Herby sorta thai ‘slaw

This is a story about the search for new sides to go with my BBQ.

“Some kinda ‘slaw has got to be a good start”, I thought to myself (because if I thought to someone else that would make me some kind of other-world super computer human and that, I am not).

This started with the usual cabbage and carrot scenario, and then branched off into a few of the ingredients that might compose a Thai green papaya salad, and then a little kale because quite frankly I live in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales and local law dictates that kale must constitute at least 18% of my daily food intake (also, I really do like the stuff. Really), and then a little nam jim inspired dressing to finish her off.

It is a little different and bloody good so you should probably try it.

HERBY SORTA THAI ‘SLAW

Enough to go on the table with a few other sides at your next BBQ.

2 cups shredded green cabbage from approximately ¼ medium cabbage
1 carrot, grated
2 leaves curly kale, stem removed, shredded
1 Lebanese cucumber, randomly chopped
1-2 tomatoes, randomly chopped too
2-3 red radish, thinly sliced
½ cup bean sprouts of some description
2 shallots (spring onions), sliced
1 long red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 handful each coriander and mint, roughly chopped
Lime dressing (recipe follows), or your favourite nam jim or nuoc nam will work just fine


LIME DRESSING

250ml lime juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 clove garlic, microplaned
3 coriander root
Combine all ingredients and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Check seasoning and adjust with a little salt if necessary.
Use it to dress the salad above.
Any leftover dressing will happily hang out in the fridge for 5 days and can be used to anoint chicken, seafood or noodley dishes or whatever you think might like a little limey goodtimes.


Cheeky BBQ pork belly

Cheeky BBQ pork belly

Go to the beach all morning and still BBQ like a champion. AKA. Spend a few hours getting a secure enclosure built for the new shipment of Russian import carnie sex slaves you are expecting within the week.

Where-as a normal pork roast on the BBQ can be as needy as your first girlfriend and will generally require a fair bit of tending to, this method is going to give you the time you need to do the shit you need to do, and you will still get a nice lick of smoke and flame flavour (yes, that is definitely a flavour).

For this cheeky little BBQ cook up we’re going to pre-cook the pork for 2 hours in the oven so the pork is almost ready to go once it hits the grill. It can even be cooked a day or two before hand, brought to room temperature and then cooked for an extra 10-15 minutes to make sure she is hot.

This might not suit the die-hard BBQ enthusiast but it certainly works and sometimes die-hard enthusiasts of anything in this world can just be a bunch of wankers, so just do what you gotta do to get your freak on.

Get a nice bit of pork belly from your local purveyor of fine meats

Grilly, grilly

Flip it over to admire it beauty

Bloody delicious

CHEEKY BBQ PORK BELLY

Serves 8

2kg pork belly, scored
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Whatever sides you can rummage together, to serve

Pre-heat oven to 160C (320F).
Rub underside of pork with garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt and pepper (and a few fennel seeds or a star anise would go well in here too).
Flip over into oven dish.
Rub the skin of the pork with more salt… A really good pinch of salt… pork skin really loves a good hit of salt.
Place pork in pre-heated oven for 2 hours. Go and do some other things.
Now you’re back and the pork is ready to go so its time to fire up the BBQ.
(For the BBQ.
I like coals. For something like this pork belly I will have my main charcoal pile to one side of the BBQ, pulling quite literally a few pieces of glowing coal under the pork at any given time to give it some sizzle and flavour, and also to get that crackle going.)
Take the pork out of the oven dish and place skin side down over a few coals, with the main pile off to the side, as explained above.
Grill pork for 30 minutes, rotating two or three times, and tending to any little flare ups that might occur (this is also known as your beer drinking time).
Flip pork over and give the bottom side 5 minutes of charcoal time.
Now it should be hot and it should be bloody well ready to go.
Carve it up and get it in your face hole the best you know how.

Whack some stuffed apples on the grill for dessert if you have the inclination

Cherry tomato salsa / sauce for a steak date


Steak with cherry tomato salsa / sauce.

This little cherry tomato number is great for when you need to get away from the gravy for a night, or maybe even try to impress a date who you have lured, err, coaxed, err, invited to your lair, err, den, err, house. Whatever. I’m pretty sure you get the gist.

The steak. I am not going to try and help you to cook a beautiful steak here today. The steak is something you’re going to cook exactly how you like to cook it. Make a boiled steak if you think that might impress your date. I know for a fact it won’t, but I’m not going to try and talk you out of it.

Just make the salsa. It’s simple like your in-bred cousin and might just be enough to get you over the line.

Cook the steak first for best results

That steak, cherry tomato sauce and some big chips. Deliciousness.

CHERRY TOMATO SALSA / SAUCE

(serves 4 or so)

500g little baby cherry tomatoes, cut in halves if they are a little bigger
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 handful oregano, picked. A few sprigs reserved for garnish and the rest gets roughly chopped (parsley or a little thyme will also work just fine if oregano is not your thing)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add onions and a little salt and pepper and saute until starting to colour a little.
Add cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli and cook out for another 2 minutes.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar.
Add oregano and another splash of olive oil to gloss it all up. Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Get it on you steak.
Garnish with reserved oregano sprigs.

Eat it.

Corn hash

…and a hashy new year.

Yep. No recipes posted here for months and then two hash recipes in a row.

But in my defence, they are still pretty darn different – the last recipe being the Rolls Royce, or possibly the Land Rover at the very least, and this one being the Datsun 120Y.

Get used to this crap. This is most definitely how we roll.

This is a pretty simple, but pretty delicious corn hash. It is a pretty great side for whatever you are putting on the table – even if your tables primary purpose is as lumbar support during your weekly keys-in-the-hat sex fiend party. It is also yellow, which is a pretty nice colour, I’m sure you would agree.

I have been asked for this recipe by more than one person so maybe that suggests that you should try it because you will probably like it too.

CORN HASH

Serves 8 – 10 as a side

5 cups sweet corn (taken from 5-6 cobs of fresh corn, or frozen will do the job)
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 long red chilli, seeds in or out – you choose, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped thyme
2 teaspoons of your favourite BBQ rub or BBQ seasoning
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper to season
1 tablespoon butter
Olive oil

Place a large, heavy based pan on a medium heat. Add butter and a splash of olive oil.
When butter is melted add onion and sauté until softened.
Add corn, garlic and chilli to pan. Sauté for a further 5 minutes. (Just a little FYI, a handful of chopped bacon or some kind of smoked meat product will go really well in the pan right now.)
Add thyme and BBQ seasoning. Sauté for another few minutes or until corn is starting to brown a little.
Freshen the whole thing up with the lime juice.
Taste and adjust seasoning (this means add a little salt and pepper) if necessary.
Simple deliciousness.
Ooh la la.

A hotdog worthy of being a friend for the ‘slaw in my previous post



A HOTDOG WORTHY OF BEING A FRIEND FOR THE CREAMY TAKE-AWAY JOINT ‘SLAW

Serves 4

(wine pairing – domestic beer in a paper bag)

4 hotdog buns
4 frankfurters or whatever sausage you like in your buns. Wink, wink.
2 onions, peeled, sliced and sautéed until browned
2 -3 dill pickles, sliced
Enough grated cheese to make you happy
Ketchup
Mustard
Creamy take-away joint ‘slaw (recipe previous post), to serve

Just a little FYI about how you compose your hotdog. You can put it together however you see fit and I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it. Unless you do that thing that people who make hotdogs seem to enjoy doing these days where they do the zig-zag of ketchup and mustard over the top of the finished hotdog including all over the bun. Do you know what I’m talking about? I cannot abide that shit. Not at all. Don’t do it.
Also, I am happy if the ‘slaw is served piled high onto the dog or on the side. Either works for me.

Creamy take-away joint ‘slaw


I lived a very cabbage sodden childhood.

As the grand child of German and Polish new-Australian grandparents there was little doubt that I would grow up eating cabbage in one or more of its many guises. I did indeed embrace the cabbage in many forms but without a doubt, my favourite was the creamy coleslaw. Mums version was great, as was my nans, but if I were to asked my absolute favourite coleslaw of my early childhood my gaze would be cast straight down the path, past the health food store and the early learning center, past the op shop and the supermarket carpark, and onto the planet-like red and white bucket beacon that was the local dirty bird joint. Just like any kid, I fucking loved a bit of takeaway and due to the fact that said takeaway did not come very often in our house hold (something I am truly thankful for now), it was ever more enticing.

Sometimes I still feel that I may enjoy a bit of that dirty bird, maybe some mashed potato and gravy, a cute little baby soft sweet roll and definitely some creamy, overdressed coleslaw, but mostly that thought is swiftly replaced with the memory that this food* makes me feel like I may have eaten actual shit, so I stay at home and do my home-made version… or maybe just the ‘slaw with whatever else may hit the table that day.

Feel free to swap out some of the green cabbage for a little red cabbage and / or kale. It works.

CREAMY TAKE-AWAY JOINT ‘SLAW

Serves 6 – 8 as a side

¼ large green cabbage
2 medium carrots
½ brown onion, peeled
Buttermilk dressing (recipe follows)

Roughly chop all ingredients.
In a food processor, pulse cabbage 4 -5 times until roughly chopped some more. Just pulse it though – you don’t want to puree the cabbage. Repeat with remaining vegetables.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, dress with buttermilk ‘slaw dressing and set aside in the fridge for 15 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate and get all sexy and nasty tasting (Yes, I do believe sexy and nasty can be very successfully used in a sentence together).
Get it in your face however you see fit – with fried chicken, BBQ, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, pork chops, your girlfriend’s belly button, straight up – you choose.
This will last in your fridge for a day or two.

You should definitely serve it with a hotdog. I’ll tell you how in my next post…

BUTTERMILK ‘SLAW DRESSING

¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbls rice vinegar (white wine vinegar will also do the trick)
1 tbls castor sugar
A pinch of each salt and white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Whisk until amalgamated.

*this is the word “food” being used in its loosest possible context