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

Cherry tomato salsa / sauce for a steak date


Steak with cherry tomato salsa / sauce.

This little cherry tomato number is great for when you need to get away from the gravy for a night, or maybe even try to impress a date who you have lured, err, coaxed, err, invited to your lair, err, den, err, house. Whatever. I’m pretty sure you get the gist.

The steak. I am not going to try and help you to cook a beautiful steak here today. The steak is something you’re going to cook exactly how you like to cook it. Make a boiled steak if you think that might impress your date. I know for a fact it won’t, but I’m not going to try and talk you out of it.

Just make the salsa. It’s simple like your in-bred cousin and might just be enough to get you over the line.

Cook the steak first for best results

That steak, cherry tomato sauce and some big chips. Deliciousness.

CHERRY TOMATO SALSA / SAUCE

(serves 4 or so)

500g little baby cherry tomatoes, cut in halves if they are a little bigger
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 handful oregano, picked. A few sprigs reserved for garnish and the rest gets roughly chopped (parsley or a little thyme will also work just fine if oregano is not your thing)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add onions and a little salt and pepper and saute until starting to colour a little.
Add cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli and cook out for another 2 minutes.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar.
Add oregano and another splash of olive oil to gloss it all up. Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Get it on you steak.
Garnish with reserved oregano sprigs.

Eat it.

Troppo fried chicken burger


In Australia when we add pineapple to a dish we are automatically granted permission to rename name the dish with tropical as the prefix. For example; a pork chop that has a pineapple ring added to it may now be a tropical pork chop, a pineapple sorbet is now tropical sorbet and fast food joints are champing at the bit for their yearly tropical chicken box or tropical burger special.

If you had come from an upper middle class 80s Australian upbringing you may have also used tropical in post-title context eg. Fried chicken tropicale or something else equally as 80sesque.

Now, because we are Australians we can also be excused for abbreviating the word tropical to troppo as, well, that’s just what we do. We abbreviate the heck out of whatever the heck we want and we don’t even apologise about it.

Friendly tip #42. Season your chips* with a little of your favourite chicken rub too


TROPPO FRIED CHICKEN BURGER

(Serves 4)

4 burger buns
2 x 250 g (9 oz) chicken breasts or 4 x 120 g (4 ¼ oz) chicken thigh fillets, breasts sliced along the length into 2 thinner fillets, thighs left whole
2 eggs, beaten
150 g (5 ½ oz) potato flour
2 tbls your favourite chicken rub, plus a little extra to season
Oil to deep fry
4 slices smoked bacon, grilled
4 slices cheddar cheese
4 slices pineapple, fresh if you can, core removed and then grilled until slightly caramelized
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Mayonnaise

Marinate the chicken in the rub for an hour or two.
Roll the chicken through the egg mix and then the potato flour.
Give the chicken a little tap to remove excess flour.
Heat your oil in your deep fryer to 160°C (325°F).
Now fry the chicken for 4—5 minutes, until cooked.
Season the chicken with extra chicken rub and a little salt.
Need instructions about how to layer this bad boy? Let’s start with mayonnaise on the top followed by lettuce. Now from the bottom we go bun, chicken, cheese, bacon and then pineapple.

*burgers are pretty much always accompanied with chips (fries) and a tasty beverage (beverage).

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.

Grilled pork belly tacos


Pork belly tacos.

This was smoky, grilly-meat-juicy deliciousness. I honestly feel that glowing coals are truly the way to make a piece of pig feel properly loved.

The pork belly was rubbed with sea salt and then cooked on the bottom level of the bullet smoker with no water pan at 350 F (180 C) for 3 hours. It was flipped and rotated every half hour so the crackle got a little love.

The pork was given the additional flavour boost of a chorizo sausage on the grill also, just because there’s not too many things in life that can’t be improved with a grilled chorizo sausage.

This was chopped up like a bag of Snoop Dogg’s finest sensimila and then scooped into the magical little edible plate that is the tortilla (I’m still thanking I-don’t-know-who for the invention of any kind of edible plate).

It was then pretty happy to receive a little cosmetic gratification in the way of some chopped onion, a little mango (because mango is a symbol of summer and summer is the time for Christmas in Australia and Christmas is all about the good times so mango is welcome at my house and can sleep with my sister anytime), charred jalapeno hot sauce and coriander.

This is the sort of thing that requires a bit of company and at least one beer to wash it down.

Get the eff on it.

Oh yeah, and happy Christmas and all that if I forget about all that stuff next week.

Grill that pork

Heat beads premium lump charcoal was my fuel of choice

Chop the pork belly and chorizo up together

Get that onto the table

GRILLED PORK TACOS

(serves 4)

800 g pork belly – maybe 500 g for tacos and then the rest for breakfast tomorrow
1 – 2 chorizo sausage
¼ brown, white or red onion, diced
1 mango, diced
1 handful coriander
1 – 2 limes, cut into wedges
Charred jalapeno hot sauce or whatever it is hot sauce that you love
16 soft tacos / tortillas

The words that are written above are the recipe.
Go now.
Cook and eat.

Wash it down with your favourite brew