happy endings in the kitchen episode 9: Pulled pork burgers

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Put it away

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was SelfieJunkie.

Yes, SelfieJunkie.  There he was.  Online and looking fine.  Swipe right.  Match.  His photos showed him living life large in various states of larrikin action with friends.  He was tall, as statuesque as the David, with lucent skin, looking as though he had just stepped out of a male magazine shoot, and in his bathers he looked as though he had been chiseled for a Nike advertisement.  My breath was taken.  And so the conversation began.  It was nice.  A what-do-you-do?, what’s your favourite movie/food/music/colour kind of getting to know each other, with a little mild flirtation.  It was safe.  Respectful.  Not too naughty or suggestive.  Not ringing of ‘guy seeking one night stand’ or ‘one hour stand’ as seems to be more on offer these internet dating days.  He was an engineer from America working in Australia on contract, loved cheesecake and staying in for movie nights, was funny and intelligent without being too cocky or self-important, seemed quite humble about his achievements, seemed expressive without being too poetic, manly without being overly macho, and very interested in planning our first let’s-get-together-and-eat-cheesecake date.  Note: He was also gym mad, spent 10 hours a week working out, and sent 8 selfies during our first conversation.  But it felt like he had most of the material to make a great fitting first date, at least.

And so, it was anticipation.  Hours passed.  Days passed.  A week passed.  Two weeks.  Deciding to take this bull by the horns I messaged SelfieJunkie to see if he still existed or if he lay trapped beneath a bar weight after eating too much cheesecake.  His response was immediate.  It started with a simple message “I’ve been thinking about you”.  But what followed was altogether unexpected.  SelfieJunkie was rather forward.  SelfieJunkie was standing to attention.  SelfieJunkie was missing his underwear.  I wanted to scream “Put it away!”  But it didn’t stop at just one blatant sexual image.  Unfortunately they kept on arriving, culminating in a photo of SelfieJunkie in the shower, hand on joystick in the middle of his own lonely climax. Human intimacy had reached a new low.  I had been visually violated.  Was this a mistake?  It certainly wasn’t a conversation, at least not one I started.  I felt like SelfieJunkie had taken his hotdog and slapped me into a state of nauseous disbelief.  Clearly the lets-get-together-and-eat-cheesecake was no longer an option.  But I didn’t know how or if to respond.  Would a middle finger salute suffice?  Maybe I could make a set of coasters out of the photos and sell them online, or make a missing person’s poster with the headline “Have you seen this penis?”  Instead I sent a reply message “Well that’s a shame” and left him to ponder my meaning.

In what world was this ok?  As beautiful as he was I didn’t ask for a naked viewing and I most certainly didn’t ask to accompany him for shower handies.  Where is the respect or human dignity in plying someone with sexual images without their consent?  It’s not ok. It’s.really.not.ok.  Seeing him so aggressively stripped bare had left a very bad taste in my mouth.  This was going to require time, flavour, and beauty through creation. And these words, my own personal protest against selfie sexual harassment.

A taste of America

Pulledporkburger.jpegPulled pork burgers

Ingredients:

The pork:
2 kg pork shoulder
1/2 tbsp mustard powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 brown onion, chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic
1.5 cups good quality lager
1.5 cups chicken stock

Barbecue Sauce:
2 cups tomato ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp mustard powder
1 to 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp white sugar

Coleslaw:
1 cup whole egg mayonnaise
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp celery salt
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 carrots, julienned
2 celery sticks, julienned
1 red onion, diced small
1/2 red cabbage, sliced thin
salt to taste
Burger buns to serve

Directions:

Remove excess fat from the pork.  Pat dry with a paper towel.  Combine the cumin, mustard powder, coriander powder, brown sugar, and a good amount of salt and pepper to taste.  Rub over the pork, cover, refrigerate, and leave for a couple of hours.
Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.  Heat vegetable oil in a roasting pan.  Seal and brown pork on all sides.  Remove and add onions and garlic.  Once onions are cooked add lager to the pan.  Reduce a little and then add chicken stock.  Return the pork to the pan over and cover with a good amount of aluminium foil.  Place in oven and cook for at least 4 hours and turn every hour.  When cooked the pork will pull apart easily with two forks.  The pan drippings can be used to moisten and flavour the pork further if you prefer.
For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Leave to simmer and thicken for an hour, stirring occasionally so the base doesn’t burn.
To make the coleslaw combine the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, zest, celery salt and salt to taste.  Mix through vegetable ingredients.
Grab some fresh burger buns or cook your own.  Layer the pork mixture, sauce and coleslaw on your bun and you have created a little bit of heaven for your tastebuds.

One extra large serve coming up. 

Loving my selfie with this one.

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Happy endings in the kitchen episode 2: Varutharacha Goat Curry

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Sunny Days

Are you suffering from dating exhaustion? Tired of swiping right to disappointment? Kissed too many amphibians in princely clothing?

Well then there was Mr Snufalupagus.

Yes, Mr Snufalupagus.  An internet whirlwind.  I first saw him shirtless with skin the colour of burnt caramel.  He wore dark sunglasses and a religious tattoo adorned his right bulging bicep.  Although clearly a gym bunny and selfie buff I was drawn in nonetheless by the one line statement that accompanied his partial nudes…’looking to meet positive people’.  It was a match.  Thank you Tinder.  And upon chatting I discovered that this spicy SriLankan version of Mr. T had a softer side.  He owned two dogs, loved talking about his family, was passionate about animal welfare (with a particular penchant for breeding fish), had a cheeky sense of humour, and was looking for a ‘relationship’.  Note: He also had a love of wearing skin tight cleavage-sporting T-shirts, spent a lot of time in front of the mirror, was a full body shaver, occasionally dropped a chauvinistic line or two, owned eight times as many perfumes as I, had a strange fascination with my digestive system, owned a schlong that looked like a hello to Mr Snufalupagus, and had a particular penchant for breeding fish (!).

And so, it was lust.  I mean, love.  Weekends spent in bed with nothing but DVDs, takeaway food and burnt caramel skin, walking dogs and staring into fish ponds.  They were sunny days keeping the clouds away.   The spice was just right.  Pounded to perfection.  Sweet, exotic, fragrant, aromatical, fiery, peppery and piquant.  Six weeks of unadulterated, explorative, burning bliss.

Until he booked a cruise.  And I was invited!  Now I know it sounds like romance and I was almost taken in.  But when he added “we don’t have to remain exclusive” an unexpected pungence invaded my tastebuds. “Why don’t we travel and experiment with what we have?”, and he went on to make a number of suggestions including an offer to ‘tag team’ me with an unidentified Brazilian guy (?!)  I could no longer tolerate the flavour.  My palate was dry retching.  Hmmm, very fishy indeed.

Well of course I suffered agonisingly in my resultant single state, for approximately thirty seconds.  But that empty feeling remained, that wanting to be filled up again…but not by a weight-pulling, woman fearing, fish worshipping, snuffle-trunked Mr. T wannabe.  Food would again be my salvation.  I needed a whole lot of spice in my mouth to get this bad taste out of my system.  And the food gods said, let there be curry.

Heavenly Flavour

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Varutharacha Goat Curry

Ingredients:

1 kg kid goat or mutton, diced into large cubes
1 tsp Turmeric
2 Bay leaves
4 Cardamom pods
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 medium onions
7 cloves Garlic
2 inch piece of ginger
5 shallots, diced
3-5 green chillies, to taste
2 tbsp Coriander powder
2 sprigs of curry leaves
1 tsp Garam marsala
1 tsp Fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
3 tomatoes
Half cup of water
Salt to taste
Roast and grind:
Half cup shredded coconut
1 tsp black peppercorns
Sizzle:
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
a sprig or 2 of curry leaves

Directions:

Brown off the goat pieces in a deep frying pan in a little vegetable oil.  Add half a cup of water, turmeric and salt to taste and leave to cook on a low heat until the goat is just soft and tender.  Separate the stock juice and keep aside.

Meanwhile add grated coconut in a pan and dry roast it until golden brown.  Remove from the heat and add black peppercorns.  Grind to a smooth paste with a mortar and pestle.

Heat a little vegetable oil in a pan and add onion, cook until becoming transparent, and then add ginger, garlic, shallots, green chilies and salt to taste.  Saute until aromatic.  Add bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.  Continue to cook for about 10 minutes on a low to medium heat, until it turns golden.

Reduce the heat and add coriander powder, garam masala and crushed fennel together with 2 tbsp water.  Heat through until oil separates.  Now add the goat and stir until combined.  Add the coconut paste, tomatoes and reserved stock.  Cover and cook until thickening.  Add salt to taste and divide into serving portions.

Finally heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, sizzle, and listen for them to pop.  Add curry leaves and shredded coconut.  Saute until golden and garnish your servings.  Serve with basmati rice.

Heavenly Flavour, for what we are about to receive may our mouths make us truly thankful…..amen.

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Unfortunately the curry was so mouth watering, if I do say so modestly myself, that I inhaled it.  The only remaining ingredient I had lying around to signify that it ever existed was this sad looking curry leaf sprig.  Curry eaten, cleansing complete, bad taste gone.

Acknowledgements: Varutharacha goat curry recipe adapted from http://www.kurryleaves.net