Hot January nights

Sydney summers are a trigger event for me which I attribute to being born in December 1972. It held the dubious honour of being the hottest month on record as well as host to the hottest Australian day on record. That is, until yesterday. Yesterday the national average temperature was 40.3THOUSAND degrees Celsius. At the moment weather forecasters in Australia are talking about a DOME OF HEAT which is COVERING THE ENTIRE CONTINENT. Just writing that sentence caused me to stop, shake out my hands, take a deep breath and reassure myself I am not going to die. (SHE LIES! DEATH IS IMMINENT)

There are not enough words for me to adequately express my comprehensive dissatisfaction with the concept and reality of summer. The word itself is a fine example of latin, greek, gaelic and chinese derivatives coming together as not one of them could generate a word off their own bat to truly describe a three month period that delivered sweat, chaffing and clothing with inadequate skin coverage. It is unacceptable.

As we approach summerhell Australians have a competition to see which broadcaster or media outlet will use the phrase “tinderbox” first. We have a record of savage bushfires which are remembered decades later with a reverence normally reserved for the horse race, remembrance and invasion day. It was Tasmania’s turn last week with more than 100 houses razed and 100 people still unaccounted for. One death is too many due to a bushfire but Tasmania is not a big state. Such loss is profound.

In the midst of our own Hades Day yesterday I somehow mustered energy to make a proper dinner for the first time in what felt like months. I know it hasn’t been months but it occurred to me that about 80% if the boys’ diet in the last month has been Fruit Loops* and 2-minute noodles. As my mate Jane said, palm oil and sugar, the food stuffs of champions.

I instagramed the shit out of because, quite frankly, that’s what I do and if we’re NOT instagraming the shit out of dinner then did we really have dinner at all?


Hot summer nights dinner
Hot summer nights dinner


A lovely follower @clareanna01 left  a message on the pic:

Please tell me that you made this and that you will add it to your recipe list on your blog? It’s been a sh*thouse [isn’t that adorable, she did that asterix] couple of weeks down in Tassie and for the first time since last Thurs (when the bushfires started) you’ve made me hungry.

I promised her I’d post the recipes that night and then promptly fell into a codeine induced coma (until I woke up and read from about 1am to 4am because I AM READING AGAIN, thank you Nexus table that I got for my 40th!). Nice work Kim, bring someone traumatised back to the table, make promises and then leave them hungry.

So here we go, a day late but here. A dinner for hot summer nights.

Lime and mint chicken

  • 1kg chicken thighs, cut into strips (depending on how big they are)
  • 1 lime, cut into rough wedges which you then, using your hands, squeeze the juice out of over the chicken and then add the rinds to the bowl
  • couple of garlic cloves you’ve just smashed with the side of a knife so you can lose the skins
  • handful of sprigs of mint you’ve roughly torn up or chopped
  • pinch of salt, couple of turns of the pepper grinder and a few lugs of olive oil
  1. Get your hands in there and smoosh it all together then let it marinate for as long as you’ve got – I gave it a couple of hours in a rare moment of foresight.
  2. Cook on the bbq until done.

Bogan salad

I have no idea if this salad is an Australian invention. It smacks of something that Americans would go giddy over and I really don’t want it to be something this country can claim ownership of. It is NOT in the league of the lamington, the pavlova or the ANZAC biscuit although granted it is just as addictive.

It’s officially called Chang’s Noodle Salad I call it The Bogan Salad because COME ON, the ONLY salad ingredient in this is the wombok cabbage. There are shallots in it as well but let’s face it, that we’re listing that as evidence it is a salad is evidence THIS IS NOT A SALAD. What it is is a vehicle for fried noodles, toasted nuts and a dressing made of a LOT of oil, sugar and some more oil.

Hence, bogan salad.

  • 1/2 wombok cabbages, finely shredded
  • 125g packed slivered almonds, toasted
  • 4 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1 packet Chang’s fried noodles
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2tbsp soy sauce
  • 2tsp sesame oil
  1. Combine the “salad” ingredients in a bowl
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar and shake until the sugar is dissolved. Don’t try to see if you can reduce the sugar amounts or the oil, just embrace it for what it is and don’t make it every day.
  3. Combine and eat until your head falls off.


Jamie Oliver’s quick pickled cucumber salad

Now, there’s a cucumber salad in the same vein in both Jamie’s 30-minute and his 15-minute meals books. The 30-minute meal one is better and this is the recipe from that book.

  • 1 telegraph cucumber that you’ve peeled into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
  • a thumb size piece of ginger, about 2cm – although use less depending on your love of ginger
  • 3tbsp olive oil (I don’t bother with this at all anymore)
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1tsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime
  • fresh coriander
  • fresh red chilli – if you want to
  1. Mix the dressing stuff together – and have a taste – add a bit more soy or lime depending on how it tastes. I tend to hold back on the ginger and then add more if it needs it.
  2. Just before you’re going to sit down to eat, toss the ribbons of cucumber in the dressing and sprinkle with coriander all fancy like.
Check out my buns
Check out my buns

Jamie Oliver’s 15-minute meals coconut buns

OK, I have to fess up. Someone posted a pic of these on Instagram the night before and all of the above was made basically so I could make – and eat – these. Offering up these little puppies shifts a pretty tasty but fairly normal dinner in this house to fancy, fancy, fancy, f-fancy. And look, I know I say these things are a snap and those of you less comfortable in the kitchen roll your eyes and say on the inside, like I’m ever going to make that.

You need to make these. They’re not that coconutty which I found disappointing. I suspect it’s because he uses light coconut milk but I’m really just guessing. Next time I am contemplating putting a few drops of coconut essence in as well. We shall see.

Now, Jamie whips the dough up in a food processor which is just madness. I LOVE my food processor but hate having to wash it up with a passion I normally reserve for Mythbusters. It’s a ridiculous avoidance-inducing hatred because really, it’s not that hard to wash up. I think it’s a shape thing. Let’s file this under #notsane and not mention it again.


Basically the dough is a SNAP – very similar to that I use for the spring onion (or shallots) pancakes and you can whip it up by hand in minutes without having to wash up weird food processor bowls and lids with funnels. They’re doughy – you’re going to tear a bit off, whack a bit of chicken on it with a piece of gingery vinergary cucumber and forget that it’s still 38C at 7:30pm.

  • 400ml tin of lite coconut milk
  • 2 tinfuls of SR flour
  • pinch of salt
  1. Combine everything until it comes together and knead it slightly until it’s  smooth. This is not like a bread or pizza dough, I’m talking like a minute or two. In hindsight I probably could have kneaded mine for a minute or two longer but seriously, COCONUT BUNS!
  2. Roll it into a log, cut it into 8 pieces and roll them into balls.
  3. Place each one inside 2 muffin cases then in an Asian steamer – I didn’t have muffin cases so just bunged them in the steamer that I’d lined with baking paper. Worked a charm.
  4. Then steam them for about 7-8 minutes. You’ll know if they’re done by just pulling them apart slightly and seeing if they’re cooked or still doughy.

It actually feels criminal calling that a recipe.


So there you have it. The perfect dinner for hot summer nights.





*only ever purchased in the holidays and this time around conveniently on special. At last count I think we’d gone through eight boxes.


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  • You know how I feel about that ghastly heat, and I’m allowed to say Australian summers are totally fucking crap because I am Australian. It’s still a mystery to me why the English ever left England at all … the perfect climate!

  • Angela

    Kim – beyond thrilled that your body permitted you some meal creation yesterday in that hideous heat.

    As for the bogan salad, well, my poshe aunt from Killara brought that for Christmas lunch at my mum’s in the western suburbs, and we bloody loved it!!

    Happy new year x

    • Lots of codeine Ange, LOTS of codeine.

      And a woman who I used to work with and I had this whole THING about The Bogan Salad and Christmas. We were hosting a whole-of-mum’s-family reunion and my one stipulation was that no-one bought ANYTHING. It was for the same reason my friend at work had the same rule re Christmas lunch. These are the kind of events where you put in the effort, making special dishes and busting your guts in the kitchen. Without FAIL someone brings The Bogan and EVERYONE swoons over it. Cabbage and fried noodles. So yeah, I’m TOTALLY on to your posh aunt. ALL OVER HER in fact.

      • You are right on, my sister-in-law always brings this salad to Christmas. This year I asked her to bring a fruit platter. My mother-in-law does this bizarre layered salad consisting of mayo and lettuce and topped with frozen peas and everyone swoons over that too.

  • Carrie

    I use the Changs noodle salad as a base. Try adding slivers of capsicum, cucumber, etc. I have even put sultanas in it. Then add shredded chicken, or sliced rare roast beef. Or even prawns. A meal in itself. Use toasted pine nuts instead of almonds. I also add noodles at table after it is served otherwise they can go a bit soggy if left too long.

    • A shzoosed up Bogan, I loike it, I loike it a lot.

  • Alex

    Sydney summers are evil. It’s one of the things I def DO NOT miss about Sydney now that I live in the economic cesspit that is Ireland where if it hits 24 degrees its pretty well a heatwave. Seriously. And it’s a major factor of why we don’t come back to visit Australia during summer. Its about 6 degrees here right now and that’s just dandy.

    Am wondering if I could introduce the Bogan Salad here. Might need to rename it for the locals though … might call it the Shane Warne Salad instead.

    • OH GOD that would be PERFECT. Just call it The Shane Warne.

  • trash

    Lots and lots said with very few words and pregnant silences about “famous chef’s tv programmes about meals in 15 minutes” during Radio Four’s Kitchen Cabinet. Said by a man who runs a cafe/restaurant/Cambridge institution in operation for over 100 years. Chef world is bitchy whatever continent, huh.

    • Indeed. I actually don’t care about how long it takes me, if it tastes good and uses fresh ingredients I don’t care, I’m in.

  • paola

    I’ve been thinking a lot about you an my Sydney friends as news are scary about the bushfires … Tasmania … sad.
    I can only say I hate summer so much lately I start complaining in December! I will never understand people who say they’d move to a tropical country in order to have warm weather all year round … UGH … that is HELL!!!

    • Sally

      I start to get the shakes towards the end of September about summer approaching and then suffer from “seasonal depression” from the first hint of warmth. We live in our own “airconditioned dome” which I know is doing nothing to help with the “dome of heat”. But I just cannot kick the addiction!

      My kids holiday diets. Cheese and Bacon Rolls from Bakers Delight. You can buy this snazzy 6 pack. At least they are eating a lot of frozen blueberries as well. I hope they have some nutrients in them at $7.99 a kilo at costco.

      • I deeply envy your airconditioned dome. Deeply.

    • I KNOW – I will NEVER understand people who do that. NEVER!

  • Oh my goodness, coconut buns. We have muffin cases and a steamer and I am making momofuku pork tonight! They will be perfect – thanks for the recipe.

  • Fruit loops what a crack up. I only buy it on school holidays too. It becomes a commodity here, my bargaining tool. Can you relate to the “fruit loops mum, fruit loops, please don’t forget the fruit loops!”, at a volume reserved for footy finals but used in the shopping aisle by the kids?. And everyone looks to see who “that” mother is who buys the 125 kg of sugar for breaky.

    • Belinda, I’ve given up making eye contact with anyone in the supermarket such is the AIR OF JUDGEMENT. There may have been a shop the other week that consisted of watermelon, 2 of the biggest boxes of fruit loops, a jar of nutella and ice cream. MOTY right there.

  • OMG those buns look DIVINE! I will definitely have a crack at them. I’m all about the maximum result/minimum effort style for summer time cooking.

    We do the Bogan salad every now and then too. It’s very more-ish but I couldn’t eat it all the time… knowing what’s in that dressing won’t let me 🙂

    My boys are like food vacuums over the hols, as are their mates. I’m sure they all have some switch that programmes them to eat every hour and a half. I should buy shares in Coles/Woolworths/Aldi!

  • I swear this summer has aged my skin five years already and we’re only half way through. The Bogan salad is a classic.

  • I’m with you, I’m just not a summer person. I like the longer hours of sunlight and the not cold factor but hate the heat. As for bogan salad, may have been eaten a few times! It’s the noodle goodness!

  • Clare

    OHMYGOD!! Kim, I finally got to check Instagram and rushed to the blog and HERE. IT. IS. And I even got a mention! Totally feeling like I’ve met a celebrity. Best day I’ve had for a couple of weeks now. And the best news is that power is on, temperatures have dropped and I can actually cook. We are so lucky compared to so many other people down here in Tassie. Thank you SO much for this post. It’s completely made my day/week/month (and possibly year – I’ll let you know in December…).
    p.s. I live on a farm and swear like a shearer but thought I’d better put a little asterisk doo-dad in sh*thouse in case I offended anyone… In my head, there was a string of obscene words in one long long long stream. Bit of a mantra really. Bugger all this “om” crap! X