Politics, Cricket, Baila, Gal Bunnis (the dog) and Kusuma (the wife) aside, Appu's other fancy is Food.
So today, Appu is going to open his Kussiya to share a simple yet cardiovascularly challenging BBQ menu of:
- Baked Potatoes with Mushrooms and Bacon
- Pork Ribs 'n Gin
- Pineapple Mendis Cheesecake
Now we all know that BBQ'd food isn't very popular in Paradise but there is no reason it shouldn't be. You don't need fancy four burner grills to have a good BBQ, as any Jamboree'd cub scout will tell you. Your friendly Yakada Baas at the junction can help you turn an old oil drum into a BBQ grill. To season, scrub and wash and rub well with used cooking oil till the metal gleams and all sign of rust is gone.
Once you have your grill seasoned and ready to go, simply fill it up with charcoal, light and let the flames subside before you start laying on the food. When you're getting your charcoal, remember to use burnt c'nut shells. You want to grill your food slowly using glowing embers, not set fire to it quickly over roaring flames.
Needless to say, a slice of Pineapple Mendis Cheesecake would go nicely at the end of the BBQ, and it'll certainly impress your guests, especially that Kusuma who has her eye on you. Of course, given that it is a baked (and chilled) cheesecake, you'd have to prepare it the previous day.
- Pineapple Mendis Cheesecake
1 medium sized pineapple, ring'd and quartered (with all the nasty bits taken out)
2 cups Mendis Special
1 lg packet of Maree biscuits
3 tbsp. butter
2 cup sugar
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened << if you can't get it at a Highland or Kotmale Outlet then you might have to buy the imported version :-(
Mix Mendis and half the sugar till the sugar is dissolved. Use the mixture to coat and soak the pineapple quarters. Set aside. Crumb the Maree and butter in food processor or pestle. Reserve 4 tablespoons. Press remaining crumbs into the bottom of an 8" or 9" pan (springform is ideal). Chill.
Whip cream cheese and mix remaining sugar, eggs and half a cup of the fluid from the arrack'd Pineapple. Pour the cheese filling into crust and gently press the Pineapple quarters into the mixture, reserving some of the mixture and fruit for later. Sprinkle over with the remaining crushed and buttered Maree and bake at 350 degrees (f) for one hour. Once baked, let it cool to room temperature, dress with remaining Pineapple quarters and Mendis syrup and chill before serving.
- Baked Herb Potatoes with Mushrooms and Bacon
Pick some small to medium sized Potatoes (ideally the size of a child's fist), scrub and wash 'em clean and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Roll the Potatoes in a mixture of olive oil and mixed (crushed and dried) herbs, stick some sliced mushrooms on the sides and wrap each Potato in a strip of bacon and generous amount of silver foil. Cradle the balls of silver foil in c'nut shells and let them sit on the charcoal.
Wash the Corn but don't strip it. Gently lay the corn, as is, on the charcoal. No need for silver foil - the Corn's own organic foil will do nicely thank you. When the Corn is ready, the Potatoes should be ready. Take one out, test it and put it back if you think it needs to cook a little bit more. The Corn kernels should be plump and soft - thats when they are most yum. Spread some butter on the hot corn cobs and watch your guests salivate as the butter runs down the sides.
- Pork Ribs 'n Gin
Given the usual time constraints, some of this should ideally be done prior to your BBQ date. Get some nice meaty Pork Ribs, rub well with pepper, onions, minced garlic and a little bit of curry powder, pour in a bottle of decent beer (Three Coins will do nicely) and put it all in a zip lock bag and put it in the freezer. A week (or even months later - keeps well) you can take it out and boil it just a bit in shallow water till the meat starts to turn a bit light colour - drain the meat and set it aside.
To the stock, add pureed tomatoes, a couple of spoons of sugar, salt, soy sauce, more minced garlic and chopped onions. Simmer and stir till it becomes a thick slurry.
You are now ready to dress the ribs as they go on the grill. If the Ribs have been in the fridge or freezer, let them sit out for as long as it takes to thaw down to room temperature. When the meat is no longer cold, it is ready for the grill.
Cook on low heat - turning frequently - brushing the sauce on to the ribs with one hand whilst holding a cold gin n tonic in the other. Continue till you try to sip the sauce and brush the gin n tonic, that's when you know its time to eat.
All of this may seem like a lot of effort, but its actually a lot simpler and more fun than it seems. Give it a go and your guests will keep asking for more...