Put-on-anything, back up, corny, feel good salsa


This (or some kind of slightly bastardised, red headed step child of a version of this) is the salsa you will now use to impress people when you don’t actually have the brain capacity and/or motor skill to impress people.

This is the thesaurus of the intellectually incapacitated… it is the bath for the homeless man… it is the Google of the modern child… it is the facelift for the elderly whore… it is… time to move on.

The thing is, it will make you seem like a heaps cleverer person than you actually are.

The scenario may be something as simple as you impressing the heck out of yourself with a hangover dinner of shit-in-a-tin nachos topped with this little ray of sun shine of a salsa, or maybe you just want to mix it with a little chopped lettuce for “your own version” (wink, wink) of a chopped salad, or maybe you invite a heap of pretty girls over and impress the knickers off of them with some tasty assed tacos topped with this look-like-a-champion salsa, or maybe even your boss comes for dinner and you serve this with a beautifully roasted piece of chicken (you can find that a few posts back), sautéed spinach or kale and a delicious pan gravy.

Seriously, I am even starting to impress myself a little right now, and believe me – I’m pretty tough to win over.

Grill that corn or flash it in a pan if that’s all you got

Really close to the corn salsa

Really far away from the corn salsa

CORNY SALSA

2 sweet corn, grilled, kernels stripped
2 medium tomatoes, dice (I really can’t be too fucked to remove the seeds)
1 lebanese cucumber, deseeded and diced (Yes. I fucking deseed the cucumber. It’s heaps easier and more efficient than deseeding tomatoes though)
½ red onion, diced
50-100g feta, crumbled
½ bunch coriander and/or oregano, roughly chopped
A splash (or 10) of your favourite hot sauce
Juice of 1-2 limes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

Get it all into a large mixing bowl.
Mix gently to combine.
Put on something and eat it in your face.

Apple cider vinaigrette and my sincerest apologies


Apple cider vinaigrette

This is a recipe that I constantly forget to give you fine folks, and for that I’m sorry. But I am giving it to you right now (Well, I’m not actually “giving it to you” right now because that would be perverted… unless it’s consensual I guess… a conversation for another time fo’ sho), and for that you should probably be pretty thankful.

Tangy, a little bit sweet and really good for putting on just about anything – leafy herby salads, potato salad, coleslaw, warm salads such as this one and yes, the use of the term “anything” does definitely include your girlfriends boobies or your boyfriends whatever thingy that a boyfriend has. You will wonder how you have come so far in life with out it… just like everyone else wonders how you have come so far in life full stop… and indeed if you could be trusted to sit the right way on a toilet seat.

This is the sort of thing you can make days, weeks or even years ahead of that “big date” with “the one”, or even permanently have on hand as it will last approximately 1 million years* in your refrigerator.

These are probably some of the most average photos I have attached to a post… And they are definitely in some really good company…

APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE

(makes heaps enough for a few salads)

¼ cup yellow mustard (or whatever mustard it is that you like)
2 tablespoons castor sugar
100ml apple cider vinegar
400ml some kind of neutral tasting oil
A pinch of salt

Slowly emulsify oil into other ingredients using a stick wizz or whisk or possibly a small branch with the leaves removed (it’s the same as that mayonnaise thing you learnt about that one time).
You could even try the ol’ put-all-of-the-ingredients-in-a-jar-and-shake-it-up trick if you’re keen.
Store that in the fridge for the rest of your life.

*Might not last quite that long. Let me know how you go.

Cowboy beans! Yeehaw!


So I made some cowboy beans.

Actually, I’m not even sure what cowboy beans are, but this is what I imagine they may be. But they may not be this at all. Definitely do not tell your friends these are OG cowboy beans as that may not be fact. I would even go so far as to say there is a high chance it would not be fact. It could even be said that you pretty much just shouldn’t take any of the words on these here pages, or indeed those that pass my lips, as being fact. I’m pretty much a big fat faker. This is not gospel and I am not the lord. Onto those beans…

I feel they would be most authentic served from a big pot on the back of the chuck wagon. That is a fact.

Time for oven loving

Now it’s get into my face time

COWBOY BEANS

(For the family. Like the whole family. Like extended family, neighbours, stray kids and those carnie folk just barely clinging onto life in the cage under your back stair case… and then there will probably still be some to freeze down for later.)

500g navy beans, black beans or whatever the frick kinda dried beans you have floating about in the back of your wagon, soaked over night and then cooked until tender
500-800g whatever meat you have floating about in the back of your wagon. BBQ leftovers are the best for this – smoked brisket, pork ribs, actually any cut of pork or sausages… roast left overs… or just some nice smoky porky things from your local man
1 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder and hot sauce
1 tablespoon each American ballpark mustard and Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Big Red Rub or your favourite BBQ dry rub
½ cup tomato ketchup
3x 400g tins crushed or chopped tomatoes or something similar
Salt and pepper
Fried eggs (or crack them straight into the beans and bake for an extra 5 minutes for tasty-assed one pan glory), chopped fresh herbs, jalapenos and toast to serve

Chop meat/s into bite sized chunks.
Heat a splash of oil in a large oven pan over medium heat. Add meat/s and sauté until browned a little.
Add all other ingredients and cook out for 5 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary (that’s what your salt and pepper is for).
Place into 180-200C oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add a splash of water if mix starts to dry out – kinda saucy is kinda good I reckon. (You could finish these beans totally on the stovetop if you don’t feel like lighting your oven… or you just don’t actually have an oven… but they really do benefit from a little oven bubbly caramelized tomato bits. Jus’ saying)
That’s it. Serve it up – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty simple, just how the cowboys would’ve liked it. Yeehaw.

Mango pico de gallo

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

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.

Middle Eastern inspired chicken with garlic and spices, really herby and lemony cauli-cous, roasted kipflers potatoes and citrus gravy

IMG_5888
This was one of those dinners I set out to cook with a recipe. Yes that is correct, a recipe. Yes, even chefs use recipes believe me, but read on and you will see, as is often place in my kitchen, the whole thing can stray quickly and massively off course.

So one ingredient that was definitely happening tonight was chicken… and Jennee was really keen on cauli-cous (the blitzed faux rice or cous-cous substitute for peeps who don’t like the grain, and maybe for those amongst us who love the cauli)… and this was leading me very quickly to cooking a recipe of Middle Eastern origins.

I flicked through a few books by Greg Malouf, Yotam Ottolenghi and some other inspiring dojos of Middle Eastern cookery and found a chicken tagine recipe that was going to sort me out. I had the chicken and a few other ingredients in front of me and then bam, that’s where shit went pear shaped. One second I’m making a chicken tagine with really herby and lemony cauli-cous, next second it is chicken with garlic and spices, really herby and lemony cauli-cous, roasted kipflers potatoes and lemon and orange gravy.

No explanation – just happened. And let me tell you it’s happened before and I dare say it will happen again… damn aliens and their anal probes… um… I mean damn mind and it’s lack of ability to cognitively convey to me what the fuck it is doing.

Anyway, this is what I cooked. I’m going to call it Middle Eastern inspired chicken with garlic and spices, really herby and lemony cauli-cous, roasted kipflers potatoes and citrus gravy.

Hell of a story, I know.

I call this one "the indecision of a child of the modern world"
I call this one “the indecision of a child of the modern world”

Garlic, coriander seed, salt and pepper getting smashed
Garlic, coriander seed, salt and pepper getting smashed
That chicken getting a bit of love from the spice rub... chicken loves a good spicy rub
That chicken getting a bit of love from the spice rub… chicken loves a good spicy rub
Orange and lemons with a pretty antique filter
Orange and lemons with a pretty antique filter

Someone fill that glass would they
Someone fill that glass would they

MIDDLE EASTERN INSPIRED CHICKEN WITH GARLIC & SPICES, & CITRUS GRAVY (serves 4)

The citrus gravy was the winner on this day. It may strike you as being a little weird but heck, I think you’re a little weird and I don’t go on about it all day so maybe you should just give the citrus gravy a try.

1 whole chook (1.6-1.8kg), quartered, or 4 chicken marylands. Make it free-range ay
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon each black peppercorns and sea salt
5 bay leaves
1 long red or green chilli, sliced
2 lemons, juiced
1 orange, juiced
Kipfler potatoes roasted with olives and tomato, and herby lemony cauli-cous (recipe below) to serve

• Smash garlic, coriander seed, salt and pepper and a splash of oil together with a mortar and pestle to form a rough paste. A really rough paste. A paste that is as rough as the 42 year old “lady” at the club who is still trawling the floor when the lights come on at 3am
• Place the chicken pieces into a baking dish and rub with garlic mix. Add the bay leaves to the tray
• Place into a pre heated 180-190C oven and cook for 20 minutes
• Baste with citrus juice and add chilli. Return to oven and bake for another 20 minutes or until cooked – you can pretty easily check by cutting into a piece of chicken at the joint. Do it on the under side to keep it discreet
• Pour the juice into a saucepan and reduce over a medium heat until slightly thickened and sexy looking. Check seasoning
• Serve chicken with cauli-cous, potatoes and citrus gravy, garnished with reserved herbs and you know what? Scatter a few edible flowers around the plate too, if you have some. Half a flower garden as a garnish seems to be the trend these days… and maybe a small outdoor setting and a fishpond with a few gold fish just to complete the picture…

The cauliflower cut into florets right before I cous the heck out of it
The cauliflower cut into florets right before I cous the heck out of it

Herby, lemony cauli-cous
Herby, lemony cauli-cous

REALLY HERBY & LEMONY CAULI-COUS

3-4 cups cauliflower florets (from ½ large cauliflower)
½ red onion, diced finely
1 lemon, zested
2 big handfuls of mixed herbs (parsley, basil, mint, rosemary, thyme), chopped
½ cup each pistachios and almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Seasoning

• In 2 batches pulse cauliflower florets in food processer. Pulse is the operative word here as you do not want to let the blades of your choppy choppy mixy machine loose on the cauliflower as that is going to end in a cauliflower mush and quite probably tears. Pulse it a few time to achieve a coarse texture and everyone’s going to be happy
• Combine all ingredients except herbs
• Heat a splash of oil in a wok or large pan over a high heat. Add cauliflower mix and toss/stir for a minute or two
• Toss through most of the herbs, reserving a small handful for garnishing purposes, and check seasoning
• Serve with the chicken and potatoes that you just cooked too

Get into it
Get into it

NB that cauli-cous is also cracking with a nice piece of lamb, yoghurt and tahini dressing, and some fresh pomegranate