Chin Chin’s Bo La Lot

Makes: 20

Nat cooked these as part of a Chin Chin-themed afternoon (great Melbourne and Sydney South East Asian noshery) and wow, they’re great. Hot, juicy, absolutely full of flavour, totally fun.

We grilled them and ate them on the spot.

So good!

As part of an afternoon with friends, these would be perfect with cold beers and lots of other hot, Asian nibbles on the grill.

(Fingers crossed Sydney’s lockdown ends by Christmas so we can do just that!)

Ingredients

1 stalk lemongrass (pale part only), chopped
1 large red chilli, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 bunch coriander root, chopped
1 tsp black peppercorns
300gm wagyu beef mince
1 tsp mild curry powder
1/2 bunch miny leaves, picked, roughly chopped
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
20 betel leaves*
1 tbs ground roast rice**
1/2 cup nahm jim jaew
4 lemon cheeks
20 toothpicks, soaked in water

Method

  1. Pound or blitz the lemongrass, chilli, shallot, garlic, coriander root and pepper to make a paste.
  2. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients down to and including the caster sugar, before checking the seasoning.
  3. Roll the mixture into 20 balls of equal size.
  4. Roll the balls into individual betal leaves an ‘sew’ each together with a toothpick.
  5. Heat a chargrill pan (or grill) and cook the parcels for about 90 seconds each side.
  6. Garnish with ground roast rice and serve with a dash of nahm jim jaew and some lemon cheeks for squeezing.

* I wandered into our local Thai restauarnt who was happy to sell me a bag. Harris Markets and other fancy fruit and vegetable shops I went to in the Lower North Shore of Sydney came up stumps. Speaks to the size of the Thai community in my part of town I guess.

**Roast rice in a pan until golden. Allow to cool and then blitz in a spice grinder until ground. Store in a dry container.

Gordon Ramsay 1-million Subscriber Burger

Serves: 4

It is a truism, though an average burger is just that.

A waste of the calories. A waste of the excitement.

You’re in a resort and you order a burger and fries for lunch and the beef is well done and devoid of flavour; there is no love in the bun or the accompaniments.

A wasted meal.

Actually, I take it back.

An average burger is terrible.

It defeats the purpose.

Conversely, a brilliant burger is heaven.

It is the last meal and something you describe for days.

I learnt a while back that it fundamentally comes down to the beef. The quality, the fat, when it is ground and how it is cooked.

And so if if you read no more, based on this burger I am about to go into:

50 – 70% brisket

30 – 50% chuck

100gm butter per 1kg

Grind as thick as you can – the coarsest grain – and cook as soon as you can over a super-high grill.

This is the second time I have cooked this burger by Gordon Ramsay and it is the best burger I have ever had.

Which is not to say it has to be, though his key regarding the beef combination, butter and cooked rare (of course) is central. Any burger would be genius with this alone.

The recipe was released by Gordon after he hit 1-million Instagram subscribers.

He uses smoky bacon though I crisped up streaky bacon.

Otherwise, the rest is in relatively intact though I have rewritten the method.

It kills me when I make burgers for the kids from store-bought mince.

Though no more.

I don’t cut corners on much cooking. Burger meat will be the same going forward.

This is the best burger you will ever have if you follow the steps.

(And then adapt it!)

Ingredients

1kg equal brisket and chuck
100gm frozen butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Olive oil
4 slices Swiss cheese

4 large portobello mushroom cups, step and gills removed
Garlic powder
4 large eggs
8 slices of streaky bacon, crispy and drained of fat
2 cups rocket
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced

4 brioche buns
Butter for buttering

1/2 cup egg mayonnaise
4 tbsp sriracha sauce
Pinch of sauce

Method

  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium-high.
  1. Get the bottoms of the mushrooms cooking. They will take time to soften and breakdown: at least 30 minutes. Of course, do not let them burn.
  2. Good time to start crisping up the bacon in a pan.
  1. Mince the beef with the frozen butter; otherwise, get your butcher to mince the beef and shave the frozen butter in a combine well. (The sooner to cook time this can happen, the better and if this blog has not sold you on it, supermarket mince is no substitute.)
  2. Form four equal, thick patties and refrigerate to chill. Remember they will shrink. Season well.
  3. Mix together the mayo, sriracha and salt.
  1. Butter the buns and grill them bottom side-down until they are browned.
  2. Turn up the grill, oil the beef patties and pop them on the grill.
  3. Flip the mushroom so that you can sprinkle a good pinch of garlic powder into each and then crack an egg into each.
  4. Flip the burgers after a minute or two. Cook for a minute more and then Swiss cheese on all until it melts.
  5. Take the burgers off and then the mushrooms when the eggs are done.
  6. Assemble: brioche, sriracha mayo, mushroom/egg, beef, tomato, rocket and more sriracha mayo on the top bun.
  7. Open a beer if you have not already done so by now.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken Thighs – Kamado

Serves: 6

In one of my previous posts I mentioned that during Covid, we invested in a Kamado: a heavy, ceramic BBQ based on the traditional Japanese wood or charcoal stove.

It hasn’t always been the easiest thing to master.

It took trial and error to understand the heat potential and elasticity of charcoal.

Do not cook pizzas over a direct heat.

If you are going to cook naan bread and plug it into the roof of the device – which you can – oil the surface first.

And, do consider the use of a hair dryer in emergencies: it is not something to be ashamed of.

The most interesting approach for me however has been the combined use of charcoal and wood: you get immense heat when you need it, you have staying power thanks to the coal and you get flame when you want it.

I am starting a new category of recipes dedicated to the Kamado.

And this is my first recipe, though I have a few to do.

Combined with a wonderful Karen Martini slaw and corn cooked over the flames of the Kamado, it transported us back to the very best BBQ Nat and I had in Austin a few years ago.

This is BBQ. This… is amazing.

Ingredients

15 chicken thighs (free-range please people)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 – 4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the chicken.
  2. Mix well and add the chicken, ensuring that it is covered in the mixture.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and ideally 24 hours, stirring a couple of times.
  4. Prepare your Kamado for direct cooking: I drifted between 150c and 220c based on the flames.
  5. Char-grill until well cooked through and caramelised and enjoy!

Pork and Leek Sausages

Pork and Leek Sausages

Makes: 20 sausages

There certainly are a lot of corners to the Internet and sausagemaking.org is definitely one of them.

A very friendly, passionate one.

The forums aren’t updated particularly regularly, though enough that when I visit there are new recipes. And when one is added, there is plenty of advice.

Like the use of rusk in sausages. Where apparently, all pros use it.

Not as a wartime filler, though as a necessary accompaniment to any good sausage. Moisture retention and all that. You can buy rusk from the supermarket in biscuit form and food process it to dust.

Experience has also told me that pork sausages made from pork shoulder alone are not moist enough and you must add fat. 20% of the meat weight: so 1kg pork shoulder, 200gm pork fat which any good butcher can provide. (Or cut it from a pork belly.)

Adding rusk and the fat to these sausages was the revelation.

We are officially butchers.

And wow, aren’t these pork and leek sausages a great way to reach that distinction.

Ingredients

1kg pork shoulder
200gm pork fat
200gm leek
125ml water
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp sage (dried)
1/2 tsp ginger (we used fresh, though powdered is fine of course)

Method

  1. Cut the pork and pork fat into 3cm pieces.
  2. Cut the leek into 1cm cylinders and slowly cook in olive oil and some salt until soft.
  3. Combine the ingredients, mince and stuff into sausage casings.

Southwestern Chicken Sausage

Makes: 20 sausages

The continuing Covid Crisis means dipping back into the more complex stuff like a naan bread Nat made on our Komado last week and learning how to make sushi.

Though making sausages from scratch remains one of our favourite weekend afternoon tricks and this past weekend, we made two crackers.

This sausage – a chicken sausage – was just wonderful.

If you don’t have a sausage making device or even a mincer, `you could just food process it all and pan-fry them up as patties.

Though if you have a KitchenAid, the mincing and sausage extensions are a lot of fun and sausage casings can be found at most good butchers.

We have had a lot of hit and miss when it comes to making our own sausages and the key observation from this recipe: polenta (or grits). They hold in the moisture, they give you texture, they make these sausages commercial grade.

Though add in the fun of making them, the freshness, owning the ingredients and the bragging rights… and you are onto a good thing.

Ingredients

1.4kg chicken thigh (meat and fat)
80gm polenta (or grits)
340ml chicken stock
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
200gm Jalapeño chillies
1 red capsicum
2 tbsp fresh coriander

Method

  1. Roast the Jalapeño chillies in the oven until charred; remove the charred skins and roughly chop.
  2. Cook the polenta in the chicken stock until soft. 40 minutes or so.
  3. Chop the chicken into 3cm pieces and combine with all the ingredients.
  4. Mince and stuff into sausage casings.

Greek Butterflied Leg of Lamb

Serves: 6 – 8

My mother used to serve us this leg of lamb – at least three times a year – BBQed by my father. The smell of it cooking is a smell I’ve never gotten over.

I’ve cooked it plenty of time too.

Nat loves it and the boys love it.

Max turns one this weekend and we’re having a picnic to celebrate.

A picnic with crusty, buttered rolls, plenty of rocket and egg mayo… and a slices of warm, slow-rotisseried leg of lamb.

Good Lord.

Happy first birthday or whatever you cook this super simple, always amazing lamb for.

Ingredients

Leg of lamb, butterflied
1 cup red wine
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp salt
Pepper
1 tsp oregano

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the lamb and pour into a large ziplock bag.
  2. Add the lamb and marinate in the fridge for 24 hours.
  3. BBQ, basting liberally with the marinade until cooked medium.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.

Middle Eastern Herb and Garlic Chicken

Serves: 4 – 6

Ok, so Nat got this Monday-night recipe wrong – originally from the NY Times – and it was so much better for it.

Like, amazingly better.

The yoghurt marinade – especially after grilling – made it creamy and soft: the fresh herbs and garlic added depth and flavour.

Grilled, boring, chicken it was not.

The opposite.

As far as a simple BBQ dinner goes, this could not have met the brief better. Seal and sear the chicken, have a handy salad ready and maybe some potatoes and boom, this is a weekday night super-success with possibly enough left for lunch.

Best mistake ever. And one I am happily typing up.

Ingredients

9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
6 garlic cloves, minced
Juice and zest of two lemons
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley, more for serving
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp minced fresh oregano
1 1/2 salt
1 tbsp sesame seeds, more for garnish
3/4 tsp sumac, more for garnish
2/3 cup plain Greek yoghurt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Method

  1. Roll the chicken thighs flat.
  2. Combine the remainder of the ingredients and add to the chicken. Marinate for 8 – 24 hours.
  3. Heat a grill over a high-heat and cook the chicken for 4 – 7 minutes each side until charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  4. Slice the chicken, sprinkling sumac, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lemon top.
  5. Serve with the yoghurt.

Homemade Chicken Doner Kebab

Serves: 4

I guess a recipe like this doesn’t need an introduction, especially if it is true: that you can actually create a Chicken Doner Kebab at home.

You can.

And we did.

And it was spectacular.

I found this recipe on Instagram from Recipetineats, probably one of the most consistently positive, beautifully photographed, wonderful to follow food-bloggers out there.

And she is Australian to boot!

It isn’t Gordon Ramsay, though of course it isn’t. It is a Chicken Doner Kebab and so it is so much better.

Key is to marinate the chicken, double skewer the chicken thighs and let them bake above their juices.

I didn’t add tabbouleh which Nat was less than impressed about, though we did have hummus, chilli sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion and cheese and then toasted them in a pan to get the pita bread crunchy. (RecipeTin doesn’t ask for this though in my experience, all Lebanese/Pita breads are better toasted…)

11/10.

This is a Saturday dinner after a long lunch and it seriously nails it. Like any amazing kebab should.

Ingredients

1kg chicken thigh
Olive oil for drizzling
Long metal skewers

Marinade

1 cup plain Green yoghurt
3 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil

For serving: choose your usual favourites!

Lebanese bread/pita bread
Finely sliced iceberg lettuce
Tomato slices
Hummus
Tabbouleh
Red onion slices
Grated cheese
Chilli sauce (Sriracha)

Method

  1. Mix the marinade, add the whole chicken thighs, mix well and marinate in a bowl or a big zip lock bag for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  3. Choose a pan that the metal skewers can sit across allowing the chicken to be elevated off the base of the pan.
  4. Fold the marinated chicken thighs in half and threat onto two skewers lengthways. Repeat, snuggly pushing the thighs against each other.
  5. You should fit 5 thighs this way; so repeat again with 2 more skewers and 5 more thighs so you end with 2 stacks of skewered chicken thighs.
  6. Prop each of the 2 skewers on the edges of the pan. Drizzle with olive oil.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes or until charred.
  8. Remove, spoon the juices over the chicken, turn the chicken over, drizzle with olive oil and bake for another 30 minutes.
  9. Remove, baste once more and set aside for 5 minutes.
  10. To carve, stand the skewers upright and slice the meat thinly.
  11. The rest will be obvious: hummus and chilli on the Lebanese bread, chicken, tomato, lettuce, red onion, cheese, whatever: fold the bottom up, left and right and make a wrap.
  12. Toast in a hot pan.
  13. And call us over for dinner!

Chicken skewers: Moroccan-style marinade

Makes: 12 skewers

For Nat’s birthday, we got an awesome, portable, charcoal grill from Everdure, a company Heston Blumenthal has been promoting.

The idea was inspired by some Phillipino pork skewers we had cooked over a traditional hibachi grill at a market a few weeks prior; though a sensible, all-in-one charcoal grill versus a not so sensible, not so portable hibachi grill steered us in the Heston direction.

Anyway, we have loved the grill and the many skewers we’ve made with the boys and friends.

There is something neat about cooking your own meat over a super hot grill. Cold beer, sizzling meat, some dipping sauces… doesn’t get much better.

This marinade we have done twice and it has been really popular.

Make it the day ahead and marinate the chicken in a big ziplock bag. When cutting the meat, keep it small and consistent. Small cubes, not big off cuts.

If you can find chicken thigh with the skin on, even better… though however you do it, get the surface chargrilled and enjoy the taste of charcoal BBQ.

Ingredients

1.2kg chicken thighs

Marinade

1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp honey
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt flakes
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Freshly ground pepper

Method

  1. Cube the chicken into 2cm cubes, retaining the fat.
  2. Combine the marinade ingredients with a few cracks of pepper. Marinate the chicken cubes with the marinate, ideally overnight, refrigerated.
  3. Soak bamboo skewers in a shallow dish of cold water for 30 minutes and then drain.
  4. Skewer the chicken tightly. Heat the grill on high. And cook those puppies, marinating with the remaining marinade as you go.