Special sauce

This is my recipe for special sauce. We use it at our restaurant, the Stockpot Kitchen, and lots of people ask me for the recipe.

Here is the recipe.

My debt to you is paid in full.
It is especially good in a burger or three

SPK SPECIAL SAUCE

This is enough for a round of burgers and then some to put in the fridge to add to everything else you eat (especially hot chips) until your honeymoon obsession is over.

2 cups mayonaise – make it or buy some good stuff
¼ cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
¼ cup roughly chopped dill pickles
¼ medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon each yellow mustard, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to season

Blitz all ingredients except mayonaise in a food prossessor or blend or with a stick wizz.
Fold into mayonaise and mix until thouroughly combined.
Eat it with whatever you find fit.


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.

Smoky chicken wings with honey rum glaze


These are very easily consumed by themselves with a nice little dipping sauce – might I suggest something mayonnaisy, BBQ or hot sauce, or even a drizzle of smoked honey (So, basically any sauce you like to put on the table). But on this one evening I made a meal out of these little flappy parts with grilled corn and sautéed beans. It made for very nice eating indeed.

This is going to work well in a smoker or kettle BBQ with indirect heat.

Those beans were sautéed with onion, bacon, garlic and a splash of chicken stock

Corn and sauteed beans can join the wings on the grill

The corn gets sexy with some mayo, hot sauce, herbs and pecorino cheese. Also, I found some radishes in the garden so I put them on the plate too

SMOKY CHICKEN WINGS with HONEY RUM GLAZE

(for 1 or 2 peeps, depending on the depth of your love of a good chicken wing)

1kg chicken wings
1 tablespoon of your favourite chicken rub
2 tablespoons honey
1-2 shots spiced rum
Your favourite saucy good times

Season your wings with rub, honey and rum. Mix well and allow to marinate over night if you are a top-notch forward planner, or for at least one hour if you are more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants cowboy like me.
Fire up your smoker/grill and get the temp up to 160C-ish (320F). Place a couple of small chunks of smoky flavour wood on the coals to make those wings taste extra sexy.
Place the wings on the grill however you see fit – a nice little around-the-rim pattern seems to be quite vogue right now – reserving remaining marinade.
The lid goes on and the vents are open.
Let the wings have a little smoky loving; 30-ish minutes for full wings and 20-ish minutes for wing segments, or until cooked, reglazing with remaining marinade after 15 minutes. (It is totally legit to cut one open and check that they are done though, so don’t be afraid to do that just to be sure).
Give them another little sprinkle with your BBQ rub of choice to freshen up those flavours.
This is finger-to-face eating at it’s finest.

Steamed pork rib with black beans


There is not much I do not enjoy about the yum cha (dumpling) table.

Normally I would write a few more words to introduce a recipe.

Not today.

This Christmas thing makes a chef’s life too bloody busy 

A few things I consider to be essential at the dumpling table

Pieces o’ pork

That pork ready to hit the steamer

The sticky rice ready to be tucked in covered with its #cheflife ALSCO towel

Dish that up

Just like that

STEAMED PORK RIBS WITH BLACK BEANS, STICKY RICE AND A FEW OTHER DUMPLING HOUSE GOODIES

500g pork belly with or without rib, pork spare rib or St Louis cut pork ribs, cut into 2cm pieces (your butcher might do this if you are nice to him/her. Otherwise you may need a meat cleaver…)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
2 clove garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat of a knife
½ onion, diced
1 long green chilli, deseeded and diced
½ red capsicum, diced
2 tablespoons Chinese black beans
2 cups glutinous white rice, soaked for a day or overnight in 1lt of water
1 bunch choy sum
A splash of oyster sauce
Assorted store-bought dumplings
Sriracha, soy sauce and/or whatever it is you like to dunk your dumplings into, to serve

Combine sugar, Shaoxing, soy sauce, sesame oil, pepper and garlic. Mix through pork ribs to marinate. Set aside overnight or at least one hour to do its thing.
Add onion, chilli, capsicum and black beans, and transfer to a bowl that will fit in your steamer basket.

Set up steamer in the usual fashion – simmering water in the bottom, and then the layers with the holes in them go over that (dumplings, vegetables, rice and steamed pork go on these levels), and then the lid looking thing goes on top of them.

Line the bottom level of your steamer with a towel, add strained rice and then wrap extra cloth over the top like you were tucking the rice into bed. Now you should say goodnight to the rice. Place steamer basket over simmering water.
Place bowl with pork ribs into top basket. Place onto steamer and cover with lid.
Steam for 25 minutes or until rice and pork is fully cooked.
Remove rice and pork from steamer. Cover with aluminum foil to keep warm.

Line bottom steamer basket with baking paper. Place dumplings in basket, ensuring there is ½ cm between each dumpling so they don’t stick together. Place over simmering water.
Place choy sum on a dish that will fit in steamer basket and drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons oyster sauce. Place steamer basket over dumplings and then cover with lid. Steam choy sum and dumplings for 6-8 minutes or whatever the instructions on the packaging of the dumplings might tell you.

Get it all on the table now.
Now is the time to eat it.
Place your chosen morsel into the big hole in your face, chew it a little or a lot and then swallow.
You are now eating.
Thumbs up.

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…

Crumbed fish so easy my kids could do it

crumbed breaded fish
Crumbed (breaded) fish is so easy my kids could do it.

…and they did.

Well, I would be more correct in saying that Obi made it. He made it look as piss easy as it should look too.

Flour, egg wash and then bread crumbs. That is not rocket science. Building rockets is rocket science. This isn’t even close to a chance meeting with Stephen Hawking. It is not, I repeat, not science.

It is though, a pretty satisfying way to cook some nice fresh fish at home. Also, just to reiterate, it is also very easy and has the added advantage of going to be a whole heap tidier than pulling out the battered and deep fried version of fish dinner… especially if you are a first timer…

I’ll even make it more of a showy-telly-looky kind of thing, as apposed to one of those lotsa-wordy-ready things that take all of the mental capacity of some one who is a fair bit smarter than you’re looking right now.

Whoa. Soz. Really , I’m not trying to insult anyone… except maybe you. Yeah, you know who I’m talking to.

So on with the photos then…

Get the kids up really early and get on a boat that will take you into the ocean
Get the kids up really early and get on a boat that will take you into the ocean

Suss out some whales on the way (we will not be crumbing these today)
Suss out some whales on the way (we will not be crumbing these today)

Mandatory pic of kids with fish
Mandatory pic of kids with fish

Fillet and skin fish. We cut the fillets into fish finger sort of looking pieces because the boys wanted to make home made fish fingers, but goujons is probably the more correct term
Fillet and skin fish. We cut the fillets into fish finger sort of looking pieces because the boys wanted to make home made fish fingers, but goujons is probably the more correct term

That is followed by a roll through the flour, a dip through the egg wash and then a quick romp through the breadcrumbs. Read it again if you couldn't make sense of it...
That is followed by a roll through the flour, a dip through the egg wash and then a quick romp through the breadcrumbs. Read it again if you couldn’t make sense of it…

Obi shallow fries the fish fingers over med-low heat for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly
Obi shallow fries the fish fingers over med-low heat for 4-5 minutes, turning regularly

Eaty time with a potato, roasted carrot, chorizo and corn salad and home made tartare
Eaty time with a potato, roasted carrot, chorizo and corn salad and home made tartare

You can do this shit, trust me.

And if you are thinking you might like the look of the salad we had with ours, rest assured it will be hitting these inter-web pages soon!

Very bloody tasty indeed
Very bloody tasty indeed