Recipes to relish (3 ways with pineapple, mango and lime chutney)

[Recipe 1] SUNSHINE CHUTNEY (pineapple, mango and lime) transforms into
[Recipe 2] CHICKEN TOSTADAS with SUNSHINE CHUTNEY
[Recipe 3] PULLED PORK TACOS with APPLE SLAW and SUNSHINE CHUTNEY 
[Recipe 4] MAPLE-GLAZED PORK FILLETS with SUNSHINE CHUTNEY

We’re chutney chompers from way back, and the top shelf of the fridge is home to oodles of jars. Sunshine Chutney (pineapple, mango and lime) is our favourite. Make it and you’ll be dolloping it on just about everything, I promise. It makes a nice gift too – my boys teachers scored a jar for Christmas!
Mango Season is over in Australia, but this chutney can be made with frozen mango cheeks, and there’s no greater way to ward off Seasonal sadness than a sweet, sticky spoonful of sunshine on your slow-cooked Winter meat. I’ve shared our three favourite ways to enjoy Sunshine Chutney below.
TOSTADAS are crispy mini tortillas, topped with classic Mexican ingredients. We love tostadas el pollo, topped with avocado, leftover shredded roast chicken, a dollop of Sunshine chutney and scattered coriander. These are ace for a party, but you can be like Cher in Moonstruck and serve hors-d’oeuvres for dinner too!
PULLED PORK TACOS – my version of the Mexican classic, tacos al pastor. I seriously think my 8 year old would happily live on these.
MAPLE-GLAZED PORK FILLETS – if you haven’t cooked pork tenderloins before, go add them to your shopping list pronto! These are the perfect mid-week dinner. They take 20 minutes to roast and they’re SO juicy and lovely, especially with a hefty plop of Sunshine chutney 🙂

Sunshine chutney (pineapple, mango and lime). One Equals Two. 3 ways with Sunshine Chutney (pineapple, mango, lime). One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Sunshine chutney

Ingredients: (makes 1.5–1.8 kilos/3.3–4 lb chutney):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 small garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 long red chillies, de-seeded, finely chopped (retain seeds for extra oomph, if liked)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1½ tablespoons freshly-grated and chopped ginger
6 large or 8 small just-ripe mangoes, peeled and chopped (approx. 5 cups chopped mango)
1 small ripe pineapple, peeled and chopped (approx. 3 cups chopped pineapple)
1 large firm pear, peeled, cored and chopped into small cubes
60 ml (¼ cup) lime juice (from 1–2 limes)
2 teaspoons lime zest (from 1–2 limes)
1½ cups verjuice (verjus)
2 cups caster sugar (superfine sugar)
½ teaspoon sea salt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, chilli and mustard seeds. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes until just softened; taking care not to burn.
Add all other ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 1– 1¼ hours uncovered; or until thick and jammy. Stir occasionally, and keep a close eye on the chutney towards the end of the cooking process, to ensure it doesn’t stick and burn. It should look like a thick, sticky orange puree with softened pineapple chunks, and it will firm up further on standing.
Divide the chutney among hot, sterilised jars. Store chutney in a cool, dark place.

  • Use good quality fruit that is not over-ripe. Fully ripened fruit contains less pectin, the substance that makes jams and chutneys set. It’s best to use your fruit as soon as possible after buying.
  • Frozen mango cheeks can be used in place of fresh mango if out of Season.
  • Double the ingredients for a bulk quantity (12 cups) to share with friends. Cooking time will be slightly longer, around 1½–1¾ hours.
  • I always add a pear or two to my chutneys and jams as they’re high in pectin which helps achieve a good set even if your hero fruit is beginning to over-ripen. Lime also contains a high amount of pectin.
  • Verjuice is available at large supermarkets and specialty food stores. In Australia, Maggie Beer’s verjuice is the best quality and flavour (IMHO)! Replace the verjuice with apple cider vinegar if unavailable (I’ve tested this recipe with both).
  • Resist the desperate urge to enjoy your chutney immediately! Allow it to further firm up for at least 24 hours, preferably longer, before using.
  • Chutney in properly sterilised jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to ten months. Refrigerate after opening.

Chicken tostadas with sunshine chutney. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Chicken tostadas with Sunshine chutney

Ingredients (makes 25):
25 x 9cm tostaditas (deep fried tortillas)
1 large avocado, sliced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded (from ½ a roast chicken)
♦ ½–1 cup sunshine chutney (see Recipe 1, above)
1 red (purple/Spanish) onion, thinly sliced

Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Arrange tostaditas on a large serving platter, or little individual plates (pictured).
Place 2 slices of avocado on each, top with 1 tablespoon shredded chicken, a couple of thin slices of onion and ½ tablespoon sunshine chutney. Scatter with fresh coriander and serve at once.

  • Deep-fried tostaditas are available in-store and online from from El CieloIf unavailable, make your own by placing mini corn tortillas on a tray lined with baking paper. Brush both sides lightly with olive oil and bake in a hot oven until crisp, 12–15 minutes. Alternatively, mini corn tortillas can be fried in hot, shallow oil, about 2–3 minutes each side until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.

Pulled pork tacos with sunshine chutney. One Equals Two

[Recipe 3] Pulled pork tacos with Sunshine chutney

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 x 14cm soft white corn tacos (tortillas)
2½–3 cups pulled pork (recipe here), warmed
Apple slaw (recipe here)
♦ 1 cup sunshine chutney (see Recipe 1, above)
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped, to serve

Lightly oil a non-stick frying pan. Pan-fry the tortillas in batches, for ten seconds each side, until softened. Wrap in a clean tea towel to keep warm, as you prepare the remaining tortillas.
To serve, spoon reserved pulled pork down the centre of each tortilla. Top with apple slaw and a good dollop of sunshine chutney.
Scatter with fresh coriander and serve at once.

  • Pulled pork can be warmed carefully in a small covered saucepan, or in the microwave (drizzle with the reserved cooking juices, cover with cling film, and microwave on high for 1–2 minutes). Don’t make it too hot!

Maple-glazed pork fillets with sunshine chutney. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 4] Maple-glazed pork fillets with Sunshine chutney

Ingredients (serves 4):
2 free range pork fillets (tenderloins), 250-300g each
1 tablespoon olive oil
♦ ½–1 cup sunshine chutney (see Recipe 1, above)
Glaze ingredients:
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 heaped teaspoons smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon dried chilli powder (or more, as liked)
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 200°C (390ºF).
Mix glaze ingredients together in a small bowl, and brush over the pork fillets with the back of a soup spoon.
Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add pork and sear on all sides until nicely browned, 4–5 minutes total.
Transfer pork to a tray lined with baking paper, and drizzle with any remaining glaze.
Bake in pre-heated oven for 15–20 minutes, until pork is cooked through. Remove from oven. Transfer pork to a board, cover lightly with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
To serve, cut the pork into thick 1cm (½”) medallions. Arrange on plates and drizzle with any juices left on the tray. Serve with a dollop of sunshine chutney.

  • Pork fillet is also known as pork tenderloin, and is the eye fillet that comes from within the loin. It’s super tasty and lean; and is best cooked quickly in a hot oven as it can dry out if overcooked. Don’t make the mistake of buying pork loin, which is quite a different cut to a tenderloin and requires a longer cooking time. Read here for more information.
  • Leftover cooked pork fillet can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Thinly sliced leftover cooked pork fillet is THE BEST in sandwiches! Serve with Sunshine chutney and cos (Romaine) lettuce.

Mexcellent! [3 ways with home-made cooked tomato salsa]

[Recipe 1] HOME-MADE CHUNKY COOKED TOMATO and RED PEPPER SALSA transforms into
[Recipe 2] SOUTHWESTERN BLACK BEAN and CHICKEN SALSA SOUP
[Recipe 3] MEXI BURGERS
[Recipe 4] NACHOS

So, I’ve become a serious Insta addict since signing up in April. Nobody warned me how dangerous it was – there are vintage SHOPS on there!!! For a hoarder collector like me, that has meant a conga line of parcels arriving in the mail. My modest set of 3 vintage Japanese ceramic veggie dishes, found in local oppies (thrift stores), has blossomed to become a collection, thanks to @precious_junk, @touchwood_kollektiv and @teenagevintageboy.
My favourite is the green pepper, shown off below as a receptacle for home-made chunky cooked tomato and red pepper salsa. May I just say that this salsa is a knockout! My secret ingredient is biber salçasi (Turkish red pepper paste), available from Middle Eastern stores. It’s thick and rich, similar in consistency to tomato paste, made from sun-dried red peppers.
Below are three totally mexcellent ways to use the home-made salsa.
Southwestern black bean and chicken salsa soup takes literally minutes to prepare as the ingredients are simply dumped into a saucepan and simmered. It’s perfect for a quick mid-week dinner or weekend lunch. We first sampled this soup on our US trip early this year. My recipe is loosely adapted from this one by Betty Crocker.
Mexi burgers are a recent revelation, inspired by a visit to our local burger joint, Grill’d. I cheekily asked our waitress what their secret burger spice was, and she shared that their burgers contain 30% tomato relish mixed in with the beef! This allows them to use low-fat mince, with the relish adding juiciness. I copied their idea, using salsa instead, and Phwoar!
And lastly, Nachos! Seriously, is there a better afternoon schnack?

Vintage ceramic veggie dish collection. Made in Japan.Home-made cooked tomato salsa and 3 ways to use it. One Equals Two. Chunky cooked tomato and red pepper salsa. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Chunky cooked tomato and red pepper salsa

Ingredients (makes approx. 1½ kilos/3 lb; or 5 x 300g/10 oz jars)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium red (purple/Spanish) onions, finely diced
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 kilos (4.4 lb) very ripe tomatoes, peeled, de-seeded, chopped (about 5 cups)
1 small red capsicum (red pepper), or ½ large, de-seeded, finely diced
2 large red cayenne chillis, de-seeded, finely chopped; 1 teaspoon seeds retained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons mild biber salçasi (Turkish red pepper paste)
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup lime juice (from 2–3 limes)
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)

Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over low-medium heat. Cook the onion for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add all other ingredients except coriander and simmer gently, uncovered, for 40-55 minutes (cooking time will depend upon the juiciness of your tomatoes), stirring occasionally, until thick with a little liquid remaining. Stir through coriander.
Scoop into hot sterilised jars and store for up to 6 months in a cool dark place, or freeze for up to 3 months in plastic containers.

Allow salsa to cool completely before using.
♦ You’ll need 2 heaped cups (about 600g/20 oz) for Recipe 2 (soup), 1 heaped cup (about 300g/10 oz) for Recipe 3 (burgers) and 1 heaped cup (about 300g/10 oz) for Recipe 4 (nachos).

  • Biber salcasi is available from Middle Eastern stores such as A1 and my fave Melbourne food emporium Oasis; as well as online from Amazon and Sous Chef (UK). You’ll find plenty of other uses for it – spread it on pizza bases and use it in place of tomato paste in baked eggs, Amatriciana pasta sauce or Lamb and lentil tagine. It can be frozen in 1-tablespoon lumps wrapped in cling film, for up to 3 months. If unavailable, replace with tomato paste (tomato concentrate) – I’ve tested my salsa recipe with both! Biber salcasi gives a richer more complex result, and tomato paste lends a more traditional flavour.
  • I find 1 teaspoon chilli seeds are enough for a little kick, especially for the kids, but feel free to include all the seeds for a more fiery salsa.
  • This salsa is amazing spooned over scrambled eggs or baked fish; dolloped on tacos, chilli con carne or baked jacket potatoes; and in the following 3 recipes…

Southwestern black bean and chicken salsa soup. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Southwestern black bean and chicken salsa soup

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 heaped cups (about 600g/20 oz) reserved salsa (see recipe 1)
1½ teaspoons cumin
4 cups chicken stock, store-bought or home-made
1 x 400g (15 oz) can black beans, drained, rinsed
2 cups leftover chopped cooked chicken (from ½ a roast chicken)
1 cup uncooked corn kernels (cut from 1 large corn cob)

Salt
Fresh chopped coriander (cilantro)

Place all ingredients, except coriander, in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10–15 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
Season to taste (if you’ve used store-bought stock you may not need salt).
Ladle soup into deep bowls and scatter with coriander.
Inspired by this Betty Crocker recipe.

  • Leftover soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for 3 months.
  • You can use cooked dried beans for this recipe. 1 can black beans, drained, yields about 1½ cups of beans. For 1½ cups of beans, soak 125g (4.5 oz) dried black beans overnight. Drain, place into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 40–50 minutes, or until tender. Drain and rinse.
  • You can of course use store-bought Mexican salsa for this recipe if you’re pushed for time! You’ll need 2 x 300g (10 oz) jars.

Mexi Burgers with home-made salsa. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 3] Mexi burgers

Ingredients (makes 8 burger patties, 4 to be frozen for later):
1½ kilos (3 lb) minced (ground) beef
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs
♦ 1 heaped cup (300g/10 oz) reserved salsa (see recipe 1)
1 large egg, lightly whisked with a fork
Olive oil, for cooking
To serve:

4 brioche buns (or other hamburger buns, as preferred)
Cos (romaine) lettuce leaves
Reserved salsa, extra (see recipe 1)
Pickled jalapeños
Thinly sliced red (purple/Spanish) onion
Sliced tomato

Mix and squeeze the beef, salt and breadcrumbs together well with your hands. Add the salsa and egg and bring together until well combined. Form into 8 patties (refrigerate or freeze 4 for another time).
Brush a BBQ or ridged grill plate with olive oil. Grill the patties for about 4 minutes each side, until just cooked through.
Meanwhile, split your hamburger buns. You can toast them if you like.
To assemble place a lettuce leaf on each bun, followed by a patty, a good dollop of extra salsa, a few pickled jalapeño slices, onion, one or two lettuce leaves and sliced tomato. Pop the lids on and tuck in!

  • We like our burgers BIG! Use the mixture for 12 smaller patties if you prefer!
  • Uncooked patties can be frozen in a plastic container, with baking paper squares between each, for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, and drain on kitchen paper before cooking.
  • Pickled jalapeños are available at large supermarkets. Replace with sliced pickles or whole cornichons if unavailable.
  • Customise the burgers as you like! Add beetroot, mayo, sliced avocado and/or Swiss cheese (after grilling one side, turn patties over and place a slice of cheese on top to melt).
  • Brioche buns are the best for hamburgers in my opinion, as they’re light and slightly sweet. Mine are from the swoon-worthy Brioche by Phillipe (four stores in Melbourne).

Nachos with home-made salsa. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 4] Nachos

Ingredients (serves 4):
200g (7 oz) corn chips

1 heaped cup (300g/10 oz)
(see recipe 1)
1 cup (100g/3.5 oz) grated tasty cheese
1 large avocado, mashed
Sour cream
Fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped

Preheat oven to 180°C (350ºF).
Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Arrange the corn chips into 4 piles, and sprinkle with half the grated cheese. Spoon reserved salsa over, and top with remaining cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven.
Top each serving with mashed avocado and a dollop of sour cream. Slide nachos stacks onto four separate plates, scatter with coriander and serve immediately.

Let’s talk about Mex

Leftover par-boiled potatoes from this recipe transform into
BREAKFAST BURRITOS with CRISPY FRIED POTATOES, SCRAMBLED EGGS and PAN-FRIED SALSA

On our road trip through the US we ate and ate. And ate. I look way porkier in the photos taken towards the end of our holiday, but it was totally worth it! We traveled mainly through the Southwest, so that meant the 3 B’s – burgers, burritos and the occasional brisket. Oh, and beer!
If you can bare more holiday photos, scroll down past the actual recipe for snaps of some of the diners, cafes and taquerías we visited – all free-standing (a feature we don’t see in Melbourne), mostly family-run and all utterly beautiful.
I reckon I ate my weight in Breakfast Burritos. El Rancho Hotel in Gallup, New Mexico (one of our hotel highlights) served up theirs with crispy fried potatoes, and… oh my gawd! We’ve long been fans of scrambled egg burritos for brekkie, but the addition of crunchy spuds elevates this simple dish to a complete meal. Since we’ve been home, we’ve enjoyed these babies for dinner a couple of times and they’re immensely satisfying.
The recipe below is my take on El Rancho’s burritos. My Proper fish and chips allow for a planned-over stash of cooked potatoes, which I usually throw into a Spanish tortilla for dinner the following night; but they’re equally beautiful fried ’til they’re golden and crispy, stuffed into a burrito, with creamy scrambled eggs, a spoonful of pan-fried salsa (tomato, onion and green pepper) and a splash of hot sauce. ¡Buen apetito!

PS. If you’re serving this up to kids, you’ll be a hero! Older children will love it as is. For littlies, omit the pan-fried salsa and it’s basically an egg and chip wrap 😉

Breakfast burritos with scrambled eggs. One Equals Two.Best crispy fried potatoes! One Equals Two.Breakfast burrito with crispy potatoes. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Breakfast burritos with crispy fried potatoes, scrambled eggs and pan-fried salsa

Ingredients (serves 4):
1 cup olive oil (+ extra ½ cup if required)

♦ 
4 cups reserved par-boiled potato pieces, cut into small cubes (see Recipe 1 in this post which allows for leftover cooked potatoes)

1 small red (purple/Spanish) onion, diced
1 green poblano pepper, de-seeded and diced (or ½ green capsicum)
12 cherry tomatoes, or baby Roma tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon butter
8 free-range eggs
¼ cup full-cream milk
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper

4 large (or 8 small) flour tortillas, wrapped in foil, warmed in a low oven for 10 minutes 
To serve:
Chopped flat-leaf parsley
Mexican hot sauce (we love El Yucateco)

Heat 1 cup of oil in a large cast iron or heavy non-stick pan, until shimmering.
♦ 
Dry reserved par-boiled potato cubes with kitchen paper.
With a slotted spoon, carefully add potato cubes to the hot oil in a single layer, pressing them down lightly. They should be almost covered with oil – add the extra ½ cup oil if required. Cook without stirring, on medium to high heat, for 10 minutes. Carefully flip the potatoes over and fry for a further 10–12 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Season well with salt and pepper, and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
Pour oil into a jar to re-use another time (see these tips), leaving a small amount in the pan.
For the pan-fried salsa, add the onion and green pepper to the pan and fry gently until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir gently until warmed through. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Melt butter in a small non-stick saucepan. Lightly whisk together the eggs and milk, and pour into the pan. Cook over a low heat, stirring continuously, for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are set and scrambled. Season with salt and pepper.
Divide fried potatoes amongst the warmed tortillas. Spoon the scrambled eggs alongside, top with pan-fried salsa and a splash of hot sauce. Roll up to enclose and serve immediately.

  • If starting this recipe from scratch (without leftover cooked potato pieces), you’ll need 6 large potatoes (approx. 1.125 kilos/2.5lb), par-boiled according to this recipe.
  • If you have a large stove top, you can of course expedite proceedings by having two pans on at once. Cook the potatoes and pan-fried salsa at the same time. Remove the pan-fried salsa when cooked through and keep warm on a plate loosely covered with foil. Cook the eggs in the last 5 minutes of the potato cooking time.

Joe & Aggie's Cafe, Holbrook, AZLa Cita, Tucumcari, NMEl Gallito, Cathedral City, CADelgadillo's Snow Cap, Seligman, AZCoyote Bluff Cafe, Amarillo, TXRoadkill Cafe, Seligman, AZBlack Cat Bar, Seligman, AZCindy's. Eagle Rock, LAMary & Tito's, Albuquerque, NMRanch House Cafe, Tucumcari, NM

Totally rawsome

[Recipe 1] MEXICAN BLACK BEAN and CORN SALAD with QUESO FRESCO
transforms into
[Recipe 2] FLATHEAD TACOS with BLACK BEAN SALSA and CHIPOTLE MAYO

It’s entertaining season around here, and ‘stealing salad’ is a sneaky way to get two meals from one. Mexican black bean and corn salad is perfect for a potluck or BBQ and by pilfering 3 cups of prepared ingredients (before adding the avocado and Queso Fresco) and 3 tablespoons of dressing; you’ll have a ready-made salsa, to spoon into tacos with crumbed flathead and chipotle mayo for dinner the next day. My ten year old’s verdict – DELICIOUS!
I served this up at two Christmas lunches last week. The recipe is adapted from one my son made at school – he’s lucky enough to be part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen program, where ingredients are plucked straight from the school veggie patch and cooked up by the kids.
This salad is a bowl of health, choc-full of raw veggies, and lots of texture and colour. I mucked around with the original recipe, adding mild chillies and onion, swapping lettuce for shredded red cabbage and replacing fetta with Mexican Queso Fresco. Damn I LOVE this cheese. It’s admittedly tricky to find, but well worth the hunt. it’s smooth and mild, holds its shape well and has a little kick of saltiness – the perfect salad cheese.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. See you in 2015! xx
PS. I had to share my vintage Japanese ‘Hostess’ brand salad servers. I love the wood/ceramic combination and the crazy colours. I found the red ones a couple of weeks ago. Do three sets constitute a collection? I hope so, as calling myself ‘a collector’ surely justifies me buying more…

Vintage Hostess salad serversMexican salad with Queso Fresco. One Equals Two.[Recipe 1] Mexican black bean and corn salad with Queso Fresco

Ingredients (makes salad for 8–10 people, plus tacos for 4):
250g (9 oz) dried black beans, soaked overnight (or tinned beans – see notes)
4 firm, ripe tomatoes, seeds and core roughly scooped out and discarded, chopped
2 cups uncooked corn kernels (cut from 2 large corn cobs)
1 white salad onion, peeled and finely diced
3 cups very finely shredded red cabbage (from ½ a cabbage)
2 red capsicums (bell peppers), de-seeded, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, de-seeded, very finely chopped
Lime dressing:
100 ml (3.4 oz) lime juice (from 2–3 limes)
½ cup olive oil
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped
½ teaspoon sea salt
(Note: you’ll be reserving 3 cups of the above salad ingredients, and 3 tablespoons of lime dressing, for the tacos in recipe 2)
To serve:
2 avocados, diced
1 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
125g (4.5 oz) Queso Fresco (replace with firm fetta if unavailable), crumbled
Corn chips, smashed (optional)

Drain soaked black beans, place into a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 40–50 minutes until just tender. Take care not to overcook them as they should retain a bit of bite. Drain, rinse and place in a large bowl. Allow to cool.
Add tomatoes, corn kernels, onion, cabbage, capsicum and chillies. Toss gently.
♦ Reserve 3 cups of salad mix for the flathead tacos with black bean salsa (recipe 2).
To make the lime dressing, place ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake well.
♦ Reserve 3 tablespoons dressing for the flathead tacos with black bean salsa (recipe 2).
Refrigerate salad ingredients and dressing separately, covered, until ready to serve. Both can be prepared the night before.
To serve, gently stir the large quantity of dressing through the large bowl of salad ingredients. Scatter with avocado, coriander, crumbled Queso Fresco and smashed corn chips (if using). Serve immediately.

  • 250g (9 oz) dried black beans yields approximately 3 cups cooked beans. You can replace the cooked beans with 2 x 400g (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • Although the corn chips are optional, kids will thank you for them! You can serve them in a separate bowl, alongside the salad. Guests can grab a handful and smash them over their own serve.
  • Dried black beans are available in Melbourne from Casa Iberica, Oasis Bakery, El Cielo and La Tortilleria; and in Sydney from Fireworks Foods. They can also be purchased online from guaca Mall-e.
  • Queso Fresco (‘fresh cheese’) is available in Melbourne at Casa Iberica and in Sydney at Fireworks Foods.
  • Be sure to scatter the avocado on top of the salad, rather than stir it through. If there is any leftover dressed salad, you can pick off the avocado and it will keep well for a couple of days – it’s great to take to work for lunch!
  • Reserved salad mixture and dressing (for the tacos) can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days.

Flathead tacos with black bean salsa. One Equals Two.

[Recipe 2] Flathead tacos with black bean salsa and chipotle mayo

Ingredients (serves 4):
♦ 3 cups reserved salad mix (see above)
♦ 3 tablespoons reserved lime dressing (see above)
400g (14 oz) flathead (or other firm white fish, such as whiting) fillets
½ cup plain (all-purpose) flour
2 eggs, beaten
1½ cups panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil for shallow frying
8 blue corn tortillas (see notes)

Chipotle mayo

♦ To make black bean salsa, combine reserved salad mix and reserved lime dressing. Dredge flathead fillets in flour, dip into beaten eggs and coat well in breadcrumbs. Refrigerate, covered, until required.
Pour oil into a large non-stick frying pan, to about 3mm (.1″) deep. Shallow-fry the crumbed flathead fillets in batches for about 2–3 minutes each side, until light golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper.
Warm tortillas in a dry non-stick pan. Arrange flathead fillets and a good plop of black bean salsa on each. Drizzle with chipotle mayo, and serve immediately.

  • Blue corn tortillas are available in-store and online from Fireworks Foods in Sydney and El Cielo in Melbourne.
  • Japanese panko breadcrumbs make for an extra crispy coating. They’re available at large supermarkets and Asian grocers.
  • If using large pieces of fish, cut into strips before coating.

Pig out

[Recipe 1] SLOW-ROASTED PORK BELLY TACOS with PINEAPPLE GINGER RELISH and CRACKLING transforms into
[Recipe 2] MIXED RICE SALAD with PULLED PORK, LIME and PEANUTS

“So THIS is why the big bad wolf wanted to eat the 3 little pigs”!
So said my 6-year old after his first-ever taste of pork belly crackling. We were a bit startled by his cheerful nonchalance! He couldn’t get enough of it, those oily little fingers reaching out for more and more; and frankly neither could I. I hadn’t had crackling in years, and before last weekend had never actually cooked it myself.
Oh boy was it good; and the beautiful melt-in-your mouth meat it encased was pretty damn excellent too.
I weighed up Jamie and Nigella‘s cooking methods. Jamie gives his pork a sharp burst of high heat to start with, then turns the oven down for the slow-cooking process. Nigella cooks hers in reverse, slow-roasting first with a hot blast at the end. I chose Jamie’s technique as it required my attention at the start of the process, then could be ignored until finished – ideal for weekend cooking.
I improvised and threw together a simple zesty marinade which worked a treat. The lovely pork belly was served up in soft tacos with pineapple ginger relish, a concoction I made up by adding bits and pieces to the saucepan until it tasted nice, and hot damn did it go well with the pork!
These tacos are my version of one of my favourite Mexican dishes – Al Pastor style pork and pineapple. You can sample the real deal in Melbourne at Mamasita, Fonda and our local, Eat Drink Love Taco in Carlisle Street. Al Pastor style pork is cooked on a huge vertical spit and served up in tortillas with finely chopped onion, lime, coriander and fresh pineapple. So good!
Amazingly we had quite a bit of leftover pulled pork, which I used the next night in a fab mixed rice salad with lime and peanuts; using Rice Plus, a locally-made product my friend Judy got me hooked on. It’s fantastic, a combo of black sesame seeds and grains including brown rice, black rice, red basmati, millet and quinoa. I always have a pack in the cupboard. I’ve made this salad a few times, and usually add chopped leftover roast chicken, but the pork was a fabulous inclusion. This recipe makes enough salad for lunch the next day (nothing better than lunch waiting in the fridge for you in the morning). My boys love the salad too, although I modify theirs slightly – see ‘fussy kid tip’ below. Now, onto the recipes…

Slow-cooked pork belly with cracklingPork belly tacos with pineapple relish[Recipe 1] Slow-roasted pork belly tacos with pineapple ginger relish and crackling

Ingredients (serves 4–6 for two meals, ie. tacos serve 4, salad serves 6):
2 kilo (4 lb) whole free-range pork belly
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
1½ cups freshly-squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 corn cobs, silk and husks removed (to reserve for the mixed rice salad)
Olive oil, extra, for brushing corn
Pineapple ginger relish, to serve
Fresh coriander (cilantro), to serve
10 white corn tortillas, to serve (mine are from El Cielo)

Score the thick pork skin with a very sharp knife, in rows. Don’t cut all the way down to the meat – about 5mm (.2″) deep is perfect. Brush the skin all over with the oil, and sprinkle with salt.
Mix the orange juice, cumin, cinnamon and paprika together and pour into the bottom of a shallow, heavy baking pan. Pop the pork piece on top. Brush the marinade up the sides of the pork. Don’t brush the skin, as it should remain dry.
Note: if you’re using a baking dish that’s tricky to clean, you may wish to line it with a couple of layers of foil.
Allow the pork to marinate, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Keeping it uncovered allows the skin to remain nice and dry which is a must for good crackling.
Preheat oven to 250°C (480ºF).
Roast the marinated pork belly for 30 minutes.
Turn the oven down to 150°C (300ºF) and roast for a further 3 hours, until skin is golden and crispy. With 30 minutes of cooking time remaining, place the oiled corn cobs in the oven on a separate small tray, and roast together with the pork, turning once after 15 minutes. Total cooking time is 3½ hours.
♦ Remove the corn cobs and reserve both for the mixed rice salad.
Remove the pork from the oven and allow to rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
To serve, remove the crispy crackling from the top and break into pieces. Pull the pork belly apart with two forks.
♦ Reserve 1–2 cups (as much as you can spare) cooked pork for the mixed rice salad.
Serve the remaining pork belly with warmed tortillas and pineapple ginger relish, scattered with coriander. Serve the crackling on the side.

  • Reserved cooked pork can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.
  • Fussy kid tip: my boys loved their pork tacos with fresh guacamole instead of the pineapple relish. I served them a bowl of fresh pineapple on the side.
  • When using coriander (cilantro) leaves, freeze the white roots. They’re great for adding to home-made stock, or pounding into a paste for flavouring curries and stews such as Black bean, coconut and fish stew. Strip the tiny ‘hairy’ roots off before using.

Mixed rice salad with pork and peanuts

[Recipe 2] Mixed rice salad with pulled pork, lime and peanuts

Ingredients (serves 6):
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red (purple/Spanish) onion, finely chopped
2 cups (450g pack) gluten-free RicePlus, uncooked
♦ 2 reserved roasted corn cobs, kernels removed with a sharp knife
1–2 cups reserved cooked pork belly, chopped
Sea salt

1 cup coriander (cilantro), chopped
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
60g roasted peanuts, chopped, to serve
Lime and ginger dressing:
2 limes, juiced and zested (⅓ cup juice)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey, warmed slightly
1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
1 heaped tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion over a medium heat for 3 minutes, until just soft.
Add the Rice Plus and 4 cups of water to the saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes (this will help any excess liquid to be absorbed).
♦ Add reserved roast corn kernels and reserved pork. Season well with salt.
(At this stage you may like to decant some of the undressed salad to serve to kids – see tip below).
Make dressing by combining ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake until combined. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Add coriander and parsley and serve, scattered with chopped peanuts.
Serve at room temperature.

  • Fussy kid tip: For 2 kids, remove 2 cups of the rice salad before you add the dressing, coriander and parsley. You can serve it with reserved pork, but if you wish to keep the pork all to yourselves (bwahahaha – evil laugh); do as I do and stir a small, drained can of tuna in olive oil through the rice salad. Both my boys love this. A classic tuna, corn and rice salad! It’s equally nice made with leftover chopped roast chicken too. My 6-year old adds a huge slosh of tomato sauce (ketchup) to his, and the 10-year old stirs through some mayo.