Big Boy’s Brunch

Blackened Kingfish by Jon
January 4, 2011, 7:30 pm
Filed under: Cookbook Recipes, Dishes of the World | Tags: , , , ,
Blackened Kingfish

Blackened Kingfish

It is just over a year since my last post!  If anyone still reads this blog, here’s a fresh and tasty fish dish to warm your taste buds as the New Year begins.

Blackened Kingfish

The minute our friend Tony dropped by with a big bag of fresh kingfish yesterday, I knew exactly how I wanted to prepare it.  I have a twenty year old copy of Cajun Cooking by Marjie Lambert and it has a great recipe for Blackened Redfish which I haven’t used for a while.  It works really well with any robust and muscular fish and the fillets of sea-fresh kingfish were no exception – or for a variation, try it with thin chicken escalopes.

NOTE: You’ll need a raging hot barbecue plate or cast iron pan to cook this dish and, if you cook it indoors, make sure the kitchen is very well ventilated.  The first time I cooked this in our tiny apartment kitchen in London, the smoke hit me like riot gas and left me with streaming eyes and nose!

Kingfish fillets – medium cut
6oz butter

2 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp sea salt to taste
2 tsp onion granules
2 tsp garlic granules
2 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
2 tsp dried thyme leaves

Butter Sauce
4oz butter
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 spring onion, finely chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Preparation Instructions:

Pre-heat your barbecue plate or cast iron pan to the highest temperature.  Combine and grind seasoning ingredients in a mortar & pestle. Combine the butter sauce ingredients and put to one side.  Dip cold fish fillets or medallions in melted butter and coat with the seasoning – the cooling butter should hold the seasoning in place.  Once all are done, cook the fillets on one side until the coating is blackened, around 2-3 minutes.  Gently turn over and repeat for the other side (and edges if necessary).  Reheat the butter sauce gently and serve blackened kingfish with new potatoes, corn and peas/green beans.


New Year’s Eve Nosh by Jon
December 31, 2009, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Buzz's Recipes | Tags: , , , ,

I love my wife with a passion and one of the ways that I try to show this is by cooking her meals she particularly likes.  I don’t do this often enough so with the end of the year almost at hand, I grabbed one last chance to add another meal to this year’s tally – not that she’s counting, right honey?  This dish is a perennial favourite with both of us and so, as we prepare to settle down for a quiet New Year’s Eve, it seemed like the dish to whip up and enjoy with a bottle of our friend’s fine Pinot Gris.

Smoked salmon and prawn farfalle

This is one of those great recipes that takes almost no time or effort to prepare but tastes fantastic if you take the trouble to get the best and freshest ingredients. That said, it is still good even when using dried dill and smoked salmon offcuts. It is good enough to pass off as a fancy ‘primo‘ at your next dinner party or simply pile high for those loved ones sitting at your table.

250g pasta bows
25g butter
4 salad onions or 1 medium onion, diced
75g best prawns
juice of half a lemon
15ml spoon freshly chopped dill
150ml double cream or creme fraiche
125g smoked salmon, cut into strips
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to taste – for me, al dente farfalle takes around 11-12 on a rolling boil.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes or until they start to become translucent. Stir in the prawns, lemon juice and dill.  Drain the pasta and return to the pot, then add the prawn mixture and stir in the double cream or creme fraiche, salmon strips and seasoning to taste.  Reduce heat slightly and cook for 2 minutes until heated through thoroughly – the smoked salmon will become a more opaque and lighter pink colour.  Serve on warmed dishes and garnish with a little more dill.  For variety and colour on the plate, you can add a green vegetable like peas, green beans or asparagus to the dish.

Barbecued pork chops by Jon
December 30, 2009, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Buzz's Recipes | Tags: , , ,

Barbecued pork chops

Barbecued Pork Chops

After a long ‘post-Christmas but pre-New Year’ day of doing very little, I scoped a simple marinade recipe for the pork chops SWMBO had lined up for dinner.  Two minutes work was all the effort required to prepare the chops, which left more time for loafing around and drinking a cool beer.

6 pork chops.
¼ cup of soy sauce.
¼ cup of water.
2 tablespoons of brown sugar.
2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
1 tablespoon of minced onion.
1 teaspoon of garlic.

Preparation Instructions:

Combine ingredients in a screw top jar and shake like mad for a minute.  Pour over chops arranged in a shallow dish and marinate, preferably overnight but 4 hours is OK too.  Grill the pork chops over a preheated barbecue for around 6 minutes each side (depending on thickness), basting a little with leftover marinade until done.  Serve with potatoes, green beans and sweetcorn.

Antonio Carluccio by Jon

© Antonio Carluccio

Just turned to the Food Channel on the TV and caught an episode of ‘Southern Italian Feast’ presented by my all-time favourite foodie Antonio Carluccio. It’s hard to believe that I first watched this show on the BBC ten years ago back in England.

After picking up some marvelous ingredients in Palermo’s Vucceri Market, Carluccio cooks a simple Tonno al Forno con Salmoriglio (Baked Pasta with Herbs) which he served with Zucchini al Pomodoro e Basilico (Courgettes with Tomato and Basil). While samoriglio (a mortar-and-pestled mxture of herbs, garlic and oil) is usually used to dress steamed or grilled fish, Carluccio dressed the tuna steaks before baking, adding a few pine nuts and breadcrumbs for added texture.

We have friends coming over at the weekend and, for once, I know exactly what I’m going to cook ahead of time!

Lunchtime discovery by Jon
October 8, 2008, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Eating Out, Food on the Web | Tags:

I made a great lunch box discovery today when I popped in to the Noodle Canteen franchise in Royal Oak, Auckland for a quick take-out lunch.

Having never been into a Noodle Canteen before, I was immediately impressed by the fresh ingredients laid out in the chiller cabinet for customers to see.  Vivid green broccoli, plump prawns, crisp carrots and the many more prepped ingredients presented in a clean and tidy environment all pointed towards a franchise that took care and maintained standards.

Although I was craving noodles, the curry laksa caught my eye and I ordered that from the friendly young woman behind the counter before settling on a stool and chatting to a colleague while watching my lunch being prepared.

Back at the office, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality, freshness and variety of the ingredients in my laksa which included two types of noodle, at least three types of seafood and various julienned veggies.

The soup base was a rich orange liquor with a well-balanced flavour and warmth and the size of the portion was big enough to leave me still feeling satisfied and well fed some 5 hours later – no mean feat where my appetite is concerned.  Although I have only tried one dish so far, that meal was certainly more than enough to encourage me to return to try others.

I was also amused to note that the Noodle Canteen web site, like Big Boy’s Brunch, is managed on WordPress.

American memories by Jon
October 7, 2008, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Buzz's Recipes

Over the last couple of days, I have been chatting with a great guy called Drew who runs a data recovery and computer forensics business on the East Coast of the US in an area where I used to work.  Our chats brought back memories of good times I have spent and great meals I have eaten in that area.  I can recall fun nights eating bar snacks in a Fairfax sports bar after long weeks in the office, weekend drives for exquisite seafood at a harbour-side table in Annapolis and meat and potatoes on St Patrick’s Day in an Irish bar in Baltimore.

While I like to eat healthy and try to watch my waistline, I must confess I am a complete sucker for ‘Americana’ food – those heart attack meals and snacks that are tightly woven into a Walter Mosley novel, a Scorsese film or your favourite US comedy show.  Meals like a gooey cheese Philly steak sandwich, spicy buffalo wings with a pitcher of beer, crayfish and lobster tails piled high, Caesar salads with crispy croutons and spaghetti & meatballs with a shirt-staining sauce.

All this got me to thinking about a snack that would transport me back to those times without the expense and hassle of the 12 hour flight and the intimate attentions of Homeland Security and here’s one I found in my recipe file.

Crab and Avocado Melts

Healthy this recipe ain’t but a little of what you fancy (or all things in moderation as my Gran used to say) is nice now and again, so I have scaled back on the full-fat original where possible to lower the impact on your insides.

2 cups grated Cheddar cheese, mature for preference
1 can (6 ounces) crab meant, rinsed, drained and flaked
1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
6 slices streaky bacon, cooked and snapped into chunks
1/4 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
2 avocados, seeded, peeled and sliced
5 muffins or bagels, split and lightly pre-toasted

Combine 1 cup cheese, crab meat, green pepper, bacon, sour cream, mayonnaise and salt and pepper in a large bowl.  Spoon crab mixture onto muffin halves.  Top each with avocado slices and remaining cheese.
Grill until the cheese melts and your mouth waters.

We’re cooking on gas by Jon
October 2, 2008, 4:43 pm
Filed under: Misc, News
New Stove

New Stove

Originally uploaded by bignoseduglyguy

For a whole host of reasons too boring to mention, it’s been a very long while since I posted here. However, prime amongst those reasons was the fact that our electric cooker had become absolutely horrid to cook on and sucked all the joy out of preparing meals and baking bread. With a thermostat more temperamental than a Hollywood starlet and a ceramic hob that had more cold spots than a polar bear’s bum, it was impossible to bake bread with predictable results. Likewise, saucepans were either stone cold or hotter than a solar flare.

So you can imagine how much pleasure I derived from dragging that old cooker out of the kitchen earlier this week in anticipation of the arrival of our new stove. Our house, like many in New Zealand, is predominantly powered by electricity but, like many rural properties, had an on-demand water heater that ran on bottled LPG, requiring a contractor to swap out the bottles on a regular basis. Our desire to be able to cook on gas meant we were happy to discover that the gas company’s mains supply actually reaches our street, a fact we gleaned when our neighbour got connected. We ordered our own connection (which also requires basic planning permission) and waited a few weeks for the supply to be run from the street to the house. Once it permission was confirmed, we went out and looked for the gas hob/fan assisted convector oven combination we have always wanted – and today it was installed and hooked up!

After the requisite clean-down and test, I decided that the very best way to christen the stove was to whip up a classic omelette with a little grated blue cheese. After three years of cooking on electric (not including fires at camp and camping stoves during power cuts), it was bliss to dash off an omelette in under three minutes and eat it in under half that! As British Gas used to say in their ’70s TV ads, ‘Cookability – that’s the beauty of gas’.