the BASTARD BURRITO


Until last week, I had not eaten a burrito for over 20 years. That is one thing I know about.

Things I do not know about are how to build a traditional burrito, if in fact the burrito is traditional Mexican cooking at all. But I am in luck because I have a default setting that is triggered by such events and tells me I will be fine and I should just crack on and make something that I think would fit pretty happily into the description of a burrito. Then I should give it a name that will ensure the peeps out there know I have zero actual knowledge of the burrito and am trying to bluff my way through as per usual.

So here is my bastard burrito.

You are very welcome.

That’s the pigs head in the coals
Some things that will go together to make pico de gallo
It may be a bit full on for some, but it really is a thrifty arsed, tasty piece of pig


THE BASTARD BURRITO

(makes 4 fatties)

3 cups cooked seasoned meat of some description. This could be smoked brisket, pork, lamb or chicken, or mince sautéed with onion, garlic and Mexican seasoning, or even a dirty old pigs head, as was the case today
1 avocado, sliced
1 ½ cups grated tasty cheese
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 cup braised black beans (recipe follows)
½ cup pico de gallo (recipe follows)
4x 12” tortillas

It’s probably best to watch the attached video for the explanation of the assembly and rolling of the burrito. It’s just easier that way. You’ve got this far. You may as well just press play now.
If you do not want to press play, the gist of it is this; place ingredients on the tortilla, roll, wrap it in foil, toast in a pan over medium heat, eat it. Well, first pull the foil back and then eat it.

PICO DE GALLO

2 ripe tomatoes, diced
½ red onion, diced
½ fresh jalapeño chilli, finely diced
1 handful of coriander, chopped
1 teaspoon lime juice
Salt

Stir all ingredients together to combine. Now you’re pretty much done.
Leave for 10 minutes or so for flavours to amalgamate.

BRAISED BLACK BEANS

2 cups or so cooked black beans
½ onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups water
1 tablespoon lard or bacon fat for cooking if you want to feel sexy

Sauté onion and garlic in animal fat if you have it, otherwise vegetable oil will be fine.
Once onion has softened and is starting to colour, add all other ingredients and simmer on low heat for an hour or so until beans are starting to overcook and get a little mushy, and most of the water has evaporated.
Season with salt.
Keep warm for your burrito or where ever a home for tasty-simple beans may present itself.

Seafood chowdeeer


The air is cold but the chowder is definitely warm.

The origins of chowder are a little cloudy, much like a swagger of other regional specialities such as bouillabaisse, paella, laksa, pho and so on. This is how I make mine. I certainly shall not be claiming to be the original or the best. Top three maybe, but not the best I don’t think. But it is chockers full of good stuff that is 100% guaranteed to warm the belly and soul of even the saltiest of old sea dogs.

I know this is one of the most obvious things a person could say when making a recipe for any type of rustic soup, but make sure you have heaps of crusty bread on hand to mop up when you’re done. That’s half the fun with this sort of thing.

We’re pretty used to the sunshine in the Northern Rivers of NSW, but sometimes the air gets cold and makes crunchy grass while we sleep.
You can cook inside or pretty easily on a fire or BBQ too.
Season, garnish and get it in your face with a pile of your favourite bread.

SEAFOOD CHOWDER

Serves 6

300 g (10 ½ oz) firm fresh fish of your choice, 2 cm (1 inch) dice
300 g (10 ½ oz) fresh prawn meat
4 rashers bacon, chopped
1 brown onion, cut into 1 cm dice
1 carrot, cut into 1 cm dice
1 stick celery, sliced
3 cobs fresh sweet corn, kernels cut from cob
1 large potato, cut into 1 cm dice
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lt (1½ pints) thickened cream
500 ml (17 fl oz) full cream milk
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley and BBQ / southern seasoning, to garnish
Crusty bread, to serve

In a large pot sauté the bacon, onions, carrot, celery, potato, corn, garlic and thyme.
Once it is softened and starting to colour add the milk and cream and simmer until potatoes are just cooked. This should take about 20 minutes.
Add the fresh fish and prawns and simmer for another 10 minutes. Stir it a couple of times but do it gently so you don’t break the fish up too much.
Remove from heat.
Check and adjust seasoning.
Serve garnished with parsley and a sprinkle of BBQ seasoning, and bread on the side.

lamb braised with red wine

Insert your own amusing story here.


LAMB BRAISED WITH RED WINE

(Serves 8 or so)

1 lamb shoulder, cut into braising pieces on the bone. A nice butcher will do that for you.
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovies. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary and thyme if you have some in the garden
500 ml red wine
1 lt beef stock
1x 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
2x 400 g tins butter beans or whatever tinned bean you like
Salt and pepper
Salsa verde, to serve
Soft polenta, mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, pasta or something along those lines, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Season lamb with salt and pepper and add to the pot (normally you might brown everything off separately but this is going to be an all-in type thing) along with anchovies and herbs. Sauté for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Add wine, stock and tomato and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that lamb is tender – it should be ready for Nan to gum to death by now. If not, simmer for another 30 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Add beans and simmer for another few minutes to warm through.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Serve with salsa verde and something nice on the side.
Eat it.


Fried chicken chow mein (or fried chicken chow nice)

Chicken chow mein is kinda a rough moniker for this most famous heavy weight of Australian-Chinese restaurant cuisine. Of course “chow” is fine because you always want to chow down on this dish, but “mein”? This is not mean at all. In fact, I would go as far as to say it’s very nice.

Yup. Chow nice noodles.

I really like to use a weber kettle BBQ with a good coal base to fire up my wok. If you have one you should use it too. A hot wok is paramount for this type of cooking.

Let’s go.

I can’t stress enough that you really need to get your mise en place ready for this sort of cooking.
The other thing i would recommend is that you use charcoal to get some proper heat into your wok.


FRIED CHICKEN CHOW MEIN (OR FRIED CHICKEN CHOW NICE)

Serves 4

2 – 3 fillets of fried chicken from your last fry up, cut into 2 cm pieces
500 g fresh chow mein noodles
½ brown onion, cut into wedges
1 carrot, cut into half circles on the diagonal
1 small wedge of cabbage, sliced
1 bok choy, sliced into 2 cm pieces and washed
1 handful snow peas, cut in half
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ long red chilli, sliced
2 tablespoon light soy
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon shao xing (Chinese cooking wine)
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon corn flour
A splash of oil
5 shallots (scallions), sliced, to garnish

Do not start cooking until you have everything cut up and ready to go.
Also mix the soy, oyster sauce and shao xing together in a small bowl so it’s ready to go too.
And the stock can get whisked into the corn flour too.
Now we are ready to start.
Heat oil in hot wok.
Add onion, carrot, cabbage, and bok choy stem and toss for 1 minute
Add chicken, garlic, chilli, snow peas remaining bok choy and toss for another minute or two.
Add noodles and go for another minute.
Add sauces and mix through.
Add stock and corn flour mix and toss through. Cook out for another minute or so.
Check seasoning and adjust with a little more soy sauce if necessary.
Serve it up, garnish with sliced shallots and chow down on the chow nice.




beef ribs in the smoker

Beef ribs in the smoker are really good.

I really don’t know what else to add.

Good thanks.

Beef ribs after an hour or so…
These go great guns in a bullet style smoker.


BEEF RIBS

(For a gathering of the hungry man’s club.)

2x racks beef short ribs (approx 1.5 kg each)
Beef seasoning (recipe follows)
Rocking chair

Get your BBQ up to 125 C (250 F). Add a little cherry or pecan for extra flavour if you’re keen.
To the best of your ability, remove the membrane from the bottom of the ribs and trim any excess fat and silver skin from the top of the ribs.
Coat the ribs well with the seasoning.
Get the ribs into your smoker, making sure you keep a fairly constant-ish 125 C (250 F).
After 3 hours the ribs should have a nice bit of colour. This is when I like to wrap (no, Vanilla Ice will not be blaring on my Spotify. Please, try to pay attention).
Remove the ribs and wrap it with peach paper (butcher’s paper) or alfoil. Return to the smoker for another 2-3 hours or until the thickest part of the ribs probe like butter. If you are actually using a temperature probe the should be sitting around 92 – 95 C (200 F) or so.
When ribs are good to go, remove from BBQ and rest in a warm spot for 15 – 20 minutes.
Get some sides together, carve them up and get it into your face.


BEEF SEASONING

2 tablespoons each cooking salt, cracked black pepper and garlic granules

This is a good base for making and developing your own beef rub. Start with the quantities here and adjust to your personal preference – if you like it more peppery add more pepper. Or if you don’t like so much garlic, take a little out. If you like chilli or thyme, you can certainly put a little of that in there too. It’s pretty simple.
Also, don’t be tempted to use ground black pepper as it needs a little texture and coarseness.
Also also, garlic flakes are too big and garlic powder is too fine for me. Garlic granules are just right. See above.
Also also also, cooking salt is perfect. See above.
The rub is great for brisket, ribs, steak, burgers, lamb, roast vegetables and whatever else you want to put it on.

Now is the time to eat them.
Almost an instructional video

Cheeky BBQ pork belly

Cheeky BBQ pork belly

Go to the beach all morning and still BBQ like a champion. AKA. Spend a few hours getting a secure enclosure built for the new shipment of Russian import carnie sex slaves you are expecting within the week.

Where-as a normal pork roast on the BBQ can be as needy as your first girlfriend and will generally require a fair bit of tending to, this method is going to give you the time you need to do the shit you need to do, and you will still get a nice lick of smoke and flame flavour (yes, that is definitely a flavour).

For this cheeky little BBQ cook up we’re going to pre-cook the pork for 2 hours in the oven so the pork is almost ready to go once it hits the grill. It can even be cooked a day or two before hand, brought to room temperature and then cooked for an extra 10-15 minutes to make sure she is hot.

This might not suit the die-hard BBQ enthusiast but it certainly works and sometimes die-hard enthusiasts of anything in this world can just be a bunch of wankers, so just do what you gotta do to get your freak on.

Get a nice bit of pork belly from your local purveyor of fine meats

Grilly, grilly

Flip it over to admire it beauty

Bloody delicious

CHEEKY BBQ PORK BELLY

Serves 8

2kg pork belly, scored
6-8 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
Whatever sides you can rummage together, to serve

Pre-heat oven to 160C (320F).
Rub underside of pork with garlic, chilli and a pinch of salt and pepper (and a few fennel seeds or a star anise would go well in here too).
Flip over into oven dish.
Rub the skin of the pork with more salt… A really good pinch of salt… pork skin really loves a good hit of salt.
Place pork in pre-heated oven for 2 hours. Go and do some other things.
Now you’re back and the pork is ready to go so its time to fire up the BBQ.
(For the BBQ.
I like coals. For something like this pork belly I will have my main charcoal pile to one side of the BBQ, pulling quite literally a few pieces of glowing coal under the pork at any given time to give it some sizzle and flavour, and also to get that crackle going.)
Take the pork out of the oven dish and place skin side down over a few coals, with the main pile off to the side, as explained above.
Grill pork for 30 minutes, rotating two or three times, and tending to any little flare ups that might occur (this is also known as your beer drinking time).
Flip pork over and give the bottom side 5 minutes of charcoal time.
Now it should be hot and it should be bloody well ready to go.
Carve it up and get it in your face hole the best you know how.

Whack some stuffed apples on the grill for dessert if you have the inclination