The first thing you notice about Nat’s What I Reckon’s cookbook is that it’s not like other cookbooks. Firstly, there are no photos of the dishes. In fact, Death to Jar Sauce: Rad Recipes for Champions has no photos at all – it’s presented in comic form, with the cooking methods and the food illustrated by Sydney artists Onnie O’Leary, Bunkwaa, Glenno and Warrick McMiles.
And that’s exactly how the comedian, musician and mental health ambassador wants it. He’s not trying to be a fancy chef – he just wants to teach home cooks a couple of new skills so they can avoid his number-one dislike: jar food.
“The title Death to Jar Sauce is a metaphorical fist in the air saying ‘fuck that shit’ in protest against boring-as-fuck instant pre-made garbage, and a high five to having a red-hot go at cooking awesome feeds yourself,” he writes in the book’s intro.
While Nat’s What I Reckon popped up on most people’s radars last year with his funny Quarantine Sauce and End of Days Bolognese iso-themed cooking videos, the amateur chef has been making videos for almost a decade.
His “incidentally vegan street coleslaw” (named because it was an “accidental” dish we’re told, and not after Frente’s Accidently Kelly Street), is a fresh, crunchy salad that Nat’s What I Reckon gives a four on the Hector scale.
“I have created something called a Hectometer, which is a kind of heads-up dial to give you a bit of a shout on how hectic each dish is to make. So if you’ve had a big day and don’t feel like being thrown in the deep end of the pool without a floaty, then this should help. But rest assured, there are no recipes in here that are too stressful, as I try to avoid stress in general and chip in for more good times than meltdowns.”
He’s made this dish vegan by not using eggs to make his mayo. Instead? Aquafaba, the liquid you find in cans of chickpeas. He’s a big fan of the legumes. “Chickpeas are fucking rad shit for a lot of reasons, by the way – they are a macronutrient goal-kicking lord – and they taste legendary, too.”
To make the dressing you can use a stick blender, but he likes to make it by hand. “I prefer to use a whisk, so start with the Dijon, aquafaba and vinegar in a bowl, whisking it together to combine, before slowly tipping in the oil a bit at a time and whisking the fuck out of it until it gets thick enough, followed by the lemon at the end and salt,” he says.
You can add a protein to the dish if you want, or keep it as is.
Incidentally vegan street coleslaw
Serves 4–6 as a side
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
400g tin chickpeas, drained but keep the liquid (aquafaba ) for the mayo
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp finely ground black pepper
1 tsp chilli flakes
¼ red cabbage
¼ white cabbage
1 small red onion, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
1 tsp celery seeds or sesame seeds, crushed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
⅓ cup aquafaba (the liquid from a chickpea tin)
2 tsp apple-cider vinegar
300ml vegetable oil
Juice of half lemon
Heat your oven to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional).
Line a pan or tray with baking paper. Drain a can of chicky boiz and reserve the liquid. Give ’em a rinse, pat dry and chuck in a mixing bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil along with a pinch of salt, a grind of pepper and the chilli flakes. Toss all that together and pour onto the baking tray. Put the tray in the oven for 15–20 minutes until crispy, then remove and let them cool right down.
Shred your cabbages and onion as fine as you like and put them into a large bowl. You can use a mandolin if you own one (no, not the small guitar) or a sharp knife. Grate the carrot and put it into the bowl; add your seeds and give it all a good toss.
Whiz up the mustard, aquafaba and vinegar, then slowly drizzle in the oil as you crank the blender up and down until it transforms the mixture into a mayo consistency. Finally, whiz in the lemon juice, and salt to taste.
Add ⅔ cup of that awesome “slauwce” to your veg bowl (the rest will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks), put in your crispy chickpeas, along with a pinch of salt and a crack of pepper. Then mix it all together. Feel free to add more of the mayo if you like it a bit more sauce heavy, it’s your adventure, Zelda.
This is an extract from Death to Jar Sauce by Nat’s What I Reckon. Published by Penguin Random House. $34.99. Buy a copy here.
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