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

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.

Curried sausages on the campfire (but easily adaptable for the home kitchen just in case you didn’t figure that one out for yo’ self)


Welcome to another thrilling installment of “the things my ma cooked for dinner when I was a kid and now I cook them sometimes because I am disgustingly in love with nostalgia”.

The ol’ curried sausages were on high rotation as a midweek dinner option during my years at home. Woolies snags, a bit of Keen’s curry powder (one of the only “spices” in my Ma’s pantry. Seriously, I made a spice rack for my year 8 wood work project and it was home for the Saxa salt and pepper, and Keen’s curry powder. That was it), an onion and a couple of other bits and pieces all came together in the big pot to make our bellies very happy indeed. A scoop of either under cooked or over cooked rice on the side and dinner was sorted.

I have made it a little different because that’s just what I do but I think even my Ma would agree that the essence of the thing is still there.


CURRIED SAUSAGES

Serves 4

600 g sausages (beef or lamb is my choice but this is also perfect with pork, chicken or “of no specific origin” snags)
1 onion, large dice
5 garlic, roughly chopped
1 ½ tbls Keen’s curry powder
1 capsicum, large dice
1 zucchini, large dice
1 x 400 g tin diced tomato
1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Natural yoghurt, mango chutney, coriander and steamed rice, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in the pot that you will be cooking your curried sausages in. Add whole sausages and cook over medium heat for 6 – 7 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove sausages and set aside while you get the rest of this thing going on.
Using the same pot as the sausages were cooked in, sauté onion and garlic until starting to soften a little.
Add curry powder and cook out for 1 minute.
Slice cooked sausages into 2 cm pieces and return to pot with all other ingredients.
Simmer for 30 minutes over med – low heat.
Check seasoning and get it on the table, with garnishes somewhere also on the same table.
Camp fire or stove top, it’s Keen’s curry powder for the win.

Reverse seared steak


The theory behind the reverse seared steak is that the meat is given a bit of smoke at a low temp first and then finished with a flash on the grill at high heat. Basically the reverse of what any classically trained French chef would have taught you in the 90s.

Still definitely not related to the reverse cowgirl, but still definitely something you want to get all up in your face if you’ve never tried it before.

Find yourself some nice steaks

Indirect heat for the first part of the process

Get it on the table with some tasty sides and something to wash it down with.

REVERSE SEARED STEAK

Serves 2 – 4
(It really depends on your appetite and what else may be accompanying the steak to the table)

2x 600 g ribeye steaks on the bone (caveman steaks, texas t-bone)
Steak seasoning (recipe below)
50 – 100 g butter, depending on how French you are
A lump of cherry wood for the smoking
Chimmichurri, to serve (find recipe here)
A couple of sides that you like to eat with steak, to serve

Season your steaks liberally with steak seasoning and allow to sit at room temp while you get your grill sorted.
Fire up your grill to do an indirect cook. Get it sitting at somewhere around 250 F (125 C).
Add the lump of cherry wood.
Place steak on the side of the grill away from the coals so it can have a little smoky time without getting charred.
Cook steak to 130 F (55 C) for medium rare – this will take somewhere in the vicinity of half an hour to 40 minutes.
Remove steak from grill and whack it into a dish with the butter. Cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes. While all that resting and relaxing is going down you should make sure you have enough charcoal glowing for a quick direct cook to finish your steak off.
Flash steaks on grill for 1 – 2 minutes each side to finish.
Plate steak up and serve with chimmichurri and tasty sides and something boozy.

STEAK SEASONING
2 tbls cooking salt
2 tbls cracked black pepper
2 tbls garlic granules (roughly the size of a speck of polenta, not garlic flakes)

Mix well to combine.
Pretty easy.

Steak and chimmichurri is reals good

All-of-the-things ‘slaw


All-of-the-things ‘slaw

Yup. Coleslaw not purely consisting of the traditional cabbage, carrot and possibly onion, but instead this coleslaw has pretty much all of the things in it. Quite contradictory to my views of the past I might add – those who know me or who think they know me through these interweb pages will attest to the claim that I am indeed quite a coleslaw purist.

But you know what? I’ve seen a few funky arsed ‘slaws recently, coleslaws with cute monikers along the lines of “rainbow ‘slaw” or something similar, and I thought maybe it’s time to try something a little different. Move past the missionary position for a night and give the ol’ reverse cowgirl a try. Yep I did that.

And you know what? I do believe in this case that the old dog has been taught a new trick.

I will not be fetching a ball or your fucking slippers anytime soon, but I think there is definitely room in my life for the all-of-the-things ‘slaw.

True, there was a time when I could not abide the thought of bastardised ‘slaw, opting only for the purest of pure. But now I embrace it, possibly even love it. Maybe you should give it a go too. Your cowgirl will thank you for it.


ALL-OF-THE-THINGS ‘SLAW

(serves 8 as a side)

¼ medium green cabbage, shredded
¼ small red cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
1 stalk celery, sliced
½ red capsicum (bell pepper), diced
½ green capsicum (bell pepper), diced
1 head sweet corn (or ½ cup frozen corn kernels), kernels removed and pan fried briefly
3-4 spring onions (scallions), sliced
1 cup coleslaw dressing
Salt and pepper

Get a reals big mixing bowl – something that is going to fit all of these ingredients and then some.
First mix all of the salad ingredients except dressing so you can get a nice even mix.
Add dressing and combine until thoroughly mixed.
Check seasoning. Yeah, salads need seasoning too. Some of the greatest food crimes in history have been perpetrated via lack of seasoning to a salad or side dish.
Get it on the table where it would love to play second fiddle to anything from the BBQ, fried chicken, fishcakes, loaded sweet potato, etc.