Cheese and Bacon


When it comes to classic flavour combinations, cheese and bacon has to rate somewhere near the top. Individually, cheese and bacon have to rate among mankind’s most beloved creations -penicillin and democracy be damned- so when I decided to attempt to make my own bacon, there was only one thing I wanted to pair it with – guess what?

If you guessed cheese – congratulations, you have an attention span superior to several breeds of dog!

⦁ 1 kg pork belly
⦁ 100g salt
⦁ 50g caster sugar
⦁ 1 tsp prague powder
⦁ 500 mls maple syrup

If I knew making bacon was this easy, I’d have done it long ago. Mix together the salts and sugar in a bowl. Take the pork belly, slice the skin off, leaving a small amount of fat on top, then rub with the curing mix, place in a sandwich bag, seal, and leave in the fridge for about 4 days, or up to a week, turning over each day. At this point the pork should be quite a bit firmer. Remove from the bag and rinse under cold water.

Next, take the pork belly and smoke for about 2-3 hours at about 120 degrees, which I achieved with a bradley smoker. With the Bradley smoker, temperature-controlled smoking is a breeze! Wow..that was a really enthusiastic endorsement. I promise I’m not a paid shill, but hey, if Bradley want to send me some free merch, I won’t object. I even have a great tagline they can use in their ads: “With Bradley, you’ll even want your pregnant wife and kids to start smoking”. You’re welcome, Bradley.

Anyway, by this stage the pork should be smoky and pretty wonderful – but the best part is yet to come.
Take the pork belly and slice into lengths. Pan fry on a gentle heat until slightly caramelised, then transfer to a saucepan with the maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and leave for half an hour, then turn off the heat and leave for another 10 minutes or so.


⦁ 1 packet nacho cheese doritos
⦁ 1 block cheddar cheese
⦁ Oil
⦁ 1 Egg, whisked
⦁ Flour

So, so delicious. Cut a big wedge of the cheese, dust with flour, then dredge in the egg.Crush up a few handfuls of chips and roll the cheese around. At this point, transfer to the freezer for about half an hour.
Heat a saucepan of oil to about 160 degrees and add the cheese. Fry until golden and fantastic – about 5 minutes.


⦁ 1 green apple
⦁ Apple cider vinegar
⦁ Caster sugar
⦁ 1 stick cinnamon
⦁ A pinch of salt

I haven’t provided quantities here for the ingredients because I don’t know them; when it comes to pickling I usually just eyeball the ingredients and taste for balance- and you should too. No one should be beholden to recipes! Anyway, add the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn off the heat and leave to cool. Slice the apple thinly, place in the pickling solution and chuck in the fridge for a day or so.
⦁ 50g brioche
⦁ a few hazelnuts
⦁ tiny pinch of cinnamon
⦁ A pinch of salt

Heat some butter in a saucepan until brown, then blitz the ingredients in a food processor, add to the saucepan and fry until browned. Drain on kitchen paper

Maple syrup
Pinch of salt

Melt some butter in a sacuepan and then use some of the leftover maple syrup from cooking the bacon, in all its smoky, salty goodness, and spoon into the saucepan. Add the hazelnuts and gently heat for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and leave for another couple of minutes.

So how did it all taste? Honestly, amazeballs. I could take or leave the hazelnut and brioche crumb, but the apple, bacon and cheese were absiolutely phenomenal. Seriously, so freakin yummy. I’ll be making this one again for sure.





A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to host a sushi and sake night for some of my good friends, featuring loads of yummy sashimi, sushi, karaage chicken, edamame and okonomiyaki. Loving okonomiyaki but having never made it, I figured I should probably practice a few times until unleashing it on my friends. Below is a combination of a few different recipes I found online, and which is reliably delicious.

50g flour
1 egg
50 mls vegetable stock
1 small starchy potato, grated
1 tbsp finely chopped japanese pickled ginger
A small handful of fried shallots
1 tbsp sliced spring onion
1/4 cabbage, finely chopped

Kewpie mayo
Okonomiyaki sauce
Dried bonito flakes
1 sheet nori, sliced

Start by whisking the egg and flour together, then adding the stock in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Keep whisking until the mixture is quite smooth and there aren’t any nasty flour lumps. Add the rest of the ingredients and mush together with your hands., then leave for a few minutes (I feel like this helps the starch from the potato to help everything stick together). Heat some oil in a saucepan and spoon the mix into the centre. Smoosh out evenly to the edges with a wooden spoon and leave for a few minutes until the bottom begins to get brown and crisp. Flip and do the same to the other side.
Transfer to a plate, drizzle with the okonomiyaki sauce and mayo, then add the bonito flakes and the nori and serve. Yum!


EDIT: This post is tagged vegetarian, which it is, apart from the bonito flakes – but it’s just as delicious without them!


Chili Cheese Fries!


As anyone who lives here knows, Sydney is currently awash with American food fever, with every suburban burger shop and second-rate pub serving up the likes of pulled pork sliders, chipotle fried chicken and the ubiquitous cheeseburger (invariably, ‘wagyu’) on a brioche bun, all served by a moustachioed hipster in a bow tie.
Frankly, I’m all for it (except perhaps for the hipsters), though I personally haven’t ventured far into the realm of this sort of food, with my plans for The Best Burger Ever still on the drawing board. I decided that I wanted to cook something on these lines and fell upon an item that I will always order if it happens to be on a menu – chili cheese fries


  • A couple of starchy potatoes, peeled
  • Oil

Slice the potatoes in a mandoline on the widest setting, then slice into fries. Heat the oil to about 150 degrees and cook the fries for 5 minutes or so, then remove from the oil, drain and put on a tray in the fridge for an hour or so, then fry at 200 degrees until golden and delicious. Remove from the oil, drain and toss with salt.



This one was very straightforward – beef, onion, garlic, some of my roasted chilli oill, tomatoes and chicken stock

This was probably my favourite part of the dish – a splash of beer, a pinch of sodium citrate and handfuls of grated cheddar. Dead simple and wonderful – the sodium citrate essentially works to reduce the cheese’s acidity, making the proteins more soluble (thanks google!) and prevents the sauce from separating, ensuring it will remain a smooth and creamy texture.


Bowl, fries, cheese sauce, chili, cheese sauce , chives – awesome.



Smoked Brisket

and this

I’ve spent the last few weeks smoking like a madman;  not marijuana or cane toads, but something much more fun – chicken, brisket, ribs and fish. I have a Bradley smoker set up in my kitchen, the only problem being that my apartment is reasonably ill-ventilated and my extractor fan does a pretty abysmal job of filtering all the smoke out of my apartment. Consequently, long smokes inevitably result in my entire apartment (and me, for that matter) taking on a note of smoked hickory. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing.

Anyway, after a recent trip to Vic’s Meat at the Sydney fish markets for a smoked brisket roll (highly recommended btw), I decided to post up my own recipe for brisket

Basic BBQ Rub:

Paprika (I used sweet paprika

Black pepper


Caster sugar


Cayenne Pepper

Brown sugar

I wish I could give specific measurements for each of the spices, but to be frank, I just eyeballed it. It’s a dry rub, so it’s not super-important that everything be in perfect proportion anyway – as a rough guide, maybe try to use equal amounts of everything, though with probably a bit more paprika than the other spices, and a bit less cayenne, depending on how hot you want it to be. Anyway, mix everything in a bowl and then rub it all over the brisket. Put in the smoker, set the timer and drink a beer. Seriously, it’s critical to the outcome.

I smoked the brisket at 150 degrees for about 4 hours, and it was pretty great – juicy and smoky. Perfect with a drink and a good bbq sauce. In the last 12 months or so I’ve noticed Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce in a lot of different places – notably Thomas Dux; it’s pretty great for a convenient, out-of-the-bottle sauce option.

Sorry vegetarians..

Sorry, vegetarians..


Beef in Fire Water

I love sichuan cooking. It’s oily, hot, mouth-numbing deliciousness. After trying a dish called ‘beef in fire water’ at Neil Perry’s restaurant, I wanted to try to recreate this dish, but put my own take on it. In this recipe, the beef sits in a really lovely fragrant broth, with a spicy chilli and sichuan peppercorn oil on top. Each piece of beef is coated with the oil in transit to your mouth, giving it a wonderfully hot but not brain-melting kick, and with very little oilyness. It’s easy to put in the centre of a table and have everyone help themselves, and I think it looks pretty cool; I think this dish would be amazing to serve as part of a chinese banquet.








1 kg beef bones

3L cold water

1 carrot, chopped roughly

1 onion, halved

5 garlic cloves

Handful of dried chillies

5cm piece of ginger, chopped roughly

1 tbsp sugar

30mls light soy sauce

50mls shaoxing cooking wine

Roast the bones in a hot oven or in a saucepan until nice and browned. Add the water, the onion, carrot, dried chillies and garlic and bring to the boil. Simmer for a couple of hours, skimming occasionally, until reduced in volume by about a half. Once the stock has been strained, return to a saucepan and add the ginger, sugar, wine and soy and simmer for another 30 mins or so. Strain and reserve.


1L grapseed oil

500g dried chillies, ground

150g sichuan peppercorns

1 bulb of garlic

1 stick cinnamon

2 star anise

5cm piece of ginger, sliced

Add the oil, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and star anise in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Gently simmer for about 2 hours, then set aside and leave to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, mix the chillies and peppercorns with a pinch of salt. Strain the oil into the bowl, mix everything together and pour into jars. In the fridge, the chilli oil should keep for ages.


Season the beef, vacuum seal and cook at 54 degrees for 70 minutes. Remove and sear in a very hot pan to give it some colour. Slice. Pour some of the warm stock into a bowl. Add the sliced beef, then spoon over a generous amount of the chilli oil.


Apple Tart



220g plain flour

110g butter, chopped into cubes

80g icing sugar

1 egg

Put all the ingredients in a kitchenaid or a food processor, and mix until it’s come together. Tip onto a bench and knead gently until it’s smooth, adding more flour if necessary. Wrap with cling wrap and leave to chill in the fridge for 20 mins or so.

Roll out and set in a tart ring. Place back in the fridge for another 20 mins. Remove and cover with baking paper and some pastry weights and bake at 180 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven, take off the baking paper and weights and put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.



5 egg yolks

250 mls thickened cream

50g caster sugar

Seeds from 1 vanilla pod


50g sugar

Splash of water

More cream, about 50 mls or so.


1 gold-strength gelatine leaf.

Heat the cream and vanilla in a small saucepan until just before it starts to boil. Set aside for a moment while you whisk the yolks and sugar together in a metal bowl until the mix is thick and pale-yellow. Pour in the cream in increments, while whisking. Once all the ingredients have been combined, place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and continue to whisk until the custard has thickened.

To make the caramel, melt the sugar and water together in a saucepan and continue to heat without stirring until golden brown (or even darker, depending on personal preference. But not burnt, no one likes that). At this point, add some cream and continue stirring until the mix is smooth. Allow to cool slightly, then add to the custard.

Place the gelatine in a bowl of iced water. After a couple of minutes it should have softened. Squeeze out the excess liquid and chuck it in the custard. Stir it all about and pour into the pastry. Place in the fridge to set.


1 large granny smith apple per tart




Chop the apple in half lengthwise. Slice with a mandolin, cut-side first. Once you have some apple slices, chop them so that you’re only left with the semi-circular apple slices, omitting the core.

Ok…I just re-read that and it looks like the ravings of a madman. Cut the apple slices like this:

like how I made the apple outline green? These are the lengths I go to

like how I made the apple outline green? These are the lengths I go to

Make another caramel by melting the butter and sugar together. When it starts to just turn golden, add the butter and put on a low heat. Add the slices of apple and cook for 2-3 minutes. Take off the heat and leave to cool slightly.

To assemble, remove the tart from the fridge and arrange the apple slices on top, reserving the caramel in the saucepan. Put the tart back in the fridge for a further 15 minutes. Once the tart has cooled, warm the caramel slightly and, using a pastry brush, brush the caramel on top. Done!


Beef, Pork


I’m on a bit of an North American food kick at the moment; I’ve been really into ribs and wings, and have plans to make poutine, chilli cheese fries and a good burger. When brainstorming recipe ideas in lieu of working, one food that struck me as uniquely American, and yet something I’ve never prepared (or eaten, for that matter), is the humble meatloaf. Yep.. meatloaf.

"Yuck, meatloaf, my most hated of all loafs"

“Yuck, meatloaf, my most hated of all loafs”

Honestly though – what’s a more quintessentially small-town American meal for me to take on than a home-cooked meatloaf? Well, maybe a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – and I would do anything for this blog, but I won’t do that. They’re gross.


 200g bacon

500g ground pork

500g ground beef

3 brown onions, sliced

Star anise

2 eggs

2 sliced bread, blitzed to breadcrumbs

150g parmesan, grated

A few good pinches of salt

Apprx 2 tablespoons fresh thyme

A good pinch of ground pepper

Begin by dicing the strips of bacon and sautéing until crisp and delicious. Drain the bacon, add the onion and star anise and cook in the bacon fat until deeply caramelized (about 45 mins or so). In a separate bowl, mix everything together (except for the star anise), making sure to work the mix a little bit, which will help the mix keep its shape once cooked. Chuck the whole thing into a bread tin and bake at 180 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through.

 Once cooked, remove from the pan and smoke for about an hour (if you’re lucky enough to have a smoker that is. If not it’s fine as is). At this point you can serve, but because I was trying to be a bit fancy, I let it chill in the fridge, then sliced it and fried it in some butter and thyme, then heated through in the oven.


3 tomatoes, quartered

1 tsp brown sugar

Splash of red wine vinegar

1 tsp cloves

1 brown onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

Pinch of salt

To begin, toss the tomatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 180 for about 30 minutes, or until slightly charred. Sautee the onion and garlic until softened, then add the tomatoes, the sugar and vinegar and blend til smooth. Add the salt and the cloves and simmer for about 20 minutes. Strain and set aside





It’s not rocket science – cook the peas in boiling salted water then strain and refresh in iced water. Gently heat some cream, add the peas and the salt and blend. Push through a sieve for a super smooth puree.

To finish, I also pickled some radish and added some crispy potato slices for texture. So how was it? With a recipe like this that relies on so few ingredients though, it’s very important to get the best quality meat and parmesan that you can, and grind it yourself if you have the opportunity. I thought it actually tasted quite great, and was really simple to prepare; Sure, I didn’t think it looked that amazing, but I told myself to not be sad, ‘cos two out of three ain’t bad.