How to: Be a Stud in the Kitchen!

Come learn from one of the best in the game… 

I’m hurt, again, and can’t go in the water, again, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the last few years of constant injury it’s that you really need to watch what you eat when you can’t exercise. I mean, I could jog or something, but that shit sucks. I’d rather just lay about and complain until my body is healed enough to do things that are fun.

Lucky for me, I’m a top notch cook. Not so lucky for me, the stuff I like to eat is terrible for you.

But not anymore. I recently learned from an internet article I skimmed but didn’t really understand, that potatoes don’t have any gluten in them. Which means they’re healthy, somehow. Great news, I can finally potato my way to that slim figure I so desperately crave.

I mean, I could jog or something, but that shit sucks. I’d rather just lay about and complain until my body is healed enough to do things that are fun. Lucky for me, I’m a top notch cook. Not so lucky for me, the stuff I like to eat is terrible for you.

I present “Rory’s Extra Healthy, Low Cal, No Carb, Gluten Free, non-GMO, Potato Pile with Saffron Gravy Heaven.”

Prep/cook time: 2 ½ hours

Serves: Theoretically, eight, if everyone is super polite and only takes a small portion. But it’s just me and the wife at home, and I made a plate for our landlady, and there were minimal leftovers.  So, realistically, three or four.

You will need:

1 stick of Butter

10 Saffron threads (It’s super cheap at Trader Joe’s so I had my dad mail me a ton of this shit a while back.)

Salt

Pepper

1 teaspoon Garlic Chili Paste

3 tablespoons flour

Two cups heavy whipping cream

4-6 Yukon gold potatoes

2 medium sweet Onions

1 bulb garlic

A bunch of Swiss cheese- grated

Even more Cheddar/Jack/whatever-they-have-on-sale-at-the-market-that-you-like- grated

Slightly less smoked Gouda- grated

PREP

First things first. Slice up your onions and garlic, toss them in separate pans with a healthy dose of butter, cook at medium-high until they’re soft-ish. Add a little salt and pepper to the onions, but don’t over-do it. You’ll be using plenty more of both before you’re done.

When they’ve softened, but still retain a little crunch, pull the garlic and onions off the heat and set them aside.

Now grab the taters and slice ’em up too. You want each slice to be about 1/4” thick. But, if you’re like me and don’t own a mandoline, the thickness of the slices will be all over the place. No big deal. Set them aside for now.

SAUCE

Now the fun part, making the sauce. It’s basically gravy, and, I know, gravy isn’t usually healthy. But this gravy is both vegetarian and non-GMO, so it totally is.

And it’s organic too! Somehow.

Get a sauce pan up to low heat, then throw in your butter and saffron. As the butter melts use your spatula to crush the saffron threads. This will help give everything that beautiful saffron yellow color and make the dish fancy. You won’t be able to taste it, really, but who cares?

Saffron! Make it a point to tell people you used it, otherwise there’s really no point.

When the butter is nice and melted, add 1 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and three tablespoons flour. Cook it all together on low heat until it’s a smooth slurry, free of lumps.

Now remove it from the heat and let the pan cool for a few minutes, Then pour in two cups of heavy whipping cream, and add a teaspoon of garlic chili paste. Return it to the stove, raise the heat to medium, and bring it to a low boil while stirring continuously.

Don’t stop stirring! If you do the flour will separate and it’ll be gross as fuck.

When it reaches a low boil, and it looks like the flour is mixed in, remove from heat. It’ll thicken and develop a skin as it cools. That doesn’t matter at all.

After it’s cooled a bit, make sure no one is watching, then eat a couple spoonfuls.

BUILD

Now take out the cast iron dutch oven that I know you already own (if not, go buy one! Most useful pan/pot/je ne sais quoi in existence) and grease the fuck out of it with whatever oil you have at hand.

Put a layer of sliced potatoes on the bottom of the dutch oven, salt and pepper to taste, then add some of those onions and garlic from earlier. Ladle on four or five good heaping tablespoons of your ever-so-healthful veggie gravy, then plop an assortment of your cheeses on top of that (go easy on the smoked Gouda. Too much will overpower everything else). Put another layer of potatoes completely covering the first, and repeat the spices/onion/garlic/gravy/cheese until you’re out of ingredients. You should be at four or five layers.

To be honest, it really doesn’t matter what order you add the ingredients, until the last layer. Cheese goes on last, it needs to be on top to create the awesome cheese skin we’re looking for.

COOK

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (177 for the rest of the world, according to Google), and bake the dish, covered, for approximately 90 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when a fork slides easily through to the bottom.

When the potatoes are cooked through, raise the heat to broil, remove the lid, and let it cook for another five minutes or so. Until the top layer of cheese is a nice brown, and chewy crispy.

Remove from oven and let sit for ten minutes. Don’t get super high while you cook and immediately eat a giant forkful, the cheese will stick to the roof of your mouth and burn the hell out of you.

And, remember, that cast iron retains heat for fucking forever, so definitely don’t get super high and then grab the lid bare handed ten minutes after you’ve taken it out of the oven.

 


Rapture: world’s slickest surf shop!

Designer wetsuits, package-free accessories, rows of monochromatic surfboards… 

The surfboard shaper Hayden Cox and his new wife Danielle are a comely couple. Hayden is model handsome with a boyish face and when he smiles revealed are rows of gigantic snowy perfect teeth.

Danielle’s rock-star blonde hair is piled into an exquisite nest (I make a note in my pad that says “celestial radiance of her profile”) and in her Balmain leather boots she hits a little over six feet.

The pair, she, a marketing whiz, he, the designer of the most successful surfboard model of all time, the Hyptpo Krypto, enter the luxury surf shop and HaydenShapes HQ they just bankrolled.

“Well…what do you think?” Danielle asks.

Oh, reader, if I had the writerly muscle to do the joint justice. I’ll attempt a sketch.

You are in an industrial area on Sydney’s northern beaches, near the Australian outlet for Channel Islands, among boat and furniture factories, fast-food takeaways and a shopping centre that presents as a giant brown-brick cube. This isn’t Saturdays in SoHo or General Admission in Venice or Korea’s Surf Code.  Where it is ain’t glamorous. But let’s walk through the door.

The ravages of hipster cliché are a mile away here. There’s no wood. There’s no pendant lighting. Nothing vintage. No motorcycles or coffee machines. Nothing that screams the buzzword “authentic!”

Instead, it’s wall-to-wall polished concrete with an asymmetrical counter of fabricated concrete shadowed by a large screen built into the wall showing black-and-white surf films of empty waves and occasionally Craig Anderson. Surfboards of matte and polished black, and white, hang from bespoke clothing racks.

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Deck pads in either black or white from Astrodeck, Octopus and Modom are relieved of their packaging and are displayed on different sized blocks of concrete.

There is a row of Saturdays Surf clothing and accessories, some Bassike and fins and wetsuit cleaner and so forth by HaydenShapes.

What steals my eye, apart from a semi-secret surfboard model that is the logical progression of the Hypto Krypto, is a small rack with wetsuits designed by Danielle. All made from three mm-thick Japanese Yamamoto rubber, with a fine internal lining.

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You want to order a board?

Swing on over to the bespoke wood and leather couches and grab a Galaxy tablet. Hayden has developed a beautiful piece of design software called HSSTUDiO.

In real time, you can design your board, complete with 3-D movable pictures. Every time you tweak a dimension, your volume changes. Add a spray and it appears. Pinch and pull the surfboard image to investigate its curves from whatever angle.

When y’done, press buy and it goes straight to the counter.

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If you’re tyre-kicking, strap on the VR goggles and take a tour of HS’ factory. See a board shaped. See a board glassed.

“You are in my design space with me among the dust, resin and tools,” says Hayden.

It’s a wild enough experience, a reminder, that for all the slickness and curvaceousness that surrounds, this is a surfboard shop.

About the store Hayden says: “I love the idea of being progressive and pushing the industry to evolve,” he says. “We wanted to do this differently to what people have seen before.”


“We Brazzo distroy you suck all dick!”

Race baiting is at an all time high. Who can unite us all?

Two months ago, Rory Parker predicted that dear Adriano de Souza would win both the World Surf League crown and also the Pipeline Masters (HERE). And how prescient is that? It made me very happy because I felt the little man’s tireless work ethic, his up-by-the-bootstraps pluck, his gold chain resting against hairy chest would coalesce the world under a banner of happy reconciliation (HERE).

And don’t you want a people’s champ to hold the trophy this year? Our world is very fractured. The 1% fights the 99%. Islamic radicals fight good-livin’ folk. Donald Trump fights Mexicans and Muslims and handicapped people. An ADS championship could unite us all. Don’t you want that? Don’t you wish for world peace?

I wrote at the time and then he did win and the surf world did not unite in peace but, rather, exploded into racist hyperbole. The camps shot back and forth with Brazilians preferring a generally angry/shouty FUCK YOU AUSSIE FUCK tone and non-Brazilians preferring a less obvious/more insidious type of institutionalized bigotry. Like commenting on ADS’s, but also Medina’s and Toledo’s “style” which is really just another way of saying the boys surf “non-white” no?

And has the surf world ever been more divided down racial lines? It has always been extremely territorial, and territorial claims have, from time to time, exploded. It has also been generally classist, but has it ever been this explicitly racist? I think not.

It’ll be interesting to see if the animosity spills from online comment boards into real life. Like, will Bali’s various waves turn into mini-apocalypses with roving bands of Brazilian youth fighting roving bands of white youth? Pitchforks and things? Will it feel like West Side Story with the Jets vs. Sharks?

Is there a Brazilian surfer who can unite the camps, a shreddy Gandhi? Is there an American/Australian surfer who can? A rippy Robert Kennedy?

And, if not, who will choreograph our dance rumbles?

Can't we all just get along?
Can’t we all just get along?

Yike: “Fatal Shark Attack Imminent!”

Someone gonna die on a Byron Bay-Ballina beach in January, says shark fisherman… 

The debate about shark fishing is the oddest thing I’ve ever encountered. We mow through every living creature that has even a modicum of texture and taste in its flesh, broiled, baked, served raw on deliciously fragrant rice, but when it comes to icing a few sharks we lose our shit.

We’re in their environment, surf at your risk, etc. 

To suggest a few nets are thrown up a couple of hundred metres offshore to let the human animal swim unmolested invites ridicule and the sort of venom that has become the characteristic of the rigid left-wing mind (Just ask ’em about that Great Satan, America).

South Africa, South Australian, northern California? Yeah, sharks, we know. I keep a ledger in my head of shark attacks and keep it vigorously updated. With each new Great White attack, I lick the nib and carefully draw an imaginary pencil line through the area.

But when Australia’s north-east coast, home to Bulls and Tigers, sure, but never Whites, suddenly became insanely packed with ’em, attacks happening every other month, you’d would think, logically, maybe the government could string up a few nets?

That isn’t going to happen, of course, at least not without a few years of hand-wringing and a few more deaths.

Anyway, this morning, The Australian newspaper’s Fred Pawle interviewed  a Ballina shark fisherman. It makes for instructive reading.

Let’s examine.

“If anyone in Ballina knows sharks, it’s David Woods. A commercial fisherman, he says he caught an average of 3.8 4m-long sharks every working day for 15 years. Now, having seen a spate of people killed or mauled by sharks around the northern NSW town, he says another fatal attack is ­imminent.

“Mr Woods stopped fishing for sharks in 2009 because restrictions on catches and the paperwork involved made his business unviable. Other shark fishermen in the area have done the same.

‘I’m predicting there will be another fatal attack in January,’ he said.

“He said this was traditionally the month when large great whites migrated back down the coast. This, combined with the constant presence of juvenile great whites, tigers, bulls and bronze whalers had made the water unsafe. Asked what percentage of his catch of large sharks were species that attacked people, he said: “They all were.”

“A Department of Primary Industries spokeswoman dismissed any link between the decrease in shark fishing and the increase in attacks.

‘There is no evidence that a decrease in the commercial catch of sharks has resulted in the increased number of recent shark attacks,’ she said.

The NSW government has faced criticism over its apparent sluggish response to protecting ocean-goers, including the possible installation of shark nets on the north coast.

“Mr Woods bought his boat, designed to catch large sharks, in 2001 for $180,000. He targeted tiger and bull sharks and sold almost the whole body to various businesses: the meat went to fish fertiliser, fins were exported to China, liver and oil went to a Tasmanian smallgoods producer and the skin went to a South Australian tannery.

“At his peak, Mr Woods said, he was earning $250,000 to $300,000 a year., but he stopped fishing sharks in 2009 when the department introduced limits of 500kg a week. Now he is earning $80,000.”

“Another Ballina commercial fisherman, Paul Porter, said the worst time of year was January to March. Last year, while fishing for mackerel, often only 600m from where people were swimming, he was losing 20-30 fish a day to great whites stalking his boat. ‘The year before you’d lose maybe one a week,” he said. He estimated he lost $10,000 to $20,000 worth of fish to sharks in the three-month period.'”

Read more here!

What’s it like to have your head inside a living Great White? Click here!

And what’s it like to see your pal be swooped on by a White? Click here? 


An Open Letter To Mick Fanning…

From one grieving brother to another… 

(Editor’s note: This letter appeared on the Facebook of the Australian football player Cameron Cullen whose own brother died on a surf trip earlier this year…)

“An open letter to Mick fanning from one Aussie to another! Hi Mick, I am Cameron Cullen a 23 year old footballer playing for the Burleigh bears intrust super cup team chasing my dream of playing nrl !

In 7 days I will become a father of a little daughter to my amazing girlfriend ! This may never get to you but the reason I am writing to you is because what I witnessed today has absolutely stunned me and I cannot stop thinking about it ! About 5 months ago my brother passed away on a surfing trip in the Maldives he was my best mate and it absolutely ripped me apart !

3 days after his funeral I played a game of rugby league against tweed heads! On the field I could not stop thinking about him about the last day we spent together the last phone call we shared the picture of his body in the coffin at the viewing I cried on the field in the sheds at halftime at half time, full time I was a mess !

3 days after his funeral I played a game of rugby league against tweed heads! On the field I could not stop thinking about him about the last day we spent together the last phone call we shared the picture of his body in the coffin at the viewing I cried on the field in the sheds at halftime at half time, full time I was a mess !

And I consider myself to be pretty mentally tough I have done 3 nrl pre seasons 2 with broncos 1 with cowboys and been put through some brutal stuff but it had nothing on this ! We lost and I can’t even really remember what I did in that game! I can remember having all my family and friends on the hill supporting me but I just felt numb I was and still am struggling to cope with the fact he is really gone ! I find it hard at the moment to be motivated and inspired I find it a hard enough task to be the happy out going person I once was ! But seeing what you did today lifted me !

Not only have you been through this pain before losing a brother but to have to go through it again and find out the morning of one of your most important competitions of your career chasing a 4th title win is just unfair ! Many men tough as nails including my self would fall in a heap…

Not only have you been through this pain before losing a brother but to have to go through it again and find out the morning of one of your most important competitions of your career chasing a 4th title win is just unfair ! Many men tough as nails including my self would fall in a heap !

You went out and surfed one of the best heats at the pipe masters and won ! Keeping your title hopes alive ! You are an absolute inspiration not only to me but many people in Australia and across the world ! Thank you so much for the strength and courage that you showed today it gave me hope that I can push through this !

I’m writing this today because regardless of where you finish your world champion in my eyes !”