FB: How would you rate yourself as a cook?
RQ: I’d say I can hold my own without being an expert. I went through a stage, I think, when my wife went back to work after our first kid and I was in the kitchen quite a bit, so through necessity I sort of learned to cook a little bit. It’s been good. I like playing around with some foods.
FB: Is the kitchen somewhere you feel comfortable?
RQ: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Something like a big, heavy roast I’m probably not great at. (When) I had my wife over before we were married, I attempted to make dinner. I cooked a roast chook. I was wondering why it was taking so long to cook. I took it out and thought ‘Look, stuff it. It’s been in long enough’ and realised I’d cooked it upside down. It was actually really juicy – obviously the fillets are at the bottom instead of the top. I turned it over and it was moist and tasty, so it worked out OK. I might be onto something, because I’ve accidentally done it since as well.
FB: What is your signature dish?
RQ: It’s something that my dad used to cook. It’s called Crispy Chicken Casserole. It’s not the greatest for you, but like all things that aren’t great for you, it tastes bloody great. You get a roast chook, you pull it apart, you add mayo, slivered almonds, cheese, celery and spring onion, put it in a baking dish and cover it with Smith’s potato chips, all crushed up. You put it in the oven and away you go. It comes out and you serve it with chips or potato gems, depending on how healthy you’re feeling. You probably need to throw some veggies in there as well, but we never did.
FB: What do you like to drink?
RQ: With it? In summer, a glass of Pino Grigio whilst I’m cooking and then another one with dinner. Through the winter stages, you marry it up with red meat … you start with a Pino, and if there’s only half a bottle of Pino left, you have that and then you go onto a Shiraz.
FB: Which five people would you most like to invite to dinner?
RQ: Andy Lee and his brother Cam, Matthew Richardson, Scott Pippin and my dad, who passed away 10 years ago.
FB: Do you have a kitchen tip for us?
RQ: Yes, it was one I got from my dad. When you’re cooking, if you’ve got time to at least rinse some things, if you can, wash them before you sit down and eat. Do as much as the cleaning up as possible if you can juggle it while cooking and/or serving. My other tip – which my sister does – is that she cooks and her husband does the dishes.
ROB’S CRISPY CHICKEN CASSEROLE
Rob’s kindly provided us with his dad’s special recipe if you’d like to give it a crack. Let us know how you go!
1 whole roast chook (torn apart)
A few celery sticks, chopped
A few spring onions, chopped
2/3 to a whole jar of mayonnaise
2 and a half cups slivered almonds (slightly browned)
2 to 3 handfuls grated cheese
Gather contents in a big bowl. Mix together with clean hands until it’s consistently mixed. Put in baking dish. Crunch up one large packet full of Smith’s Original chips and sprinkle chips over the top. Bake at 180 degrees for around 35 to 45 minutes. Serve with chips or potato gems.