Charred tomato salsa

Lime is pretty good too. Hot sauce and jalapeños - both good on the Mexican dinner table
Lime is pretty good too. Hot sauce and jalapeños – both good on the Mexican dinner table

I like Mexican food.

Stuff like tacos.

I am a huge fan of any culture that is going to serve me a meal with a heap of condiments on the table so I get to adjust the flavours and the seasonings to my own personal taste as I go. That is a culture that is putting my feelings first.

I really do appreciate the things the Mexican people do for my taste buds.

That and their can-do attitude.

Straight up. Did they say they were a Mexi-can’t? No. Mexi-can all the way. I give not one single shit for the words of bigoted white billionaire businessmen who have just recently become president of the USA, and their words of fences and things of the sort. Mexico for president as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you once again to my nice-food-making, good-attitude-having, Mexican brothers and sisters.

Tomatoes, onion and garlic straight on the flame
Tomatoes, onion and garlic straight on the flame

Starting to get all charry
Starting to get all charry

That's the salsa
That’s the salsa

CHARRED TOMATO SALSA

4 ripe tomatoes, charred over a flame until they start to blacken and blister
1 eshallot or half an onion, also charred over that flame
2 cloves garlic, fuck it – char them too
1 pickled jalapeño chilli, chopped
1 tablespoon of the jalapeño vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
A small handful of coriander, chopped (use the stalky bits for the salsa and the pretty leaves for garnish)
Salt and pepper

• Peel the blackened skin from the tomatoes, onions and garlic and then roughly chop.
• Put everything into a food processor and pulse into a chunky salsa type thing.
• Put it on tacos and nachos and other Mexican-y things.

WTF Nachos

Nothing wrong with this picture
Nothing wrong with this picture

WTF Nachos

NB. This is a dinner that is going to make Jennee’s cousin Sarah hangry*. Very hangry.

This is not just a recipe for nachos no, no, no, my friends. This is a recipe for what I have decided to call “WTF nachos”… or possibly “Off the hook nachos”… nah, I think I’ll stick with the WTF nacho idea. It has a kind of slightly confronting “in your face” factor, and I think the street smart acronym is really going to help it take off with the kids of today. They will collectively love me like I was their new mother… A kind of freaky scenario agreed, but don’t be too concerned, I won’t try and breast feed a single one of the little bastards.

“Why have you given them this moniker though Grazza?” I hear you ask.

The name came straight from my smart brain and the nachos were inspired by some kind of Mexican cheese fondue type thing I saw on another blog on the interweb super highway. That recipe had shitloads** of cheese, fried chorizo and no beans, and upon sighting it with my eyes I decided I must have it. But just chorizo and cheese? As much as I would’ve liked that to be my dinner it certainly wasn’t going to fly with the Children’s Healthy Eating Authority (CHEA). CHEA decreed that, as a parent cooking for his children, I needed something a little more nutritious in this dish. Yes I am still a parent, as much as I feel like I’m one of the kids a lot of the time… most of the time… OK, pretty much all of the time. So anyway, my childish mind and all that comes with it aside, I decided I would cleverly disguise the Mexi fondue by putting a layer of nacho beans underneath it, and we even had a few carrot and cucumber sticks on the side.

Nothing wrong with this picture either
Nothing wrong with this picture either

Nacho beans (Childrens Healthy Eating Authority approved)
1 brown onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
2 400g tins red kidney beans, drained
1 400g tin diced tomato
Seasoning
• Sweat off the onions in a little oil
• Once they start to colour add the garlic and dried spices. Cook out for another minute or two
• Add the tomatoes and beans and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes, adding a little water if they start to stick
• Blitz beans with a hand wizz to a semi smooth but still a little chunky type consistency
• Season with salt and pepper to taste

Cheesey goodness
1 cup grated mozzarella
1 cup grated cheddar
½ cup ricotta

Chorizoy love
4 chorizo sausages, diced or blitzed to a mince type consistency
• Fry this off in a little oil until crispy and the chorizo has released it’s lush red liquid gold

Corn chips
1 bag of your favourites

To get it all together
• Put the beans into the bottom of a pan that can go under your griller or into the oven. Cover the beans with the cheese and grill/bake on high for five or so minutes, until it is bubbling and golden
• Spoon the chorizo and all of it’s tasty oil (not CHEA approved, but do it anyway) into the center of the cheese
• Serve with corn chips, tomato salsa and whatever healthy shit you feel is necessary, on the side
• Thank me later

*hangry; hungry angry. A term used when seeing pics of food makes you hungry and also angry they you don’t have it (as explained by Sarah Cootes). I thought it could also work well to describe being hungry with a hangover… or being angry because you’re not very well hung (this one would possibly only apply to males… hopefully)

**an actual unit of measurement

Food truly is the best shit ever… pulled pork with some damn fine sides

IMG_5102 Oh how I love to eat. I mean I really effing love to eat. Some days I pray to the dear lord and thank him for giving me a mouth and hands to transport things to it… actually, I could probably do with out the hands if I really had to, but I sure am damn thankful for my mouth. Food touches me like I have never been touched before (sorry Uncle Roy). I’ve mentioned previously that it is something that we all need to do to live, but eating for me is an event. I look forward to it every day. Preparing and cooking food and feeding friends and family and all of the customers that keep me in a job, and even a few that I would probably rather they ate at a different restaurant (damn smelly little bridge trolls), but I still feed them. And I still love it! I drive to work and think about what I’m going to cook that day. I eat breakfast while I’m pondering what my dinner shall be. I spend my days off slow cooking something delicious (because slow cooking season is upon us now) for dinner, making chutney or mayonnaise with eggs I have just collected from our chooks. I wonder if we should invite someone over to share this feast tonight, or have I already done that too many times this week? I can’t wait to eat. I often get asked what my favourite style of food to cook is. I was thinking about that this morning and then it dawned on me; I don’t have a particular style or point of origin of my favourite foods, they just need to be served feast style, in the company of good, nay great people, with something to wash it down. I find beer or wine is a suitable lubricant for this task. Every day for me is like the day a teenage boy knows his parents are going out, his girlfriend is coming over and he is definitely going to get a peek at his girlfriends boobies tonight. I AM REALLY EXCITED. I think the thing for me is I like to try and fit as many sides and condiments as I can on the table, thus making it easier for me to put them in my belly. It also means you and your guests can adjust seasonings and flavours to your own specific tastes. What a gracious host eh. Always thinking of others. And you know what, if putting all of those sides and condiments on the table has left you a bit slight in the wallet, just get your self a cheap bottle of wine and drink it out of a viking-esque tankard. It worked for them… Anyhoo, I’m sure you all get the picture. I love food, I love cooking, I love my family, I love your mum…err, I love life. That’ll do. This is little feast I knocked up yesterday, and then ate with my children for an impromptu Boy’s Night. This sort of food really does benefit from the presence of a couple of good sides, or it’s just going to be pulled pork on a plate… which would not be a terrible meal but… just make some effing sides OK!

This is a good time to have a mouth
This is a good time to have a mouth

PULLED PORK WITH SOME DAMN FINE SIDES   For the pork 1kg pork belly ½ cup smoked paprika 1 tablespoon each tumeric, mustard powder, white pepper and salt 2 tablespoons brown sugar 5 cloves garlic, chopped

  • Mix everything together with a splash of oil to form a paste
  • Lather the paste all over the pork belly like it was body chocolate on your best friend’s mum, and let it marinate for a few hours or over night if possible (the pork, not your best friend’s mum)
  • Put the pork in a heavy based oven dish with ½ cup of water and roast that sucker for 4 hours at 150-160C. hit it with 200C or your grill for the last 10 minutes to crackle the skin up
  • Remove from oven and slice off the skin, which should now be awesomely crisp
  • Put the meat in a bowl and pull it apart with two forks, hence the term “pulled pork”
  • Add the spiced pan juices into the meat and combine
  • Season
  • Get it onto the table
Marinate the pork
Marinate the pork
Cook the pork
Cook the pork
Pull the skin off to reveal the moist, tender underside
Pull the skin off to reveal the moist, tender underside
Get your forks in there and shred it bro
Get your forks in there and shred it bro
Add a little saucy goodness
Add a little saucy goodness
Eat it fool
Eat it like this, fool
...or try it like that
…or try it like that
Grilled corn with chimmichurri is good
Grilled corn with chimmichurri is good

For the kidney beans 1 tin kidney beans 1 brown onion, sliced 1 tomato, diced 2 cloves garlic, peeled, left whole 2 bay leaves ½ cup olive oil

  • Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until translucent
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • Season
  • Get it on the table
  • I can’t tell you enough how much I love these beans

For the tomato salsa This is but one version of 1 billion salsa recipes out there. Do it however you do it. 3 tomatoes, diced 1 onion, diced 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 pickled jalapeño chilli with a little of the pickle liquid

  • Pulse once or twice in a food prcesser
  • Season
  • On the table. Damn

  The other things that were on the table Pickled red cabbage, shredded iceberg lettuce, grilled corn, chimmichurri sauce, natural yoghurt, lime, tortillas That is how to eat!