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Monday, 17 September 2012

Corn Chip Crusted Nacho Meat Balls

Do it. I've been thinking about this concept for a while after hearing on a cooking show that you can crumb meat in basically anything. Two thoughts popped into my head 1) crushed up Cruskets for fish or chicken and 2) crushed corn chips to coat chicken or beef meatballs. I believe though that pork would happily work as well. Easy as and full of flavour. The corn chips I went with here were nacho cheese corn chips which are covered in powdered cheese so I cooked them as small balls at a medium temperature to stop them from burning. If they were much larger they definitely would have burnt. I happen to have a decent 'Tex Mex' seasoning at home, taco seasoning would do but if you don't have either - its fair basic, just use a little powdered cumin, paprika, salt and coriander to taste. Want more, make a larger batch.

500 gms minced meat (I used veal and pork)
 2 or 3 tsp Mexican seasoning
1 clove garlic minced
Some chopped coriander
2 or 3 handfuls cheesy corn chips blitzed
1/2 cup flour (or more)
1 egg beaten (or more)
1 cup light olive oil for shallow frying
Simple tomato sauce and guacamole to serve

Combine the mince, seasoning, garlic and coriander well in a bowl. Make small meat balls and dust with the flour. Pass the meatballs through egg and then through the blitzed corn chips, coating very well. Blitz more corn chips if necessary. Shallow fry in the olive over a a medium heat, turning until you have great colour all over. Remove to some paper kitchen towel to drain then serve hot. I served mine with a simple tomato sauce and some guacamole but salsa or bottled tomato sauce would also work well.

Bocconcini Wrapped in Basil and Prosciutto with a Lemon Garlic Oil

I last made this at Christmas time and they literally disappeared faster than I could make them, even with assembly help. This is a very simple yet sophisticated drinks nibble and it takes no skill, few ingredients and, you get to eat with a toothpick. For best results with this though there are a few steps I recommend you take 1) make the lemon oil in advance so that the flavours can infuse properly 2) only prepare this as you are about to eat it or the basil leaves will discolour 3) use the best extra virgin you can be bothered to and, 4) use the best prosciutto/parma ham you can. Great prosciutto is about $70 a kilo but, you only need about 5 slices (<$10) which will cover you needs easily if you tear the meat carefully enough -  you don't need much as it is full of flavour. Finally, other flavours would work (eg chilli oil or a cherry tomato vinaigrette).

1 small bucket bocconcini
Rind of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic finely minced
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh basil
5 slices prosciutto
Cracked pepper (chilli flakes?)

Combine the oil, rind and garlic and allow to infuse. Drain the bocconcini well. Tear the bocconcini into bit sized pieces. Cut the prosciutto in half width ways then carefully pull each piece into thin strips. Wrap the bocconcini in one strip of prosciutto per bit of cheese. Feed one toothpick through one end of a basil leaf, slide on the prosciutto cover cheese ball, feed on the other end of the basil leaf. Place on your serving dish. Repeat with the remaining bocconcini. Once finished, drizzle over as much of the lemon/garlic oil as you think necessary then crack over some pepper. Serve and be quick about eating some yourself.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


A mate of mine told me about this, it tasted great and I wanted to give it a go but haven't gotten around to it until just now. It is as simple as it is tasty and inexpensive. Whilst this doesn't taste exactly like pastrami I have bought in the past it is very very tasty. The kids and I ate at least 500gms in one afternoon, just by itself.

1 piece corned meat (mine was 1.4 kg)
1 litre pineapple juice (may need more)
Fresh cracked pepper - various kinds
Ground coriander
Olive oil

Soak the corned meat in the pineapple juice in a seal-able container over night. Pre heat an oven to 180C. Remove the meat from the juice, pat dry, coat with a little oil then cover in as much pepper corn, salt and coriander as you think necessary. Roast for 20 mins per 450gms plus twenty minutes. It is a good idea to place this on some grease proof paper as the juice will get gnarly and be difficult to clean off. Allow to rest then slice thinly and tuck in.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Osso Bucco with Olive, Fennel and Cherry Tomato

Delicious and cheap. I removed the fennel stalks after the cooking process as they were a little fibrous but they had already done their job. If you wanted to keep it in (which I would next time) I would use a more tender portion of the fennel bulb or slice it more thinly.

4 pieces osso bucco
4 tbs flour
Pepper and salt
2 handfuls chopped fennel (approx)
5 or 6 mushrooms torn or chopped
1 stalk celery sliced
1 onion in wedges
1 handful cherry tomatoes
2 cloves garlic sliced
Olives (as much or as little)
1 cup red wine
Some chicken stock
Natural yoghurt
Olive oil
Some great mash

Season the flour and dust the meat. Heat some oil to medium high and sear the meat, giving it some nice colour. Remove to a clean plate. Throw in the veg, olives and garlic and toss until fragrant. Tip in the remaining flour and toss through, cooking for a couple of minutes. Deglaze with the red wine, mix, add in the meat and pour in enough chicken stock to just come up to the meat. Add a lid, reduce to the lowest setting and simmer for 2 or 3 hours. When ready remove the meat and stir in a couple of tbs of gremolata. Spoon some mash into bowls, add some sauce, top with some meat and a dollop of yoghurt. My mash was potato, parsnip and cauliflower florets.

Rosemary and Horseradish Tapenade for Studding Roast Beef

Easy, cheap, tasty. Would be nice with most meats.

1 handful olives
1 sprig rosemary
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp horseradish cream
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Smash up real good with a knife. Make incisions in your roast with a sharp knife then jam your finger in there to widen the hole. Roast as normal. If you have any left over, just smear it over the outside. I ran out but already had the holes so I filled them with sliced onion - it was good also.