On the barbie

Ok sportsfans, I want to share with you a simple, delicious, rinky-dink marinade for your barbecue.

I sort of happened across this. I found a recipe that looked interesting. I tried it and it was good, but uninspiring. It seemed to me that there was a better, and more obvious combination of ingredients that would elevate it from the so-so to the outstanding. I was right.

What we’re talking about is a marinade for chicken, and preferable thigh fillets because they are so much more juicy. You don’t have to barbecue this, but I reckon that’s when you’ll get the maximum flavour out of it. Worked for me.

Mix together some tequila, lime juice, olive oil and sugar – this is the base I started from and adapted. The original reciped called for garlic and mint. I kept the garlic, removed the mint, and added some finely chopped chilli (I included the seeds because I like it hot, but beware), and some coriander, likewise finally chopped. Don’t overdo the coriander, though it always adds great flavour. I tossed in some sliced onion as well, and seasoned it. Ok, toss your thigh fillets into the mixture and marinate, an hour at minimum.

I’m going to tell you how to cook it too. I see many people with bad barbecuing habits – why, for example, would you ever cook a steak on the hotplate when you’ve got a great grill to use? Not enough people take advantage of the hood either. It’s a waste if you don’t – you want real heat, use the hood. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but I’m a reasonable good and well practiced, and I know my way around a barbie.

Anyway, fire up the barbie and let it heat-up first – this should be standard regardless of what you’re cooking. Hood down will speed up the process. Cook your fillets on the plate at first in about 2/3’s of the marinade. It will sizzle and bubble and the sugar in the marinade will begin to caramelise on the meat. Close the lid to keep the heat up. Once the meat is sealed on either side and halfway cooked put it on the grill. Nothing beats that char grill flavour of cooking meat over a flame. Cook long enough that you get the stripes across the meat. To finish off put it back on the hot plate and tip in the rest of the marinade, which will coat the meat and finish of the caramelisation process. Because of the marinade and the innate juiciness of the thigh fillets the meat is innately juicy, and full of flavour.

You can eat them as they are, or you can do as I did. I sliced the fillets up, mixed them with some fresh coriander, the beautifully flavoured onion, and a dollop of real egg mayonnaise, and wrapped then up in a tortilla I’d freshened up on the grill. Man, was this delish!

The coriander has such a fresh flavour, but if it’s too much for you you could substitute some rocket. Likewise you could try chilli sauce, and/or pickled or fresh sliced chilli if you desire extra pungency. Use your imagination, and served like this is a kind of top-end chicken fajitas.

Good enough

It’s Friday evening and for once I’m not heading out somewhere for a social drink, and I’m glad of it. I’ve had a headache all day and feel weary, but I feel content. Close to hand is a gin and tonic as the days shadows lengthen, and receding behind me a good-ordinary Friday, easy and relaxing.

I was in the city early where I went to have coffee and a simple breakfast reading the newspaper at Hoboken. As always Hosier Lane had a clutch of devotees speaking in foreign tongues and accents and taking artfully composed photo’s of the grafiiti the place is famous for. As always I walked amongst them casting a glance to the left and right, appreciating the vibrant energy of the graffiti on the walls, but more intent on the hot cup of coffee soon to come my way.

I bumped into people I knew and chatted, fending off invitations before agreeing, yes, I will. On foot again the phone rang with friends wanting to know about this or that. I walked by the council buildings in my heavy coat, the weather for once this week relatively mild, the wind for now gone away and the scattered clouds free of rain. My destination was Readers Feast, the city bookshop I had been aghast learning was soon to close: it’s my favourite bookstore. I had little time, but with 30-50% off all books I quickly gathered up a brace of them (The Lord Chandos Letter, 100 Rules for Entrepreneurs, Butterfly, A good School, The Fox in the Attic, and The German Genius) and hit the counter.

I exited the store to find a protest of some description clogging up the intersection of Bourke and Swanston Streets: meaning no trams. I walked then up the hill to my next appointment, huffing and puffing with my bags of heavy books before meeting an acquaintance for another coffee.

We were talking about work. I don’t know him well, but he’s clearly an admirer of me for some reason. Earlier in the week he had called regarding a juicy opportunity. Over a coffee we caught up on the general gossip on the people we mutually knew, the companies we had both done business with, and the myriad challenges (and pleasures) of running your own show. Finally we got to the point of the meeting, a discussion on the opportunity and the lucrative money on offer. Will it happen? Won’t it? Who knows. Good to know I’m still in the running for such nice opportunities.

I got home about lunchtime. Invited for coffee and a chat about another opportunity I’ve been nurturing I couldn’t make it. Instead I caught up with some correspondence and then left to meet up with another girl. I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’m scoring like Bradman in his prime. There’s no relationship, and won’t be, but this one is endearingly sweet on me too. Maybe I am a nice guy – something I question occasionally. I gave her a lift and then headed to the shopping centre where I bought some treats for the weekend – tomorrow is my ‘fat’ day – and some beef short ribs from the butcher.

Walking home in the waning light I considered my dinner for tonight – a classy piece of Cape Grim porterhouse, a baked potato with sour cream, some carrots on the side. Then later the footy maybe, or a DVD, or maybe catch up on my new books – always a delight. It’s a busy weekend ahead and many demands on me, and so it’s nice just to be myself alone with the things I love.

On that note it’s time to recline with my G&T, my new books, and a magazine. And then to start fixing dinner. It’s good.