Special sauce

This is my recipe for special sauce. We use it at our restaurant, the Stockpot Kitchen, and lots of people ask me for the recipe.

Here is the recipe.

My debt to you is paid in full.
It is especially good in a burger or three

SPK SPECIAL SAUCE

This is enough for a round of burgers and then some to put in the fridge to add to everything else you eat (especially hot chips) until your honeymoon obsession is over.

2 cups mayonaise – make it or buy some good stuff
¼ cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
¼ cup roughly chopped dill pickles
¼ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon each yellow mustard, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to season

Blitz all ingredients except mayonaise in a food prossessor or blend or with a stick wizz.
Fold into mayonaise and mix until thouroughly combined.
Eat it with whatever you find fit.


Charred tomato salsa

Lime is pretty good too. Hot sauce and jalapeños - both good on the Mexican dinner table
Lime is pretty good too. Hot sauce and jalapeños – both good on the Mexican dinner table

I like Mexican food.

Stuff like tacos.

I am a huge fan of any culture that is going to serve me a meal with a heap of condiments on the table so I get to adjust the flavours and the seasonings to my own personal taste as I go. That is a culture that is putting my feelings first.

I really do appreciate the things the Mexican people do for my taste buds.

That and their can-do attitude.

Straight up. Did they say they were a Mexi-can’t? No. Mexi-can all the way. I give not one single shit for the words of bigoted white billionaire businessmen who have just recently become president of the USA, and their words of fences and things of the sort. Mexico for president as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you once again to my nice-food-making, good-attitude-having, Mexican brothers and sisters.

Tomatoes, onion and garlic straight on the flame
Tomatoes, onion and garlic straight on the flame

Starting to get all charry
Starting to get all charry

That's the salsa
That’s the salsa

CHARRED TOMATO SALSA

4 ripe tomatoes, charred over a flame until they start to blacken and blister
1 eshallot or half an onion, also charred over that flame
2 cloves garlic, fuck it – char them too
1 pickled jalapeño chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon of the jalapeño vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
A small handful of coriander, chopped (use the stalky bits for the salsa and the pretty leaves for garnish)
Salt and pepper

• Peel the blackened skin from the tomatoes, onions and garlic and then roughly chop.
• Put everything into a food processor and pulse into a chunky salsa type thing.
• Put it on tacos and nachos and other Mexican-y things.

Potato, roast carrot and corn salad… and its good friend, the BBQ sauce

potato salad, bbq sauce, barbecue, low and slow
This is a damn good salad.

It’s good with heaps of different other things on the table too.

It’s also just pretty damn good to put a big fat bowl of it into your mouth late night after a little too much rehydration therapy.

It is a salad that has appeared next to some of my favourite meaty things over the past 6 months or so.

I guess now would be a good time to mention that this is not a story about how the little potato salad, the side dish, the supporting actor rose to glory and became the main event in it’s own right. Nope. This is not a win for the little man, this is really quite simply a recipe for a salad. A damn good salad… and it’s good friend at the BBQ table (or breakfast table… dinner table… burger feast… bedroom), the new and improved recipe BBQ sauce.

Read on.

That potato salad
That potato salad

Some other things we put on the table next to that potato salad
Some other things we put on the table next to that potato salad

POTATO, ROAST CARROT & CORN SALAD

With upgrade options.

(serves 4-6 as a side)

3 medium potatoes, diced about the size of the keys on your computer keyboard, boiled or steamed until tender
2 medium carrots, roasted and then cut a similar size to the potatoes
2 sweet corn, kernals removed from cobs, tossed in a pan with some oil for a minute or two
*1 chorizo sausage, sliced
*1 green capsicum (pepper), medium diced
3-4 shallots (spring onions), sliced
1 large handful parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

• Mix it all together. Effing simple as that
• *Add upgrade options if you’re keen
• Season to your liking with salt and pepper
• Fuck yes

That BBQ sauce
That BBQ sauce

I also enjoyed home  made pickled jalapeños on the table with my BBQ. Maybe we should make them together some time...
I also enjoyed home made pickled jalapeños on the table with my BBQ. Maybe we should make them together some time…

BBQ SAUCE

1.25 cups tomato paste
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup (just like cocaine, the pure stuff is best but if the cheap stuff is what you can afford then I’m sure you’re going to buy it anyway)
125ml apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons each onion powder, garlic powder, cumin
1 teaspoons each dried chilli flakes and ground black pepper
scant ½ cup corn flour, whisked into 1 cup water to form a slurry
¾ tablespoon salt
1lt water

• Dump all of the ingredients except cornflour slurry into a large, heavy based pot
• Simmer over a med-low heat for 45 minutes or so, stirring often to avoid burning and fusing to the bottom of your pot
• Stir in corn flour slurry and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly
• Right now you could put it into your smoker at 110C for an hour or so for a little smoky love because we all need a little smoky love in our lives from time to time or you can let it cool, stirring from time to time, and then pour it over just about anything that’s going to end up in your mouth
• Did you notice how “stirring constantly”, “stirring often” and “stirring from time to time” are all use in different points in this recipe? That’s because they are all different things! Work it out!

Pork ribs, truffle mac cheese, chow chow (can be found on these pages somewhere), that potato salad, jalapeños and that BBQ sauce. this made my face happy
Pork ribs, truffle mac cheese, chow chow (can be found on these pages somewhere), that potato salad, jalapeños and that BBQ sauce. this made my face happy

Chow-chow down down

chow chow
This is the sort of condiment that revolutionizes my life.

It combines a heap of my favourite vegetables in a witch’s cauldron and after a few low mutterings of some kind of voodoo type black magic (or possibly it was just the ramblings of a boozed up and disheveled old carnie… or even more possibly it just needed a few minutes simmering on the stove top) those ingredients come out of that cauldron and they have transformed into a magical sweet-sour-pickly-salad-relishy-slaw type thing.

Now if that description doesn’t scream multi-purpose to you I don’t know what will. Literally, this stuff is as multi-purpose as the milk crate in your first share house, or the Thai lady-man, or the corn cob to the hillbilly farmers son.

And, if for no other reason, it is certainly worth making hotdogs just to try it out. So then you get to eat hotdogs too… I over explained that didn’t I…

Don’t even worry about it. This thing is coming at ya for the win!

Cook it in a pot
Cook it in a pot

I made some hotdogs so I had something to put my chow-chow on
I made some hotdogs so I had something to put my chow-chow on

The chow-chow was real good good
The chow-chow was real good good

CHOW-CHOW

2 capsicum (whatever colour), chopped
1 large green tomato, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
¼ green cabbage, chopped
1 long red chilli, or more if you like it hotter, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric

• Combine vegetables and salt, cover and chill for 6-8 hours
• Rinse and drain mixture and combine with all other ingredients in a large pot
• Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes
• Store in the refrigerator for at least a few weeks or seal in serialized jars and store for fricking ages
• Make a hot dog just so you have something to put your chow-chow on
• Chow-chow. Clearly so good they named it twice!

Seal it in jars and get a nice pic with it next to your wood heap. Very natural darling
Seal it in jars and get a nice pic with it next to your wood heap. Very natural darling

Slow Cooking the Winter Chill Away…

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The first chill of winter never gets any easier. If summer is the firm tanned buttocks of the physically active young lady, then the first chill of winter is the pale sagging buttocks of the aged lady… polyester slacks included.

Yes, that is the first chill of winter – it’s a bitch of a surprise initially, but soon enough I will be used to it and accept it and love it like the mother would love her inbred child. Well, maybe not that much love, but soon I will acclimatize to the winter is the point I’m trying to make… I think.

As I sit here trying to warm myself from the alien experience that is the winter chill, on the couch, eating an ANZAC cookie, wrapped in a snuggle rug type thing I have stolen from one of my children, I contemplate things… I contemplate stuff… I contemplate that to an outsider I would look almost exactly the same as the bearded, street wise old hobo who hangs out at the local shops. Well shit Mr “outsider”, I am sorry for trying to keep my ass warm in this time that coldness descends upon us, and yes I am going to have another Anzac cookie. I am effing going to have another Anzac cookie. I am addicted to those things. If they were about when our troops went to war these cookies could have been gifted to the enemy and could have very possibly resolved any conflict before it had a chance to happen…

Also, as always, I contemplate what may constitute my next meal and how that meal is going to help to warm my body and nurture my soul and, well, just get some warmth into my life really. I don’t want a “warm hug”. No, in fact the next person I hear referring to a warming wintery dinner as a “warm hug” will quite possibly receive them self a warm flat palm straight to the face. No “warm hug”. Sorted? Right.

A slow braise, a ragout, a stew… what ever you may call it, it is truly one of the best things one can do for their person in times of such ominous chill.

It need not be a difficult process to transform some fridge stuff and a few things from the larder into a pot of awesome if you just follow a few simple ground rules. Not a recipe, just a formula to success.

So here is my secret formula, my family jewels, my third nipple… or just the things you need to make a decent braised pot of heart warming goodness;

A winter stew...
A winter stew…

Goes into some dishes and then steamed potatoes are pushed through the ricer to make a funny pattern that the kids like on top...
Leftovers go into some dishes and then steamed potatoes are pushed through the ricer to make a funny pattern that the kids like on top…

And then the whole nom nom nom thing happens
And then the whole nom nom nom thing happens

1. Something wet. No, no, no, your sheets are not going to do for this one little boy. We need moisture and we need viscosity (there is a whole other world I can head to with a lead-in line like that, but quite frankly even the Germans wouldn’t touch it, so I to will not be going there today…) as a saucy conduit for flavours to the journey from the plate to your face. Something like stock, booze, tomatoes or a combination can provide you with the sauciness you need
2. Some herb. The stuff you keep in the tobacco tin next to the scissors and the pack of cigarette papers on the top of the fridge will not do for this. If you are smart enough to have a few herbs in your garden then you will be winning right now. A few dried herbs in the cupboard will even find you a place close to the podium. Use grass and dirt if you have nothing else on hand
3. A secondary cut. This is not the knife wound the mass murderer inflicts when the first slash is ineffective, but instead it is the collective term for the cheaper cuts of meat that need a little extra love to achieve the state that is going to leave you laying back in a smoky, post-coital haze, much like the farmer in the pig stall. The cuts of meat less favoured by the consumer because of fuck knows why, because the smart money is on the secondary cut every time; tasty and cheap, much like the Thai lady-boy… except tastier… and not that cheap. But still plenty cheap. Chicken wings and even thighs, beef shin, chuck, cheek or brisket, pork shoulder or shank, lamb shoulder or ribs all fall into this category. Quite conveniently these are all of my favourite cuts. Lucky me
4. Slow cooking. Slow cooking. Slow cooking. Slow cooking is the secondary cuts besty. Without slow cooking the secondary cut is but dog scraps. These guys hang out and the magic happens, much like Torvill and Dean, Thelma and Louise or that guy and girl from Swedish 90’s pop-rock sensation, Roxette. Slow is good. Winter loves slow. A slow cooker will do this job just fine for you

So go now and slow cook some heart warming wintery goodness. Do it quickly.

And if you have leftovers fear not. For when you have leftovers you can put them in the freezer for a rainy day, or even better (or at least as good), put them in a pie. Whether your pie be encased in pastry – puff or short crust, or maybe a pot pie with a filo or potato crust just like the one I made today. Which reminds me, I set out today to pen a little piece about a pie I made with some leftover beef ragout (hence the pie pics) but as I often do, I got caught up in the moment and, after a brief flirtation with the point, I end jumping into bad and going ten rounds of the very best with a short story about the first chill of winter and how I’m going to sort that out so now that has become a story for another time.

I seem to be making it quite clear that I’ve been beating the chill with the whiskey so far… plenty of the finest brown paper bag covered Scotch whiskey.

That was some tasty braised beef shin
That was some tasty braised beef shin

Salsa verde… a green sauce for steak and chicken and just about anything

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Salsa verde.

Literally translated this means green sauce. No mention of rocket science here so it kinda implies that even you’re going to be able to pull this one off! Also, with it’s literal name, the initials GS could also stand for “good shit”, as this is well and truly what salsa verde is – the good shit! On a less than interesting side note, GS is also my initials. What does that mean? Most certainly eff all I would say…

This is another one of those things that I have spoken about previously. Many times in fact, but as it was in the days when the viewing audience for this blog was literally four people and one small goat it received minimal notice and even minimal-er props. One effing like was the only respect that post received, which was just not a good enough result to make me happy. I may have let it slide at the time but really I had no choice – I had an audience of four people and a fucking goat for goodness sakes. Now I have at least double that amount of subscribers so I have decided it’s time to try again. I have blatantly pulled this little recipe from a post I wrote many, many months ago with absolutely no concern for the people that will point at me in the street and label me a slack, uncreative blahdy blahdy wah wah. Those people can lick things that aren’t an actual lollipop.

Salsa verde has more applications than the milk crate in student housing. Try these on for size;
• Sauce for the roast chicken I cooked last week, steak, pork, fish, all the meats really
• Dressing for a mixed grain, corn and kale salad
• Toss through pasta and top with parmesan for #easytastygood
• Use it to finish braised dishes like shanks or ox tail
• Spread it on grilled sour dough for herby bruschetta-y goodness
• Just put it on whatever. It’s really good

Herby goodness from 5 meters out the back door
Herby goodness from 5 meters out the back door

Blitzy blitzy
Blitzy blitzy

Serve it with everything
Serve it with everything

SALSA VERDE (green sauce)

2 cups each picked parsley, mint, basil and rocket (all from the back garden like a baws)
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon capers and the vinegar they live in
1-2 anchovies, or not if you are vegetarian
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup light olive oil or something less fruity

• Blitz all ingredients except oil in a food processor or blender, or bash them in a mortar and pestle until they are a smooth paste
• Slowly add oil while still mixing to emulsify
• Season*
• Mmmm

*Seasoning in cooking is a biggie. It’s not one of those things you can “just not worry about”. It is quite often what separates the home kitchen from the commercial. Seasoning. Salt and pepper. Essential to heighten taste and enhance flavour. Get into the habit of checking your seasoning. Do it now!