in a borrowed weber with the heat kept to 120C as best as I could with some wood from the adjacent Katherine river wilderness- I’m not sure what it was. Interestingly a wood I burnt later was really disgusting- obviously best to get a whiff first before you smoked something for 5 hours. Anyway, below is the result, it was magnificent. I kept it in the roasting pan which helped it from getting too much direct heat- I think the pizza metal plate with holes in would also act as a good ‘baffle’ to prevent direct radiant heat burning the meat. Some decent beer poured over the meat intermittently for malty flavours and to prevent drying and a large syringe to baste the juices back onto the meat.


The crust, the pink ring, the moist meat, the pan scrapings……


Early on arrival to Katherine I also thought it would be nice to try out making bresoala. Now this is usually made from a single muscle piece, dissected out from the rear leg, ’round’ steak I think (semi-tendonosis m.). However, obviously my leg was pretty tiny so this was essentially a veal rump, about 1.1kg if I recall. Going with the top end vibe, I salted these with a salty cure of some local honey, crushed pepper berry/ bush tomato, some local pink grapefruit juice (a useful of bit anti botulinum acidity) and some Lake hart salt (20g ish, i.e. 2% of meat weight) we scraped up from the insane salt flats in South Australia.

So I cured this for 3 days in the fridge wrapped in a sealed plastic bag, patted it dry, and stuffed it in amedical bandage and hung it in a bar fridge set to it’s lowest (i.e. warmest) setting- this seemd to hover around 10C. It rapidly and spontaneously developed an amazing white mould of candida (OK, weird, this is salami thrush), but evolved over the next few weeks into a wonderful meat cheese!! By 6 weeks it had lost over 30% of it’s weight (with a few wipes and excursions into the real fridge to dry off a bit), and lost it’s suppleness to a squeeze. It felt,’just right’. And it was. See below……

OK, it might not pass stringent food hygiene standards, but it didn’t kill me.

Got to love an old red with cured meats

So, what else is veal most famously utilised? I’d say goulash, and once again, the Guardian series gives a great discussion on the topic though interestingly no mention of veal- they suggest beef shin. The key ingredients in this, in addition to veal, is paprika, green peppers and interesting caraway seeds.

I used Spanish sweet smoked paprika, as that’s what I had in the cupboard. I also put in img_0798some fatty cured pork to add a bit of richness, although you could against that given the addition of sour cream at the end, which was sublime. Other useful points were to add the cooked green peppers towards the end of the cooking process, which preserved the texture and prevented them turning into mush.

This was utterly fabulous and I have to say, I loved the subtlety of the veal here, definitely a win, especially with the rather amazing New England lager.


I missed my most innovative outing. Well, I thought so as did my visiting guests Genevieve and Brian. I had a shin left over and thought a proper osso bucco should be done, proper as in this is actually veal. Often beef shin is sold as osso bucco here in Oz, which is nice, but osso bucco it is not.

I can’t recall where I saw this but I’m sure I’ve seen an Italian recipe somewhere for pork baked in milk, well, it seemed appropriate to pair with veal. I’ve got a weird recollection I tried this in a pressure cooker in Berlin a very long time ago- it was a disaster as I recall. The milk curdled and the meat was under done.

Anyway, what I was after was the milky rice pudding crust covering meaty goodness.

So a litre or so of hippy milk, a bay leaf, and onion and some carrots. Baked in the oven 150C ish until a nice lactatious crust had formed- bingo.

Served with bashed potatoes and truffled spinach. Castagna Shiraz/ Viognier was epic.

To be repeated, with more meat………


Cooking Up In a Storm

Difficult to miss out on a pun with aphorism and descriptor so wittily combined, but then, there’s the gastronomic comedy genius that is adored by my many readers around the world and other people not in my family.

So we had a duck from the rather well named ‘luv-a-duck’ company whose pork, duck and fennel sausages we rather like and the chicken is the current favourite too, so hey, let’s roast.

I’ve always done a good skin blanching with boiling water on most roast with some skin to crisp. so chicken a pork both get a kettle full of boiling water carefully poured over them. However, it’s a bit tricky to find a cool, draughty area to let the skin dry out. A bit of salt maybe helps.

Anyway, this duck got a good smearing of five spice powder and smashed ginger on the inside and was set spinning on the rotisserie as shown. A massive downpour towards the end called for Scottish barbecuing skills, barricading the flames from the water. Overall this was a frustrating effort as the coals just never got hot enough to get a good crisping. The duck wasn’t bad though.


I did however manage to bake some bread, pushing the envelope of barbecuing. Again, the temperature wasn’t quite high enough, but I reckon it might be possible to make a bread oven if you could put some insulating material over the dome? To explore……..


Annoying, I turned the lardy bread out and over the coals but this just burnt the lovely crust, darn it.

Cheese platterIMG_2734[1]

The delicious platter above was courtesy of who deliver very fine cheeses at a great price at great speed. As you can see, there is rather an enormous chunk of stilton in very fine condition. Where’s the port?

Shona’s getting a bit sick of my noodle soups but seems happy enough to scoff laksa. This was one I did on my own with leftover barra, fresh rice noodles, stock of some description, weird Indonesian paste, green pepper and rather successfully, pumpkin. Oh yes, coconut of course.


Interestingly some locally reared lamb- Dorper Damara (??), a south African cross with middle eastern, leg roasted very nicely and carved very well the next day. Weirdly I had a leek, and felt a kind of kedgeree/ pilau urge.

I cooked the rice with some melted leek (careful not to burn), in butter, fried with some toasted and ground fennel seed, cumin, corriander and turemeric, then basmati rice. To this some lamb stock from the bones. Served as shown with some boiled eggs, (and one salted duck- why not?). A v pleasant luncheon.



This chicken roasted supremely well. Inspired by Amy, of Amy’s warung whose (possibly enhanced a la MSG) bbq chicken is the finest in the land. I butterflied it down the vertebra, and smeared grated turmeric, galangal, garlic and chili on the ‘inner’ surface. I placed her over some tins containing aubergines and barbecued with the coals either side of the tins, so the chicken wasn’t over the heat, and put a lid on to assist roastage. Oh my, what a divine experience, possibly the best roast chicken I’ve done. I also made some magic green shit- blitzed corrinder (with root), mint and chive shallots woth coconut milk. No green chilis, (the kids….) but limes would be nice. Pawpaw salad and cucumber with plain rice. Very, very fine.




Finally, some muesli. Shona’s been making a lot of this, and there are some terrifically complex combinations out there. I can’t be arsed with spices and vanilla in mine to be honest, and if I want fruit I’ll add my own dates etc, so a quick way is just to chuck in your oats (these are Swedish I think), with choppped nuts and something sweet. Today I used macadamia and almond with a few tablespoons of local honey, stirring every now and then. Even covered it was too hot, and interestingly the macadamias were more susceptible than the almonds.

225C was a bit high, but I was baking bread, note to self……




The Bali-Blighty remix

Fusion hey, difficult to pull off but let’s have a go. I’d invited my fair skinned fair isle  medical student student round for her last supper 11deg south of the equator, so something appropriately tropical morphed from an initial Toad in the Hole idea with Buffalo sausages.

Sausages and mash? How about sausages and Balinese ‘mashed potato fritter’ or Beredel Kentang’. We were shown how to make these on an evening cookery session on Bali last year, which was superb. I hadn’t made them since, which is idiotic, they were insanely good.

  • 4 large floury  potatoes, steamed (in Bali, chopped and deep fried till soft, not crispy)
  • 2 garlic cloves, ground using pestle and mortar with 1tsp balacan (shrimp ‘block’) and tsp of corriander seed

Fried in some oil, and then mixed in with the bashed potatoes, PLUS

  • 2 eggs
  • chopped celery leaves
  • 2 chopped spring onions
  • tbsp fried shallots (I have a bag of pre-fried in the fridge)

Shape into wee cakes and fried in lots of oil/ lard.

I fried some chopped ladies fingers in the frying pan that I’d used to fry the buff sausages. Chopped coriander and a hint of chili to garnish.


Golden Lucuma

A bloke at the market was selling these odd fruits. I’m sure I bought these last year, but never explored them, though I had some recollection they were used in a dessert. Their dry yet rich toffeeish flavour made me think they would be ideal for messing around with. Lo and behold, they seem to be the national ice-cream in Peru. A recipe kindly forwarded to me by Carrie (who identified them) involved more egg yolks than my chooks could manage, anyway, I was in a hurry, so cobbled something together involving a base rich custard and the pulp of these fruits.

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1ooml dbl cream
  • 150ml milk
  • lots of sugar (maybe half a cup)- ice cream needs to be very sweet to maintain a triple phase existence……

Heated gently in a thick bottomed pan until thickened, and, well, tasting of custard.

I’d frozen the super ripe lucuma and skinned whilst frozen (still not easy), then added to the warm custard. When fridge col, the mixture went into the freezer. Wham bam, ice-cream van. Yum.

But not to everyone’s taste.

And I defeated Lewis, who couldn’t identify the fruit. A rare occurrence.

Next Outing…..

I grabbed some free range pork chops at Greenies the other day. It had been a long time since our last meeting with M. Le Chop. I love these grilled with fennel seed and mash and truffled leeks, but once again, the local flavours won over. I scrabbled about thinking what to flavour the chops with, I never bbq without some kind of enhancement, but I couldn’t think. Anyway, I was going to serve these with some Thai pawpaw salad from the market- an amazing pummelled creation with chili, fish sauce, garlic and peanuts. This is traditionally served with barbecued chicken.

Eaten with some rice cooked with chicken stock (I’m trying to use my hoard of unidentifiable stocks), and some left over sweet soy dipping sauce for spring rolls, and a flurry of chopped coriander.

Frankland Riesling from WA washed this down very very nicely- light, but interesting, 11% and a hint of frizante.