the BASTARD BURRITO


Until last week, I had not eaten a burrito for over 20 years. That is one thing I know about.

Things I do not know about are how to build a traditional burrito, if in fact the burrito is traditional Mexican cooking at all. But I am in luck because I have a default setting that is triggered by such events and tells me I will be fine and I should just crack on and make something that I think would fit pretty happily into the description of a burrito. Then I should give it a name that will ensure the peeps out there know I have zero actual knowledge of the burrito and am trying to bluff my way through as per usual.

So here is my bastard burrito.

You are very welcome.

That’s the pigs head in the coals
Some things that will go together to make pico de gallo
It may be a bit full on for some, but it really is a thrifty arsed, tasty piece of pig


THE BASTARD BURRITO

(makes 4 fatties)

3 cups cooked seasoned meat of some description. This could be smoked brisket, pork, lamb or chicken, or mince sautéed with onion, garlic and Mexican seasoning, or even a dirty old pigs head, as was the case today
1 avocado, sliced
1 ½ cups grated tasty cheese
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 cup braised black beans (recipe follows)
½ cup pico de gallo (recipe follows)
4x 12” tortillas

It’s probably best to watch the attached video for the explanation of the assembly and rolling of the burrito. It’s just easier that way. You’ve got this far. You may as well just press play now.
If you do not want to press play, the gist of it is this; place ingredients on the tortilla, roll, wrap it in foil, toast in a pan over medium heat, eat it. Well, first pull the foil back and then eat it.

PICO DE GALLO

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, diced
½ fresh jalapeño chilli, finely diced
1 handful of coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt

Stir all ingredients together to combine. Now you’re pretty much done.
Leave for 10 minutes or so for flavours to amalgamate.

BRAISED BLACK BEANS

2 cups or so cooked black beans
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lard or bacon fat for cooking if you want to feel sexy

Sauté onion and garlic in animal fat if you have it, otherwise vegetable oil will be fine.
Once onion has softened and is starting to colour, add all other ingredients and simmer on low heat for an hour or so until beans are starting to overcook and get a little mushy, and most of the water has evaporated.
Season with salt.
Keep warm for your burrito or where ever a home for tasty-simple beans may present itself.

fish finger sandwich with kimchi mayonnaise

This came from a thought where I remembered how much I loved to eat fish finger and tomato sauce sandwiches when I was a kid. ”Now”, I said to myself. “A fish finger and tomato sauce (ketchup) sandwich is probably not really worth writing a recipe for. Not to mention it is possibly not even really worth eating after all of these years”. So, I set about tarting this little sandwich up a bit. Not too much – it’s not trying to get laid on a Friday night – just enough tarting up so that it can feel a bit more confident with itself and hang out with the cool kids at the disco.

This is where that process ended up.

You might want to make double the amount of kimchi mayonnaise because it really is some tasty shit.

All the things you need to make a really decent fish sandwich
Fry the fish fillets in batches until they’re all done



FISH SANDWICH WITH KIMCHI MAYONNAISE

Makes 4 really decent sized sandwiches

500 g fish fillets. Something small is good for the crunch factor. Also, the smaller stuff is often better for sustainability.
2 eggs beaten with ½ cup of milk or water (egg wash)
1 heaped cup plain flour
2 heaped cups panko bread crumbs
Vinegar seasoning (or salt and a little spritz of white vinegar if you can’t find some)
Oil for frying
Sliced white bread, shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced onion and kimchi mayonnaise (recipe follows), to serve

First to crumb the fish dredge fillets through flour, followed by a dip in the egg wash, followed by a toss in the bread crumbs.
Repeat this process until all of the fish is crumbed.
Heat oil in a deep fryer or cast iron pot to approximately 180 C (360 F). You will need enough oil to submerge your fish.
Fry fish for 1 minute each side or a little longer for larger fillets of fish.
Drain fish on a wire rack or absorbent towel and then season with vinegar seasoning.
To put the sandwich together spread mayo on both slices of bread, followed by a pile of fish on the bottom, a few slices of onion and then shredded lettuce, and then the other slice of bread on top.
(it is totally feasible to omit mayonnaise, lettuce and onion and go with tomato ketchup if you want to try a decent version of my childhood nostalgia)

KIMCHI MAYONNAISE

2 – 3 tablespoons kimchi, chopped
1 cup kewpie mayonnaise (insert your favourite mayonnaise here)

Combine both ingredients in a bowl and mix until kimchi is thoroughly incorporated.
Now you are done.

Carolina mustard sauce

This mustard sauce or something very similar has been around forever and you didn’t even know about it. It’s just been waiting patiently for you to let it make a little sexy time with your next pulled pork, hotdog or even steak. It’s been patient but believe me, it has still been champing at the bit. It’s been ready to frigging explode every time you haven’t let it have its way with the aforementioned proteins. But of course, you didn’t know about it, so how could you.

I feel like I may be slowly easing open the door to a vortex right now.

Let’s move on.

Often times this might have a knob of butter added and the whole thing warmed through and whisked to emulsify, but I find that it works just fine without it. So that’s how I roll.


CAROLINA MUSTARD SAUCE

(makes just under 2 cups)

¾ cup yellow mustard
¾ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

• Combine all ingredients and mxi thoroughly until they form one beautiful liquid gold.
• Make something that it will like to be poured onto. Hotdogs are a bloody good starting point and the are also relatively easy to make.
• Store remainder in a sealed container in the fridge for bloody ages. Months at the very minimum.

Seafood chowdeeer


The air is cold but the chowder is definitely warm.

The origins of chowder are a little cloudy, much like a swagger of other regional specialities such as bouillabaisse, paella, laksa, pho and so on. This is how I make mine. I certainly shall not be claiming to be the original or the best. Top three maybe, but not the best I don’t think. But it is chockers full of good stuff that is 100% guaranteed to warm the belly and soul of even the saltiest of old sea dogs.

I know this is one of the most obvious things a person could say when making a recipe for any type of rustic soup, but make sure you have heaps of crusty bread on hand to mop up when you’re done. That’s half the fun with this sort of thing.

We’re pretty used to the sunshine in the Northern Rivers of NSW, but sometimes the air gets cold and makes crunchy grass while we sleep.
You can cook inside or pretty easily on a fire or BBQ too.
Season, garnish and get it in your face with a pile of your favourite bread.

SEAFOOD CHOWDER

Serves 6

300 g (10 ½ oz) firm fresh fish of your choice, 2 cm (1 inch) dice
300 g (10 ½ oz) fresh prawn meat
4 rashers bacon, chopped
1 brown onion, cut into 1 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm dice
1 stick celery, sliced
3 cobs fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
1 large potato, cut into 1 cm dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lt (1½ pints) thickened cream
500 ml (17 fl oz) full cream milk
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and BBQ / southern seasoning, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve

In a large pot sauté the bacon, onions, carrot, celery, potato, corn, garlic and thyme.
Once it is softened and starting to colour add the milk and cream and simmer until potatoes are just cooked. This should take about 20 minutes.
Add the fresh fish and prawns and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir it a couple of times but do it gently so you don’t break the fish up too much.
Remove from heat.
Check and adjust seasoning.
Serve garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of BBQ seasoning, and bread on the side.

lamb braised with red wine

Insert your own amusing story here.


LAMB BRAISED WITH RED WINE

(Serves 8 or so)

1 lamb shoulder, cut into braising pieces on the bone. A nice butcher will do that for you.
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovies. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary and thyme if you have some in the garden
500 ml red wine
1 lt beef stock
1x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
2x 400 g tins butter beans or whatever tinned bean you like
Salt and pepper
Salsa verde, to serve
Soft polenta, mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, pasta or something along those lines, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to the pot (normally you might brown everything off separately but this is going to be an all-in type thing) along with anchovies and herbs. Sauté for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Add wine, stock and tomato and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that lamb is tender – it should be ready for Nan to gum to death by now. If not, simmer for another 30 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Add beans and simmer for another few minutes to warm through.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve with salsa verde and something nice on the side.
Eat it.


Fried chicken chow mein (or fried chicken chow nice)

Chicken chow mein is kinda a rough moniker for this most famous heavy weight of Australian-Chinese restaurant cuisine. Of course “chow” is fine because you always want to chow down on this dish, but “mein”? This is not mean at all. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s very nice.

Yup. Chow nice noodles.

I really like to use a weber kettle BBQ with a good coal base to fire up my wok. If you have one you should use it too. A hot wok is paramount for this type of cooking.

Let’s go.

I can’t stress enough that you really need to get your mise en place ready for this sort of cooking.
The other thing i would recommend is that you use charcoal to get some proper heat into your wok.


FRIED CHICKEN CHOW MEIN (OR FRIED CHICKEN CHOW NICE)

Serves 4

2 – 3 fillets of fried chicken from your last fry up, cut into 2 cm pieces
500 g fresh chow mein noodles
½ brown onion, cut into wedges
1 carrot, cut into half circles on the diagonal
1 small wedge of cabbage, sliced
1 bok choy, sliced into 2 cm pieces and washed
1 handful snow peas, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ long red chilli, sliced
2 tablespoon light soy
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon corn flour
A splash of oil
5 shallots (scallions), sliced, to garnish

Do not start cooking until you have everything cut up and ready to go.
Also mix the soy, oyster sauce and shao xing together in a small bowl so it’s ready to go too.
And the stock can get whisked into the corn flour too.
Now we are ready to start.
Heat oil in hot wok.
Add onion, carrot, cabbage, and bok choy stem and toss for 1 minute
Add chicken, garlic, chilli, snow peas remaining bok choy and toss for another minute or two.
Add noodles and go for another minute.
Add sauces and mix through.
Add stock and corn flour mix and toss through. Cook out for another minute or so.
Check seasoning and adjust with a little more soy sauce if necessary.
Serve it up, garnish with sliced shallots and chow down on the chow nice.