Slow Smoked Pork Shoulder

Fall apart in your hands, Melt in your mouth, Totally drool worthy!

PORK!

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Last Christmas, Mini Me & I gave hubby an American Char Griller Smoker. He was totally chuffed with his gift & has spent the year absorbed in learning all he can about this fabuliciouz style of cooking. We’ve been asking loads of questions in online groups & watching tv shows such as Man Fire Food in an insatiable quest for knowledge.

Although this is a skill which takes many years to master, we believe he may have just cracked onto the right direction, at long last, to finally begin his apprenticeship.

Hubby starts with a juicy pork shoulder full of fatty flavour goodness then massages his not so secret rub into it – a blend of our standard family spice trilogy of salt, pepper & paprika! Now he is extremely generous in applying this mixture all over the meat.

He starts the fire in the smoker’s drum off to one end to create an indirect heat before allowing it to settle down to a temperature of 100c. When the correct temperature is there, he whacks onto the far side of the drum, the porky slab.

Stoking the fire every half hour or so to keep the temperature constant, he takes advantage every second opening (so that’s each hour) to spritz the sides only (to not moisten the crackle on top) of the pork with just pure straight up apple juice. This is to keep all the luscious juiciness inside.

All up this process takes the entire day of about 8 hours to achieve. It’s like when you bung the slow cooker on in the morning for dinner that night.

I like to scratch together some lovely roast veggies to serve alongside this which is as simple as popping a couple of tablespoons of duck fat into a roasting pan in the oven whilst it pre-heats up to 200c. At the same time, par-boil some peeled & chopped tatties & carrots before roughing them up in the colander as you drain them. Roughing them up lets them get those awesome crunchy bits on them – YUM! Pull out the now hot duck fat, chuck the partly cooked, roughed up veggies in it before whacking in the 200c oven for half an hour.

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Watermelon Slushie

Uber cool & refreshing for a steamy summer day, this fabuliciouz icy treat reminds me of my tropical home.

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When the sun is shining brightly & the salt of the sea hangs heavily in the air, life easily slips into permanent holiday mode where fruity drinks, often bearing cocktail umbrellas, become the norm.

For this simple slushie, start by crushing about 6-10 ice cubes. I’ve invested in a snow ice machine for my luxurious concoctions but you can just as easily smash them up with a meat tenderiser or food processor.

Grab a slender slice of seedless watermelon & dice it up, you want about 2 cups worth. Add it into your crushed ice along with a teaspoon of honey before wazzing it together with good old Mr Buzzy (aka Stick Blender) to ensure it’s really well blended.

Pour into pretty glasses & if you wanna get really fancy pop a slice of watermelon on the side by cutting a wee slit to slide onto the rim.

Chin Chin.

Cinnamon Apple Ice-cream

I scream, You scream, We all scream for Ice-cream!

Fabuliciouzly smooth & bursting with festive flavour, this icy cold treat is a hit with my fam-bam.

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I simply adore making my very own homemade ice-cream over the warmer months. There’s just something so satisfying about tucking into a refreshing treat that I’ve created myself.

For this wee Christmas favourite, start by pouring 1 cup of thickened cream into a saucepan & adding 3/4 cup of raw sugar along with a good pinch of sea salt flakes. Pop it over a medium heat & stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

Turn the heat off then add in another cup of thickened cream, 1 cup of milk (I only ever have full cream milk in my home!) & a teaspoon of vanilla paste. Combine that lot really well so that all those luscious wee black vanilla seeds spread throughout the entire mix.

By now, the mixture should be cool so bung it in your ice-cream machine churn for whatever time your manufacturer recommends (mine takes 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, get your flavouring ready. I take a 400g jar of apple sauce & spike it with 2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar. Just stir it through the apple sauce in the jar & adjust the amount of cinnamon sugar to your taste. It does pay to try it as apple sauce does change throughout the year given different apple varieties available.

I add the pimped up cinnamon apple sauce into my ice-cream churn with 10 minutes still on the clock so that the flavour really gets well dispersed.

When the time is up, the ice-cream is at soft serve stage so if that’s what floats your boat, by all means, dig in, however my fam-bam like it poured into a container, whacked in the freezer until firm & then dished up in fabuliciouz balls of awesomeness.

Salt & Pepper Tofu Bites

A completely surprising addition to any cheese platter,

these deep fried bites actually taste like the ever popular salt & pepper squid!

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Honestly, these are so quick & easy to add a wow factor that your guests will be talking about all summer long! Hubby hooked in & just couldn’t believe it wasn’t calamari & I bet, neither will you!

Simply grab yourself a block of tofu & chop it up into bite sized cubes.

Next, bung some flour into a bowl & season it ever so generously with salt & white pepper before tossing the tofu cubes through it to coat extremely well.

Deep fry the coated tofu in hot oil (about 180c) for about 3 minutes & drain on paper towel.

Finally, devour greedily whilst piping hot.

Mushroom & Asparagus Pasta

There’s not even time to grab plates when this wee salad hits my table! 

Hubby & Mini Me are in there with fighting irons (forks) blazing to greedily devour these ever so tantalising morsels.

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As you’ve probably heard from me before, I absolutely can not stand lettuce in a salad! It’s just one of those personal pet hate things that we all have in some way, shape or form. I love warm salads, batting above their average in a fabuliciouz concoction of surprising flavours.

This one combines my fam-bams forever favourite of mushrooms with the gorgeousness of fresh asparagus. Now, hubby was a wee bit reluctant to try asparagus his first time, he wasn’t quite sure what it was, but with a quick explanation of it tastes just like green beans, he popped a bit in his gob & was so pleasantly surprised he actually dug every last one out!

Firstly, melt a wee bit of butter in your wok (or frypan if you don’t have the single most bestest kitchen implement ever invented!) & toss through 200g of sliced mushrooms along with a bunch of asparagus which you’ve ensured to remove the rubber bands & sliced off the woody ends.

Next, throw in a couple of teaspoons of minced garlic & a couple of tablespoons of good old Worcestershire Sauce. Season ever so generously, as always, with salt & pepper.

Finally, whack in your all time favourite cooked fancy snag, it looks amazing if you slice on a Chinese style angle (we love Cheese Kransky in this household) & then bung in 250g of cooked pasta in whatever shape floats your boat.

Such an easy salad to knock together in a flash for all occasions this entertaining season.

Turkey Meatballs

Festive flavours of Turkey, Apple & Cinnamon luxuriously smothered in a chicken stock reduction sauce served over creamy mashed potato.

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Even during a severe storm with no power, meatballs are a great go-to meal for uplifting the spirit & providing comfort while the weather rages outside. All you need is a wee gas cooker & it’s just like camping!

Grab your mixing bowl & bung in 500g of Turkey mince, 1 egg, 50g of whatever type of crumb floats your boat, 1/4 cup of apple sauce, a pinch of ground cinnamon & then season generously with good old salt & pepper.

Get your hands in there & mix it all up thoroughly before shaping into meatballs.

Heat up a good glug of oil in a deep saucepan & fry off the balls to brown then whack in 2 cups of chicken stock & let it simmer away for 20 minutes to reduce & infuse the meatballs with even more flavour!

Serve these festive baubles over creamy mash tatties & you’ve got yourself a warm hug.

Shortbread

That creamy, buttery yumminess that simply melts in your mouth is an incredible edible link to my Scottish heritage.

You know Christmas is a comin’ when I start baking Shortbread!

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Start off by allowing an entire 250g block of butter to get nice & soft – that’s really important to make Shortbread properly.

Into your mixer bowl goes the soft butter along with 1/2 cup of caster sugar & 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste. Beat that on a medium to high speed to get it nice & creamy, the butter should turn a paler colour.

Now, turn down your mixer to a low speed or this next bit is going to make it look like a white Christmas in your kitchen!

Ever so gradually add in 1 cup of cornflour followed by 2 cups of plain flour. Keep mixing until it’s all combined into a luscious looking dough.

Bung the dough ball into a bowl, cover in cling film & whack in the fridge for half an hour to firm it all up so you can roll it out.

When ready, lightly sprinkle some flour on your work surface & roll out the dough into about a 1cm thick slab. It also helps to lightly flour your rolling pin too if it’s a timber one like mine instead of non-stick.

Using your Christmas shaped bikkie cutters, cut out bikkies & place onto baking paper lined trays before pricking with a fork. For other times of the year (or to use up all the spare dough bits) simply pinch off bits of the dough, squish together in your hand & roll into a ball before placing on the tray & gently pressing down with the back of a fork.

Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar & bake in a 180c oven for 15 minutes. The trick to this Shortbread is to then allow them to cool on the trays. Don’t try to move them off to a cooling wire immediately upon dragging them out of the oven or you’ll have yourself a merry mess of crumbs, possibly to top a crumble with or pop through trifle! Now there’s an idea……

Pork Crackling Chips

Seductive sounds of cracking & popping escaping from the oven filling the kitchen with the salivating inducing aroma of pork – YES YES YES!

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Tantalise your tastebuds this festive season by always having a bowl of these crispy bar snacks on hand. They’re fabuliciouz nostalgia of the Sunday Roast will get your party started!

Honestly, it’s so simple you’ll wonder why I’m even bothering to post about a recipe!

Get your hands on some lovely pork crackling skin (the supermarket even has it these days!) then pat it down with some paper towel to dry it, run your knife over to score it (if that hasn’t already been done) & just season it generously with my kitchen trilogy ~ salt, white pepper & paprika.

Slice the skin into strips then squares to make your chips & bung them onto a baking paper lined tray.

The trick is don’t use oil! Oil makes the skin wet again so defeats the purpose of what we’re trying to do.

Whack that under a hot grill (broiler I believe for my American friends, yeah?) running flat out at top heat. Just keep a close eye on it because each skin will be slightly different due to the fat content, you’re looking for when it starts to bubble up in that deliciously classic crackle, about 15-20 minutes normally.

When done, make sure you sprinkle sea salt flakes over the hot chips immediately.

You can choose to serve warm or make them before your guests arrive to serve cold with festive drinks.

Satay Steak

A super easy taste of Asia to WOW your BBQ guests this season!

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My fam-bam simply loves to host friends! We all love to cook & have a dazzling array of equipment on which to conjure up outdoor feasts.

Family ~ Food ~ Fun ~ Good Times

However, since moving to ‘tropical’ Melbourne we haven’t had much opportunity to fire up our cookers. For instance, today we are in the middle of Spring yet we’re expecting snow……

Now these Satay Steaks are far better off being handed over to the man at the alter of burnt offerings (aka BBQ) to impart that certain uniqueness of smokey char flavour, but if the weather is not playing nice, an indoor grill pan will just have to do!

All you need for this one is a whopping big mixing bowl to which you add 200ml of coconut milk along with 2 teaspoons of curry powder & 2 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter. Season generously with salt & pepper & then give it a jolly good mix up.

Bung in your thin sizzle steaks (I’ve used pork here but you can use beef or chicken, whatever floats your boat), coat them in the marinade then cover with cling film & pop that lot in the fridge overnight.

Whack the lusciously flavoured satay steaks on a hot BBQ or grill pan to cook.

How easy is that?!?!