Tag Archives: sauce

Leftovers? A Tex-Mex feast is in your future…

I opened the fridge yesterday, and looking back at me was the remains of last night’s braised pork roast, and the remains of a roast chicken I bought from the local mega-mart for a quick lunch a couple days ago, and an idea struck me almost instantly.  It rarely happens like that, but this time it was a brilliant plan.

I whipped up a quick enchilada sauce (recipes aplenty on the net, but here’s what I did…

  • 1/4 cup oil (light olive)
  • 1 finely diced onion, but grated is fine (even a couple tbsp dried would work)
  • 2 cloves crushed or grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup stock or wine, or mixed
  • 1 tbsp powdered cumin (or crush some seeds)
  • 1/2 tbsp powdered coriander (or crush some seeds)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a shallow frying pan (not a saucepan) fry the onions in the oil until beginning to take a nice rich brown colour.  Add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute.  Add all of the spices and herbs (not the salt and pepper).
Add the flour, and cook for about another minute, before adding the puree and stock/wine.
Simmer until about the thickness of the tomato puree.  Add more stock if too thick.
Taste, and season.

In another frying pan, I added about 2 cups of oil, and brought it up to a low frying temp.

The Chicken

A great snack, or part of a Tex Mex Feast

A great snack, or part of a Tex Mex Feast

Then I chopped up the chicken and added some cheese to it (I used some cheddar I had grated in the fridge, but crumbled feta or cotija would have been better).  To this I added the Mexican spice trinity (Cumin, Coriander, Chilli), and seasoned it with salt and pepper.

Opening a pack of corn tortillas (and they need to be corn, not flour), I dredged them quickly in the hot oil to soften.  Just a few seconds each side.  Then I dropped some of the mix into the middle, and simply rolled them into a tight barrel (about thumb thickness) before placing them seam down on a baking tray.

Setting them aside, I turned my attention to the pork.

The Pork

Slightly over cooked, but bursting with flavour, and very simple to make.

Slightly over cooked, but bursting with flavour, and very simple to make.

The pork was already somewhat shredded from the braise, but if your using a normal roast pork, I would wrap it in foil with some stock or a can of tomatoes, and cook it for a couple more hours to make it shreddable.  Fatty cheap cuts are best, like a shoulder or butt.

Using the corn tortillas again, I dredged them in the hot enchilada sauce to soften.  Then I wrapped the pork mix in a barrel about the size of a golf ball in diameter.  Note I did not season the pork more.  That’s what the sauce is for.

Placing the pork enchiladas in a baking dish, snug but single layered, I then covered them in the remaining sauce, spreading it evenly.  Top the dish with some cheese, and maybe some sour cream at this point (though I added the sour cream at serving).

The Cook

Cook the Enchiladas covered for about 10 minutes, then uncover and add the taquitos to the oven.

Cook for 15 minutes, or until the taquitos are a nice light golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve them with shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced onion, some cilantro, cheese, a home made guacamole, and sour cream, all nicely presented in separate bowls for people to help themselves.

It’s a simple meal, thrify if you want to just use leftovers, but good enough to do from scratch as a purpose meal.  It’s amazing delicious, and you’ll look like a food hero in front of your friends and family…of just make a ton of taquitos to enjoy with a cold beer while watching the football!


Mega Death Sauce

So I love chilli’s, and hot sauces are a staple for me.  I really enjoy starting the day with some eggs drizzled with a kicking hot sauce, but I have never categorized myself as a chilli head.  Maybe I’m in denial.

Anyhow, my wife returned from taking number 1 son to a Rugby tournament this weekend, and brought me home some Mega Death sauce, one of the range of Hot Sauces offered by Blair’s (out of Ascot Vale in Victoria).

Mega Death Hot Sauce- Love the Coffin packaging.

Mega Death Hot Sauce- Love the Coffin packaging.

I can confirm, it’s hot.  Very hot.  In fact, here’s hot potent it is:

I dabbed a drop onto my finger to taste it, and it performed as you would expect, the burn was immediate, then blossomed into something more.  It might not have been the hottest I have tried, but as a measure of it’s flavour (yes there was one mixed in with the tongue numbing heat), I was immediately inspired to come up with some recipes for the sauce in various concentrations.  But I digress.

The next morning, despite eating a full meal of Spag Bol and Salad, and taking a nice hot shower, I rubbed my eye with the offending finger…it still burned.  That’s how well this sauce lingers.

Anyway, the important this is that this is a great hot sauce.  Not just the searing heat, but the great blend of fruitiness, smokiness from chipotle’s, and spice gives this a delicious palette.

Here is their website, so check them out, I can really recommend the Mega Death (it’s the only one I’ve tried).


In the mean time, what is your favourite recipe that has hot sauce as an ingredient?

Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf – Version 1

As a kid my favourite meal was Meatloaf and BBQ sauce.  The thick sweet glaze surrounding a rough log of savory beef, and served with a steaming pile of mashed potatoes…It was what MY birthday meal was, year in, year out.

Behold the lovely Loaf

As I’ve grown, my sweet tooth has somewhat disappeared, but my love for the loaf remains unabated.  Over the years I’ve also learned that a great meatloaf comes in many guises. The meatloaf of my childhood was a beef meatloaf, as is the recipe on this post, but I’ve learned that the humble loaf is more versatile than just a log of ground steak baked in the oven.

I’ve developed recipes for beef versions , chicken meatloaf, pork,  game, exotic meats (kangaroo, as an example), and sometimes combinations of these beasts (often you HAVE to combine them, to get a great result).  In fact, the only thing I’ve not made is a vegetarian or seafood meatloaf, and mostly because I’ve never thought of it…until now!

So, this may be my first recipe and post for meatloaf, but it almost certainly won’t be my last.  Please feel free to change the ingredient list as you way see fit, you may have a great recipe for your meatloaf already at hand.  But take note of a few tricks and techniques that I use, and think about adapting them to your own recipe.


The Meat

  • 500g Chuck Steak
  • 500g lean Minced Beef
  • 14 Strips Bacon (Streaky)

A carnivores dream

The Mix

  • 1 egg
  • 3 Carrots
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 2 Sliced Bread (any)
  • 1/4 Cup Red Wine
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic

Most of the mix...minus onions, carrots, and an egg

The Herbs & Spices

  • 2 Tbsp Dried Sage
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Oregano
  • 1/4 tsp Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • Red Pepper Flakes to Taste

Spices for the Meatloaf

I make no apologies for the 18 ingredient list, for what is a simple comfort meal.  Nothing is complicated here, but every flavour is a note to this symphony.

Step 1, the meat.

Like my burgers, previous post here, I like my meatloaf to carry some texture.  I am not after a consistent grind in the beef, because I like the additional interest that a surprise chunk of beef makes in the meatloaf as a meal, but I also want to reduce the fat in the end product and this still needs to be a loaf…so I blend my self chopped chuck steak with some low fat mince.

Cube up the chuck steak into medium cubes, and chop them in a food processor in 2 equal batches.  Pulse for 10 x 1 second pulses (full second pulses…one thousand one, one thousand two…etc) and then for 1 x 4 second burst.

Dump the chopped chuck into a bowl, along with the mince.

Step 2, the mix.

Using the food processor (again), chop the bread slices until they become bread crumbs.  Tip the contents onto the meat.

Put the onion in the food processor and puree it.  Tip it onto the meat and breadcrumbs.

Everyone into the Pool!

Grate the carrots, and add to the meat mix, along with the rest of the mix ingredients.  Add all of the herbs and spices, and mix using your hands until well combined.

OK, so maybe I'm getting carried away with the photo's...
All mixed together...check out the texture...hmmmm

Step 3, Construction:

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)

Lay out a large square of plastic wrap or baking paper.  Construct your bacon weave on the plastic film, one strip high by one strip wide.

Here begins the weave...just like a reed basket, only porkier

Baby blankets should be this awesome

And the plastic magically appears. Don't forget it on the first loaf, like I did.

Shaping the mix into a log, place it on the bacon weave, ensuring that it comes to the end of the weave, but not beyond.  Then lift the plastic wrap and use it to roll the bacon up and over the log.  Keep rolling until the entire loaf is covered, then remove the wrap.

Dressed for the ball. Prom King, no doubt

Step 4, Cooking

Place the meatloaf on a wire rack that fits in a backing tray.  Slide it into the hot oven.  Place a loose piece of foil over the meat loaf, so as not to overcook the bacon.

After 40 minutes, remove the foil and drop the temperature to 160C (320F)

Continue to bake until the internal temperature hits 66C (150F).  Remove from the oven, and cover again with foil, letting it rest for 20 minutes.

If only you could smell this...OH MY GOD! Look at the pink ring just under the bacon.

Slice and serve with some of your favourite BBQ Sauce, and a couple of sides.  Mashed potatoes is a match made in heaven.  As for another side, well, I’ve gone for some fried cabbage this time, but a nice salad would work just as well.

The moment of truth...enjoyed with a lovely Cab Sav.

The magic of Meatloaf is the leftovers.  It’s almost as easy to make 2, as to make 1, so double the mix and make 2 loaves (as I have).  Think of all the meatloaf sandwiches…nom nom nom

Enjoy the meal!

Honeymoons, Original Ceasar Salad and Happy 5th Anniversary

Today marks the 5th Anniversary of my marriage to Jeri, my lover and partner in life.  When we first met, 7 years ago, my life was at the bottom of a downswing and what we have been able to achieve together is testament to the fact that two people in step are greater than the sum of their parts.  I’m sure she’ll read this, so:  I love you baby, and I love who we are.  The skies the limit.

One of my great food memories as a couple, and I could safely say one of hers without actually asking, happened during our first trip away alone as a married couple…our honeymoon if you wish, though it was 10 months after we married.  Jeri was working at Frontier Airlines in the States, and one of her friends had a time-share unit in Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), which we had been offered the use of.  Money was tight for us in those early days, so we jumped at the chance to have an exotic “cheap” holiday.  Of course January in Denver acts as quite a motivating factor for a trip to more tropical climes.

Sunset in the Endless Pool at the resort

Now, if you’ve not been to Cabo it is a bit of a Time-Share capital.  Getting off the plane at the airport, and passing through customs, you run a gauntlet of Time-Share sellers, offering you all sorts of gifts and cash to spend a couple of hours viewing their respective holiday presentations.  Being naive and broke, we quickly agree.  I mean, $500 worth of activities, food vouchers, and gifts just about doubled our spending money for the week.

Time Share Tequila, contents removed and Cabo beach (sand and sea) added.

This is not a travel piece, so I’ll keep it short, but for that 3 hour investment (buffet breakfast included, lol) we got:  $150 in vouchers (total) for use in up to 5 restaurants and bars, free paragliding, free glass bottom boat tour, buy 1 get 1 free 1/2 day game fishing trip, a free bottle of Tequila, and a free Mexican blanket.

Jeri enjoys a birds-eye view of Cabo San Lucas

With part of our meal vouchers, we went to Salvatore’s, a great Italian restaurant adjacent to the Marina, and what a meal we had.  It was at this restaurant, during this meal, that I had my very first Caesar Salad.  OK, I had THOUGHT that I had had Caesar Salad in the past, but I was very much mistaken.  Every other Caesar Salad I had had in the past paled in comparison in the same way that a Mall Food Court Sushi Roll compares to a piece hand rolled by a master, in the same way that a Dominoes Pizza compares to a wood fired pizzeria Napoletana.

Much like Peking Duck, Caesar Salad is theatre.  In the 1920’s, before there was refrigeration widely available, and before fresh produce could easily be transported from half way around the globe, Chef Caesar Cardini created a sensation when he mixed some leftover pantry ingredients with a handful of Romaine lettuce leaves and invented the Salad which continues to bear his name.  The key to the Salad’s success, and the experience, is that the magic all happens with a dramatic flourish alongside the diners table.  From mis en place to plate while the patrons watch enraptured.  Dining as entertainment took a giant leap forward, and you haven’t had a Caesar Salad until you have watched the show.  That evening we experienced a food zen moment, and we experienced it together.  I’ll never forget it.

All of that preamble sets the scene for today, our wedding anniversary, and to celebrate 5 wonderful years I am going to make a Caesar Salad…just as Chef Cardini intended.


  • 2 Heads of Romaine or Cos Lettuce
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • Salt
  • ¾ cup best-quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup  genuine imported real Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Cups stale cubed bread, dense artisan loaf


This recipe uses simple ingredients, very simply prepared.  It is essential that you use the best quality that you can find as every ingredient will show up and either shine, or fall flat.  Nothing here is ridiculously expensive, so even buying the best you can will not be a huge burden.

  • Remove the base of the lettuce, and gently separate the leaves.  Sort through them until you have about 8 from near the middle of the bunch, all uniform and unblemished.  Save the rest of the lettuce for another salad, or BLT’s later.  Remove the thickest part of the stems from the selected leaves and gently rinse.  Spin in a salad spinner (or dry with paper towels by blotting) and store them in an air tight bag or container in the fridge.
  • Using  a pinch of the salt, and about 3 tablespoons of oil, mash the garlic into a paste.  Toss with the brad cubes and toast in a cast iron or non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.  When golden brown and crunchy, transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, shave about 1/4 cup worth of Parmesan Cheese into a small bowl.
  • Drop the two eggs into enough boiling water to cover.  Cook for exactly a minute, then remove and cool under running cold water.  You want to coddle the eggs and nothing more.  This is not enough cooking to kill any potentially harmful bacteria, so if you have a compromised immunity (or are pregnant), you might want to avoid the dish.  This is also the main reason that Caesar Salads are not made according to the original methodology…stupid food police (but that’s a whole other post).
  • What about the anchovies?  Well, contrary to popular belief, the original Caesar Salad did not have anchovies, other than what was already in the Worcestershire Sauce.
  • At the kitchen table, or on the counter in front of your guests, place the lettuce into a large wide bowl.  Pour about 1/4 cup of oil onto the leaves, and using an exaggerated motion gently toss the salad four times using a large salad fork and spoon, rolling the mix toward you in a breaking wave motion.
  • Sprinkle on a good pinch of the salt, and about 8 grinds of pepper, and another splash of oil.  Toss again twice (gently).
  • Add the lemon juice, 6 drops of Worcestershire Sauce, and break in the two coddled eggs.  Toss twice gently, yet again.
  • Finally, add the cheese, toss once, then add the croutons.  Toss two more times gently, and serve.

Such a great Salad deserves a great main dish. What would you serve it with?

Remember, the “theatre” is as important as the meal, and this is as much about the experience as it is the food.  Have fun with the display, and enjoy the meal.