Vegetable Lasagne Blog

World’s Worst Food Blogger Guest Post – Emma’s modern…

Blog of Dad is over a year old. I’m pretty happy with that, but what I am more astounded by is that every word on this website has been written by me (except for perhaps a few quotes). It is time that changed, it’s time I introduced you to some new talent.
Read more “World’s Worst Food Blogger Guest Post – Emma’s modern Australian Vegetable Lasagne”

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Japanese food Sushi Fitness and Food

Dad’s Guide to Japanese Food

When the World’s Worst Food Blogger goes to a place like Japan, he’s going to do one thing – eat! I now consider myself an expert on all Japanese food, so I’m happy to present to you my comprehensive guide to Japanese cuisine.

Before you read on, go ahead and grab yourself a bib, because this list will be sure to make you drool.
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Bolognese, wooden spoon Blog

World’s Worst Food Blogger – Bolognese

The World’s Worst Food Blogger series of posts is where I share my love of all things edible in a proudly non-Pinterest-worthy way. This particular post is all about the humble bolognese.

 

Firstly, If you are someone whose authentic Italian Nonna passed down a recipe for the perfect bolognese, then this post is not for you. I can’t compete with what you know and frankly, I’m a little bit jealous! This post isn’t about authentic, traditional food, it’s about quintessential Australian cooking – that is taking the best things from around the world and modifying them to suit your needs.

 

For me, the needs are simple. Something delicious, cheap, healthy, easy to make and able to be made in bulk. Something that can easily be frozen and taste just as good when it is defrosted. If those needs sound familiar to you, read on…

 

Ingredients – Bolognese

7 cloves of garlic

Olive oil

1.5kg lean beef mince

500g quality pork mince

Mixed herbs (to taste)

1 butternut pumpkin – finely grated

4 large zucchinis – finely grated

6 carrots – finely grated

2 jars passata

Salt (to taste)

The ingredients for this bolognese are fairly simple, and as I said before, cheap. After much experimenting, they are the ones that I have found to work best together to create a meaty-tasting bolognese that is actually 2/3rds vegetable. Feel free to experiment and tweak for yourself.

 

Equipment

1 large stock pot. And I mean large. It needs to hold approximately 7kg of ingredients. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount that you are cooking.

Sharp knives

Chopping board

Large wooden spoon

Food processor (optional)

Make sure that stock pot is large. It needs to hold approximately 7kg of ingredients. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount that you are cooking (but you will then have left for freezing into convenient and tasty instant meals). The food processor is optional. I discussed the merits of buying one in a previous post. In my opinion, for this kind of cooking, a food processor is a valuable tool to have. It dealt with close to 2kg or pumpkin in a matter of seconds. Overall it probably saved me about 20 minutes of preparation time.

Sharp knives are a must for any budding home cook. I would highly recommend acquiring one or two quality general-purpose knives (I was lucky enough to pick up a set of WÜSTHOF knives cheaply from a place that went out of business), but it’s also worth having a couple of ultra-cheap knives that you don’t mind abusing. I purchased a cleaver for $2 from a junk store over ten years ago. It’s by no means the best made knife around (Its plastic handle is warped from a dishwasher incident), but I keep it sharp and it’s perfect for peeling and chopping pumpkin.

 

Method

Bung the ingredients into the pot, in order, at the start of the day. Put a lid on it, turn the gas down low and let it do its thing. Stir and taste regularly and adjust seasoning to suit your tastes. Normally I wouldn’t add any salt, but a particularly sweet pumpkin meant that a tiny bit was needed to balance the flavours.

Additional benefits of starting early in the day include making the house smell amazing, and being able to sneak regular mouthfuls to ‘check the flavours’.

If you leave it for long enough, the kids won’t be able to tell just how veg-packed this bolognese is. All of that finely grated vegetable breaks down into a deliciously rich and tasty sauce.

Serve with pasta and a mountain of grated cheese.

After feeding the family until they are ready to explode, portion out the remaining food into freeze-able containers. This particular batch made 17 containers-worth (each container holding enough for 2 adults and one toddler). When you need a quick meal, simply boil some pasta, grate some cheese and microwave one of these bad-boys. Add a salad or some steamed veg for extra variety. The magic of this bolognese is that it somehow tastes even better when reheated.

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World's worst food blogger, chili salt, chili, chilli, mortar and pestle Blog

The World’s Worst Food Blogger – Chili Salt

If you are unfamiliar with the concept behind this series of blog posts, head on over here to read the very first one.

What is Chili Salt?

Chili salt is a thing I recently invented. Okay, I probably didn’t invent it. Like all my great ideas, I most likely saw it somewhere a while ago, stored in in my subconscious, then brought it out and claimed it as my own when the time was right (a quick Google search return 50,200,000 results for ‘chili salt’. This confirms my suspicions).

Ownership of the idea aside, the time was certainly right. My Bird’s Eye chili plants are coming towards the end of their most productive season ever (I have had them for seven years). Over the summer they have produced in excess of 600, extremely hot chilies.

chili, bird's eye, chili salt
Chilies on a tray, ready to oven-dry

That’s a lot of chili, when just one of them is enough to add a kick to a meal. I had frozen some, used as many as I could fresh and lost about 50 during some bad weather. I still had an abundance of tiny red chilies left, and no idea what to do with them.

Oven-dried Chilies

My first thought was to dry them. I did this by cutting the chilies in half lengthwise and placing them in an oven on its lowest temperature setting (50 degrees Celsius – fan forced). After about 3 hours, they were dried and ready to be crushed.

chili, bird's eye, chili salt
The chilies after drying in the oven

 

I started with the good old-fashioned mortar and pestle, but soon moved on to the food processor to finish the job. Perhaps I hadn’t quite dried them enough, but the just wouldn’t flake away properly when I tried to grind them.

I reserved some of the chili flakes for cooking. They are ideal for use in a wide range of dishes.

 

mortar and pestle, chili, bird's eye chili, chili salt

 

How to Make Chili Salt

I returned the rest of the chili flakes to the mortar and pestle, and added a good handful of rock salt. I didn’t really know what ratio to go for, but I knew that the chili was pretty potent, so I erred on the side of caution and added twice as much salt.

 

chili salt, chili, salt, bird's eye
The salt and chili before grinding

The salt helped with grinding the chili flakes into a fine powder. The final result was a pinkish salt, with some small red specks dotted throughout. I am fairly happy with the mixture, a small amount sprinkled on top of a dinner gives a good saltiness, followed by a heat kick. I find myself sprinkling the mixture over just about every meal I eat (within reason). I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit addicted.

chili flakes, chili salt, jar
A jar of chili flakes and a jar of chili salt

Because of my current addiction, expect chili salt to feature heavily throughout my World’s Worst Food Blogger posts.

It’s easy to make and there’s really no right or wrong way. If you are like me and you have an abundance of fresh chilies, stick some in the oven and give it a go. After a bit of experimentation, I’m sure you will end up with the perfect mix for you. Once you do, good luck ever using normal salt again!

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