• Greg Wixted

A SMOKING LESSON NEVER TO FORGET



Greetings cobbers – or whatever you colonials are so fondly referred to by your colonial oppressors as. Here in the Land of the Free we dealt with the English quite soundly by whipping their skinny English arses and driving them back into the Atlantic.


I have spent my time lately going through old notebooks and diaries in an attempt to glean pearls of wisdom for my brand-new friends across the, er, pond. No – not them – you people in Australia. I’ve no idea how far away you are but let me say that I feel very close to you, especially those kind readers of my $20 blog who were thoughtful enough to write to me and express their gratitude for my hints and tips. A big shout out to Max from Sydney who gave me several suggestions as to how to cure my own magic mushrooms – to you Max I say I’ve done more ‘shrooms than you’ve had prawns on a Barbie, so please, mind your own business and this Mushroom Book is my Bible. And Muriel from Tasmania (or I believe you call it ‘Tazzy’? Why?) who asked for some more advice about nose to tail eating on vermin found in kitchens. My simple answer is chop it fine and throw it in. The punters haven’t got a CLUE what they’re eating and if it’s served with the appropriate level of reverence by the wait staff they’ll suck it up anyway. If the establishment isn’t high end enough to have wait staff who can do ‘reverence’ (and let’s face it, there’s no tips in a diner drive in or dive – ask me how I know) then just mince It finer and freeze it – you’ll have enough to make a burger in no time and think of the margin!


Whilst going through my new and unexpected fan mail I thought I might share a little of my previous culinary experience with you as I am gearing up to present a valentine’s day special in a couple of week’s time and given that I got money for bags of uppers and downers for Christmas my time is pretty precious at the moment. I mean mom said ‘get yourself something nice cerise’ and doled me a fifty. what did she think I was going to get? snickerdoodles? Culinary Tip (see below for my recipe, once voted the best in American, before that “should have been shanked bitch Martha Thieving Stewart came along) for those of you friends who are considering a culinary future listen to wise cerise who has been around the block being chased with a knife more than once.


Why haven’t I written last week, because I was traumatized and spent the week in a VV (Valium Vodka) haze and one point I thought I was best friends with Sue Ellen from Dallas. So this is how my week went down under people (get it, down under). I entered the kitchen raffle with a dollar I borrowed from the sous. I mean borrowed in the loosest terms. He may still be looking for the dollar bill with that serial number on – he was tight enough to write them on a note on his clipboard I swear. Surprise surprise, my ticket came out of chef’s toque and it was a session at a new local Thai restaurant on BBQ and smoking and it included the evening shift off. I decided to use the prize, believing that it was a sign from the gods of culinary arts that this was a new direction for me and would give me a way out of my patisserie conundrum.


I took a bus to Brooklyn in the following days looking for the ‘lucky charm’ Thai restaurant at the address given, but the only ‘lucky charm’ I could find was…..not a restaurant. or maybe they do things differently in Thai country. so I walked in and the strange looking broad behind the front desk asked for my voucher. I apologized for not bringing my knives and whites – another story for another day – but she just smiled and took me through the curtain. No sign of a kitchen or restaurant there, but I could smell herbs burning so it had to be the right place no? she showed me a locker and gave me a padlock for it and gestured towards a curtain that it seemed I should go through.

I stripped down to my briefs – washed specially for the occasion – and opened the locker expecting to see chefs’ whites and so on. but no. a dressing robe and a pair of towelling slippers. I thought it must just be the inscrutable way of Thailanders people doing things, so I changed into them and walked through the curtain. to my utter surprise, instead of there being a shiny silver kitchen, there was a swirling jacuzzi and two very small Taiwanese or whatever women smiling and nodding. before I knew what was happening, I was stripped naked and led into the swirling water. they poured some freaky oil over my head and disappeared. I was surprised to say the least.


I sat in the bath for a while and may even have dropped off to sleep. and for those of you that think this is about to turn into a porno – wash your minds out. The tiny women reappeared and held a massive towel up for me so I could get outta the tub with my dignity intact. I’m still hung up thinking this is the ritualistic side of Thai cooking – you gotta believe me. I was just about to put my boxers back on when they pulled this kind of little milking stool forward that had a hole in the top. I was pushed down – still naked onto the little seat and my junk pushed through the hole! I jumped as warm smoke came up from the bottom of the stool and exited via the hole that my junk was stoppering up.


I jumped into the air and they wrestled me down onto the seat again and kept saying two words ‘smoke chakra smoke chakra’. I couldn’t get them to understand that I needed to leave and get to the smoking and BBQ lesson. after about 20 minutes the smoke subsided, and they left me to get dressed. I will only say that I got straight back into my clothes and fled the place. I have no idea what kind of smoking joint they were running there, but let me tell you they isn’t getting many customers treating folk like that.

I will end on that cautionary tale of being misled by foreign folk and warn you culinary hopefuls to keep yourselves to yourselves especially when the kitchen raffle comes up. the chef was English and we all know what they do with “pool cue” !! you can follow me on LinkedIn if you like people


CERISE PIES FAMOUS SNICKERDOOLE

· 1 cup Unsalted Butter (softened)

· 1 1/2 cups Sugar

· 2 large Eggs

· 2 teaspoons Vanilla

· 2 3/4 cup Flour

· 1 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

· 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda

· 1 teaspoon Salt

Cinnamon-Sugar Mixture:

· 1/4 cup Sugar

· 1 1/2 Tablespoons Cinnamon

Instructions

· Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

· In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the eggs and vanilla. Cream for 1-2 minutes longer.

· Stir in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, just until combined.

· In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon.

· If time allows, wrap the dough and let refrigerate for 20-30 minutes. Roll into small balls until round and smooth. Drop into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat well. Using a spoon, coat for a second time, ensuring the cookie balls are completely covered. *To make flatter snickerdoodles, press down in the center of the ball before placing in the oven. This helps to keep them from puffing up in the middle. *

· Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Let cool for several minutes on baking sheet before removing from the pan.

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