Mango & Cactus Salsa… sure to improve your life

Mango & cactus salsa goes phenomenally well with seafood tacos
Mango & cactus salsa goes phenomenally well with seafood tacos

Salsa is a child of the summer.

The moment I have made salsas three times in the same week is the exact same moment I swap my ensemble of a Darrel Summers’ jumper, sensible trousers and discount shoe mart runners for boardies, a singlet and thongs. When the salsas come out it means the weather is hot, the living is easy and I don’t look so much like I belong on the set of late 80s-early 90s Australian sitcom, “Hey Dad”.

Salsa also refers to a particularly raunchy form of Latin American dancing. It is said that salsa dancing may have been named so because it was somewhat hot and/or saucy. Nice. I really like what they did there…

You were just the recipient of a random snippet of knowledge courtesy of your friends here at foodisthebestshitever.

I am a firm believer that your life can be improved by
1. The power of a good salsa. Applying salsa with relish (heheh) at your next summer barbecue (sorry northern hemisphere peeps… you can put that on hold until next year) or your Christmas lunch shall raise you to the pedestal that you damn well deserve.
2. Plenty of booze… get some cocktail action going and you won’t even care that you can’t cook for shit and the Christmas ham is now blacker than an emo kid in a black hole.
3. A good bowel movement on a regular basis will make good life really good and on the flipside, not having a good bowel movement on a regular basis can make life very bad. Not like the call girl with the long boots and red lipstick bad, but more like the out of order toilet at the music festival bad (if you are a bit too mature to be frolicking around with thousands of sweaty hipsters insert some kind of large gathering of your kind in there).
4. An arm that was just slightly longer so you could scratch that spot in between your shoulder blades when it gets itchy. That’s got to be a god joke right there. Upstairs, laughing their heads off at us idiots down below trying to scratch ourselves. Really funny guys…

So I find it only fitting that I should offer a salsa recipe for you to create in your home kitchen today. Also, in the lead-up to this coca-cola themed craziness, I shall try to pump out a few more easytastygood recipes to impress your peeps with this Christmas.

This salsa would be great to dress a prawn salad, it would find a happy home along side roast chicken or pork and, of course it would kick-ass on tacos… any tacos as long as they are heading directly for your face.

That's the salsa down the front
That’s the salsa down the front

If you really want to impress people make a pile of fish and prawn tacos with some avocado, pickled cabbage and this salsa and hand them out to all of your friends. Popularity guaranteed
If you really want to impress people make a pile of fish and prawn tacos with some avocado, pickled cabbage and this salsa and hand them out to all of your friends. Popularity guaranteed

MANGO & CACTUS SALSA (makes approx. 3 cups)

3 medium mangoes, flesh only, diced
½ cup cactus strips*, diced
½ red (salad) onion, fine dice
1 handful coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon hot sauce**
1 lime… maybe

• Mix all ingredients together to combine
• Adjust to your taste with a squeeze of lime juice if necessary

*Available from a purveyor of Mexican goodies… or probably at every large super market chain by the time you read this as the whole Mexican food thing is trending fairly heavily

**I am using the Byron Bay Chilli Co Cayenne Hot Chilli Sauce at the moment for no other reason than it tastes damn fine

Wooli Seafood Spread

Fishy, fishy, fishy
Fishy, fishy, fishy

I don’t got much for you today.

All I have is a couple of points that have come from my ponderings and the tail end symptoms of a nasty little rash. Not exactly “strap yourself in and get ready for the ride” reading but like I said, it’s all I’ve got.

1. It is almost Christmas. That came around really effing quickly. Before you know it you will be waking up on boxing day wearing a santa hat, all areas of visible skin blanket-filled with an interesting choice of colour that could only be called sun burn red*, hungover like something that has been drinking in the hot sun for the entirety of the previous day and, if you are one of the truly lucky peeps amongst us who have chosen to work in the hospitality industry, you may even be late for the breakfast shift!
2. I have decided that the lead up to Christmas may or may not be the best time to launch a catering company. And the day job too… what was I thinking?
3. I don’t care what you’re doing right now because we are getting a bit of serious NDAFT (not doing an effing thing) time in. We have transported our asses to Wooli on the north coast of New South Wales via motorized chariot on the actual highway (as opposed to the interweb super-highway). Yes, back to Wooli. I am drawn to this place like the weight sensitive person is drawn to an extra slice of chocolate cake… We are enjoying the idiosyncrasies of staying in a cabin on the river, sampling the local seafood (those who remember my last Wooli post would probably remember that I mentioned the local oyster supplier and fish shop… a lot), swimming and kayaking in said river, fishing and just doing nice shit in general. Really feeling the love, you know?
4. I feel there is a good chance that posts may become dodgily intermittent because of my work load with catering and my day job… this is something you most probably wouldn’t offer a single shit for, which I would agree is a wise decision.
5. Once, sometime in my past, something happened to my head and made me heaps skilled at talking random rubbish all the time.

Proof that I fish
Proof that I fish

That’s it. Ponder that load of complete and utter bollocks (or don’t). As for me, I am going to enjoy these few days we have away from the centrifuge (That’s right. Big fast spinning thing) that is our lives at the moment and give it up a little for a bit of eat, drink, fish, swim, quality family time etc… you get the picture.

Proof that my children have not yet worked out which side of the kayak they should be in
Proof that my children have not yet worked out which side of the kayak they should be in

So in closing I would like to say this; enjoy your Christmas if I forget to tell you on the day, if you need someone to cater your Christmas party I am not the man (sure, mostly I am “the man”, but in this case I am most certainly not the man), I love getting the heck outta dodge and I have not forgotten about you if I don’t write for a while… just in case.

Kick-ass prawns
Kick-ass prawns

Kick-ass oysters with kick-ass bacon
Kick-ass oysters with kick-ass bacon
All round kick-ass-ness
All round kick-ass-ness

RIVERSIDE SEAFOOD SPREAD (for 4)

1 fish that you caught earlier that day, seasoned with a little salt and pepper and cooked on the barbecue. Give it a good squeeze of lemon as you are about to serve it up
500g cooked king prawns
2 dozen fresh oysters shucked before your very eyes, shown the love with the addition of a few bits of crisp bacon
3 rashers of bacon, chopped and fried until crisp to go on those oysters
Cabin marie rose sauce, aka cocktail sauce (recipe below)
Kimchi
Salads that you and yours enjoy eating – We had a Greek-ish salad with quinoa and my nana’s potato salad

CABIN MARIE ROSE SAUCE

½ cup mayo
1 tablespoon or so tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Extra seasoning if you need it

• Combine all ingredients and whisk together… unless your cabin does not have a whisk included in it’s bucket of kitchen utensils, in which case, if your name is MacGyver I would suggest you fashion a whisk from an old bicycle pump and the skeletal remains of the fish you caught today. But, as you are most likely not MacGyver, a fork will do the trick just fine. If your cabin does not have a fork I would suggest that you may have paid good money to stay in a cave or possibly a hole in the ground and it is people like you who make me question how the human race has got this far…
• Normally this sauce would also contain Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and possibly a splash of brandy, but we’ll making use of what we’ve got because I will garnish my prawns with the juices from the bottom of the wheelie bin before I use that Masterfoods stuff from the store

BTW, THE FOODISTHEBESTSHITEVER CHRISTMAS ADDRESS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. YOU’VE GOTTA BE PUMPED FOR THAT!

*Possibly only applicable to peeps living in the Southern Hemisphere

Monday dinner #2… fresh snapper rocks my world more than Britney Spears

SAMSUNG CSC

Ooops I did it again, blah blah blah blah, dah diddy dah, I like it like that.

No, I am not magically transporting you back to the year 2000 to a chart topping hit for a drunkard white trash caravan park kid, and I certainly won’t be hitting the stage in a red lycra onesie any time soon. It is more a statement from me to you declaring that I cooked another cracker of a Monday dinner last night. That’s right, I cooked another great dinner and I am man enough to admit it! Must be a little early Christmas cheers getting to me…

I know Monday is doomsday for a lot of people; the start of a new working week, packing school lunches, getting the family back into the week day routine, kids yelling, you yelling, and finally being able to take a sip from the bottle of gin you have hidden in your knickers drawer. Not for me though, I’m Chirpy McChirples on a Monday. Make the lunches, drop the kids at school, have a coffee, catch up with any cooking show watching I may have missed out on the past week, have a little sip of that gin in my knickers drawer, then spend the afternoon immersed in mis en place, a nice piece of meat, pots and pans, and maybe a beer or two, cooking dinner for my favourite peeps in the world… my family. Some times they even show up, which makes it all the more enjoyable. Yes, I am loving the Monday arvo cook-ups like the drunken mother loves the ease of a chip sandwich and cold baked beans dinner. Baaayoootiful luvvvie.

…and it just so happens that this week I have a few fillets of local snapper in the fridge, which is pretty much my favourite fish ever, so I know this cook up already has a kick-ass head start. You might not be able to get fresh snapper, hell, you might not even like snapper (what are you? Another snapper??), so use whatever fish is fresh, affordable for you (even I know Christmas is coming) and most importantly, a fish that your taste buds tell your brain tastes good.

I'm pretty sure the label says "marinated white anchovies"
I’m pretty sure the label says “marinated white anchovies”
The sautéed goodies with a few white anchovies
The sautéed goodies with a few white anchovies
Put it all together on a receptacle of your choosing
Put it all together on a receptacle of your choosing
Magic
Magic
Serve in the pan if you are OG
Serve in the pan if you are OG

SNAPPER WITH SAUTEED POTATOES, GREEN BEANS, OLIVES, TOMATO & WHITE ANCHOVIES (serves 4)

4x 180g snapper fillets, or whatever fish you like to eat, just make sure it’s fresh!! (you could also use 700-800g whole fillet of fish and cook it on the BBQ or even oven bake it at 200C for 15 or so minutes)

5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

200g green beans, trimmed

1 clove garlic, chopped

zest ½ lemon

juice 1 lemon (zest ½ of it first)

2 tomatoes, diced

½ cup olives

12 white anchovy fillets

1 handful parsley, chopped

seasoning

  • Put the potatoes into a pot of water and simmer for 5 minutes or until almost cooked. Strain
  • In a large pan on a medium heat, sauté the potatoes in a good splash of oil. Toss regularly
  • While potatoes are cooking get the fish on. In a pan big enough to fit all of the fish, heat a splash of oil over medium heat. Season fish on the skin side and place skin side down in the pan. Cook the fish for 3 minutes on the skin side, by which stage it should be getting crisp. Turn the fish and reduce heat to low for another 2 or so minutes (unless it is a thick fillet in which case you’ll need to give it a couple more). Turn the pan of and let the residual heat finish the fish nice and gently
  • While the fish is resting finish the vegetables. Add the green beans to the pan and sauté for another 2 minutes, then add olives, tomato and garlic and turn heat off. Add lemon zest and parsley and toss. Check seasoning. Dress with a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil if it needs it
  • Serve on plates or bowls or bricks or tiles (as is now the vogue), with the sautéed veg down first, drape that with a few anchovies and then top with the fillet of fish