Category Archives: Pizza

Beef ‘n’ Barra

A fine name for a pub, though The Buff’n’Barra might be more appropriate here in the Top End. Better keep that from the ‘Hoff’, who’s apparently going to build a bar somewhere around here Casablanca style. Anyway, a classic leftover concoction here. We had an amazing sunset barbecue on Simon’s wee chunk of land here in Katherine, a 200acre nature playground. I took along a side of Barra kindly given by Mel, and we threw that on the hot plate over charcoal with no adornment. Most of it got left as the shoulder of pork was beautiful and even crackled successfully over hot coals. So tonight, on my tod, I made an Indonesian flavour noodle soup. I had some deeply amazing beef stock from some roast beef ribs (roasted 5 hrs) and a left over bit of ‘roo thigh bone. To this, some insane homemade paste from out local shop in Wanguri, weirdly, which must have chillies, shallots and balacan (fermented prawn brick) amongst other unknowns. I had some leftover fatty rib meat, the barra, a mushroom, some rice and mung bean noodles and some spinach and rocket mix which I just put in the end to wilt. Washed down with Vale/Dark as shown. Glorious.

Shona picked up a bag of beef bones at the supermarket on the tip off from an Italian guy who was prcuring offal of some kind, though I think he suggested these were for the dog. Little does he know the joyous lubricant that resides in dem bones- which is odd, given osso bucco, (later). Maybe $6 for the pile shown, and what a marrow harvest, wow. I used some on a pizza, which I think I just served plain. I do remember it was the finest pizza night ever. What to use on next……?

The bones I roasted and made a spiffing stock. Maybe next time I’ll do Fergus Henderson’s signature roast marrow bone salad. Oooh, some sourdough to smear that on would be divine…….


The dessert pizza reappeared, but this incarnation included some rather sour plums with a nice dark skin. I was really chuffed with how this turned out. The plums were delicious. It’s amazing how some fruits just explode into life after cooking, the skins seem to be the treasure box of flavour. I’m never that taken with blueberries until you cook the buggers. A decent sprinkle of vanilla sugar and some butter for, well, obvious reasons. Maybe I should try this with a

Shona found a recipe for ‘Tuscan rabbit’. I don’t have it to hand, but bloody hell, it was amazing. Ah, here it is. I’m usually a bit suspect of tomatoey concoctions, I often find them a bit too bloody tomatoey, allowing not much other flavour to express. But this was bloody amazing. Lovely sweetness from the onions, and the fennel was a subtle background too. Very nice. Shona made a huge amount of sauce so this has reappeared with some ‘luv a duck’ pork and duck fennel sausages. They are very fine meaty sausages, more suited to this cooking than a bbq. Definitely not a snag or banger.


Now Woolies has a few things over Coles, and these veal osso bucco are one of them. The last OB’s I did was beef, and it suggested to me why veal is preferable for the wet stove fry method. The beef ones quite dried up and contorted by the time they were edible. These veal beauties were cooked in 1.5 hrs or so, stayed moist and didn’t buckle up over themselves. Just slow cooked adding only white wine, and then some bonkers purple carrots to cook as shown. Should have used the excess marrow above for a risotto Milanese……



Cheeky Amber, Pizza Nero

I haven’t cooked beef cheeks since we were last in Sydney in 2006, and the continued ban on cow head use in the UK meant this cut hasn’t been a goer for over a decade. Though tongue has continued to be available- not sure how that works? Clearly prions are more likely to be located in chewing muscles, not lingual ones as they are closer to the brain??

Shona picked up some organic cheeks from meat direct, who’ve been popping up some meaty treats this last month or so.

As you can see, these fellas are beautifully marbled and had copious chewy related connective tissue running through them- they might be the most resilient meat I’ve ever had the pleasure to slice. Even the Samurai knife had to be pushed through this with some effort.

A few of options sprang tom mind with this; with ceps, with beer or sweet soy anise, as Shona does with the belly pork. I’m currently loving the Rogers beer from Little Creatures, but Shona picked up some seriously pongy ceps from Greenies. The beer won (a cep risotto was later made).

  • 1 bottle Rogers ale
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • bay leaf

All in a pan and the beer reduced to half volume. The cheeks (about 800g total) were chopped into largish chunks, and put in the slow cooker. The beery liquor strained off and poured over the cheeks, and left to cook for about 8hr.

Smashed Nicola potatoes and carrots, newly made English mustard and washed down with Roger, naturally. Had I been thinking, some suet dumplings would have been tremendous. Just need suet……

Meat direct also had some Polish black pudding. I cooked slice till just crisp with some pancetta (home made) and some olive oil, in a baking tray as pizza number one was cooking above. Pizza no2 got this porky assault and my god it was good.

I’ve also added a few chunks to a butter bean and kale soup which was heart warming stuff and completely inappropriate for this climate. Nevermind.


I’m not sure which is my favourite pizza, mozzarella and tomato or potato. The potato has the advantage of being endlessly variable. Tonight I roasted thin slices of the wondrous tuber with olive oil and pancetta cubes, then tossed on some parsley and finally capers to serve. Beef marrow is very fine, as is pesto smeared over the potatoes as it exits the oven. Anchovy fillets hidden under the potatoes with a few slices of onion. But the very finest buffalo mozzarella and home made tomato sauce is difficult to beat. Hence we usually have both. For an attempt at departing from the norm I put four eggs on top of the classic, but it wasn’t great, just a bit soggy and, well, not right. I do like eggs on a pizza, and I remember having my first pizza with eggs in Norwich Pizza Express circa 1989. That was with spinach I think, although Shona thought a red pepper sauce might be the way to go next time. Hum.