Tag Archives: Ribs

Queenstown, New Zealand

If God created a place for all his children so that they can run, play and marvel at pure, awesome beauty, then that place would have to be Queenstown.

View from Mt Remarkables

View from Mt Remarkables

I think I am at home in the cold, surrounded by snow capped, jagged edged mountains that touch the clouds.  I think I am at home in a place surrounded by tall pine trees, so thick and dense that the colour green places my heart and mind at ease.  I think I am at home beside the wide and vast lakes that make it seem you are at sea when you look into it, with it’s dark blue clear waters that stretch on for miles, disappearing behind the mountains that frames every view of the city.

Queenstown City Centre

Queenstown City Centre

I love Vancouver, the place where I first fell in love with snow capped mountains and the deep dark waters of the lakes in and around it.  It seemed peaceful and the people seemed to be so relaxed.  The views are breath taking and I can remember thinking that I never wanted to leave the place.  Switzerland was the other place close fitting to this scenery.

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Queenstown is much the same and I never thought I would say this, but I think it’s more breath taking than Vancouver!  I’m sorry BC, I still love you but man Queenstown is something else.

On the plane ride in, I was swept away by the views.  We flew in on a dreary day, over cast and from the onset, it looked dark and cold.  The plane, upon its decent felt like a feather falling from the sky, swaying from side to side, dipping, diving and suddenly dropping.  It was a plane landing where I seriously thought might not end  like traditional plane landings but we managed to land safely, some how!

As soon as you get out of the plane and onto the tar mac, you are first reminded of how cold this place is then, as soon as you look around to get your bearings, you are swept away by the beauty all around you.  The colour blue, green, white surrounds you.  And the air, it’s noticeably fresh, clean and so refreshing.

On my first day there, I checked into the Hilton Queenstown.  Right on the foot steps of the Remarkables, which are the snow capped mountains that stand as the back drop to Queenstown and one of the ski hills frequented by the ski bunnies in winter.

The Hilton is about 15 minutes drive from Queenstown city centre but don’t let that discourage you.  So long as you have a car (which is pretty cheap to hire and a necessity if you want to sight see), then every thing is quite easy to get to.

View from the room

View from the room

Hilton Queenstown is on the banks of the lake Wakatipu and it is by far one of the most beautiful hotels I have stayed in and believe me, having worked for many brands of hotels for most of my career, I’ve seen my fair share.  The location is prime, with clear views of the town from all angles.  The mountains are so close you can almost touch them and you can walk right down to the lakes edge and look into Queenstown in the distance.

The hotel is laid out much like a ski lodge.  The building is not tall, which is great because it doesn’t spoil the view and the rooms it self are fantastic.  With twin basins and deep baths in the bath rooms, right through to the open fire place.  The room I was in had double balcony’s with a flat screen TV that swings around to all angles, allowing you to watch it from bed.

The hotel’s amenities are fantastic, particularly the bar where you can enjoy your beer and meal by the huge open fire or the out door deck surrounded by the scenery or simply at the bar being entertained by the superb hospitality of the Hilton bar staff.

Completing the experience were the wonderful staff that worked there.  Every one was helpful and suggested so many activities, locations to visit and places of interest and the concierge team and Nathan in particular were truly amazing.  He organized tours and bookings and showed us places I would other wise never thought of.  In short, this hotel is by far the best I have stayed in; service was great, location amazing and the rooms were definitely five star.

Inside the room, complete with open fire

Inside the room, complete with open fire

In the five days I was In Queenstown, I enjoyed so many things that this fabulous town offered.  Firstly, to enjoy this town, you must get a car.  I got a small but new Holden Barina, great to drive and great on petrol.

There are really only two ways to go, left or right.  You sort of do a loop to Wanaka and back.  From Queenstown, I drove to Cromwell, from Cromwell to Wanaka and then from Wanaka to Arrowtown and back to Queenstown.

On this tour I stopped of at a few wineries in Gibbston Valley, one being Wild Earth.  Placed close to the rapids just outside of Cromwell, this little place is a gem.  Their pinots are amazing and I must say, one of he best I have tasted in a while.  I stopped there to also taste their intriguing food.  It is a tasting platter, complete with matching wines.  What is intriguing about this food is that everything is cooked in converted old wine barrels to give a unique flavour to the food.  Quentin, the chef and proprietor of the place, came up with this way of cooking and it was rather interesting to say the least.  I was fascinated at how they presented their food, on small slabs cut from old wine barrels and the wine flight was also served in the a small part of a wine barrel.  This food presentation was something I will definitely look into, I thought it was very clever and appealing.

Entrance to Wild Earth Winery

Entrance to Wild Earth Winery

Quentin with his barrel ovens

Quentin with his barrel ovens

Don’t worry about the wines, you get only a small taste of each wine so you won’t fly over the limit if you’re driving and the food is good, a definite lunch stop if ever you are in the area and if you’re into it, it is also where the jet boats are launched from!

Food cooked from the barrels with matching Wild Earth Wines

Food cooked from the barrels with matching Wild Earth Wines

From there I headed to Wanaka, with the weather getting better and better as the day went on.  I was lucky to have picked an awesome sunny day to visit Wanaka and it was the type of day you can sit by this beautiful lake, soak in the rays and enjoy the scenery.  More lakes and snow capped mountains fill the scenery.

Whilst I was in Wanaka, I decided to have an organic smoothie at Soul Food, located on the main street of Wanaka city centre.  Paul is the owner of this place and it’s nice to see so many varieties of organic food being sold and prepared at such a beautiful and engaging shop.  Visit him, his smoothies are great and drink it under the shade in the little veggie garden he has out the back!

Wanaka on a gorgeous day

Wanaka on a gorgeous day

Just outside of Wanaka, go to a place called Have a Shot.  This place was a highlight for me.  I love guns, especially rifles and for around $75 you get to hit golf balls at a range, shoot a bow and arrow, shoot a .22cal rifle but the most exciting of all, the clay pigeon shooting.  I looked forward to clay pigeon shooting and as it turned out, it truly was great fun. I’ve shot guns before but this time I enjoyed shooting them at a moving target.  I enjoyed it so much that I just had to go again.  I am convinced that I’m addicted; I think I might take it on as sport!

Shooting clay pigeons at Have a Shot

Shooting clay pigeons at Have a Shot

The drive from Wanaka to Arrowtown is amazing.  You come from high up the mountains, slowly winding your way down into Arrowtown.  The view opens it self up more and more as you descend down, with each turn giving you a new perspective of the valley below.  The road is meanders down the hill, turning into some very tight corners forcing you to really take it slow, which is great because you get to enjoy the views.

View coming down the mountains into Arrowtown

View coming down the mountains into Arrowtown

Arrowtown is a small little town, about 15 minutes away from Queenstown.  I was instantly drawn to this little town.

Surrounded by trees, its made up of a small main street no longer than a couple of hundred meters long and both sides of the road lined with small little shops in buildings that were probably the original buildings built so many years ago.  It wasn’t snowing when I was there, but I could imagine that this place would be a carbon copy of little towns you would normally find in the Swiss Alps, it just had that look and feel about it.

The houses beyond the main street were so beautiful, made of wooden slats and a lot of them lined with picket fences.  I loved this little town, because it seemed so peaceful, a type of place you can easily let go and forget the hustle and bustle of the big cities.  If there is any one in Arrowtown looking for an experienced chef, please consider this as my application, I would move there at a drop of a hat!

Main street of Arrowtown

Main street of Arrowtown

Tree lined street in the suburbs of Arrowtown

Tree lined street in the suburbs of Arrowtown

Food

Now for the best bits, the food.

Queenstown offers so many choices from fine dining right through to tasty, no fuss meals.  I decided to have a taste of both worlds.

Ferg Burger

Ferg Burger staff

Ferg Burger staff

An institution in Queenstown.  You know you are in the right place because it is constantly packed, so much so, there were people lined up outside waiting, just to get a burger.  I was excited, anticipation was high after seeing the line up and the buzz outside this place.  This must the place where so many people have told me about “the” most amazing burger and if you know me, I love a good burger, ribs or hot dogs.

The menu is quite big and the there is something for every one, ranging from the moderately hungry right through to the very hungry.  The burgers are pretty big and very tasty.  A nice, chutney type sauce in the burger and the meat patties are quite tasty.  Ferg Burgers are good but I am sorry to say, I’m still in search for “the” great burger, nevertheless, these burgers did the job and I can’t help but think that the hype has built this burger bigger than what it actually is.

The Famous Ferg Burger

The Famous Ferg Burger

Flame Bar and Grill Restaurant

Flames Bar & Grill

Flame Bar & Grill

I must have walked past this place a million times trying to find it.  I could smell the goodness before I even saw the place.  Again, this place is packed, how ever you can book here and I suggest you do before you just walk in because chances are, they would be full.

This restaurant is right down my alley.  It had all of my food vices in one place from burgers, flame grilled sticky pork ribs, chicken wings and even grilled fish.  I ordered the pork ribs, one whole slab please! And I tell you, THE best ribs I’ve had for a long time.  They were tender, juicy, sticky, smokey and very very tasty indeed!  They didn’t last too long, it was devoured with in minutes.  I was full but just on flavour alone, I think I could have done another slab, EASILY but I didn’t in the risk of being judged by the people that packed the restaurant.  Highly recommend this place and on my way out, I found out you can get a combo meal consisting of ribs, grilled steak, sausage and chicken wings! OMG – true awesomeness on one plate!

The most incredible slab of ribs I have ever tasted!

The most incredible slab of ribs I have ever tasted!

Saffron

Saffron is a restaurant in Arrowtown.  This restaurant is beautiful and the type of place I could see myself comfortably enjoying a meal in the middle of winter.  It has that cosy feel about it, with a open fire place in the middle of the room and warm yellow lights that illuminate the wood and stone that make up the structure of the entire restaurant.

The food was presented well and punched big, bold flavours.  The plates were so colourful and the smells that came out of the kitchen were delectable.

The flavours seemed to be influenced by Thai cuisine and the menu certainly read that way.  I started with a crispy whitebait with lemon and ailoi which was tasty and well seasoned.  That was followed up with a crispy pork and squid salad with a tangy lime and soy dressing which was really big on flavours but tasted rather nice and for mains I had the braised beef in wanton with crispy ribs, served with a type of Thai influenced curry sauce.  It was a strange combination of flavours and textures but it was still a nice meal.

Saffron is a lovely restaurant and the service staff were very attentive and were very good.  They knew their product well and we were served professionally, fitting of that type of “higher end” restaurant.  I had higher expectations of the food and was really excited to dine there but although it was an ok experience, it certainly doesn’t make it in my top ten restaurants.


Richard Gunner Fine Meats Beef Ribs w Chipotle Sauce

Picture by Martine Robert of ChompChomp.com.au

Well, here it is guys, the recipe for the tender RGFM beef rib with chipotle sauce.

One of the other dishes that went down well for the 2012 Eat.Drink.Blog dinner were these awesomely tender beef ribs with chipotle sauce.  I have a deep fascination with secondary cuts of meat, I love them.  Growing up, I hardly saw primary cuts being served on our dining table at home.  My mum or my grandmother would cook with predominantly secondary cuts like ox tail, ribs, beef tendons etc.  Beef ribs was used in a Filipino dish called sinigang; my mum would use either pork ribs or beef ribs, either way, it was braised in a stock flavoured with tamarind for hours until the meat is so tender it almost falls apart especially when you try to sneak one out of the pot, which was often for me because I would always try and pinch one out of the pot before they were served.

These ribs were cooked much the same, just finished differently.  The thing with secondary cuts is that it is packed full of flavour, intense flavours actually.  The draw back is that, to extract these flavours you have to slow cook them at low temperatures for hours to infuse flavours, develope flavours and tenderize the cut of meat.  Secondary cuts are working muscles so it’s tougher if you don’t treat it right.  Tenderizing can be done in several ways, slow cooked on a BBQ, braised, oven braised, slow roasted and the list goes on, it just depends on the final outcome you want.  In this case, I have slow braised it in a beef stock for a few hours on low temperature making sure I develope flavours and also tenderise the meat by cooking it for a long period of time breaking down tendons and connective tissues into gelatinous goodness.

Chipotle sauce is something else!  I love chillies and I fell in love with chipotle sauce because of its smokey flavour.  It’s different, it’s earthy and smokey.  I  came across it when I was trying out a recipe for a mole sauce, a spicy Mexican chocolate sauce.  I accidentally picked up the wrong chilli and from there, I was hooked.

Chipotle is a smoked jalepeno.   Jalepeno chillies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and simply smoked until it becomes this dark, almost blackened chili.  It comes in several ways but the most common is dried or in adobo sauce.  Like Filipino adobo, made with vinegar and soy, Mexican adobo (adobo means sauce) is similar but with out the soy sauce and the Mexican version is  made with a few more spices.

This is my interpretation of the chipotle sauce.  I added a little smoked capsicum in the recipe to boost the smokey flavours and roasted tomatoes to make it more dense.  I sometimes add butter to finish to give it the richness and nice glossy finish to the dish.  The honey is there to give it the “sticky” texture and helps make it really caramelized when roasting.  Try it as a glaze for the beef ribs but if you cool it down, you can add it to mayonaisse and use it as a condiment to say, slow roasted pulled beef rib slider with slaw or pulled pork with crackling slider and avocado.  Mate, if that doesn’t get the juices flowing, I don’t know what will??

I also have to mention how lucky we were to have Richard Gunner supply all of our meats for this event.  We use RGFM meats in the restaurant because one, they’re from our great state of South Australia and secondly, Richard Gunner meats are definitely one of the best going around.  Full traceability and we love that he is so passionate about all his product that he can back it up.  If you have some one with the type of passion and commitment to their product like Richard has, go with them, because chances are they’ll never let you down and boy did that man deliver on the night or what; with both the beef and the lamb that we cooked on the spit.  I’ll take some credit for the cooking but some would have to go to Richard for supplying an awesome product.

Picture by Martine Robert of ChompChomp.com.au

Roasted Beef Ribs with Chipotle Sauce

Serves 8

For the Ribs

2.5kg RGFM Beef Ribs – leave as whole racks on the bone

8litres Water or Beef Stock if Available

1tspn Black Pepper Corns

1 Onion – peeled and quartered

1 Garlic Bulb – halved

1 Bay Leaf

For the Chipotle Sauce

300ml Vegetable Oil

4 Brown Onions – peeled and chopped into small cubes

2 Garlic Bulbs – peeled

1tsp Cumin Powder

1tsp Dried Thyme

5 Tomatoes – roasted whole until slightly coloured and soft

5 Red Capsicum – blackened on open flame, peeled & deseeded

1 x 420gr Tin of Chipotle in Adobo

¼ Cup Honey

Sea Salt –  season to taste

White Pepper – season to taste

(200gr Butter – optional)

250ml Mayonnaise – if using as a mayo

Method

For the Ribs

  1. Pre Heat oven at 180Degrees Celsius
  2. Place 8 liters of water (or stock) in a large pot along with the black pepper corns, chopped brown onions, garlic and bay leaf to make a cooking stock
  3. Take the stock up to boiling point then down to simmer for about 20 minutes
  4. Add the beef ribs into the stock and simmer in the stock for 45 minutes to one and a half hours or until the meat starts to gently fall off the bone
  5. Strain the beef ribs and allow to drain in a colander.  Reserve the stock for later use
  6. Place the ribs on paper towel and dab them dry, place on a wire rack, meat side up with roasting pan underneath ready for roasting

For the Chipotle Sauce

  1. Heat up a large deep pan and add the vegetable oil on high
  2. Add the onions and garlic in the pan straight away
  3. Take up the heat and stir as the oil gets hotter.  You want to cook it so as that the oil heats up slowly, slowly browning the onions an garlic evenly.  Do not leave the pot and continuous stirring at all times until golden brown
  4. Once browned, add the cumin and thyme and stir in
  5. Then add the roasted tomatoes and roasted, peeled red capsicums and stir in.  Cook until the both the ingredients break down
  6. Add the tinned chipotle and the juice from the tin then bring to simmer and continue to simmer for about another 15 minutes
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  8. Blitz the sauce to a smooth paste using a hand blender
  9. Add the honey and continue to blitz until smooth (add optional butter)

To finish

  1. Brush the ribs lavishly with the chipotle sauce
  2. Roast at pre heated oven for 15 minutes basting every 5-8 minutes with remaining sauce.  You can achieve a smokier flavour if cooked in a Webber at the same temp and timings
  3. Before serving, finish on charcoal grill for extra smokey flavour (normal BBQ grill would be fine).  If cooked in a Webber, omit this stage
  4. Serve with chipotle mayonnaise and simple garden salad

For the chipotle mayonnaise

  1. Place ¼ of the chipotle sauce in a mixing bowl and cool right down the fridge for about 30 minutes
  2. Mix this with the mayonnaise until evenly mix thorough