Extra language of the salty old sea dog alert.

So I got my theme ingredient for the sweet and savoury challenge from my sister in law Liz. She is clearly trying to prove that in-laws are the nasty evil new-family-member-hating peeps they are made out to be.

CHOKOS. I hate fucking chokos. I don’t mean I hate fucking chokos, like, Friday night fucking. They probably put out quite well… I hate chokos. I despise chokos. I have tried to like the company of chokos but I enjoy spending time with them as much as I enjoy talking to anesthetists about their day (and I have heard these people talk. Believe me, it is not very exciting). I like to eat them as I like to eat sand (not often).

Actually I am being harsh. Not too harsh, just a little harsh. With proper thought my mind floats back to a brief love affair I had with the choko. Well, not with the choko but with its child, its offspring, a byproduct of its love… The choko pickle. But if I break it down to the lowest common denominator, I’m happy to have almost any type of pickled vegetable with a good terrine. And we’re coming into terrine country right now, and I think if you have a brain (you’re reading this right) you know how good a good terrine and some kinda pickle is in your picnic basket?

So we have a savoury but what about the sweet? I’m pretty sure the reason chokos have such a bad wrap is because a lot of Nanas would put the in apple pies as filler… With sad results. And what does this mean to me? Absolutely nothing. So what about choko hotcakes with choko and date compote. Let’s do it. And lets try to sound a little more excited about this whole choko situation, K?

And I’ll be absolutely honest, I feel the choko in the compote is not going to be the star, but more a carrier of other flavours. I may have not met the brief completely but you know what, the brief is stupid and biased and racist and not very good-looking.

CHOKO PICKLE for a terrine or ploughmans lunch, or even a cheese sandwich
1.5kg choko, peel, deseed, cut into small dice
2 cucumber, deseed, cut into small dice
2 zucchini, small dice
2 brown onion, peeled, blah, blah
½ cup salt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tspn ginger, grated
2 tspn mustard seed
1 cup castor sugar
1lt white wine vinegar
¼ cup plain flour
1 Tbls tumeric
• Salt all diced vegetables in colander overnight
• Make a slurry out of the tumeric, flour and a little vinegar
• Put everything into a heavy based pot, simmer for 10-15 minutes
• Jar up, leave for a couple of weeks and then free the love

CHOKO HOTCAKES with choko and date compote
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup milk
80g unsalted butter, melted
400g self raising flour
a pinch of salt
1 Tbls castor sugar
1 cup of peeled and grated choko
• Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl
• In another bowl, whisk butter and eggs together, then add milks
• Make a well in the middle of dry ingredients, add wet ingredients and choko, and mix until just combined (a few lumps in the mix is ok. If you over-mix, the fluffy hotcakes you are expecting will be nothing but a thought, a fleeting moment in time)
• Heat a little oil and butter in a pan over a low heat
• Add dollops of the batter (make sure there is enough room in the pan to have some space between hotcakes or you’ll just end up with one big mess… tasty, but a big ol’ mess)
• Now don’t touch the hotcakes. Resist temptation. Please. Once bubbles are starting to appear you can peel back an edge and if they are golden brown then flip ‘em. Don’t be tempted to press down on hotcakes. Just let them do their thang
• Within minutes you should have nice fluffy, golden hotcakes
• Keep first batch in a warm spot or maybe in the oven (so that you and all the crew you were partying with last night can eat at the same time) and keep cooking the rest of the hotcakes in batches
• Serve with extra honey, choko and date compote (recipe down there) and icecream or mascarpone would be my choice
Choko and date compote
1 cup grated choko (peel that shit first, of course)
1 chop pitted dates, chopped
1 cinnamon quill
2 Tbls honey
1 cup orange juice
• Simmer all ingredients in a pot over a low heat for 10-15 minutes, until thick and compote-y