Prawn & sausage jambalaya

Jambalaya. A Cajun classic. Allegedly first made by European immigrants in New Orleans and deeply rooted in the Spanish paella. It’s a tasty-assed mash up of some kind of meat, smoked sausage, a few vegetables and rice in a pot, where they are left to make love and produce offspring of immensely really good flavour.

Cajun cooking has a bit of a thing going on with the celery, capsicum (bell pepper) and onion, the holy trinity of Cajun cooking if you will, and I certainly have no problem with this. It works, it does what it is meant to do, it doesn’t cause any trouble and it’s clean. I love a good clean house guest… or holy trinity…

This poor man’s dinner can be very easily consumed all by itself, but this sort of ricey goodness can also act as a side for a fillet of fish, a nice piece of roasted chicken or grilled pork chop.

On a side note, this corona virus shit certainly makes me realise why child mortality rates were so high in the old world. Also, it has made very clear why children were sent to work full time at such a young age. Coincidence that there was no proper school system to get the kids out of your hair and each other’s faces for 5 days of the week? I think not.


PRAWN & SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA

Serves 4


400 g large prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined, 5 heads reserved for cooking
200 g Andouille or some kind of smoked sausage, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
1 stalk celery, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
½ long red chilli, chopped
1-2 tablespoons Cajun spice mix or your favourite BBQ rub
250 g basmati rice
1 lt chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and lemon wedges, to serve


Heat pan over medium-high flame.
Sauté chorizo, the Cajun holy trinity, chilli and garlic in oil until softened and starting to brown.
Add prawn heads, tomato and spice mix and cook out for a further minute.
Add rice, stock and prawns to pan, cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if needed.
Garnish with chopped parsley and lemon.
Get it onto a plate or bowl of some description and then into your face so as to benefit from it’s tasty goodness.

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

Porky Thai fried rice – because it’s tops and I never get thai-ed of it.


I know. The thai-ed thing has been done before. I like it. That’s all.

Thai fried rice goes nicely with pork ribs or any other lump of BBQ pork you may like to grace it with. This rice is going to be your friend. You’re not going to kick it out of bed that’s for sure. It goes great guns hot or cold, and it’s crying out for a piece of smoky delicious pork like a newborn child screaming for his mother’s milk.

The thing with this fried rice is that it also works very well with shredded duck or seafood. In fact, my favourite incarnation of this fried rice is a pulled pork and king prawn version. Fucking A, right?

Make a full batch of the sauce and use it for chilli duck and mushroom stir-fry, stir-fried vegetables or squirt (yes, I said squirt) it in the eye of would be intruders.

PORKY THAI FRIED RICE

(serves 4)

12 cooked pork ribs or 500 – 600 g cooked pork belly, shoulder, hock, etc.
2 eggs
3 cups chopped vegetables. I used green beans, zucchini and cherry tomatoes, but use whatever it is that you like – carrot, capsicum, Asian greens, baby corn, etc.
5 cups cooked rice* from the day before, left un-covered in the fridge overnight**
150ml of fried rice sauce (recipe follows)
Chopped shallots (scallions), crisp eshallots, chilli sambal and fresh lime to garnish

• Light a burner on your stovetop and heat your wok over a high flame. Let it get hot. Proper hot. What’s that? You don’t have a wok. Well turn head down to your local hospitality supply warehouse or Asian food store (the Asians will defo give you a better deal because chances are they actually sold it to the other guys) and buy yourself a nice wok. Get home with your new wok and realise that your house is burning down because you didn’t turn the stovetop off and some shit caught on fire
• At least you still have your wok.
• Go now and rebuild your life, we’ll get back to the rice later…
• OK. Ready?
• Get that wok hot. Add a couple of tablespoons of oil. Don’t splash yourself with this oil because it will get bloody hot really fast.
• And I should have mentioned before that if you don’t have all of your mis en place ready now you should give up. This is going to be a quick process and, as with all stir-fries, you should have everything at the ready.
• Now evoke the spirit of the ancient Asian wok gods and, as the Ramones once said, Let’s Go!
• Quickly scramble the eggs and then put them aside.
• Add the vegetables and pork product to the hot wok. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
• Add the rice and toss for another two minutes. Toss, toss, toss.
• Add the sauce and the scrambled eggs. Give it two more minutes on the heat and that should be done.
• Plate up and garnish with shallots, crisp eshallots, chilli sambal and fresh lime.
• Nom, nom, nom, chow

FRIED RICE SAUCE

350ml yellow bean sauce, find it and enjoy its company. I use healthy boy brand
150ml fish sauce
250g grated palm sugar or castor sugar
300ml oyster sauce
250g nam prik pao (chilli in soy bean oil), once again find it etc.
200ml tamarind puree
• Mix all ingredients thoroughly until combined
• Store in the fridge for ages

*you will need approximately 2 cups of dried rice for this and then you cook it and it magically becomes 5 cups of cooked rice. Alternately, the local Asian takeaway will generally be happy you sell you your required amount of cooked rice for pretty much fuck all.

**this dries the rice out and stops it from clumping and making shitty weird rice instead of great fried rice.

Braised beef cheeks in drinkable red wine


At one time in the past I was of the opinion that the wine I used for cooking would not be the wine I would consume myself. In fact, the wine I used for cooking would be bottom shelf, cheap as, nasty assed goon*.

My opinions on more than one thing have changed in the last 20 years.

My opinion on the type of wine I should be cooking with was certainly not passed over by the opinion audit.

Now I am of the opinion that the wine you would like to cook with is also a wine that you would like to drink in your face. Maybe not necessarily that bottle you’ve been saving for your 50 year wedding anniversary, and certainly not a bottle you might drink at a teenage wedding or possibly a college art exhibition opening, but more of a “had a couple of drinks already and now I’m gonna pull you out of the cupboard and drink you all up” type bottle.

So that is the wine I have used to braised these beef cheeks for you right here today.

I have had the pleasure of using the fire to cook my dinner, but you can certainly use a pot on the stove top for yours.

The start of something good

Get a bit of colour on those cheeky cheeks

Add some sautéed mushrooms

Get it on a wooden camp table and serve some drinkable red wine in a mug to go with

BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS IN DRINKABLE RED WINE

(Serves 4)

1 kg beef cheeks, each cut into 3 pieces (a nice butcher will do this for you. A mean butcher will spit in your eye and then tell you to piss off)
100 g pancetta, sliced
1 onion, chopped roughly
3 carrots, cut into 5 or 6 pieces each – keep it chunky, keep it real
8 large cloves garlic, left whole and charred slightly on the coals (or raw chopped garlic will do just fine)
1 long red chilli, sliced
1 bottle of red wine
1x 400g tin diced tomatoes
500 ml beef stock or water
500 g button mushrooms, cut in halves or quarters depending on size
Salt and pepper

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add pancetta, onion, carrots, garlic and chilli, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Add beef cheeks and season with a little salt and pepper. Sauté beef cheeks for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Pour in the wine, tomatoes and water, and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Cover and simmer over low heat for 3 hours, stirring every half hour or so.
(While the beef cheek simmering is going on you can sauté your mushroom in a little oil and butter until they are browned. Set aside)
After 3 hours add the mushrooms to the pot and stir through.
Cover and simmer for one more hour.
Check that the beef cheeks are tender – they should be ready to be cut with a spoon by now. If not, simmer for another 15 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Serve with mashed potatoes, jacket potatoes or potato bake and green beans if you have some.
Eat it.

Damn well delicious

*Goon. Aust slang. Cheap arsed boxed wine. A wine one might drink in their teenage / university days.

Nacho good times bowl


This bowl can be a little bit of whatever the eff you’ve got lying around really. Except for your old dog – you just leave him lying where he is.

NACHO GOOD TIMES BOWL

Pulled pork doused with your favourite BBQ sauce. Left overs are perfect for this
Black beans cooked in bacon fat (recipe follows)
Tomato, onion and coriander salsa (You don’t need a recipe for this. It is those three ingredients plus a little splash of red wine vinegar and a little salt and pepper. That’s it)
Sliced avocado
Feta
Jalapenos
Hot sauce
Brown rice – cooked is probably best. White rice will also do the job
Lime
Store bought corn chips or tostadas, or make your own if you have the skills

You did save the bacon fat, right?

One of those “so simple, so good” moments

BLACK BEANS IN BACON FAT

(Serves 4 as a side)

Quite simply this is actually black beans in bacon fat – you save your bacon fat, right?

1x 400g tin of black beans, drained
1 -2 tblsp bacon fat
½ small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Sauté onion and garlic in bacon fat until fragrant and softened a little.
Add bay leaf, beans and a splash of water.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer 10 minutes, adding another tablespoon or two of water if it dries out.
Check seasoning.
Do the “nacho good times bowl” thing with them.