Mango pico de gallo

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mango pico de gallo
It has become apparent to myself and probably some of the more astute of my followers out there in inter web land, that I have eaten tacos more than once in recent weeks.

One might say I am someone who enjoys the taco.

One may be correct.

You are one.

What is one?

One what?

One babe?

One babe with the power?

Who knows? I really don’t. But one thing is for sure and certain; once again we find ourselves in the old Toyota corolla “bush basher”, trundling around the paddock, through the shrubbery, bouncing out of the ditches and over the old tree stumps and well and truly off the track… glancing well and truly past the point… venturing into some kind of socially inept void… Fuck dude, it’s really time to get a little shuffle on here.

Yes I like tacos and yes, I made some pico de gallo with a mango our friend Sulmae gave us, to go on those tacos that I enjoy so much.

It’s a damn good salsa for fish – I can vouch for that for sure – but I’m also pretty sure it would be a damn tasty little number to dress up just about any other seafood, some chicken or pork, or whatever the heck else you wanna put it on… after all, you paid for those ingredients and made it with your own hands and sweated and… and… and… you… didn’t pay for those ingredients? You obtained those ingredients by dishonest means? This is bullshit. I’m out.

Pretty colours

Pretty colours

That's the salsa from a little further away

That’s the salsa from a little further away

...and then that's the salsa up nice and close

…and then that’s the salsa up nice and close

Get some fish all up in that piece

Get some fish all up in that piece

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom


MANGO PICO DE GALLO

1 medium or ½ large mango, skin removed, diced just like you’d dice things for a salsa
1 medium tomato, ripe, diced the same as above
½ red onion, diced much the same
½ jalapeno (more if you like hit hotter), diced same
A handful of coriander, chopped however
Juice of half a juicy lime
A little salt and pepper

• Mix all ingredients together in a bowl that is big enough
• Um, eat it on a taco or something

Tasty shit right there

Tasty shit right there

Charred tomato salsa

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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.

Easy chicken crisp shell tacos

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easy chicken taco shells
Some times when you take your children shopping with you they like to ask for things they may not normally be allowed to eat. Breakfast cereal that has more sugar than actual cereal, strange plastic looking loosely termed cheese slices, all of the confectionary section and crisp taco shells… they always want crisp taco shells.

The tacos of my childhood, these things were about as culinary adventurous as my mother would get… although she would never use any kind of Tex-Mex spice mix no no no. That was way to ethnic for her (herself the child of Polish and German immigrants). Avocado? I didn’t even know what an avocado was when I was a child. Salsa? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me. Nope, my mother would make a beef and gravy number with grated tasty cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, grated carrot and sliced tomato all placed on the table in bowls for us to sort ourselves out. And we damn well loved it.

But crisp taco shells do have a very fundamental design flaw of shattering like dropped glass with the first bite. That’s right, they are almost impossible to eat with out pieces of taco and filling falling and consequently adorning much of your upholstery. How could that one get through the defenses? My bet is someone at the “Edible Foods Consideration Bureau” was defo napping on the job when that application came through.

These things are superfluous to their own cause.

The inability to actually be eaten aside, crisp taco shells do own a special bit of property in my heart and every now and then the time comes around again that I will crumble to the pleading of my children (and that little voice inside me that the doctor keeps telling me will go away if I’d just take the medication she has prescribed, but it really upsets my stomach so I feed it to my cat) and put the crisp taco shells into the shopping basket, and then onto the evenings dinner menu and back into my heart… and all over the table… and a bit on the floor too.

This is one of those things your can do pretty quickly if you have some left over roast chook (chicken) from last nights dinner or you could also very easily cook up a couple of chicken breasts and use them. S-C-I-E-N-C-E.

Fry you're chopped chicken. That's pretty easy

Fry you’re chopped chicken. That’s pretty easy

My Tex-Mex spice mix is also pretty easy to make. Seba keeps it real in the back ground

My Tex-Mex spice mix is also pretty easy to make. Seba keeps it real in the back ground

Add your spice mix and a little splash of something wet. That's pretty easy too

Add your spice mix and a little splash of something wet. That’s pretty easy too

Put it on the table with some crisp taco shells and a few other bits and pieces. That's all still pretty easy

Put it on the table with some crisp taco shells and a few other bits and pieces. That’s all still pretty easy

CHOPPED CHICKEN TACOS in the crisp shells (enough for 10 or so tacos)

½ roast chicken, 2 cooked chicken breasts or similar equivalent of whatever meat you got, picked from the bone and chopped
½ onion, diced
2 tablespoons Tex-Mex spice mix (recipe follows)
A splash of chicken stock or water
Salt and pepper
10 or so crisp taco shells
Shredded iceberg lettuce, grated carrot, grated tasty cheese, tomato salsa (recipe will magically appear here very shortly) and hot sauce to serve

• Heat your tacos according to the instructions that I hope are on the packaging.
• Heat a splash of oil in a pan over medium flame. Add your chopped meat and onion sauté for a minute or two.
• Add Tex-Mex spice mix and cook out for another minute.
• Add a splash of chicken stock to moisten and make it kinda saucy, and cook out for one more minute.
• Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
• That is now done and you are left standing there staring at it wondering how that could have been so easy.
• Close your mouth before a passing fly makes it his new home and get that shit on the table homie!

TEX-MEX SPICE MIX

¼ cup each dried thyme, oregano and ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried chilli flakes (or more if you like it hotter)

• Mix it all together and store extra in an air tight container for your next Tex-Mex feast. See, pretty easy eh.

Busted ass taco shell glory. I generally end up with a big pile of taco chips, meat and salad which I savour when my tacos are done

Busted ass taco shell glory. I generally end up with a big pile of taco chips, meat and salad which I savour when my tacos are done

Coal roasted fish bruschetta AKA camp bruschetta

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fish bruschetta
Last week I was writing the roster at work, which is a pretty ordinary thing for someone in my position to be doing. It was going to be a pretty good one too – I had reined it back to a less-than-50-hour-week which is a more than acceptable working week for one who has chosen chef as their profession.

And then it turned into a really damn good roster really quickly.

I had completely erased my name from the graphy looking little timetable that was trying to tell me I would be attending work that next week. Bam. Gone.

“Yup. That was a heaps better idea,” my smart brains told me. “You should just piss off camping instead.”

“Brilliant,” I agreed, quickly realising that I was conducting one hell of a cracking monologue in front of the staff… again.

Not to worry. These guys have seen how much coffee I drink…. They’ve heard me talk of my carnie fetish… they knew what they were getting themselves in for when they signed up.

Before I knew it we were packing the car for the camping trip. We packed crocodile seeking missiles, a box jellyfish/ozone depletion full body protection suit, the really deadly snake deterrent, nuke ‘em from orbit tent mounted mosquito extermination technology and, of course, the drop bear trap. We never go camping with out a drop bear trap. The car was almost full but we still had just enough room for our prescription medication, a few amphetamines for who ever is on drop bear watch (they always attack at night or in the small hours of the morning) and enough rum to wash it all down.

That is what we did because that is how we go camping in Australia.

Once all of our nature defences were in place and we were high as a kite, we went fishing and caught ourselves a few plump flathead which we promptly cooked on the coals and camping-like-a-boss made them into some tasty assed fish bruschetta with herby salsa.

Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white

Get one of the kids to prep the fish. Try and disguise your shitty photo by making it black and white

I could've eaten quite a few of these

I could’ve eaten quite a few of these


FISH BRUSCHETTA WITH HERBY SALSA

(serves 4 as a light meal)

2 whole fish (800g-1kg to give approx. 400g meat)
8 slices sour dough bread
1 small Lebanese cucumber, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
½ small white onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons salsa verde (it would probably be pretty easy for you to make some before you leave)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

• Put everything except the fish and bread into a bowl, mix to combine and allow to macerate while you cook the fish.
• My fish went straight onto the coals of the campfire for 6-7 minutes each side and then we peeled the skin back and flaked the flesh off the bone with a fork. It was some seriously tasty shit. A little bit charred and smoky and still so damn moist thanks to the skin and scales – this is some seriously sexy business.
• Maybe you don’t have a campfire so you can get a similar result by wrapping your fish in foil and roasting them for 10-12 minutes at 200C.
• Now is a good time to toast your bread. You can toast bread right?
• To assemble drizzle the toasts with olive oil and then divide flaked fish between the 8 pieces. Top with salsa and spoon over salsa juices. Season with a little salt and pepper if it needs some.
• I cannot say enough how damn good this was.

My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer

My son Obi the kangaroo whisperer

The Christmas that just went…

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At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze...

At work we made muchham glaze for the people. This involved a lot of booze…

So there it was.

Christmas.

It came as quickly as a teenage boy… and then left feeling just as ashamed.

The Optimus Prime-esque light displays that were clearly trying to signal another culture from the depths of a very distant solar system will soon yield to the weight of more consumerism in the form of hot crossed buns and chocolate eggs which are seemingly the incubating spawn of chocolate rabbits which are both some how meant to tie into a religious celebration-slash-holiday.

We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour... everyone else mostly chose other drinks

We certainly did drink a bit of booze. Bloody Caesars were my choice de jour… everyone else mostly chose other drinks


I don’t really follow this whole thing at all.

But really, who gives a fuck.

What ever it is, it is a damn fine reason to get together with your friends and family, and possibly even a random cling-on or two. You share a drink (many drinks), some food (much food) and maybe a story about how two of your squad hooked up together at the same event last year (not appropriate when only family is in attendance). Just a damn good time really. Even carnies and people who hate everything else about life will generally still enjoy the time that is Christmas.

There was much food on the table... and also a fair bit of booze

There was much food on the table… and also a fair bit of booze


As a wise man once told me, “there are systems in place just so we can stand one another”, and I agree that this is definitely one of them.

Right now I sit on a hotel balcony, enjoying a little down time after having the craziest two months of my cheffing career to date, and I ponder how beautiful that whole silly season is* – the truly satisfying climax after the fore play and gentle caress of the trickle of summer function bookings through out the year. Dates are tentatively set, invites drawn up, weddings and birthdays and Christmas parties are all in the mix.

And then it’s on.

The slippery finger that is the rest of the year is inevitably followed by the fully blown orgy (black plastic and raspberry jelly included) that is the start of summer… the silly season… our glory days. Then, as quickly as it begun it is over again. We sit on our milk crates and designated small section of brick wall out the back of the restaurant and we admire those that are still among us…. Chaffed lips and post coital haze… enlarged sphincters… mental scars that will never heal…

Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz... As is trifle... we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo

Pav is a pretty solid Christmas dessert in Oz… As is trifle… we also added christmas pudding semifreddo to complete the 3-hit combo


Thank god for Christmas.

I fucking love this shit.

#beingachefisthebestshitever

And then all of a sudden I was here... writing this...

And then all of a sudden I was here… writing this…


*And, if I’m totally honest, I also ponder an Edward Norton in “Fight Club” or the Donnie Darko guy in “Donnie Darko” type catastrophe where the balcony crumbles underneath me and I’m done. Yes I have head issues.

Christmas ham glaze and a tasty stuffed bird.

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That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits

That glazed ham after a little time in the wood fired oven. I love those little charred sexy bits


I’ve noticed shit is getting a fair bit Christmassy around the joint at the mo’. Like, really effing Christmassy.

My smart brains told me that due to my little issue with finding time to hit this blog up at the moment, I should get onto some kind of Christmassy type post pretty fricking quick smart or the whole thing will pass me by and I’ll be left standing out the front of the house in my freshly pressed favourite baby blue suit, ironed tie and hippest new sock-sandal combo, with no date for the school dance… again…*

I also thought that this might be one of those ever-rare occasions where I may have inadvertently been presented with the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. You see, I have been asked by a local restaurant reviewer blog (Get Forked and Fly) via our restaurant (the Stockpot Kitchen), if I might like to share a recipe with her readers. Are you keeping up with me here?

Bam. Enter my Christmassy story and a couple of cracking recipes for some tasty tasty yuletide food to wow your friends and family (or possibly just your ever-growing clowder of cats) this Christmas.

The thing about living in Australia (It’s a country. Under where you live. Kinda like your basement but with less gimp masks and more sunshine) is that it is often summer time at Christmas. In fact, I believe there is more than an 85% chance of it being summer in Australia when Christmas hits. Fact. So there you have it – it is often warm in Australia at Christmas time because of the summer.

Because of the high probability of warmth, often the people of Australia will opt for some kind of cold, salady type lunch – some fresh prawns and oysters, maybe some cold roast chicken and things of the such. Our family, well we like to have it all – cold, hot, raw, cooked, drunkly undercooked, whatever. Nothing is barred from our table. There is but one prerequisite – whatever the food is there is enough of it so that we may eat ourselves sober over the course of the day. Fo’ reals.

Prawns, oysters, a stuffed bird and ham is a damn fine start.

A good ham is quite possibly one of my favourites.

I really like ham.

For the last couple of years I have been smoking my own ham, and this is something I will continue to do as I was really effing happy with the result. I do understand that you may not have the time, inclination or facilities to smoke your own ham so I will not like you any less if you get a nice ham from your local smoker of the pork… heck, I would even understand if you ended up with a glazed log of devon on your Christmas table. It’s fine. Do what you need to do. It’s all about that sexy-assed glaze today.

The smoking of the ham

The smoking of the ham


HAM WITH SEXY-ASSED PEACHY BOURBON SMOKY HONEY GLAZE

1 leg of ham, skin removed and fat scored
1 cup peach and red pepper relish (recipe follows)
½ cup smoked honey
½ cup bourbon

• Combine all glaze ingredients in a saucepan and warm over low heat, stirring until it all comes together Hannibal styles
• Whack your ham into a baking dish that’s going to fit it and pour half of the glaze over the top, brushing it into all of the little score crevices
• Bake at 150C for an hour, or until ham is heated through, basting with extra glaze every 15 minutes or so
• If you like some extra crusty little over-caramelised charred bits you can bump the heat up a little for the final 15 minutes. 180C should give you what you need
• Cover ham loosely in foil and rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve and then pour extra pan juices over ham and serve
• Leftover ham is pretty much really good to eat any old how – toasties, with eggs for breakfast, on a ploughmans, chopped into croquettes or fritters, straight off of your girlfriends boobi… e… s… It’s just really good, OK?

ELEANOR CROMWELL’S PEACH & RED PEPPER (capsicum) RELISH

Eleanor is a very nice lady and she sent me this recipe for what is now my favourite peach and capsicum relish.

2 long red chilli, chopped
12 red capsicum, no stalk, with seed, chopped
12 large peaches, chopped
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 large lemons, cut in half
5 cups castor sugar

• In food processor, blitz chilli, capsicum with seeds and peaches until coarsely chopped
• Add all ingredients except sugar to a large heavy based pot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times to prevent sticking
• Remove lemons and add sugar
• Simmer for ½ hour more, or until the mixture is reduced slightly and thickened (you can check viscosity by putting a couple of tablespoons of relish into the fridge for 15 minutes to set)

——————————————–

The bird after it's time in the wood fired oven

The bird after it’s time in the wood fired oven


You must know how to roast a chook by now so I shall spare you the insult to your intelligence, although I’m sure I’ll say something soon enough that will make up for this moment of compassion. Today we will concentrate on the stuffing aka. The tasty shit you get inside the local greasy spoon rotisserie chook.

Stuffing is plenty easy, made delicious with a bit of smoky bacon (but let’s be honest, what isn’t made better with smoky bacon-y goodness) and some herbs from your garden. If you don’t have a herb garden yet all I can say is that you clearly don’t listen to anything I say and don’t deserve delicious roast chicken… and you are simple.

There, that should make up for the tenderness I showed you earlier.

The stuffing of the bird

The stuffing of the bird


BACON, CRAISIN & HERB STUFFING FOR A CHICKEN OR GOOSE OR TURKEY

2 rashers bacon, diced
½ brown onion, diced
¼ cup craisins, reconstituted with enough booze to cover them. White wine, brandy, marsala, anything boozy
1 handful mixed herbs; I have parsley, sage and rosemary from the garden. Thyme would be good if you have some
¾ cup breadcrumbs made from some old sour dough bread if you have some
Seasoning

• Sauté onion and bacon until onion is soft and translucent
• Remove from heat, add craisins and toss to warm through slightly. Leave to cool
• Combine all other ingredients and mix thoroughly
• Check seasoning
• Stuff it up the wrong un of your once happily free-ranging chicken. There is no delicate way to perform this task so get your hand right in there. If you have any leftover stuffing whack that in the pan half way through cooking. It still tastes like damn tasting shit
• Roast it up
• Cover loosely with foil and rest for 10-15 minutes
• Carve and eat
• The stuffing goes really well in a leftover roast chicken sandwich with homemade mayo.

*No joke I wrote this thing a month ago and then bam, Christmas is here in a matter of days and I have no idea where the last month actually gone.

Hastily Roasted Squab

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roasted squab
This recipe, like many of the few I have posted over the past year or so, is of a meal I cooked a while back. After which I would have scribbled a few words and maybe a piece of the story that was to accompany it a then put it on the bench with the intention of “getting onto that really soon”.

But as with many things for me at the moment I do not “get onto that really soon”. Instead I hastily type a story which requires so little thought a piece of wood could in fact write it, and is about as funny as a poo in a bathtub.

The content thing I can handle, but the humour… well, I really thought I was funnier than that.

I used to be funnier than that didn’t I?

Fuck it. I can still cook.

Glaze them up with the smoked honey for added sex appeal

Glaze them up with the smoked honey for added sex appeal

Yup

Yup

Get that salad together while the squab are resting

Get that salad together while the squab are resting

Eat it up

Eat it up

HASTILY ROASTED SQUAB WITH PEARL BARLEY & ROASTED CARROT SALAD (serves 4)

4-8 squab, depending on the size of your squably appetite
1-2 tablespoons Big Red Rub
1-2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons Blend brand smoked honey (plain ol’ honey will still do the trick)
2 cups cooked pearl barley
1 cup sauerkraut
6 medium carrots, roasted with a little oil until tender, and then cut into kinda decent chunks*
6 eshallots or baby onions, peeled and halved and roasted with the carrots*
2 spring onions or shallots, finely sliced
1 handful each parsley and mint, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper
Apple cider vinaigrette to dress

• Rub the squab with butter and then season with salt and pepper and Big Red Rub. Get it into a lined baking dish and then into a preheated 200C oven for 15 minutes. Glaze with the smoked honey and return to oven for 10 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes before serving (save those pan juices)
• Combine salad ingredients, dress and season
• Now if you can just put it on a plate everything is going to work out fine
• Dress with reserved pan juices and get it into your face hole

Tasty little birdy

Tasty little birdy

Shit. And I just remembered I should get onto something Christmassy pretty soon too. Really soon…

*Your smart brains will tell you that it is totally feasible to put the carrots and onions in the oven at the same time as your squab and then chop it into the salad while the squab is resting

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