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.

BBQ pork nachos loaded with a few things including charred jalapeno hot sauce


Nachos are a pretty commonplace meal around these here parts, especially when it’s dinner for just me and the boys (I am father to 11 and 12-year-old boys just in case you didn’t already know that).

In fact, it would be true to say nachos, burgers and pizza form my children’s’ holy trinity of foods they would be most happy living off of for the remainder of their childhood years.

Also, I feel that nachos of some description are within the realms of most people’s kitchen skill set (just maybe not yours) so I will not give you a recipe for them today. Instead I will tell you what I put with mine and maybe you can do something like that too.

Heads up – my list of ingredients does include a charred jalapeño hot sauce for which I will be providing you with a recipe.

I am a nice guy.

Here’s what it was;
BBQ pork,
Refried beans,
Avocado / guacamole,
Sour cream,
Tomato salsa,
Cheese,
BBQ sauce (to anoint that pork),
Charred jalapeno hot sauce,
Corn chips


CHARRED JALAPENO HOT SAUCE

This is a version of my original hot sauce – the prototype being made with non-charred long red chillis. A version of this stuff is on the table with every, I repeat, every meal we have.

1 kg (2 ¼ lb) jalapeños, grilled over coals until a little charred and blistered just like in the pic
2 cloves garlic, peeled
100 g (3 ½ oz) castor sugar
1 tblsp salt
250ml (8 fl oz) white vinegar
500ml (16 fl oz) water

Blitz or chop the chilli and garlic to a rough consistency.
Transfer to a glass jar and add all other ingredients. Sit on the kitchen bench for 5 days with the lid on but ajar so the sauce can breathe, stirring every day.
Transfer chilli mixture to a pot and heat the sauce until it comes to the simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.
Allow to cool and then puree to a smooth-ish consistency with a stick wizz or in a blender.
Seal and store in the refrigerator.
Hot sauce will keep for… actually I don’t know how long because it’s always gone within a few weeks around here.

Meatballs in tomato sauce on the Weber


This was one of those times where I wanted to fire up the BBQ but I needed to do something different than the ol’ standards.

Enter the meatballs.

Meatballs are absolutely banging when they’re cooked in any type of BBQ, and also tasty as when cooked in the oven. The choice is yours. But these meatballs? These meatballs were desitined for the Weber kettle today.

NB This recipe for meatballs is not one my own brain created, but in fact it is a recipe given to me by a previous employer who is of Italian descent. When I say recipe, I do believe there was not so much a recipe as a (very) short list of ingredients… two ingredients in fact; “ricotta and pinenuts”. I think maybe she was losing her mind a little and was just muttering some random words to herself as she walked by, never-the-less I took this as a sign from baby Jesus himself that I should be putting ricotta and pinenuts into my meatballs. So into my meatballs the ricotta and pinenuts went.

Also, just remember meatballs are so easy to make even a child could do it… so, well, you know… don’t be afraid to get your kids to help or even force them to take the whole process and make it their own.

All of the good things

Those balls all rolled up and bally looking

Just having a little simmering-over-the-coals party

MEATY BALLS

(serves 4-5)

500 g beef mince
500 g pork mince
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup fresh ricotta, crumbled
¼ cup pinenuts, lightly toasted
¼ cup currants
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 small handful of parsley, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Zest of half a lemon
2 slices sour dough bread, crusts removed, processed into coarse breadcrumbs
A big pinch of salt and pepper
3 cups of your favourite pasta sauce – Dolmio, tomato pasatta, nona’s home made special tomato sauce, tinned tomatoes or heinz tomato sauce (depending on your own personal preference and presence of taste buds) – tomato pasatta wsa my choice
Grated parmesan, to serve
Soft polenta, to serve

Preheat your BBQ or oven to 200 C-ish (390 F).
Saute onion and garlic until softened and just starting to colour.
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients excpet tomato sauce and mix until amalgamated.
Roll your meatballs*. I rolled mine somewhere in the vicinity of the size of a golf ball.
Pour your sauce of preference into a baking or casserole dish that will fit your balls (heheh).
Place the meatballs into the sauce and then into the BBQ or oven for somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes.
Check to see if they are cooked by whatever method you see fit.
Check seasoning in the sauce and adjust if necessary.
Serve on soft polenta with extra sauce, a splash of oilve oil and grated parmesan.

*there is no ‘wrong way’ when it comes to rolling meatballs.

Really good meatballs

Grilled chicken with Thai flavours and sweet & sour sauce


This dinner was cooked up with a pile of things from our home garden. One of the really good things about living in a sub-tropical region is that a whole heap of the ingredients that might be grown and eaten in South East Asia can also be grown here. Also, to complete the experience, children’s plastic dining tables and chairs are available from large retailers and possibly toy stores.

So, the aromats all came from our garden, as did the bok choy.

The chicken came from a super market who assured me it had led a happy and sustainable life. I wish I could say that we had grown and slaughtered the chicken ourselves but that is just not the case. It is something we have certainly done in the past and something I would like to do again, but not this time.

I am cooking the chicken over coals because I find this method to be tasty and certainly pleases my palate. Failing the presence of a grill, or the ability to use it, this chook can be oven roasted at 200 C for a similar amount of time.

This meal also contains a few of my current favourite* garnishes – sticky rice, steamed greens with oyster sauce and a sweet and sour dipping sauce.

So, in conclusion, this is my version of a Thai grilled chicken


GRILLED CHICKEN WITH THAI FLAVOURS AND SWEET & SOUR SAUCE

Serves 4 – 6

1x 1.6 – 1.8 kg chicken, spatchcocked (butterflied, splayed, busted open)
4 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, white part only, roughly chopped
1 thumb sized piece galangal, roughly chopped
1 thumb sized piece ginger, roughly chopped
3 kafir lime leaves
1 long red chilli, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon castor sugar
Salt and white pepper to season
Coriander and sweet and sour sauce (recipe follows), to serve

Everything except the chicken and salt and pepper can go into a food processor where it can be blitzed into a coarse paste which you shall use to marinate your chicken. You could also use a mortar and pestle for this purpose, as would be the way in the old country.

Massage marinade into the chicken and leave for 30 – 60 minutes for the flavours to really get to know that chook.

Grill chicken over medium-hot coals for 45 or so minutes or until chicken is cooked (you may need to move your chicken away from direct heat if it starts to get a little too crispy or charred). Turn and rotate chicken every 10 – 15 minutes to ensure a fairly even cooking process.

Once chicken is cooked remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes. Chop into pieces with a cleaver and a crazy look in your eye. Season with salt and pepper and serve with sweet and sour sauce and sides of your choosing.

SWEET & SOUR SAUCE

2 – 3 long red chilli
2 cloves garlic
½ cup lime juice
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tbls fish sauce
1 ½ tbls water

Chop chilli and garlic finely. Combine with all other ingredients and stir/whisk until sugar is dissolved.

It is worthy of note that this is also a very nice salad dressing and will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

*Yes. My favourites do change. I certainly did no marry into a life of being a “one side only” man.