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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Southern Loving - Gumbo

Finally, a new recipe! I've been wanting to make Gumbo for a while and Chanin had some Gulf Shrimp (prawns) in the freezer so I set about looking for a good recipe. I finally found one here:

I wanted to make one with chicken, prawns and sausage and after asking around I found out that you either do meat or shrimp, but not both, at least, that's the consensus. But, according to Gumbo Cooking, New Orleans does what I wanted, so I was all set. I used the recipe from Gumbo Cooking, which also has a good tutorial on making the roux the right way.

So, here we go with New Orleans Gumbo.


1 lb medium shrimp peeled
1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut bite size
1 lb andouille or lean smoked sausage sliced bite size
1/2 cup vegetable oil (corn or canola is best)
3/4 cup flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
6 cups chicken stock
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
3 cups sliced okra (if frozen thaw before use)
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Tabasco sauce

Some of the players:

It's best if you use a cast iron pot, if you don't have one, a heavy pot should be used.

In a large heavy pot coated with 1 tablespoon oil, saute chicken and sausage on medium high heat until brown on all sides. Some of the meat will stick to the bottom of the pot then release. Scrape all those bits off as well. Remove and set aside. 


Place oil and flour in pot, stir well and brown to make a roux. A whisk is best for this step.

The colour is getting there, but not quite yet. The pot may smoke a bit, apparently, that's normal. It's really weird seeing the roux go from a looking course to smooth.

When flour is browned to the color of milk chocolate, add chopped vegetables and saute on low heat for 8-10 minutes.

Gradually add chicken stock stirring constantly until blended.

Add chicken and sausage and all other ingredients except the shrimp, okra and parsley which will be saved for the end.

Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove lid and cook 30 more minutes stirring occasionally.

Add shrimp, okra and parsley and continue to cook on low heat uncovered for 15 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with rice. A serving of 1/3 cup rice to 1 1/4 cup gumbo is the way it's done in New Orleans.

Enjoy, we did!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Getting smokey

Wow, 2 years since I did anything with the blog...I've been very slack in adding cooks and I hope to rectify that from now on. It won't be every week, but maybe once a month or so.

If anyone can remember way back in 2011 my post on ribs: 

The smoker I had was bought for me by Mum and it was a good intro into American BBQ. I have since retired that cooker and have actually built a smoker called a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker).

If you want to know more about these or how to build them, the best source of information is here: and here:

These are very fuel efficient, very versatile smokers and I have a lot of cooks under my belt with this one.

Anyway, I'll be doing a lot more smoking and will be sharing the cooks here, so here is the first one in this "series".

Smoked Meatloaf...yes, smoked. It's pretty much the same as your normal oven cooked meatloaf but cooked in a smoker for a really good flavour.


1lb ground beef
1lb ground pork
1/2 a green capsicum
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup of ketchup and steak sauce combined (so, 1/8 cup of each)

Dice the capsicum and onion into about medium sized pieces.

Saute these in some butter over a medium/low heat for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue sauteing until the veggies are soft but not mushy.

While the veggies are softening, put the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the veggies when they're done.

Mix well to combine, then put on a pan (I happen to have one that has holes in it to allow the smoke to get on the bottom of the meatloaf as well) and shape into a loaf. (You could also put it into a loaf pan) Cover and put in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up. If you use a loaf pan, carefully remove the meatloaf before putting on the smoker.

While the meatloaf is in the fridge, get your smoker going. (These take a while to get up to temperature, so now is the time to light it.) I cook the meatloaf at about 310°F.

When your smoker is at temp, throw in the meatloaf, stick your temperature probe in it (if you have one...they're really a great thing to have to monitor the temperature of the meat and the cooker. This is the one that I have:, you can get these on Amazon.)

Now, with smoking, if you're looking you're not cooking, but this is about halfway through the cook.

When the temperature of the meatloaf hits about 130°F, I put on the glaze, which is another 50/50 mix of ketchup and steak sauce.

I keep cooking until the internal temperature hits 165° and it's ready to come out.

We had this with some brussel sprouts, peas and scalloped potatoes.

Here's a rundown on the scalloped potatoes.


4 cups of thin (3mm) sliced yellow potatoes
4 cups of thin (3mm) sliced onions
3 tbsp margarine or butter
3tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 cups of milk (we use 2%)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Set your oven for 425°F.

Melt the margarine/butter in a saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute.

Whisk in milk and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently.

Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 a cup of the cheese.

Get a 2 quart/1.8 litre baking dish and spray some cooking spray around the inside. Layer the potatoes and onions alternately until the dish is half full.

Pour 1/2 the mixture over the potatos/onions.

Continue alternating the potatoes and onions to the top of the dish, pour over the remaining mixture.

 Put on the lid (or cover with alfoil) and cook for 30 minutes. When your 30 minutes are up, spread the remaining cheese over the top.

Put it back in the over for another 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Here's the result...Chanin reckons this is the best scalloped potatoes she's had and maybe the best meatloaf too. Connor also like the potatoes, so they must be OK if he eats them.

Stay tuned for more BBQing and I'm also working on another type of cooker that I'm very excited about...uses fire and spins.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Mum's making a roast Lamb

Well, not Mum, but me. How many Aussies can remember the ad on telly with Nicole Kidman and winning dinner with Tom Cruise?

This is a fairly staple thing in Australia and New Zealand and is actually a very good introduction to lamb for any American that hasn't eaten it before.

I typically make a gravy for the veggies (here's a link to the how to from another post: and I home made some mint sauce.


Leg of Lamb boned or not
fresh rosemary
garlic cloves, sliced
root vegetables of your choice, we had butternut, carrots, potatos and sweet potato. 

Pre-heat your oven to 425F (220C)

Start by making small slits all over the lamb using a small knife and put a small sprig of rosemary and a slice of garlic into each.

 Place in your roasting tin and pop into the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F (180C) for the rest of the cooking time. In last hour of cooking, you'll want to add your veggies, turning them after 30 minutes.

Allow a total roasting time of about 20 minutes per 1lb (500g) plus 20 minutes for lamb pink in the centre...that's how I always cook it. If you like it well done, do 30 minutes per 1lb plus 30 minutes.

Now for the mint sauce:

3/4 cup of finely chopped mint leaves (I use a small food processor)
2 tsp caster sugar (normal sugar here in the US)
1/4 cup boiling water 
1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Combine the mint and sugar in a small heat proof mixing bowl.

Add the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the vinegar and mix well. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop. You can store it in the fridge in a glass jar for a long time.

And the finished dinner...

As always, enjoy!



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sausage what?...Sausage gravy.

I made sausage gravy for the first time the other night. I don't know why I waited so long to make it, because it's really super easy to make and it just tastes so good! I put it on the scones from the recipe below, but you can put it on toast with fried eggs on the side or on top.

Here the wiki for sausage gravy and some of it's variations:

Sausage Gravy


1 lb (500g) ground pork sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt & black pepper to taste


Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. 

Stir in flour until dissolved.

Season with salt and pepper.

 Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly.


Serve over hot biscuits, scones or toast.

You don't just have to have this for brekkie, we had our for dinner one night.