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.

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

Pork Ribs in the Ghetto Smoker

smoked pork ribs
Last week I got into a big jet plane… all the while never ever being able to get the song of the same name by Angus and Julia Stone out of my fricking head… they owe me money for that for sure. Anyway, I get into the plane and in turn that same plane took me from Brisbane in Southern Queensland as far as it could travel west to the worlds most isolated capital city; Perth, Western Australia.

The people on the plane were very nice. They even fed us while we were in the air.

But what gets me is, well, even on the same airline, for the same money, a flight from one destination may have some pretty average food and not much of it, yet when you head back the other way the food is almost bearable and it just keeps coming. No consistency… it’s like the meals are produced on rotating roster by the local Women’s Auxiliary Crochet Society, the Hospital canteen and possibly even the local footy club, using whatever was in the fridge and looking like it was getting close to it’s use-by date… and yes, I am seriously critiquing airline food.

I am learning to move on though… step by step… one day at a time.

So… it may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I do not carry a barbecue where ever I travel, but oft the occasion does arise where I find myself donning someone else’s kitchen apron – usually with something novel on the front like bare bosoms or “cooks do it in the kitchen” – and getting saucy with whatever barbecue apparatus it is that they may have.

How though? What if you want a bit of smoky goodness but what they have is the barbecue equivalent of a Lada Niva, what are you gonna do? Ghetto Smokehouse to the rescue! What the fuck is Ghetto Smokehouse, you ask? Also, you’re probably curious to get some kind of evidence that I have shown some kind of commitment to being permanently off the “glass barbecue”. For the answers to these questions and more you will need to read on my friends… read on…

Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff
Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff

In the Ghetto Smoker. That's the wood chip parcel on the right
In the Ghetto Smoker. That’s the wood chip parcel on the right

And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people
And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people

GHETTO SMOKED PORK RIBS WITH BIG RED RUB & CAROLINA MUSTARD SAUCE

• First you need to procure yourself some pork ribs from your favourite butcher. We got the nice man/lady/lady-man to leave a bit of extra meat on a few little pork riblets , but you can use this same method for whatever it is you would like to smoke. Unless it is a cigarette, you will need a mouth to smoke one of those
• Give your ribs a good coat of Big Red Rub* or your favourite BBQ spice rub. Set them aside to marinate while you get your “Ghetto Smoker” sorted
• To get your “Ghetto Smoker” up and running you need a barbecue with a lid, woodchips (hickory is good and also available at just about every barbecue store or the larger hardware stores, but there are heaps of other woods you can use – google “smoking wood” to suss a few… actually “smoking wood” is not a good thing to put into the big search engine) and a little alfoil (aluminum foil)
• Wrap a few large handfuls of wood chips in a little foil basket/package. That little package goes over a low flame on the grill bars until it starts smoking, and then your ribs or whatever it is that you want to be smoking go on the hot plate or grill bars just next to it. Once again you want to have little to no heat at all directly under your ribs – they are going to get most of their heat from the smoker flame once the lid goes down. If you put the heat up things can go pear shaped pretty damn quickly and your shit will end up looking worse than Anakin Skywalker after he decided it would be a good idea to head into the Jedi temple and start killing younglings… so yeah, low heat
• It’s going to take 2 ½ hours or longer for your ribs to be cooked and delicious, but if they are not quite ready when you check them (and you will mutha effing check them) you will put them back in for another half an hour or so
• NB. YOU NEED TO TAKE A PEEK EVERY HALF HOUR OR SO. You want the temp inside the chamber to be 150-160Cish. If it’s getting a little cool turn the in direct heat up a little (not the heat under the ribs… remember Anakin). If the wood chips burn out put some fresh wood chips back in to ensure your smoky satisfaction. If you need your dinner in 20 minutes head down to Micky D’s drive-through for a bagful of guaranteed disappointment
• Once ready slice ribs, brush with a little Carolina mustard sauce* and serve
• Bam. Effing bam!

*I know I said I don’t take a barbecue travelling but a man needs his condiments. Sending home made condiments to friends who reside in your holiday destination (best sent to peeps you are reasonably sure won’t use them so they remain unopened until you arrive) is also a sound way to ensure your homemade goodness is ready and waiting for you.

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

SAMSUNG CSC
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!

Eggplant and Heirloom Tomato Kasundi

eggplant kasundi chutney
I like kasundi. I like it heaps more than I like the people who come into the café in the middle of summer while you’re sweating like someone who is clearly very very hot and quite possibly going to pass out due to the fact you are losing fluids faster than any man could replenish them. I mean I could seriously put a steamer basket on my head and earn a second income as a mobile steamed dumpling seller, and chuck you what they believe to be a very amusing and original comment… something like “nice and cool in there today?”

Hehehe… A prime example of why gun laws should not be relaxed because if I had a gun these people would be dead. D-E-D, dead.

These are people who should not be breeding.

If this is something you think you would do then you really shouldn’t talk to me ever. We are not friends.

Anyway, I normally make this kasundi sans tomato… with eggplant only… no dramas, but, as I was fighting a losing battle to save the tomatoes from the bugs that seem to love them even more than I do, and the random rot inducing weather the skies have been rocking for us – honestly these tomatoes are dropping quicker than a cheap hooker when the officers of her majesty’s royal navy are in town – I thought I would get them the hell off that vine and into the relative sanctuary of my pot of kasundi.

Either way it tastes damn fine, so you do it how you want.

And if you think you don’t like eggplant then you should stop being a little girl and try this. Unless of course you are a little girl, in which case you can do whatever you like.

Serve this stuff up as a condiment with any thing curry, with fish or in a lamb burger for a funky assed twist on tradition. Or just put it in your face with whatever the hell you feel fit, it is your face after all.

I am a virtual Mother Teresa of the tomato world
I am a virtual Mother Teresa of the tomato world

...until I chop them all up
…until I chop them all up

...and chuck them into a simmering pot with a heap of other shit to make my kasundi
…and chuck them into a simmering pot with a heap of other shit to make my kasundi

KASUNDI (makes a heap of 300ml jars, but double the recipe if you want to bulk it up to a shit load)

1 cup canola oil
3 medium onion, finely diced
2 cups finely chopped fresh ginger
1.5 cups finely chopped fresh garlic
130g cumin seeds
4 tablespoons each mustard seeds and tumeric
500ml white wine vinegar
3.5 cups sugar
4 tablespoons salt
1kg eggplant, cut into 1cm dice
1kg green tomatoes, diced
150g long red chillies, roughly chopped
A sprig of curry leaves

• Place a medium-large saucepan on medium-low heat. Add the oil and the onions. Fry for 10–15 minutes until soft then add ginger and garlic. Fry with the onions, stirring occasionally, until golden
• Dry toast and grind the spices
• Once the onion mixture is golden, add the toasted and ground spices. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking
• Add the vinegar, sugar and salt, mix through to combine, then add the eggplant, tomato, chillies and curry leaves. Stir occasionally and simmer to reduce
• The kasundi is ready when it has a soft, jam-like consistency (about 40 minutes)
• Remove and cool before refrigerating until required, or preserve in jars and it will last longer than your ex-girlfriend

Chutneys to get you through Christmas and the farmyard worth of leftover meat you may or may not have

I call this one "Still life with chutney"
I call this one “Still life with chutney”

Straight into the recipes with this one. I don’t have anything to say about condiments that I haven’t said before. You know I love this shit, but then again who doesn’t like condiments? Condiments with breakfast? Condiments with christmas lunch? Condiments with three days worth of left over meats? Comunists, that’s who doesn’t like condiments and I for one am not a commie. Shallow, uneducated political views aside, I have been flat out the last week making chutneys for our Christmas feast, raiding the absolute crap out of Jen’s garden like a drunken viking, to obtain fresh produce for my stockpile of Christmas chutney… and raping and pilaging through the neighbours  yard while I was in the swing of the viking thing…

A sink full of goodies; cherry tomatoes, garlic and herbs from the garden, chilli from Marks garden, capsicum from?
A sink full of goodies; cherry tomatoes, garlic and herbs from the garden, chilli from Marks garden, capsicum from?
Cook in down
Cook in down
Ready to be blitzed
Ready to be blitzed
Now add the herbs and blitz that bad boy
Now add the herbs and blitz that bad boy

CHERRY TOMATO, CAPSICUM & CHILLI JAM

This is my fave for breakfast burgers, fritters or a nice piece of fish (the shitty fish will be fine with heinz tomato sauce I’m sure)

2.5kg cherry tomatoes, or whatever tomatoes you can steal from your neighbours vege patch

6-8 capsicum, diced

1 red onion, diced

8 long red chilli, sliced (I had a pile of chillis we were given by Jen’s boss, Mark, who is an avid follower of this blog and will probably be quite chuffed he got a mention. They were quite mild so I used about 15 of those)

1 handful each of mint and coriander

1 whole bulb garlic, peeled and crushed

3 star anise, ground or smashed in a mortar

1 tablespoon ginger

200ml fish sauce (or season with salt to taste for vego styleee)

2 cups palm sugar, or castor will do the job

  • All ingredients, except sugar and fish sauce, go into a heavy based pot and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour
  • Add sugar & fish sauce, simmer for a further 15 minutes
  • Blitz with stick wizz or in a blender, check seasoning
  • Jar up, seal and store for the coming onslaught of family and friends

Imagine some photos of me making cauliflower pickle here

CAULIFLOWER PICKLE

This is great for a ham and cheese sandwich, ploughmans lunch, or any cold meat type scenario

1 large cauliflower, chopped smallish, stem and all

2 cucumber, deseed and dice, smallish once again

2 zucchini, dice etc

2 brown onion, you know what to do

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons yellow mustard seed

¼ cup plain flour

1 tablespoon ground tumeric

1 cup castor sugar

1lt white vinegar

  • Put everything except sugar and vinegar into a heavy based pot and fry on a low heat for 5 minutes to cook the flour out
  • Add sugar and vinegar and mix well. Simmer for 15 minutes
  • Jar up and seal
Green tomato goodness
Green tomato goodness
Looks a little funky but tastes damn fine and is a great way to use up any unripe tomatoes on your plants at the end of the season
Looks a little funky but tastes damn fine and is a great way to use up any unripe tomatoes on your plants at the end of the season

(Uncle John’s*) GREEN TOMATO & APPLE CHUTNEY

This is for BBQ meats, lamb, cold meats and ploughmans lunch

1kg green tomatoes (pick unripe tomatoes straight from your bush or you should be able to order some from your local farmers market), diced

2 brown onion, diced

6 granny smith apples, cored and diced

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 tablespoon each ground ginger, yellow mustard seed, salt

1 teaspoon each ground coriander, white pepper, chilli flakes

1/2 cinnamon stick

2 cloves

600ml cider vinegar

1 cup castor sugar

  • Simple as fuck, all ingredients go into a heavy based pot and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour, stirring often
  • Jar up and seal

Now go forth as Jesus would’ve and create chutney for the masses. Guaranteed to make you the legend of the BBQ spread this Christmas… that and your novelty naked woman apron anyways…

Stay tuned for the eagerly anticipated foodisthebestshitever Christmas address. Your year shall be complete soon my friend… soon…

*I wonder if my Uncle John will read this. He doesn’t like being called Uncle John, preferring just “John”. The last time I called him Uncle John was a while ago, he replied with “Uncle John? Just John is fine thanks Graeme. I don’t call you nephew Graeme do I?” He gave me this recipe a few years ago, although it has quite possibly changed a bit or a lot since then. Who knows.

Pointless anecdote #147 done.