I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.

Gluten and lactose are not my friends.

Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.

I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

August 14, 2010

Oysters Kilpatrick

BigJ and I are children of the 70's.

My family were never big seafood eaters, and the only oysters I ever really had were smoked ones that came in a tin and were covered in orange tinted oil. We ate them on crackers surrounded by chunks of cabanossi and tasty cheese. We thought they tasted pretty good actually!

BigJ didn't do much better, but his family ate oysters, ala Kilpatrick and Mornay. The slimy little suckers usually came in bottles, so shells were carefully washed and reused each time to make them look more authentic.

I have to admit I was slow to approach an oyster. They looked ugly. They're surrounded by sharp shell. To chew or not to chew, that is the question. I didn't understand why you wouldn't, but opinions seemed divided on this issue. Raw or cooked? Again, there was no consensus.

When BigJ first introduced me to these little molluscs, I was glad they were so well disguised under a blanket of crispy bacon and tangy sauce. This way I could pretend they weren't there at all! I held my breath, scooped the whole lot in, and started to chew. I breathed in and.... my eyes started to water, I couldn't stop coughing, I thought I was going to choke. I needn't have worried about oyster, all I could taste was the tangy, acidic hit of Worcestershire sauce that overpowered all in its wake. I was not a fan. Eventually, BigJ and I reached a compromise, he could eat the oysterie bit and I would pinch a bit of bacon off the top. It worked for me.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and I'm working in a Fish market for a year. One of my designated jobs every couple of days was to sort the oysters. We had a little Thai man whose only job was to open fresh oysters, dozen after dozen, full time. To make it a bit easier for him, the oysters were tumbled in a (clean) cement mixer to knock off the sharp edges. My job was to take these lovely fresh babies and to submerge them in sink full of water, therefore washing away all the natural juices and sea freshness, rendering them nearly tasteless. The idea was to wash off any shards of shell and 'refresh' the look of the oyster. It was a privileged job, for some reason, and only trusted employees were allowed to do it. I never knew why, I just knew it meant I was up to my elbows in smelly cold, water for hours. All oysters had to be accounted for, and if there were ever any left over shells in the box, there was Big Trouble. I soon learnt to hide them buried under fish carcasses in the bin.

None of this endeared the oyster to me.

I do love pearls though. They are my favourite gem. They are lustrous and full of life. And anything that annoyed an oyster that much must be good!

Fast forward another couple of years and I finally got to use some really nice, top quality, fresh oysters. They look beautiful. They smell really nice-they haven't been washed. They are plump and pretty (like me!) I began to warm to the oyster.

Nowadays, I don't mind the odd oyster. Even littlej will have one or two. They're certainly not my favourite bit of fishiness, but the oyster and I have reconciled our differences and taste buds.

In honour of the noble oyster and the 70's, I have decided to post about Oysters Kilpatrick. I hope your experience with them was better than mine.

Step 1. Find some oysters. Please use fresh, plump, nice ones. Not bottled, tinned or soaked ones.

Step 2. Make the sauce.
I don't like thin, stringy, acidic tasting Worcestershire sauce that just drips off oyster and masks the flavour. I wanted something that would be a bit sweeter and stick the bacon and oyster together a bit more into more of a cohesive unit.
I used a whole bottle of gluten free Worcestershire sauce. Check the lable. I added in a tablespoon each of gfree tomato sauce and bbq sauce. This was reduced down on the stovetop until thick and syrupy

Step 3. Finely slice some streaky bacon. You need some fat for this as it carries and smooths out the flavour. I pre-cook my bacon as this means you don't risk overcooking the oyster under the grill later.

Step 4. Assemble. Traditionally the oyster is placed attractively nestled onto a pile of rocksalt. This balances them and keeps them straight so the saucey stuff doesn't run off. I didn't have any, so I just had to cope.
Place a pile of bacon on the oyster and top with a spoonful of sauce.

Step 5. Place under a preheated grill or in a hot oven, until bacon is crisp and sauce is hot and bubbly. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and enjoy!

So Reader, have you had any unpleasant experiences with an oyster?


  1. I used to be a fan of raw oysters, but have since gone off them. Have had a couple of friends get quite sick on them (one with hepatitis while pregnant) and now I'm a bit nervy, which diminishes the eating experience! Your cooked version sounds very nice though, so I might have to try that. And can I just confess to being a fan of the old smoked oysters that came out of a tin? Loved them to death. My husband won't go near them.. :)

  2. LOVE Oysters and everything about them. To me kilpatrick and mornay are kind of a waste- esp if the oysters are beautiful and plump and fresh. I also (weirdly) don't really love smoked oysters but crave them but can eat a whole tin full of them without even blinking! Mum used to have cravings for them when she was pregnant with me and I think she may have passed that on to me- really odd! - Try some oysters with a little bit of pickled ginger, some wakame and a dash of lime- delicious!

  3. I had a rather unfortunate experience with some bad oysters at a Batemans Bay restaurant not long ago - it was nasty!

  4. I adore oysters but my favourite way is au natural with a bit of lemon! Bliss! :D

  5. oooh I recently found that GF worchestershire sauce too and was most excited!!!

  6. I love smoked oysters - especially dipping white baguette into the oil in the tin afterwards... wow, I'm such a gourmet! Haha.

  7. I love, love, love Oysters Kil, as long as its not oysters natural I'm a big fan; the brother Kris is a 'top oyster chef' - so I've come to love the little morsels. Nice tribute to the 70's there g/friend!
    Cheers Anna
    PS: I came across this blog, thought you might like it too... http://jenncuisine.com