All-of-the-things ‘slaw


All-of-the-things ‘slaw

Yup. Coleslaw not purely consisting of the traditional cabbage, carrot and possibly onion, but instead this coleslaw has pretty much all of the things in it. Quite contradictory to my views of the past I might add – those who know me or who think they know me through these interweb pages will attest to the claim that I am indeed quite a coleslaw purist.

But you know what? I’ve seen a few funky arsed ‘slaws recently, coleslaws with cute monikers along the lines of “rainbow ‘slaw” or something similar, and I thought maybe it’s time to try something a little different. Move past the missionary position for a night and give the ol’ reverse cowgirl a try. Yep I did that.

And you know what? I do believe in this case that the old dog has been taught a new trick.

I will not be fetching a ball or your fucking slippers anytime soon, but I think there is definitely room in my life for the all-of-the-things ‘slaw.

True, there was a time when I could not abide the thought of bastardised ‘slaw, opting only for the purest of pure. But now I embrace it, possibly even love it. Maybe you should give it a go too. Your cowgirl will thank you for it.


ALL-OF-THE-THINGS ‘SLAW

(serves 8 as a side)

¼ medium green cabbage, shredded
¼ small red cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
1 stalk celery, sliced
½ red capsicum (bell pepper), diced
½ green capsicum (bell pepper), diced
1 head sweet corn (or ½ cup frozen corn kernels), kernels removed and pan fried briefly
3-4 spring onions (scallions), sliced
1 cup coleslaw dressing
Salt and pepper

Get a reals big mixing bowl – something that is going to fit all of these ingredients and then some.
First mix all of the salad ingredients except dressing so you can get a nice even mix.
Add dressing and combine until thoroughly mixed.
Check seasoning. Yeah, salads need seasoning too. Some of the greatest food crimes in history have been perpetrated via lack of seasoning to a salad or side dish.
Get it on the table where it would love to play second fiddle to anything from the BBQ, fried chicken, fishcakes, loaded sweet potato, etc.

Grilled pork belly tacos


Pork belly tacos.

This was smoky, grilly-meat-juicy deliciousness. I honestly feel that glowing coals are truly the way to make a piece of pig feel properly loved.

The pork belly was rubbed with sea salt and then cooked on the bottom level of the bullet smoker with no water pan at 350 F (180 C) for 3 hours. It was flipped and rotated every half hour so the crackle got a little love.

The pork was given the additional flavour boost of a chorizo sausage on the grill also, just because there’s not too many things in life that can’t be improved with a grilled chorizo sausage.

This was chopped up like a bag of Snoop Dogg’s finest sensimila and then scooped into the magical little edible plate that is the tortilla (I’m still thanking I-don’t-know-who for the invention of any kind of edible plate).

It was then pretty happy to receive a little cosmetic gratification in the way of some chopped onion, a little mango (because mango is a symbol of summer and summer is the time for Christmas in Australia and Christmas is all about the good times so mango is welcome at my house and can sleep with my sister anytime), charred jalapeno hot sauce and coriander.

This is the sort of thing that requires a bit of company and at least one beer to wash it down.

Get the eff on it.

Oh yeah, and happy Christmas and all that if I forget about all that stuff next week.

Grill that pork

Heat beads premium lump charcoal was my fuel of choice
Chop the pork belly and chorizo up together

Get that onto the table

GRILLED PORK TACOS

(serves 4)

800 g pork belly – maybe 500 g for tacos and then the rest for breakfast tomorrow
1 – 2 chorizo sausage
¼ brown, white or red onion, diced
1 mango, diced
1 handful coriander
1 – 2 limes, cut into wedges
Charred jalapeno hot sauce or whatever it is hot sauce that you love
16 soft tacos / tortillas

The words that are written above are the recipe.
Go now.
Cook and eat.

Wash it down with your favourite brew

An ode to my Ma’s savoury mince pie


This is a meat pie that would make my mother proud.

I have said more than once that my mother was not the flashest of home cooks, and she is OK with that and still sends me birthday cards etc, etc, etc, but she could definitely throw together a damn fine fish fry, great meat with three (veg) and a cracking savoury mince. The latter would oft find it’s way into a cosy little fluffy jacket of golden brown puff pastry (with a few of those slightly-over-done-but-not-even-over-done-because-it’s-puff-pastry bits), much to our childhood delight.

Yup. She could make a pie.

And she would sure be happy with this pie. She would truly be happy with the filling. I mean, she wouldn’t have used beer, but it would certainly look the part. That coupled with the love only a mother can have for a child would be enough to ensure we could happily sit down and enjoy this together.

Aw.

Ahhhh, the savoury mince filling. you could pretty easily stop right here and just eat that on toast… maybe with a fried egg or two…

Make the pie.

Eat the pie.

SAVOURY MINCE PIE

(serves 4)

500 g beef mince
1 onion (brown, red, yellow, whatever), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
½ zucchini (regular shop sized zucchini, Lucas)
1 cob corn, kernels removed (or ½ cup frozen corn kernels)
½ cup frozen peas
1 ½ tbls plain flour
1 can (375 ml) dark beer
Salt and pepper
2 sheets puff pastry (or enough to line a 25 cm pie dish)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with a splash of milk), to glaze
Tomato ketchup, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a pan / pot on a medium heat.
Sauté onion, carrot and carrot, with a pinch of salt and pepper, until starting to brown.
Add mince and sauté until that is starting to brown too. Break it up with a wooden spoon as you go so it doesn’t get all clumpy and meatball-esque.
Add flour and cook out for a minute, stirring to avoid burning and sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add remaining vegetables and beer and cook out, stirring constantly, until a nice gravy is holding that meat and vegetable ménage together.
Check seasoning, adjust if necessary and then set aside to cool.
Pre heat oven to 220 C (430 F).
Line (or butter and flour) a 25 cm pie dish and use one sheet of puff pastry to cover, using off cuts to press into any extra gaps.
Fill pie base with cooled savoury mince.
Place the other sheet of puff pastry over the top of the pie dish and trim roughly to shape using a paring knife or something similar.
Pinch pastry together along the edge of the pie dish.
Make a little hole in the middle of the pie so the steam might escape.
Glaze top of pie with egg wash and bake in pre heated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown (and a little bit darker in places).
Serve with tomato ketchup, chips, salad, peas, mashed potato, extra gravy, etc, etc, etc.

Pie.

PS If you’re the kind of person who gets pretty busy in the week with work and kids and all of the extra-curricular activity you participate in for the united gerbil appreciation association, then it is a really good idea to double or triple the recipe and make two or three (respectively) of these pies and freeze the extra down for easy busy-times dinner.
Just cook them for only 15 minutes or until lightly coloured to allow for the rebake and then wrap and freeze once cooled. Defrost it in the fridge overnight and it should be good to go by the time you get home from work the next day. Whack it in a 180 C (355 F) oven for 15 minutes or until it’s hot. Dinner’s up.

Herby grilled snapper

A good place to start… Heat Beads coconut shell briquettes on the chimney booster.
Also pretty important – A good looking fish.

That fish all locked up and getting all grilly and delicious.

Herby grilled snapper. Just get on it.

HERBY GRILLED SNAPPER

2 kg snapper or similar fish, scaled and gutted
2 cloves garlic
2 cups picked fresh herbs – a mix of parsley, rosemary, oregano and nasturtium
1 tspn dried chilli flakes
1 tbls red wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Extra olive oil and lemon juice, to serve

Combine all ingredients except fish in a blender or food processor and blitz into a coarse paste. A stick wizz will also work for this. We shall call this ‘the marinade’.
Now score the fish a few times across the body to ensure even cooking and allow a bit of the marinade to penetrate.
Rub or brush marinade over fish until it is all gone.
Set aside, in the fridge is probably best, and get your fire sorted.
Make a fire or get some coals going in your kettle or other BBQ. Keep most of the fire to one side and only pull a few coals across to go under the fish as to avoid burning it up worse than Anikin’s head in ‘Revenge of the Sith’ before it is cooked through.
Put the fish into the Hannibal Lector cage or something similar if you have one. The fish can also be cooked via the other methods listed down below.
Place fish on grill and cover with lid. Cook fish over coals for 12 minutes on one side, flip and then cook for 12 minutes on the other side or until cooked through to the bone on the thickest part of the fish. Test by gently trying to push the flesh apart with a knife – it should come away from the bone easily and be opaque in colour.
Once it is good to go (or G to G as my children keep telling me), get it onto the table dressed with a little olive oil and lemon juice, plus some kind of Mediterranean salad on the side.

• Cook fish directly on grill of BBQ, just be plenty gentle when you flip it. Holding it with tongs at both ends is what I would recommend.
• Wrap with alfoil before cooking on grill to aid turning and also ensure the fish stays moist. This method will not give you any great crispy-grilly skin bits though.
• Bake in a 220 – 240 C (450 – 460 F) oven.

That fish one more time.

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.