spaghetti bolognese, aka spag bog, on the bbq

Spaghetti Bolognese or, as we like the odd colloquialism and/or slang in Australia, the spag bog or spag bol.

I will be going with spag bog. Not sure why, but that’s just what we’ve always called it.

I bloody love a good spag bog. Always have. Although I must admit the spag bog that would redden my face as a child is a little different to the spag bog I cook in present times.

Whereas beef mince with a little tomato paste was the sauce and grated tasty cheese was the topping of the spag bog of my youth, my older person (I wanted to say more grown up or mature but those words really didn’t fit) spag bog might include a few more ingredients – nothing to put it all out of your reach though. Nothing you can’t buy from the local supermarket or steal from the neighbour’s cupboards if that’s what you’ve got to do. I won’t be a wanker and tell you it needs freshly shaved truffle or maybe a virginal pigmy goose egg stirred through at the end. I just like to start it off with a little smoked sausage in with the beef mince, cook it out with tomato passata, red wine and a bit of beef stock and then finish it up with some fresh herbs and parmesan cheese aka. the parmo (that was another colloquialism just for you).

This is going to be so much better than using a jar of supermarket pasta sauce. A jar of something shit that tastes like that last inkling of hope has just trickled down the drain in the factory floor. I won’t pretend that this will not require just a touch more effort than the jar of pre-made pasta sauce, but I really do think it’s worth while and, in an absolute triumph of the modern era, we now have freezers, so just bloody well make a double or triple recipe and freeze it down in containers for later.

Here we go.

Get it all ready to go. This is a thing that smart people do in the kitchen.
Get a little parmesan on there and get it into your face.


SPAG BOG

Serves 5-6

400g beef mince
200g smoked sausage, chopped or blitzed up (Fresh Italian pork sausage also works well. Just push it out of the sausage skin and break it up. Pancetta and every other cured pork product in existence also work beautifully here)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup red red wine
1 cup beef stock
700ml tomato passata
Water if it needs a little more moisture as it cooks
Salt and pepper to season
A handful of fresh oregano and parsley, chopped
500g dried spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions
Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat a large pot over a hot flame, or even over coals in your BBQ.
Add a splash of olive oil and give it a few seconds to get hot.
Now add onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook out for a few minutes until starting to soften a little.
Add beef mince and sausage to pot and stir and poke with a wooden spoon to break the mince up as it cooks – after all, we are making a meat sauce not bloody meatballs. Add some salt and pepper now too.
Once the mince is starting to colour up and it’s all looking fairly dry, add the red wine and reduce by half.
Now add beef stock and then tomato passata.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so. Also keep an eye on the moisture levels as it comes to the end of its cooking time as it may require up to a cup of water to keep it looking saucy and unctuous.
Stir through those herbs.
Check yo seasoning fool. If it needs a little more salt and/or pepper, give it a little.
Stir sauce through warm spaghetti.
Serve with a little grated parmesan.



A hotdog worthy of being a friend for the ‘slaw in my previous post



A HOTDOG WORTHY OF BEING A FRIEND FOR THE CREAMY TAKE-AWAY JOINT ‘SLAW

Serves 4

(wine pairing – domestic beer in a paper bag)

4 hotdog buns
4 frankfurters or whatever sausage you like in your buns. Wink, wink.
2 onions, peeled, sliced and sautéed until browned
2 -3 dill pickles, sliced
Enough grated cheese to make you happy
Ketchup
Mustard
Creamy take-away joint ‘slaw (recipe previous post), to serve

Just a little FYI about how you compose your hotdog. You can put it together however you see fit and I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it. Unless you do that thing that people who make hotdogs seem to enjoy doing these days where they do the zig-zag of ketchup and mustard over the top of the finished hotdog including all over the bun. Do you know what I’m talking about? I cannot abide that shit. Not at all. Don’t do it.
Also, I am happy if the ‘slaw is served piled high onto the dog or on the side. Either works for me.

Creamy take-away joint ‘slaw


I lived a very cabbage sodden childhood.

As the grand child of German and Polish new-Australian grandparents there was little doubt that I would grow up eating cabbage in one or more of its many guises. I did indeed embrace the cabbage in many forms but without a doubt, my favourite was the creamy coleslaw. Mums version was great, as was my nans, but if I were to asked my absolute favourite coleslaw of my early childhood my gaze would be cast straight down the path, past the health food store and the early learning center, past the op shop and the supermarket carpark, and onto the planet-like red and white bucket beacon that was the local dirty bird joint. Just like any kid, I fucking loved a bit of takeaway and due to the fact that said takeaway did not come very often in our house hold (something I am truly thankful for now), it was ever more enticing.

Sometimes I still feel that I may enjoy a bit of that dirty bird, maybe some mashed potato and gravy, a cute little baby soft sweet roll and definitely some creamy, overdressed coleslaw, but mostly that thought is swiftly replaced with the memory that this food* makes me feel like I may have eaten actual shit, so I stay at home and do my home-made version… or maybe just the ‘slaw with whatever else may hit the table that day.

Feel free to swap out some of the green cabbage for a little red cabbage and / or kale. It works.

CREAMY TAKE-AWAY JOINT ‘SLAW

Serves 6 – 8 as a side

¼ large green cabbage
2 medium carrots
½ brown onion, peeled
Buttermilk dressing (recipe follows)

Roughly chop all ingredients.
In a food processor, pulse cabbage 4 -5 times until roughly chopped some more. Just pulse it though – you don’t want to puree the cabbage. Repeat with remaining vegetables.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, dress with buttermilk ‘slaw dressing and set aside in the fridge for 15 minutes for the flavours to amalgamate and get all sexy and nasty tasting (Yes, I do believe sexy and nasty can be very successfully used in a sentence together).
Get it in your face however you see fit – with fried chicken, BBQ, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, pork chops, your girlfriend’s belly button, straight up – you choose.
This will last in your fridge for a day or two.

You should definitely serve it with a hotdog. I’ll tell you how in my next post…

BUTTERMILK ‘SLAW DRESSING

¼ cup buttermilk
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbls rice vinegar (white wine vinegar will also do the trick)
1 tbls castor sugar
A pinch of each salt and white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
Whisk until amalgamated.

*this is the word “food” being used in its loosest possible context

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.

Pretty easy, using up those Sunday BBQ leftovers, cassoulet.


Today I realised I have not made cassoulet for quite some time. Sure, I’ve made pit beans and I’ve made cowboy beans, but I haven’t made a classic French cassoulet. And today I shan’t be making cassoulet either. Instead I shall be doing that bastardising thing I love to do so much and use a little smoked meat I have left over from the weekends cook to create my own little smoky assed, junk yard dog, mongrel cassoulet. And just like that junk yard dog, this dish is literally begging for you to give it more meat… give it all of the meat.

If I may digress just a little…

The cassoulet is basically a brothel. It has a big illuminated sign above it’s front door inviting more meat to the party. It does not care of the origin of the meat. It’s a “the more meat the better” type situation for the cassoulet… much like the brothel.

But as I said earlier, this is a mongrel version of said cassoulet so don’t go reporting me to the Traditional Cookery Police (TCP) because as we all know; dobbers wear nappies.

If you would like to make a bang up, bona fide, old school, full of fat and confit duck, Frenchy cassoulet, you can find a recipe by a great chef by the name of Guillaume Brahimi, right here.

I have also used tinned cannellini beans to keep it quick and easy. Tinned legumes defo have a place in my cupboard.

Cut the top off the garlic so it looks like this

Saute the meat and vegetables

The mongrel cassoulet sharing the table with some more beans. It’s a pretty friendly sort, really

PRETTY EASY MONGREL CASSOULET

500-750g smoky meaty leftovers (depending on how much you consumed or may have left over from that BBQ comp on the week end ) – start with pork neck or ribs and then add sausage, brisket, lamb and/or chicken – all chopped
2 tablespoons drippings from that meaty goodness
1 small onion (or half a large onion as I have used), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 bulb garlic, left whole, top sliced off to reveal a little garlic-y flesh
A few sprigs of parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
2x 400g tins cannellini beans, strained
500ml chicken stock. Homemade is best but sometimes store bought might be all you have on hand and it will still work, I can guarantee that
1 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.
Lube up a casserole dish or cast-iron pot or something that you can put in the oven with the drippings and then sauté meat and vegetables over medium heat until vegetables are starting to soften and brown a little. Alternatively, you can sauté the meat and vegetables in a pan and then transfer them to an oven proof dish.
Add all other ingredients except bread crumbs, stir to combine and season.
Top with bread crumbs and place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until golden brown and smelling delicious.
Eat it.
Put it in your face with a little green salad, or maybe some green beans with onion vinaigrette if you want to be the same as us.

One last pic of the ingredients…

Singapore noodles with smoked pork


Sometimes I forget how much I love noodles. Especially Singapore noodles. Oh, how I love Singapore noodles.

This is pretty easy, mid-week (should possibly read; great for late evening after maybe one or two too many beers when you forget that a man, and of course woman, needs to eat) cooking that is tasty as fuck and can certainly be toyed with as much as your sweet little heart desires. This time ‘round I had some leftover pork ribs that I took all the meat from like a white man taking land in centuries past, but this could easily be made with pork, chicken or beef mince, or prawns that are cooked off at the start and then returned to the pan as per the recipe, or you could even crumble in a little tofu with the vegetables if that’s your scene.

But for now – less talky, more cooky.

Put all ingredients onto a chopping board to photograph them before you cut them up

…and then maybe cut it all up and take anther photo

High heat sizzle sizzle

Noodles and condiments is good times for my face

So much about this makes me happy to be alive

SINGAPORE NOODLES WITH SMOKED PORK (serves 4)

400-500g smoked pork (or some kind of meat or non meat substitute)
Rice vermicelli
1 medium brown onion or a few shallots (scallions), sliced
2 cups of chopped vegetables – today my refrigerator had celery and zucchini for me and then I found some sugar snap peas in the garden
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated or chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped chilli, crisp eshallots and fresh shallots to serve

Place noodles into a bowl that is big enough to fit them plus some. Cover noodles with room temp water for 20 minutes.
Now for another opportunity to impress your friends with your smoking hot wok antics. So yes, you will be needing a smoking hot oiled wok… or possibly a very large pan… or maybe even two regular sized pans.
Add the vegetables, garlic and ginger and give them a couple of minutes of fiery stir frying.
Now add all remaining ingredients plus the pork (or substitute meat or non-meat product) into the pan.
Give that a quick heat through and get it on the table… or possibly on a plate followed closely by onto the table, garnished with chilli and shallot.

Goodnight