The Manwich


This one is gonna be a quicky because most blokes aren’t overly fussed on details. In short, here is my version of the kind of meal every self respecting Aussie guy should be able to create without looking like a complete pansy.

I made these the other night when some mates came around to play poker, drink whisky, and smoke cigars… Despite the fact that extensive effort actually went into preparing the food, we managed to have just the right balance of meat, alcohol, gambling, and smoke to make sure we stayed out of the “more than likely gay” category normally reserved for guys that can cook (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

The Manwich

  • Steak – the thicker the better
  • Bread – the thicker the better
  • Bacon – the thicker and fattier the better (ok maybe not)
  • Eggs
  • Lebanese Cucumber
  • Cos Lettuce
  • Spiced fruit chutney (I used chilli chutney)
  • Japanese (kewpi) mayonnaise
  • cheeeeese (slices of Jarlsberg are nice, or whatever you got)
  • Onions

Instructions are for wimps of course, but I will humor those of you out there who need a little direction.

Take some nice thick slices of bread. I actually made these twice in a row, the first time around with lebanese bread rolls, and the second time with thick slices from a loaf of soft Italian bread. Whichever kind of bread you use, just made sure you don’t overdo the toasting. I put both into the oven for a little crisping and managed to leave the turkish bread in for too long, meaning the gambling took a back seat to some concentrated chewing to get through the outer shell.

The only other important thing is the steak. The steak must be cooked to perfection. It doesn’t matter so much which cut you use, but it has to be melt in your mouth soft and juicy. I used both a thick rump steak, and a porterhouse steak for my efforts, following my same steak cooking technique for both.

Season the steak well with sea salt (Maldon salt flakes) and cracked pepper, and a generous libation of extra virgin olive oil. Leave it to sit for a little while and then straight into a hot pan. Now is where you need to be careful and not just let it sit there frying itself to a sad dry crisp.

Using your fingers, give the steak a poke and see how much it bounces back to you. I’ve heard two tricks for measuring doneness. First one is to touch your thumb to your forefinger, second finger, and pinky finger, and then touch the palm of your hand next to your thumb. The feeling of your palm as you change fingers from forefinger to pinky, is roughly like the difference between rare and well done.

Gordon Ramsey does a similar test by touching your cheek, chin, and forehead with the tips of your fingers, and equates rare, medium rare, and well done to the softness and bounce of each of those… but if you’ve got a chubby face and/or no chin… you might be in trouble (ala me :|).

So… once your steak is cooked to your level of doneness (which is hopefully between rare and medium rare), take it out and put it on a plate to rest. Resting is absolutely crucial in making sure your steak is as juicy and tender as it can be. The meat needs time to relax and let the juices flow through it. If you cut it up straight away they are all going to drain away and you’ll be left with a dry taudry mess.

When the steak has rested for a good 10 minutes or so, slice it up into lovely pieces, and get the rest of your ingredients ready.

The bacon would best be grilled for crispiness, and the eggs fried however you like them. My trick is to just crack them into a non stick fry pan, add a few tablespoons of water, and put the lid on. Perfect fried eggs in no time at all.

The only other thing to do is caramelise the onions in a fry pan with a couple of tablespoons of raw sugar and a little butter or olive oil.

Cooking done, just assemble all the bits together. My layering went.

Bread (with chilli pickle spread)
Bread (with japanese mayonnaise)

Now the only challenge left is being manly enough to eat it with your hands without picking bits out… I call that decadence wrapped in bread.

Manwich take 2

Breakfast – the forgotten meal

A great breakfast

Breakfast always seems to fall off my things to do list somewhere in between the second or third time I reach over to fumble over the snooze button on my alarm clock. It’s something I know I probably should be doing, but lack the motivation to bother with most days. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!”, “You’ll never have enough energy without a good breakfast!”, which is all very well and good, but then the rest of you are thinking… “Do cigarettes count as breakfast?”. (and yes, they do, but only if they’re menthol. Regular cigarettes are more your brunch type smokes, and a cigar would be a tidy lunch (Monte Cristo No 2 if you’re feeling gourmet).

Last weekend however, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I dragged myself out of bed at the ungodly hour of 11am, washed the sleep out of my eyes and started to get busy in the kitchen.

Now for me… breakfast has to simple. I’m not entirely coordinated at the best of times, and so I don’t really want to be performing intricate surgery with sharp knives while my eyes are still half gummed up with sleep (is it just me that it happens to btw ??).

A quick glance into the fridge proved fruitful. I had eggs. The backbone of society, and the most complete meal you will ever find that can be squeezed out of a chickens backside. The central element of the story in place, the rest of the meal all fell into place with a resounding thud… Omlette.


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil leaves torn up
  • chopped garlic – clove or two
  • Handful or two of grated mozzerella
  • baby english spinach (teenage or toddler spinach if you can’t find babys)
  • a dash or two of white wine vinegar
  • a couple of splashes of milk
  • a sashay of salt and cracked black pepper
  • A sprinkling of chopped red capsicum

How I Made It
Directions were simple… I was still half asleep remember. This is my standard method for making an omlette, so if you have some additions or suggestions to make, then please let me know as I am nothing if not flexible.

Beat the eggs and mix in all the ingredients, season nicely with salt and pepper and add the milk, vinegar, cheese and mix again until its a relatively homogeneous looking mixture. In a pan, melt a little butter over a moderate heat, and then pour your omlette mixture in. Give it a bit of a shake to spread the chunky bits around, and then let it settle and wait til the base starts to set.
Once the base of the omlette has set enough, and its still a bit wet on top, transfer the whole pan into a warm oven (180 C). Then just leave it in the oven for about 5 minute or so and you are done. Take the pan out (careful of the hot handle) and place a plate over the top. Flip the pan and if you’re lucky it’ll drop out nicely onto the plate. I don’t do any other fancy flipping or shimmying of the omlette because I don’t know how, and at this point I’m starving and need protein.

Toast some bread, butter it up, slap the omlette on top, and Robert is your fathers brother.

This one was particular airy and fluffy, which was quite delightful. It went just nice with my latte as well, which whilst having some very dubious attempt at latte art done on top of it, was actually quite good, and may have been the last coffee I made on my Silvia before her boiler died (see next post).

Kinda sort yeh... nah

The rest of the day was just as good, lying back on the couch watching downloaded episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential (which I somehow missed when it was on TV), and revelling in eggy gluttony. Can’t think of anything much better.