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

Really, really easy pit beans.


I don’t even know what to say about these beans except they are so damn easy – not boozed up prom queen easy but really darn close.

Cook these as a side at your next BBQ or do not be afraid to put a fried egg on top of a bowl of this and call it dinner.

REALLY, REALLY EASY PIT BEANS

Serves 4 – 6 as a side

2x 400g tins cannellini beans (navy beans, borlotti beans, black beans or whatever beans you like will also work fine here)
250 ml tomato passata
100 ml your favourite BBQ sauce
1 tablespoon your favourite BBQ rub
A splash of water if it starts to dry out a little
Salt and pepper to season if necessary (quite likely won’t be though)

Grab an oven proof dish or pan that is large enough to fit the beans plus a little more. Combine all ingredients in said dish and mix to combine.
Place the beans into your BBQ for 1 hour at 350 F (175 C) or maybe 2 hours at 250 F (120 C) (and I’m pretty sure you can work it out for your temps and times in between). Check every half hour and add a splash of water if they start to dry out a little.
Check seasoning and serve.
That’s it.
These beans are the sort of thing you can really make your own. Add chilli, extra herbs or spices, a little maple syrup or brown sugar, Mexican seasoning, cheese, left over BBQ meats, sautéed mushrooms… you get it? Of course you don’t, but nobody can say I didn’t try…

Lamb shnitzel with mint sauce (or maybe in a sandwich with tomato ketchup)


The trans-Tasman comradery and a good piece of lamb

I am not sure the reason, but whatever it is, we as Australians always seem to be able to afford ourselves the time for a big old cross seas pointing of the finger and a laugh with our neighbours the Kiwis (and them to us I’m sure). It might be the spirit of the ANZACS? A strange, unexplainable, X-Files-esque trans-Tasman chemistry? Or maybe it was a morning where we awoke next to each other after a heavy night of drinking and realized we were in the games room at a retirement home and we smell like potpourri and denture adhesive? (Please, stick with me here). Wherever the connection may lie, the average Australian has a penchant for a good solid joke with the Kiwi’s, aka New Zealanders.

But today we shall not be discussing jokey time. No, no, no. This shit is serious as having face herpes at your final high school ball. It is time to say once and for all; the sheep f**cking (should read fucking) must stop!

K? K.

Now, lamb rump is probably so popular because butchers were smart enough to call it something other than “lamb’s ass”. But let’s face it; it is a lamb’s ass cheek. Now (back to the finger pointing) a good, tender lamb’s ass is a point of national distraction for a Kiwi (I know I said there would be no more jokes about coital union with a sheep but…). A bit of the old “nah mate, it was caught in the wire fence and I was just trying to push it through”. But a good, tender lamb rump… well that’s something I’m going to be happy to put in my face anytime. And that is indeed what I did

Pounded lamb rump and a few other bits and pieces

A little pile of shnitzels and mint sauce. A photo that may or may not appear in a book I have been working on.

LAMB SHNITZEL
(Serves 4)

8x 90—100 g (3—3½ oz) lamb rump steaks, pounded a little bit to flatten
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
125 g (4½ oz) plain flour
3 eggs, whisked with a splash of water
200 g (7 oz) panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Crushed potatoes, peas and mint sauce (recipe below), to serve
Or maybe white bread and tomato sauce, to serve
Mix the breadcrumbs with the herbs, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Dust the lamb rumps in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs to coat.
Shallow fry the schnitzels in medium-hot oil for 1 minute each side.
Drain on absorbent paper for 1 minute.
Serve with mint sauce and vegetables or whack it in between two slices of white bread white a little tomato ketchup and you have yourself a fucking cracking sandwich. The sandwich thing works super well with cold schnitzels too.

MINT SAUCE
125 ml (4 fl oz) apple cider vinegar
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
A big handful of mint
Salt and pepper
Warm the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
Add chopped mint leaves, or add them whole and then hit it with a stick whizz.
Season with a little salt and pepper.
That’s it.
Tell yourself some things really can be that easy.

Steak and the things I might like to have with it ie. Cafe de Paris butter


Steak is something that is honoured with no particular favourite sauce/dressing for me.

It could be something green and herbaceous. Maybe salsa verde or a twangy chimmichurri.

It might be something creamy. A porcini mushroom and bacon sauce perhaps.

Or maybe a classic jus or gravy.

I have been known to adorn a nice steak with chilli jam or a cherry tomato salsa from time to time.

Maybe I will be feeling some butter mixed into the resting juices.

Yeah. The list could go on and on but I’d imagine we’ve both got better things to do with or time… midget porn and Dominos on speed dial awaits!

Just one more thing though. Sometimes nothing is going to satisfy me like a classic Café de Paris butter on my steak. It’s pretty good.

This is the Frenchies at their very finest.

Carry on.

Smother that steak with the butter.

Look at all of those lovely buttery juices.

CAFE DE PARIS BUTTER

(enough for a few steaks. Remaining butter will last in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks)

250 g unsalted butter, softened
1 eshallot or ½ brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
20 g Indian style curry powder
1 cup picked parsley leaves, chopped
2 tbls lemon juice
1 tbls Worcestershire sauce
5 anchovy fillets
½ tbls baby capers
1 tspn sea salt
1 tspn ground pepper
4 – 5 basil leaves, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked

• To make the butter, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and curry powder over low heat until soft and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
• Process all ingredients until just combined. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
• Put a big ol’ spoon or two onto your steak as it’s resting.
• Get into it.
• And just, well you know, wash it down with beer.

Bloody delicious.

An ode to my Ma’s savoury mince pie


This is a meat pie that would make my mother proud.

I have said more than once that my mother was not the flashest of home cooks, and she is OK with that and still sends me birthday cards etc, etc, etc, but she could definitely throw together a damn fine fish fry, great meat with three (veg) and a cracking savoury mince. The latter would oft find it’s way into a cosy little fluffy jacket of golden brown puff pastry (with a few of those slightly-over-done-but-not-even-over-done-because-it’s-puff-pastry bits), much to our childhood delight.

Yup. She could make a pie.

And she would sure be happy with this pie. She would truly be happy with the filling. I mean, she wouldn’t have used beer, but it would certainly look the part. That coupled with the love only a mother can have for a child would be enough to ensure we could happily sit down and enjoy this together.

Aw.

Ahhhh, the savoury mince filling. you could pretty easily stop right here and just eat that on toast… maybe with a fried egg or two…

Make the pie.

Eat the pie.

SAVOURY MINCE PIE

(serves 4)

500 g beef mince
1 onion (brown, red, yellow, whatever), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
½ zucchini (regular shop sized zucchini, Lucas)
1 cob corn, kernels removed (or ½ cup frozen corn kernels)
½ cup frozen peas
1 ½ tbls plain flour
1 can (375 ml) dark beer
Salt and pepper
2 sheets puff pastry (or enough to line a 25 cm pie dish)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of milk), to glaze
Tomato ketchup, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a pan / pot on a medium heat.
Sauté onion, carrot and carrot, with a pinch of salt and pepper, until starting to brown.
Add mince and sauté until that is starting to brown too. Break it up with a wooden spoon as you go so it doesn’t get all clumpy and meatball-esque.
Add flour and cook out for a minute, stirring to avoid burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add remaining vegetables and beer and cook out, stirring constantly, until a nice gravy is holding that meat and vegetable ménage together.
Check seasoning, adjust if necessary and then set aside to cool.
Pre heat oven to 220 C (430 F).
Line (or butter and flour) a 25 cm pie dish and use one sheet of puff pastry to cover, using off cuts to press into any extra gaps.
Fill pie base with cooled savoury mince.
Place the other sheet of puff pastry over the top of the pie dish and trim roughly to shape using a paring knife or something similar.
Pinch pastry together along the edge of the pie dish.
Make a little hole in the middle of the pie so the steam might escape.
Glaze top of pie with egg wash and bake in pre heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown (and a little bit darker in places).
Serve with tomato ketchup, chips, salad, peas, mashed potato, extra gravy, etc, etc, etc.

Pie.

PS If you’re the kind of person who gets pretty busy in the week with work and kids and all of the extra-curricular activity you participate in for the united gerbil appreciation association, then it is a really good idea to double or triple the recipe and make two or three (respectively) of these pies and freeze the extra down for easy busy-times dinner.
Just cook them for only 15 minutes or until lightly coloured to allow for the rebake and then wrap and freeze once cooled. Defrost it in the fridge overnight and it should be good to go by the time you get home from work the next day. Whack it in a 180 C (355 F) oven for 15 minutes or until it’s hot. Dinner’s up.