Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pineapple meats a new friend: Fruity steak and hot dogs

In case you hadn’t already noticed, I love pineapple. There’s some mysterious hidden quality it holds that drives me slightly wild. So if one of these spiky, beautifully ugly tropical creatures ever catches my eye at the fruit store, resistance is futile. Even though every time I think about buying one I am worried I won’t eat it all before it goes brown and slimy.

This terrifying possibility has never been realised, pineapple seems to disappear all too quickly around this house. And since we are now undeniably ensconced in winter (a balmy Melbourne winter but winter nonetheless), it is about to disappear for longer than usual as I try to do my bank balance and the environment a favour by eating seasonally. In fact, it is already too late for the poor, sad pineapples in Collingwood’s fruit stores and supermarkets, as you will see that in both these recipes I have used pineapple juice rather than real pineapple. My only advice regarding pineapple juice is don’t use a shelf stable product (aka unrefrigerated). If it can sit for months on a shelf, it is not juice. Try to find a shop that sells refrigerated pineapple juice or buy a pineapple and juice it.

Pineapple marinated steak
*1 cup pineapple juice
*1/2 cup soy sauce
*1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
*2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
*3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
*One 2cm chunk of ginger, grated finely
*1 Tbsp golden syrup or brown sugar
*1 long red chilli, chopped
*1 or 2 steak cuts of your choice (but preferably something good for grilling eg porterhouse)

*Mix together all ingredients apart from the steak until well combined
*Pour over the steak in a shallow bowl and leave to marinate for as long as possible (overnight is best, the steak will absorb a lot of the moisture and go slightly brown on the outside but don’t let this freak you out, it will still taste good)
*Grill as usual to your preferred level of ‘doneness’ and rest for a few minutes before serving

Spice Island inspired hot dogs
*1 small onion, chopped
*3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
*1 cup pineapple juice
*1/2 cup chilli sauce
*2 Tbsp soy sauce
*1 Tbsp brown sugar
*1/2 tsp hot mustard
*500g frankfurters (although using more or less won’t make a difference to the above proportions if you want to make a change)
*Hot dog buns

*Cook onion and garlic in a large saucepan over a medium heat for about 5 mins until soft
*Add pineapple juice, chilli sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and mustard and simmer for about 15 mins until sauce has thickened, stirring often
*Add frankfurters and cook until they are cooked through
*Serve the frankfurters on the buns (toasted or untoasted – your choice) with your favourite toppings

Toppings: I used cheese, coriander and the sauce I cooked the frankfurters in but mustard, tomato sauce and sauerkraut/fried onions are also highly recommended. The only limits on toppings are your imagination and any pre-existing cholesterol issues.

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Suggested “Cooking with pineapple” playlist
Leon Russell: Back to the Island
Elvis Presley: Blue Hawaii
The Troggs: Wild Thing
Hall and Oates: You Make My Dreams Come True
Stardust: Music Sounds Better With You
The Lovin’ Spoonful: Summer In The City
Shaun Cassidy: Da Doo Ron Ron

And to all my pineapple friends: don’t get too comfy on that lonely fruit store shelf, I’ll be seeing you when it’s possible to wear a sleeveless dress again. We’ll have a reunion with our mutual friends mint, rum, coconut and lime.

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Saturday Morning

Have you ever poured boiling water into a teacup over jasmine tea and just watched as the leaves slowly pop open and unfurl, releasing tiny bubbles and turning the water slightly pink? I never have until today. This probably indicates that I should be doing something way more exciting on my days off than I currently am. But as I eat breakfast and prepare to make a special trip into town with my neighbour to visit a secret tea shop, it seems fitting to appreciate this tea that is more often consumed drunkenly at the nearest Chinese BYO than appreciated for its delicate beauty.

I know I haven’t posted much lately but as the sky is steadily colouring darker and darker gray with bright silver patches where the sun is trying but failing to break through, it looks like chances are high for rain and as a direct result for me to later be huddling next to the heat pump eating and writing about food.

 

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Long weekend comfort food for one: Mexican hot chocolate and pork ribs

I’ve been wishing for a weekend of rain and miserable cold weather. Today I got my wish, however, I should have been more specific as I had in my head visions of sleeping in, watching movies and eating practically non-stop in a toasty warm house for 3 days. NOT of biking in the driving rain to get the ingredients for my perfect weekend.

But blessings sometimes come in watery, 10 degree celcius disguises as I finally managed to not only befriend one of the ladies at Casa Iberica (this is quite a feat as she has to be one of the toughest nuts to crack, even if you speak Spanish, and unless you count knowing the words ‘Caliente’ and ‘Hola’ as speaking Spanish I definitely do not come under this category) but also do an entire grocery shop without setting foot in a supermarket

When I finally I walked through the door at home, despite being rather soggy, with a good book and hot chocolate in the works the only way was up.

Mexican hot chocolate

*1/2 disc Ibarra hot chocolate (or Abuelita)
*1 cup (as in the cup you’ll be drinking from, not a measurement cup)

*Chop or crush the disc into small pieces and mix with the milk in a saucepan
*Heat over a low heat, whisking so it doesn’t burn and it gets nice and frothy, until completely combined
*Done!

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What better way to top off a semi-productive day than with sweet and spicy pork ribs, homemade chips and a tamarind jarritos followed by toasted pineapple with coconut sugar?

Rainy day pork ribs
*1/3rd cup honey
*1/4 cup tomato sauce
*1/4 cup soy sauce
*1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
*2 tsp chilli flakes
*3 garlic cloves, crushed
*1 tsp olive oil

*Mix together all ingredients and coat pork ribs (I used 3 but for two people I would use 5 or 6 and double the marinade) in a bowl. Leave to marinate for as long as you can, overnight if possible, although I only marinated mine for an hour and they turned out fine
*Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius
*Line a baking dish with foil then pour in about 2 cups of water, enough to cover the bottom and account for a little evaporation
*Oil a wire rack and place ribs on top, reserving the marinade
*Position the baking tray underneath the wire rack in the oven and bake ribs for about 45 minutes until cooked (make sure to account for size, I had to put one of the larger ribs in 15 mins earlier than the others), turning occasionally and basting with the leftover marinade
*Eat straight away, no cutlery allowed

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Pineapple just needs to be toasted up as in my previous pineapple recipe except replace brown sugar with coconut sugar or (if you can’t buy it) a half-half mix of sugar and finely grated toasted coconut

Near perfect day: tick
House clean and tidy: hmmm best not to ask

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Melbourne must-dos: Johnston St Milk Bar

Tonight I got off the bus in the miserable half-hearted Melbourne rain and walked halfway home. Then turned back and walked back the way I came, to the Johnston St Milk Bar. This is a place I have mentioned before but can’t stop myself from raving about again. When the chef at a place you already consider a favourite shakes your hand, introduces himself then makes a pizza that isn’t on the menu because he knows you’ll like it (even though you’ve only been there 4 times before) you have to rave. You just have to. I only found this out tonight, as even though I’ve always had a dark desire to become a ‘regular’ customer at a place that serves great food, it has never become a reality until now. This is largely due to budgetary restrictions, which have finally been overcome (yes!), as at the Milk Bar is not only truly amazing but cheap as chips. The customer service is also above and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. Not only are the staff the friendliest you’ll ever meet but it seems 5 mins of talking about jalapenos and snow is all it takes to score a free glass of mulled wine. While I get the feeling perks for regular customers aren’t uncommon, I love that the guys also aren’t afraid to give customers shit when they deserve it, especially since it is always kind hearted and jokey, never malicious like when I worked in customer service (people grrrr).

So does a cordon bleu (chicken, ham, blue vein cheese) pizza at the Milk Bar followed by a walk home in the drizzle listening to Nancy Sinatra finished off with lazing in front of the modern day fire (heat pump) and eating chocolate with my glasses still speckled with rain qualify as a great Friday night? If i was the type to swear on the internet, which i am, I’d say fuck yeah.

Bang bang!

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