Easter long weekend: Meat Fest Friday

My friends and I love to eat. That’s one of the reasons we are such great mates. After much planning and discussion over the past few months, here we were at our long-awaited Meat Fest Friday, at The Other Jac’s house. My Jac and I skipped breakfast in anticipation of an epic afternoon of eating. It’s easy to tell the two Jacs apart in this story, by the way – there’s Jac and then there’s The Other Jac.

For the oyster lovers, Jac assembled a platter of fleshy beauties (boogers to the rest of us) with lemon wedges, a very tart shallot and red wine vinegar dressing and Bloody Mary dressing. Recipe links are at the end of this post.

Oysters with shallot dressing and Bloody Mary dressing

Making a bloody Mary oyster

A bloody Mary oyster

I was waiting for the cheese dip to come out of the oven. Prez made a hot roasted garlic Parmesan beer cheese dip from a recipe by one of her blogging/cooking idols, The Beeroness. In addition to the beer (Prez used Hawthorn Brewing Premium Pale Ale) and Parmesan, the dip’s got smoked cheese in it (The Beeroness recommends smoked Gouda or smoked mozzarella), with a little kick from Sriracha sauce.

Roasted garlic parmesan beer cheese dip

It looked like a souffle when it first came out of the oven. If you like cheese dips, this one will be irresistible. We dug into it with bread sticks and vegetables. There were two ramekins for the table, plenty to go around to keep the cheese lovers – that’s everyone – happy.

Roasted garlic parmesan beer cheese dip

L cooked up juicy chunks of steak marinated with Worcestershire sauce and pepper, served pink in the middle. Hot tip: Beeroness’ roasted garlic parmesan beer cheese dip makes a superb sauce slathered on steak.

Worchestershire and pepper steak

Slicing the bread

The cooks got to work on the main course, which included barbecued corn on the cob.

BBQ roasted corn on the cob

Corn

Prez made BBQ bacon-wrapped prawns, and bacon-wrapped chicken for those in the group who don’t like prawns. The red is from paprika and cayenne, balanced with lemon juice, curry powder and sugar (recipe link at the end of this post).

BBQ bacon-wrapped chicken and prawns

Bacon-wrapped prawns on the barbecue

I’d like to make deluxe versions next time with pineapple chunks wrapped in bacon with the prawns. Were the prawns bursty? You betcha!

BBQ bacon-wrapped prawns

BBQ bacon-wrapped chicken

By popular demand, The Other Jac cooked a chicken in her Weber BBQ, stuffed with lemons and smoked with hickory wood chips. It was a spider chook – with eight drumsticks!

Hickory smoked chicken

The Other Jac's hickory-smoked chicken

My sister Juji roasted potatoes in duck fat. They were crisp and golden on the outside, steaming hot and fluffy on the inside. The warm smell that wafted up as I took this photo! Another “if only we had smell-o-vision” moment.

Oven-roasted duck fat potatoes

Juji also made her special dry rub pork ribs, slow-cooked for three hours so the meat fell easily off the bones.

Ah, the token salad. A very fine salad which we all appreciated, thanks to the efforts of The Other Jac, but it was nowhere as enticing as things wrapped in bacon, tender smoky chicken, finger-licking-good ribs and duck fat potatoes. That’s just the way it is.

Salad

There’s no need to be shy with friends like these – there’s no shame in going back for seconds or thirds, or just load up on your first round so you don’t need to get up again. There’s always the option of hitching a ride on someone else’s plate: “Can you bring me back another rib please?” The answer to that is usually: “Just one?”

My plate

After all this, we needed a bit of a break. With the dishes were cleared and leftovers packaged up ready to take home later, Juji and Prez continued on their cooking spree, joining forces to make a batch of Coca-Cola brownies, which took about twenty minutes to cook in the oven.

Carving up the Coca-Cola brownies

While Juji carved up the hot brownies, The Other Jac sliced up two blocks of homemade ice cream she’d made to go with the brownies (I said we’d been planning this for months) – peppermint crisp ice cream and apricot ice cream.

Slicing the peppermint crisp ice cream

Slicing apricot ice cream

I couldn’t really taste the Coca-Cola in the brownies, but they were soft and chewy. The peppermint crisp ice cream was my favourite, with crunchy chocolate bits throughout. While we ate dessert, we talked about bacon brownies, which I was delighted to discover aren’t really so unusual.

Coca-Cola brownie, apricot ice cream and peppermint crisp ice cream

Thanks to my Meat Fest friends for their fantastic planning and cooking, for being willing hand models and their patience with the antics of the photographer.

I took a box of leftovers home – the last two spuds, a couple of ribs, a piece of chicken and extra chicken skin (oh yeah, ka-CHING!). I ate it all with rice for dinner to end my meat festy Friday.

A note on Good Friday and Easter

I grew up in a Roman Catholic family. We didn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent, and Easter was a religious, holy time rather than an excuse to eat lots of chocolate on a long weekend. As a child, I detested the no-meat Fridays and my late grandmother tried to explain why it was OK to eat fish but not other meat:

“When Jesus died on the cross,” she said, “everyone was very sad. All the people and many of the animals cried. The cows in the field cried, the sheep cried, even the chickens and ducks cried. But the fish and the prawns, they are too small (in reference to the fish we ate, which were never larger than the size of a dinner plate, usually much smaller) and didn’t know how to cry or be sad for Jesus, so we are allowed to eat them.”

Now even 6-year-old me didn’t think that sounded quite right, but I’ve never forgotten that story. Mum later explained the concept of penance during Lent, which was all about making a personal sacrifice and nothing to do with which animals cried for Jesus. Now as an adult, I’m not religious and enjoy the Easter long weekend as a much needed break from work. I probably don’t eat any more chocolate than usual at Easter.

What does Easter mean to you?

Recipes featured in this post

Oyster dressings by Sophie Dahl

Roasted garlic, parmesan and beer cheese dip by The Beeroness

BBQ bacon-wrapped shrimp by Cook and be Merry (we had bacon-wrapped chicken and bacon-wrapped prawns)

Coca-Cola brownies from Serious Eats

The dry rub for the pork ribs is the same recipe Juji uses for her pulled pork. See her post: How to make pulled pork at home

The hickory-smoked chicken recipe came from The Other Jac’s Weber BBQ cookbook (which came with the Weber). You’ll need to google the rest.

Thank you

Thanks to everyone who’s emailed, tweeted or left a comment here or on Facebook regarding my special announcement and the changes to the blog – I really appreciate your support and encouragement. We’re still tweaking and fixing things, but I’m pretty chuffed so far.

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  • capnjack

    It’s become family tradition in my family to only eat fish or seafood on Good Friday – there has been little religious influence for the last few generations, but it did start that way. It was also an excuse to get my father and brother to eat fish! But we always made sure it was a real treat – whole golden perch or murray cod, stuffed with lemons and herbs, wrapped in banana leaves or alfoil, cooked in the barbeque.. the flesh would fall apart, and even the family dog would go mad for it. It also came from living in a town right on the river, where heaps of family members would come to town for the long weekend to go fishing!

    Even though I’m not religious, it still feels wrong to me to eat meat on Good Friday, but I don’t have any problems with others eating it around me. Your feast looked amazing!

    • capnjack, your perch or cod stuffed with lemon and herbs, wrapped up and cooked on the barbie sounds beautiful. I like fish much more as an adult than I did as a kid, so now for me, eating fish would be more like a treat than a sacrifice.

  • disqus_ckJ1EaLeAG

    dont like the new layout. the pics were far too big.

    • lilarye

      They’re also way too big for me–they’re cut off and I can’t see the whole pic. I’m on an iPad, though.

    • Marcus Ng

      It’s not optimized for mobile phone viewing. I can only see the left halves of the pictures on my iPhone

      • Thanks Marcus, we’re aware there’s an issue with the display on mobile phone – this will be fixed soon.

  • Erryn

    The pics are fine on my comp! And I’m not a huge meat person but wow… :)

  • Oh my, the oysters look delicious!

    I’m not at all a Catholic but I still don’t eat meat on Good Friday – it’s great cos it gives me a good excuse to eat fish and chips like we did this weekend :)

  • kathy

    Congrats on the new look. I am getting older and resist change. Saying that, I recognize the need for it. Everyone will get used to it. A month ago I couldn’t have read this meat post. I was really sick and just the thought of meat made me gag. What?? VERY strange. I too was raised Catholic and basically had The same experience as you did growing up. Now I pray by myself and try to treat others as I want to be treated. Works for me. Happy Easter to you and Jac. Oh, and the pics are just fine on my pc.

    • Thanks, kathy. It is difficult to please everyone whenever there is change. Glad you are better (not just so you can look at the blog without feeling sick). Yep, as sucky as it may sound, I don’t go to church any more but I try to be a good person and do the right thing. Probably don’t always succeed though. :)

  • Dea

    I was brought up in a Protestant Christian family and still practice the faith as an adult. No meat-free Fridays for me. On Easter, a family friend hosts a huge Easter lunch and we gather at their place after church for lunch. The food is always fantastic. This year we had chicken curry and roti jala, teriyaki chicken wings, otak otak, and there was spaghetti, sausages and fishballs for the kids. Your meat fest looks fabulous and the slices of ice cream remind me of the traditional blocks of ice cream sold by street vendors in Singapore. Apricot ice cream would be lovely in a slice of rainbow bread!

    • Dea, your lunch sounds delicious, especially chicken curry and roti jala. Oh I would love to try ice cream in rainbow bread! But not apricot ice cream – durian ice cream!

      • Dea

        Still not a great durian fan – I can manage a couple bites now, but I love sweet corn ice cream in rainbow bread. It’s a very Asian thing I realise, to have sweet corn in desserts. But it is delish and in the stinking heat wave we’re experiencing now, I caved in to one on the way home from work one evening. Heh heh.

        • I love sweet corn ice cream too. And it’s my mum’s favourite. Since we can’t get it here, she sometimes has a poor man’s substitute – good quality vanilla ice cream with a tin of cream corn. :) Every now and then I do like to buy the variety pack of ice cream potong from Asian supermarket, which has durian, jackfruit, red bean, taro and sweet corn ice cream potong in one box.

  • AZ

    Oh goodness I thought I’d lost you forever! My PC kept saying “Internet Explorer doesn’t support this feed,” but here you are all brand spankin’ new and beautiful! Now to catch up on what I missed…

    • AZ, sorry to scare you! :) We’re still fixing some things (including a broken RSS feed yesterday which should be all good now). Hopefully most bugs will get sorted out soon.

  • AZ

    Oh one more little trick to slicing warm brownies is to use a plastic knife; the plastic knife will make nice clean cuts that a metal knife can’t seem to accomplish. Just sayin’ :)

    • Thanks for the tip. I’ll pass that on to Juji – she was doing the brownie slicing. We were all in a bit of a hurry to dig in by then before the brownies got cold and the ice cream melted so weren’t too fussed, to honest. :P

  • Wei

    To me, Easter is about remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He died on the Friday and rose from the dead in 3 days on the Sunday. His death was the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and his resurrection from the death meant that Jesus conquered death so that Christians can do the same. I love my food and eatIng as much as any foodie but it bugs me that the focus of eating chocolate eggs, hot cross buns or no-meat on Good Friday takes over the true meaning of Easter.

  • I really love the new layout and the large pictures, which are almost life-size on my (nerd sized) computer screen. I can see every delicious morsel – the char on the bacon, the gills of the salad mushrooms, even the pores on the lemon *inside* the chicken!

  • Peter G

    Looks great Cynthia! Def a carnivore’s feast! Happy to be on board with you! Cheers

  • i’m one of those people that has to be difficult, and i detest that religion affects our society, so every good friday i like to eat steak and drink booze. maybe throw in an R rated movie. find it weird that our opening hours are dictated by jesus.

  • Kissy

    Wow wow wow! I was only going to leave a quick comment but feel obliged to comment on some of your delicious pictures.
    The oysters. Look plump and juicy, the cheese dip looks like something I could indulge in all night, especially on the steak, which by the way looks cooked beautifully. Corn cooked on the BBQ is always a delight and one of my favourite ways to eats it. Those prawns and chicken wrapped in bacon are food porn at it’s best! You took some tasty pictures and they make my tummy rumble just looking at them! The BBQ chicken and goose fat potatoes look so crispy, you have very clever friends and family. To finish off those ribs with meat falling off the bone……. Carnivores heaven. I can’t wait for the snowy frosty weather to go here in England so I can dust off the BBQ and recreate some of these meaty delights. Good work!!