Caf├ęs, bistros, and street-food trucks around the world have put gourmet versions of traditional takeaway food on the menu, offering boldly flavoured 'dude food' dishes such as hot dogs made with quality meats served in crusty sourdough rolls, finished with exquisite, slow-cooked caramelised onions.
For this issue, I've produced some of my favourite dude food recipes. My 'ultimate' sausage roll, made with pork mince, fennel and apple, is delicious, moist and has a sweet note that balances perfectly with the sharpness of the tangy relish. The Monte Cristo sandwich has to be the king of grilled sandwiches - triple cheese, smoked ham, roast turkey, and cranberry sauce. It's dipped in egg and grilled on both sides, then finished in the oven... Wow!
Who doesn't love crispy fried chicken wings... mine are marinaded overnight, steamed until just cooked, then fried until golden and crisp. Be sure to make an extra serve of the roasted chilli bean dipping sauce, it's addictive. The best hot dog ever has to be my twice-cooked kransky hot dog with double bacon, caramelised onions and crispy onion rings. Every bite is mouth-watering and guaranteed to satisfy the biggest hunger.
When shopping for barbecuing ribs, we can choose from beef, veal, lamb, venison or pork. My preference is baby back pork ribs which are small, meaty, full of flavour and cheap. The secret to perfectly barbecued ribs is slow cooking them at low temperatures, a great dry rub, and a stunning barbecue sauce. In this barbecue sauce, I use Petra-brand apple balsamic from Yallingup, WA.
Dudes love pies so, to finish, I've made a batch of pecan pies. They're laced with rum and cooked in sweet crust pastry flavoured with pecan crumbs. My son Marcus voted them as his all-time favourite dessert... so now we know where they all went!
Grilled kransky hot dog with bacon, grilled onions and crispy onion rings
This is a seriously decadent hot dog in a toasted crusty roll. Double cooking the kransky brings out its full flavour and combines beautifully with the onions done two ways.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
4 kransky sausages
8 middle bacon rashers
4 crusty, long bread rolls
2 tblsps Dijon mustard
500g brown onions, sliced thin
50ml extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt flakes and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
To make the caramelised onions, heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown. Add the sugar and a little more oil if required. Continue cooking for 15 minutes or until dark and glossy. Season to taste and set aside.
Crispy onion rings
1 brown onion, sliced into 5mm-thick rings, separated
3/4 cup plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
To make the crispy onion rings, pre-heat a deep fryer to 180┬°C. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, paprika, salt and milk.
Lightly dust the separated onion rings with a little of the excess flour. Dip into the batter to coat well and carefully lower into the deep fryer. Fry until crisp and golden, then place on absorbent kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.
Place the kransky sausages into a saucepan of cold water. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove and cool slightly. Cut the sausages in half lengthways and grill on the flat side for several minutes.
Remove the rind from the bacon and grill the rashers until cooked.
Toast the rolls and spread with a little Dijon mustard. Fill the rolls with the grilled kransky, bacon, caramelised onions and finish with the crispy onion rings.
Monte Cristo sandwich
I used to make these 'bad boys' at Jupiters Casino on the Gold Coast 27 years ago and I still enjoy making them now and then. The key ingredient is lots of cheese - I use three layers of Swiss cheese.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
4 thick slices sourdough or mixed-grain bread
2 tblsps cranberry sauce
4 slices leg ham
6 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices roast turkey
2 tblsps milk
1 tblsp butter
2 serves of beer-batter chips
Pre-heat the oven to 180┬°C. Spread two slices of bread with cranberry sauce and top with a slice of cheese, a ham slice, another cheese slice, a turkey slice, and another cheese slice. Top with the second slice of bread and gently press together. Using a sharp knife, trim the edges square.
Make a second sandwich the same way.
Place a heavy non-stick frypan onto the heat. Beat together the egg and milk. Dip the sandwiches into the mix, coating all sides well.
Place into the hot frypan and grill on all sides until lightly golden. Transfer to the oven and cook for several minutes until the cheese begins to melt.
Remove from the oven, cut in half and present with a serve of beer-batter chips.
Pork and apple sausage rolls with spicy capsicum relish
This recipe proves how well pork combines with apple and sage. These sausage rolls are packed with flavour and are complemented by a spicy relish.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes for rolls, 45 minutes for relish
1 tblsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 cup baby fennel, diced small
1 green apple, cored and diced small
500g pork mince
6 sage leaves, chopped
2 sprigs thyme, stem removed
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 sheets butter puff pastry
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tblsp sesame seeds, toasted
Pre-heat the oven to 180┬°C. Heat the butter in a pan until melted. Add in the garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add in the diced fennel and apple. Turn up the heat and cook for five minutes until just cooked. Remove from the heat, season well and allow to cool.
Combine together the pork mince, herbs, apple and fennel mix and season well. Place the puff pastry sheets onto a lightly floured cutting board. Place the pork mixture into a piping bag and pipe a thick line along the length of the pastry, leaving a 1cm border. Brush the pastry edge with beaten egg and carefully roll up, allowing a 2cm overlap of pastry. Each pastry sheet will give two long rollls. Continue until all the pork filling is used.
Lay the long rolls together, brush the tops with beaten egg and cut into thirds. Sprinkle lightly with the sesame seeds and place onto a baking-paper-lined oven tray, with the pastry overlap facing down.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden and fully cooked. Present warm with a side dish of the capsicum relish.
Spicy capsicum relish
2kg banana, red, orange, and green capsicums (combined)
4 mild green chillies
2 tblsps extra virgin olive oil
2 red onions, chopped
1 tblsp rosemary leaves, chopped
3 star anise
120g brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar
Salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Place the capsicums and chillies over hot charcoal or under the grill and cook (turning often) until the skins blister and burn.
Remove to a bowl, cover and allow to steam and cool. Rub off the blackened skins, remove the stems and scoop out the seeds.
Roughly chop the flesh and set aside.
Place the oil into a deep saucepan and place onto the heat. Add in the onions, rosemary and star anise. Cook well for 10 minutes, until the onions turn brown and glossy.
Add in the sugar, vinegar and chopped peppers and cook gently until rick and glossy. Season well and allow to cool.
Sticky pork ribs with apple balsamic barbecue sauce
These rich, dark, sticky ribs are so moreish and are best enjoyed as 'finger food'. Baby back pork ribs should contain at least eight ribs each.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
4 sides baby back pork rib racks
Dry rub (enough for eight rib racks)
2 tblsps salt flakes
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tblsps dark brown sugar
2 tblsps smoked paprika
1 tblsp chilli powder
1 tblsp garlic powder
Place all the dry rub ingredients into a lidded container and shake well to combine.
Balsamic barbecue sauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup Petra apple balsamic
1 cup tomato ketchup
2 tblsps Spanish sherry vinegar
2 tblsps Worcestershire sauce
2 tblsps paprika
1 tsp chilli powder
Combine all sauce ingredients in a deep heavy saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn down to a simmer and cook slowly for 45 minutes, stirring often, until rich, thick and glossy.
Pre-heat the oven to 160┬°C. Dry the ribs with kitchen paper. Turn over so the ribs face you. Remove the thin membrane by using a small knife to dislodge one end, then grab the membrane and gently pull away from the ribs.
Rub all sides well with the dry rub, then wrap and enclose in sheets of aluminium foil. Place onto a baking tray and roast at 160┬°C for two hours. Remove and allow to cool slightly.
Re-set the oven to 180┬°C.
Lightly brush the ribs on both sides with a little of the barbecue sauce. Place onto a baking tray and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
Cut the ribs into manageable pieces and serve with extra sauce and a pile of napkins.
Crispy fried ginger chicken wings
These flavourful, succulent chicken wings are sensational... better make plenty because they will be very popular.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 16 pieces
8 chicken wings, tips removed and cut into two
1 cup Shaoxing Chinese cooking wine
1/2 cup light soy
2 tblsps grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bird's eye chilli, sliced thin
3 star anise
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup potato flour
3lt vegetable oil for deep-frying
2 cups assorted baby greens
Combine together in a deep bowl the Shaoxing wine, soy, ginger, garlic, chilli and star anise. Add in the chicken pieces and combine well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain. Place into a covered steamer (or a perforated dish set above a saucepan of boiling water) and steam for 20 minutes or until cooked. Remove and allow to cool.
Pre-heat a deep-fryer to 180┬°C.
Combine the two flours by sifting them together several times. Roll each cooled chicken wing into the mix until well coated.
Shake off any excess flour and carefully place the wings into the deep fryer.
Deep fry for five minutes, or until crispy and golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
Present with a bowl of roasted chilli bean dipping sauce, lime wedges and a refreshing salad of baby greens.
Roasted chilli bean dipping sauce
1 cup coconut cream
3 tblsps Thai roasted chilli bean paste (nam prik pao)
1 tblsp palm sugar, shaved
1/4 tsp salt
1 lime, zest and juice
Bring the coconut cream to the boil and add the roasted chilli bean paste, palm sugar, salt, lime zest and juice. Stir and simmer for five minutes or until thickened.
Pecan, rum and date pies
Almost everybody loves a pecan pie! I add ground pecans to my pastry to boost the flavour and use dates and dark corn syrup with rum to give a deep colour and intense flavour to the filling.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Makes: 12 small pies
Sweet crust pastry
150g plain flour
100g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
1/4 cup pecans, ground fine
Cream together the sugar and butter. Mix in the plain flour and ground pecans and knead until well combined. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for one hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 180┬°C. Roll pastry out to a thickness of 5mm and cut to fit 12 individual tart moulds. You could also use a 12-portion muffin tin. Bake for eight minutes at 180┬°C until lightly golden and fully cooked. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
1/4 cup dates, chopped small
2 tblsps dark rum
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 tblsps butter, melted
1/2 cup cornflour
1 cup pecans
Pre-heat the oven to 180┬°C. Combine together the chopped dates and rum and set aside for 20 minutes.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup and melted butter. Fold through the pecans, dates and cornflour.
Portion the filling into the cooked pastry cases and place them onto a baking tray. Bake for 25 minutes or until browned and firm to touch. Allow to cool and present with the maple cinnamon cream.
Maple cinnamon cream
300ml thickened cream
2 tblsps maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
To make the maple cinnamon cream combine in a bowl the cream, maple syrup, vanilla extract, sugar and cinnamon. Whisk until thick and slightly stiff, then refrigerate until required.