Phil’s Phood Recipes

Phil loves to sear flesh, play with the chemistry set of spices and cater to oral sects with his cooking. Here are some of his favourite recipes…

Pasta E Fagioli (Also known as Pasta Fazool!)
Coonass Cajun Jambalaya
Redneck Pulled Pork
Cajun Coleslaw
Beef Brisket Barbecue Style in a Slow Cooker
Barbecued Pork Ribs
Phil Tripp’s Perfect Margarita
Chile Con Queso
Tripp’s Cuervo/Corona Chili
Green Chile Macaroni & Cheese
Green Chile Crema
Chile Ole
St Louis Barbecue Prawns
Phil’s Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread
Killer Guacamole

Cedar-Planked Ocean Trout

Pasta E Fagioli (Also known as Pasta Fazool!)

1 kilo lean ground beef, browned and drained
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
4 celery stalks, sliced
2 cans (400 gram) diced tomatoes (and juice) (I use one can cherry tomatoes and one normal)
4 cans cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups beef broth (check label for gluten!)
1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
4 tomatoes, cored
4 tsp oregano
2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup dry pasta, to add at end of cooking time

Use a 6 litre or larger crockpot, or cut the recipe in half.

Brown the meat on the stovetop, and drain well. Let it cool a bit.

Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the empty crockpot.

Drain and rinse the beans, and add them. Add the whole cans of tomatoes and the pasta sauce. Add the beef broth. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, and Tabasco sauce. Stir in meat.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the 1/2 cup of dry pasta.

Cover and cook for another hour on low, or until the pasta is tender. It will swell quite a bit.

Serve with a bit of parmesan cheese if you have it.


Coonass Cajun Jambalaya

(enough for eight main courses or cut in half for a family of four. But always better the next day for leftovers.)

2 cups diced ham (A good smoky ham, double smoked, not fatty)
3 cups raw, diced boneless chicken thigh fillets
10 tablespoons butter
6 cups chopped onions
4 cups chopped celery
4 cups chopped green pepper
12 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 1/2 cups tomato puree
6 bay leaves
2 tablespoons oregano
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 cups fish stock or 4 cups chicken, four cups fish
5 cups converted rice
2 chopped green onion
48 large shrimp, uncooked, deveined and shelled
48 large oysters, shucked
2 cups diced smoked sausage, chorizo is often best

Cook ham, sausage and chicken in Dutch oven with butter until crisp, about 10 minutes. Add onion, celery and green peppers.

Cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato puree, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, garlic and pepper; simmer for 10 minutes. Add fish stock. Bring to boil. Remove from heat.

Pour into 2 large baking pans. Add rice and stir to mix. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 180 for 20-25 minutes. Add shrimp, oysters and green onion. Stir in lightly. Cover and bake until all liquid is absorbed – about 15 minutes.

It should be somewhat dry and a little crispy on top. not soupy. Let stand for ten minutes to absorb moisture if a bit wet.


Redneck Pulled Pork

Barbecued pork, slow cooked for several hours, is a Southern specialty always served on a bun with coleslaw on the side. This recipe is made for a slow cooker, cooked preferably on low heat until the pork falls apart and can be torn into shreds.

2 kilogram pork neck or boneless pork shoulder cut into three pieces
3 tbsp chili oil (or canola oil for faint of heart)
1 yellow onion finely chopped
3/4 cup tomato ketchup
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses (or honey)
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper

Soft hamburger or sandwich rolls, split and toasted.

In large frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the pork pieces and brown well on all sides for about 12 minutes total. Transfer the pork to a slow cooker.

Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of oil from frying pan and return pan to medium high heat. Add the onion and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir in ketchup, brown sugar, molasses or honey, red pepper flakes, worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally just until mixture starts to bubble. Pour over the pork. Cover and cook on slow for 8-10 hours or on high 4-5 hours. The pork should fall apart tender.

Transfer pork pieces to a platter. Using a pair of forks, shred each piece of pork, removing and discarding any large pieces of fat. Skim off excess fat from surface of the sauce and return the pulled pork to the sauce. Stir together to combine and serve pork and sauce in rolls.


Cajun Coleslaw

6-8 cups shredded green and red cabbage
1 medium yellow onion chopped fine
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 stalk celery sliced thin
1/2 green capsicum, chopped fine
1/2 red capsicum, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic minced
4 tbsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods, Hellmanns or S&W preferred)
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup grain or dijon mustard
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp celery seed
salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Toss cabbage, onions, carrots, celery and garlic until well mixed and set aside. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix well, pour dressing over cabbage mix and toss gently. Chill for two hours and toss again before serving.


Beef Brisket Barbecue Style in a Slow Cooker

When I make Texas Beef Brisket the hard way, it’s slow cooked in a large cast iron Texas smoker which takes 14-18 hours at 120 degrees, adding soaked hickory or mesquite wood every hour or so and mopping the meat with a vinegar and chilli flake mop sauce. It’s magnificent but an all day job, and tough to get right. But I’ve recently mastered the brisket in a ceramic slow cooker, using a large one of seven litres or so, and producing fall apart juicy beef in under eight.

Fist step is buying the brisket. It’s a tough cut from the shoulder of the steer but cooks up terrifically tender if cooked low and slow, especially with moist heat. A full brisket is great on the Texas slow cooker, but you’ll probably have to decide on a half brisket for the ceramic slow cooker and you can either get the leaner flat muscle or the smaller fattier point muscle. I’ve used both together and overlapped them. Brisket is a fatty meat and loses 40% of its moisture cooking and shrinks. I usually buy 5 kilos and trim most of the surface fat leaving a five millimetre thick fat cap. It’s usually $7 a kilo but I did make the mistake of ordering a brisket once from Churchills Meats which turned out to be a Wagyu and $42 a kilo. I passed on the cut at over $220 and went to Glenmore Meats and got it for $5 a kilo. You should order this cut ahead with your butcher.

Prepare the meat by trimming chunks of fat off, washing it and patting dry. Take a half cup of flour, two tablespoons of salt, two teaspoons of black pepper, a half teaspoon of cayenne or a teaspoon of paprika and combine. Rub the meat with this until coated, shake off excess and prepare a skillet or large frying pan to fit the slab of meat with a quarter cup of oil at high heat. Retain excess flour mix for later.

Fry the meat fat side down first for about seven minutes until browned and then flip over to the other side and fry for seven more minutes or so. Repeat with second piece if you are using two. Place them in the slow cooker. Drain oil from pan, retaining two tablespoons in pan bringing it to medium high heat. Double the amounts below if using two chunks of meat.

Then take two thinly sliced yellow onions and four cloves of minced garlic (and I add a teaspoon of cayenne to this or another teaspoon of paprika for cowards) and sauté until the onions are transparent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the retained flour mixture and cook for a minute longer. Pour in a cup of beef stock and ½ cup of red wine vinegar. Raise heat to high and bring to boil to deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Add four tablespoons of tomato paste and two tablespoons brown sugar and stir until evenly blended. Pour over brisket in slow cooker and cover.

I cook on the low heat setting for six to eight hours but you can do it on high for 3-4 hours, but it’s better slow. The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork. Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let rest ten minutes while you take the sauce and skim the fat off the top. Then slice across the grain and spoon sauce over it. Serve with white bread or white rolls—wholegrain just doesn’t cut it. Serve cold beer on the side. Lots of it.

For those of you who want to cook brisket on a Weber, smoker or other barbecue, this is the best article on the art and science of brisket which covers all the bases. I use many of the points, especially about selecting the meat and have shown it to my butcher for him to keep an eye out for good briskets.

And for those of you lucky enough to visit Austin like I do every year, there is a destination dining drive in a circle called The Barbece Belt which is detailed here:

My picks of the pack are Kreuz, Muellers, Smittys, City Market and Meyers, starting out from Austin to Lockhart about 7:00 am when Smittys opens and then working your way around and splitting a plate among four people per stop in Luling, Elgin and Taylor.


Barbecued Pork Ribs

There are two tricks in making great ribs southern style. The first is to know how to pick the ribs and I tend to favour the baby back ones which are smaller and meatier than the long ribs—and I use a specialist pork producer who are Trunkey Creek Meats (6368 8660) who you will find at the Sydney Growers market first Saturday and North Sydney Markets third Saturday. Or get friendly with a real butcher.

The second part is knowing how to separate the membrane—called the fell—from the inner curved side of the ribs. If you don’t take it off, it makes them tough and a bit bitter and the easiest way to do it is with a tea towel, starting at the exposed bone end in the middle of the rack and peeling it away. Some times it comes off all at once, some times it’s a little effort but it’s crucial.

I usually prepare four full racks and start a day ahead. Using a mixture of two tablespoons of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of white pepper, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, one teaspoon garlic powder and a quarter cup of salt, place each rack in a long Pyrex or non-reactive baking dish and rub the mixture into the meat using a rubber glove on your rubbing hand. What drops off can be used on the next rack until all four have been coated lightly. Leave them in the dish, cover with cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight.

Next day, take them out, slather them with a barbecue sauce on both sides and return to the dish to soak in for a couple of hours or even overnight. Do not let them get warm. If you want to use a US barbecue sauce sell a few including KC Masterpiece or BullsEye and they’re great, especially the hickory sauce. If you want to make your own, here’s a simple 20 minute recipe. I’d double it.

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic crushed
4 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Cook onions over medium heat in oil until they turn translucent, not brown. Add remaining ingredients, mix thoroughly and simmer for 20 minutes.

Once marinated, take ribs out, cut in half, and either wrap them individually in double aluminum foil, sealing the ends and cooking them on the baking rack or stack them two high in baking dishes and tightly cover the dishes with foil. Preheat oven to 150 degrees and once heated, place ribs inside and cook for about two to two and half. Ribs are done when the bone has receded from the outer edge of the rib, I like mine just before fall off the bone tender.

You can take the barbecue sauce that has accumulated in the pan and save it to slather over the ribs when they are done. I take one extra step which is to let them cool in a sealed dish, fire up the Weber with coals on each side for indirect cooking and take about a handful of hickory or mesquite wood chips that have been soaked at least three hours and shaking off the excess water, lay them over the hot coals, cooking indirectly. I use a rib rack to stack the ribs vertically, spine end down and then let them smoke for about 10-15 minutes. You can do this in two batches as you harvest the first lot, devour with cold beer and cook the second for seconds.

Meathead Goldwyn has taken ribs and barbecue to new height of obsession with his book Amazing Ribs. Here’s a definition of great ribs from his amazing site


Phil Tripp’s Perfect Margarita

There are so many ways to make margaritas, the key things you have to do is use the better tequilas, fresh citrus juices and better than average orange liquers. After a lifetime of slugging Margies, living in Mexico, sipping and supping in Texas, California and the Southwest, I’ve got what I think is the ultimate margarita recipe.

First off, no salt, no blender and ice. You can do that, but this is best enjoyed from a shaker with ice to glass. The proportions are critical. 1.5 to 1 to 1. So for a couple (do your maths for the group) here is the recipe:

3 shots either a great white, anejo or reposado tequila see descriptions here Patron is a good starting point as are Cuervo and Herradura which can both be found in Australia. Here is a good guide to brands
2 shots premium orange liqueur. I use Patronage, Cointreau or Grand Marnier–often in combination–and avoid Curacao, Triple Sec or other cheap orange liqueurs. My fave combination is 1 shot Patronage, 1/2 shot Cointreau and 1/2 shot Grand Marnier. You can also do a Grand Marnier floater if you are particularly devious.
2 shots of citrus. No mixes. I usually take ten limes and squeeze them with maybe two Valencia oranges. I also use blood oranges or navels (if squeezed fresh and used immediately).

Place all ingredients in a shaker with up to ten ice cubes and shake, turn out into glasses with or without salt and enjoy. Repeat.

If you want to to do a frozen margarita, I suggest you freeze all the ingredients (other than ice) for an hour and drop the slurry in a blender with ten ice cubes and blend to a smooth consistency. Serve immediately and drink rapidly. Repeat.



It’s not a dance for me, but a real reason to have corn chips. There are a few secrets to a great salsa. Here’s my trip.

Start with fresh, fantastic vine ripened tomatoes. You must use fresh coriander or cilantro. White or yellow onions are a must, as are spring onions or even fresh garlic.
Three tomatoes. Cut out stem end, slice across grain (about four to five slices) and chop reasonably fine.
Couple of tablespoons fresh cilantro or coriander. Chop fine and drop on top of tomatoes.
One onion or a half white onion and half yellow onion. Diced. Feel free to add a couple of shallots or green onions diced.
Two or three serrano peppers (canned) or fresh chile peppers minced or even jalapenos, rinsed of their vinegar. This balance of pepper is crucial to the end product being palatable or hellacious. So be careful, conservative even! I often crush a garlic clove into this.

Mix well, refrigerate for the afternoon, serve with corn chips. Can also be used up to three days later, put into an egg and cheese mixture called Migas or used to marinate pork or other meat before baking or frying.


Chile Con Queso

A hot creamy cheese dish that is mildly spicy, chock full of tomatoes, onions and ready for dipping with corn chips. This recipe is authentic as you can do, I’ve had it for 30 years and it is addictive!

2 TBS butter
2 large or three medium yellow onions, diced fine
2 fairly large or three medium tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
(Just drop them into a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then pour out the water and run cold water over them to peel)
1 can 4 oz Ortega or Old El Paso green chile peppers (not jalapenos, they’re mild chilis like banana chiles–you can probably get these at Coles or David Jones but also at USAFoods in Melbourne online for $3.09
1 8 oz block Philly cream cheese room temperature and cubed
1 cup cream (not with gelatine in it, just plain cream)
salt and pepper to taste (about 1-1.5 TBS salt and 1 TBS pepper, preferably white)

If you can’t find the chilis, use 1 medium jar Old El Paso Chunky Salsa and eliminate one tomato

Melt butter in pan over medium high heat add onions and cook for 12 minutes until transparent, not browned, stirring fairly frequently
Add tomatoes and chilis, cook 12 minutes more. Add salt and pepper
Add cream cheese and whisk in or stir to break up and blend into vege mixture. Cook for 3-4 minutes at medium heat letting bubble but not stick. Adjust salt and pepper if you wish.
Add cream and whisk in until mixture starts to bubble again and remove from heat.

Serve in heated bowls with corn chips.


Tripp’s Cuervo/Corona Chili

Ingredients (suggest you triple this recipe!)

1 kilo chuck steak cut into 1/4 inch cubes (roo is also great!)
1/2 kilo leanest beef mince
1/2 kilo chicken thigh fillets sliced in strips along the grain
6 strips bacon
6 large yellow onions chopped
6-8 cloves garlic minced
1 large can tomato paste
1 large can tomatoes
2 capsicums finely chopped
2 bottles Corona Beer or use the cheap stuff
6 cups beef stock or 6 bouillion cubes in 1 1/2 liters boiling water
8 tablespoons chili powder must be mexican chili powder
4 tablespoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons ground oregano
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon seasoned or plain salt
6 tablespoons approximately olive oil
2-3 large cans kidney beans, undrained
1 shot Cuervo Gold Tequila per bowl

Fry bacon in two batches and reserve fat. Trim fatty bits off cooked bacon and discard, setting aside leaner crispy portions.

In separate batches over high heat, use bacon fat to sear beef, mince and chicken until meat loses colour and turns grey. Set aside in large pot. Add spices and stir into meat to fully coat all pieces. Drain fat and reuse with oil

Saute batches of onions in fat/oil over medium high heat until clear but not brown. Add onions to meat/spice mixture and let rest while sauteing capsicum and garlic together over medium heat. Add them plus bacon bits to mixture.

Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes and blend thoroughly. Add beer and stir. Add bouillion or beef stock and stir.

Bring to boil. Let simmer lightly with lid on for 2 hours stirring occasionally. Add beans. Let simmer another half hour and let cool for four hours. Add salt to taste. Reheat or chill overnight and reheat the next day. Serve hot in bowls with shot glass of tequila and mug of icy cold beer on the side–tequila to supercharge the palate, beer to chill it out.

Garnish with fresh red onion slices, cheddar cheese or red capsicum slices as desired. Sour cream is also great as are corn chips or tortillas


Green Chile Macaroni & Cheese

If you go to Roaring Fork Restaurant in Austin, Scottsdale or any other city, you will encounter the dish called Green Chile Macaroni & Cheese, an artery clogger that beats the piss out of standard Mac Cheese.

The recipe that they give is substandard, I discovered this smackdown competitor from LunaCafe OtherWorldly in Arizona and it is the Tits!

You start out with the following (for those of you in Australia, go to to order 26 oz cans of Green chilis and Tomatillos and use Aged Cheddar since you can’t get the Asadero or Monterrey Jack cheese


Green Chile Crema

A creamy, silky sauce with a perfect balance of fiery heat, rich creaminess, and acidic and herbaceous counterpoints.

2 cups heavy cream
26 ounces fresh, stemmed, seeded, roasted, peeled green Anaheim chiles (about 3 cups)
Mild Organic Green Chile, available in can from
1 tomatillo, papery skin removed, sticky coating rinsed off, stemmed, chopped (also available in can from
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 green onions, green parts only, chopped
sea salt, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream and add the chiles, tomatillo, and garlic. Simmer gently for 2-4 minutes and then remove from the heat. Let cool.
Using a blender, pour the cream and chile mixture into the container and liquefy.
Add the green onion and liquefy.
Season with salt to taste.
Pour the crema through a single mesh strainer to remove any remaining coarse particles. The crema should be very smooth.


LunaCafe OtherWorldly Green Chile Mac & Cheese

For a rustic effect, serve in individual iron skillets or kettles. I used the big Pyrex dish

500 grams, short, dried, tubular pasta, such as mini penne, garganelli, maccheroni, mostaccioli, tortiglione, or ziti (about a kilo cooked)
2 teaspoons sea salt

Breadcrumb Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups dried white bread crumbs, coarsely crumbled
2 clove garlic, pressed or minced
sea salt, to taste

9 ounces Aged Extra Sharp Cheddar (aged over 2 years) or Queso Asadero cheese 9 ounces and 1½ ounces (about 3/4 cup) finely grated Parmesan

Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup minced yellow onion (4 ounces or about ½ large onion)
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups Green Chile Crema
sea salt, to taste

1/4 cup stemmed, ribbed, seeded, red bell pepper
1/4 cup stemmed, ribbed, seeded, orange bell pepper
1/4 cup stemmed, ribbed, seeded, green poblano or anaheim pepper
1/4 cup fresh sweet corn

sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Coat an 8- to 10-cup capacity, ovenproof casserole with vegetable spray or a dab of butter; or coat six 1½ cup capacity stoneware ramekins or iron skillets. Reserve.
To prepare the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, add 2 teaspoons of salt, return to a boil, and add the pasta. Cook until still VERY al dente. Do not cook until fully tender.
Remove the pasta pot from the stove and carefully pour the water and pasta into a large colander to drain. Run cold water over the pasta to cool it to room temperature. Add pasta to a large mixing bowl.
Toss the pasta in the bowl with all of the cheeses and reserve.
To make the breadcrumb topping, in a small mixing bowl, combine the melted butter, bread crumbs, and garlic. Season to taste with sea salt. Reserve.
To make the cream sauce, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, add the onions, and slowly cook until onions are just beginning to soften.
Add the peppers and corn, and stir to coat with butter.
Stir in the flour and cook without browning for two minutes.
Slowly pour in the Green Chile Crema and whisk constantly while bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer, whisking continuously, for 2 minutes.
Season to taste with sea salt.
To finish the dish, pour the sauce over the pasta and cheeses in the bowl. With a large spatula, fold to combine.
Spoon into the prepared casserole, mounding slightly at the center.
Sprinkle on the breadcrumb topping.
Bake at 350º for 30-40 minutes for the single casserole or 10-15 minutes for individual ramekins, until heated through and just bubbling. (High heat or excessively long cooking time may curdle the cheeses.)
Broil for a minute or two to finish browning the top.

Absolutely yum.


Chile Ole

1.5 kilos Top Round or Chuck cut into 1/2 to one inch cubes
6 TBS Vegetable Oil
3 Large Yellow Onions chopped
8 cloves of garlic minced
6 or 7 TBS chili poweder
1 heaping TBS oregano
1 heaping TBS cumin
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 6 oz can tomato paste
4 to 6 cups beef stock or bouillion
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
4-5 medium size cans of kidney beans
2 bay leaves

Heat 4 TBS oil until haze forms
Cook meat at high heat for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown
Add remaining 2 TBS oil and cook onion and garlic 4-5 mins
Remove skillet from heat and add spices until onions are well coated
Add tomato paste and pour in beef stock
Mix thoroughly, then add to meat. Add black pepper
Bring to boil stirring once or twice, then simmer 2-2.5 hours. Then add beans and simmer one hour.
Refrigerate overnight. Reheat at simmer for 1 hour


St Louis Barbecue Prawns

This is the prawn dish that we do which is our house signature pupu appetiser

1.5 kilos cleaned shelled prawns (large) tails left on

3 cloves garlic minced
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon parsley minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon salt

Combine marinade ingredients and mix well. Marinate shrimp in refrigerator for 2-3 hours

Place shrimp in grill basket or over grid on barbie (oiled for non stick) for quick and easy turning. Cook over hot fire for 3-5 minutes each side. My secret is using soaked hickory or mesquite wood chips and spreading those on the coals a minute before grilling. Then smoke in a sealed Weber for 5 minutes each side really makes the grade.


Poke (Pronounced poKay)

This is a dish that is extremely healthy and if you like sushi or sashimi, you will die for. It’s called Poke and it is hawaiian.

750 grams or so of fresh tuna, try to get the best steak cut with as little strings of white as possible. Cube into 15 mm chunks


1/2 cup shoyu (light) soy
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons dried seaweed/sesame seed mixture (you’ll find this is health food or Japanese food stores often called Mishima or furukake spice, also at Harris Farm markets)
About 3 TBS green onion (shallot) sliced including some of the green
pinch of chili flakes
2 TBS macadamia nuts finely chopped

Combine, let sit in fridge a couple of hours.


Phil’s Jalapeno Cheese Cornbread

There’s an ancient Southern saying; “Never trust a man who won’t eat cornbread and never trust a woman who won’t cook it.” Me, I say, “Never trust a skinny chef.”

This is my favourite corn bread recipe because it has that cheesy goodness made even better by crisping on the bottom of a skillet as well as the onion and corn added. For your first couple of times, you may want to keep an eye on it baking depending on if your oven is fast or slow. A clean toothpick and golden crust are the key. You may need to leverage it out with a spatula or egg turner if it sticks to the bottom.

1 cup yellow corn meal or polenta
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup corn meal
1/3 cup raw sugar (or lite brown sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
1 small white or yellow onion, minced
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can whole kernel corn, drained or creamed corn
3 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeños or fresh jalapeños

PREHEAT oven to 200 C. Lightly grease 8-inch-square baking pan or use cast iron skillet (my preference). COMBINE corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Combine milk, eggs and oil in medium bowl. Add to corn meal mixture; stir just until combined. Stir in cheese, onion, corn and jalapeños. Pour batter into prepared pan. I prefer to preheat the cast iron skillet for 7-8 minutes before the pour. BAKE for 20-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and top is golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack or flip out of cast iron skillet onto wire rack. Serve warm.


Killer Guacamole

No lemon or line juice, I think that fouls up the flavour. It’s the Mayo and plastic wrap that makes this fresh from turning brown.

3 large (or 4 medium or six small) avocados, soft stem end, yielding in middle
3 medium fresh tomatoes (prefer trellis or super quality, not ordinary)
1 small white onion diced fine
2 green onions, sliced thin
1-2 cloves garlic or one young spring garlic minced

2-3 Serrano Chiles (canned available from OR
1 hot green long chili fresh without seeds or ribs OR
small handful of canned Jalapeno chiles, rinsed of pickling juice OR
2 canned Serrano chiles and 8 pieces of Jalapeno (preferred mix)

2 heaping TBS Best Foods, Hellmans or S& W Mayonnaise
2 Heaping TBS packed fresh coriander or ten sprigs without stems or 2 TBS refrigerated coriander

1 TBS or so of salt to taste
Pinch cayenne, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp white pepper
(I prefer Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning if possible over the top 4 items)

Mince onions, add finely chopped peppers, garlic and thin sliced green onions, mix together with coriander, set aside.

Scoop out avocados and mash so that they are still a bit chunky but half smooth. Add spices, mayo and tomatoes and then onion/pepper/garlic mixture. Adjust seasonings.

Place in bowl or plastic container and drive out all air by pressing plastic wrap around surface. Seal tightly and refrigerate at least an hour or two, up to six before serving with corn chips. It keeps well if sealed with plastic wrap directly on surface of guacamole with no air bubbles.


1 kilo fresh okra tops and tails discarded, cut into half inch pieces

one half cup oil

1teaspoon salt

1 cup onion

1 cup chopped capsicum

2 TBS chopped garlic

1tsp cayenne

1 tsp black pepper

2large ripe tomatoes peeled and diced

4 cups chicken broth or water

In a heavy 10 or 12 inch skillet (not cast iron) warm the oil. Drop in okra slices and stir well. Cook over moderate heat stirring frequently. When okra starts to brown (or stick to the bottom of the skillet)reduc heat and scrape skillet with a wooden spoon, leaving any browned bits for flavour. Sprinkle okra with saltand continue frying over low heat stierring often until it stops stringing. When no more strings appear, stir in onion, capsiucum, garlic, cayenee and pepper. Saute 5 minutes. Add tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth or water, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 20 minutes.


2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil

1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

3 Tablespoons Whiskey, Bourbon or Chardonnay

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon brown sugar

freshly ground pepper to taste

1-1.5 kilo fish fillet (pinboned)

½ teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all liquid and dry ingredients in a bowl or heavy zip lock bag, reserving lemon juice. Blend and set marinade aside

Remove any pinbones from fish. Leave whole or cut into individual servings. Place into shallow dish or zip lock bag; cover and let sit for 20 minutes to an hour or so.

You would have soaked the plank in water to cover for a few hours.

Set barbecue to medium high. Keep a spry bottle of water handy to put out fires. It shouldn’t happen in a closed barbecue like a Weber.

Place the soaked plank on the grill over the coals and close the lid. Within a few minutes the plank will begin to smoke and crackle. Raise the lid, place the fish on the plank and then return the lid. Cooking times can be as short as ten or as long as 25 minutes depending on thickness of fish. Make sure fish has been out of the fridge for at least 20 minutes. I use 15 minutes of cooking as a norm, then check the fish by separating it in the middle part to see if it is still pink or almost cooked through. It should be slightly pink in the centre. Do not overcook.

You can reuse the plank by washing the food surface with warm soapy water, rinse well and let dry. Store in a paper bag.

You can use the marinade as a glaze by transferring what is not on the fish to a small pot and simmering gently til reduced by half. Remove from heat, and add lemon juice. Brush or drizzle on fish before serving.