beef brisket

This cut is most definitely one of the least tender cuts of beef but when braised or slowly roasted (low & slow) it is rendered soft and has the most incredible flavour!
I was lucky enough to get a very large piece of brisket from my local butcher. A whole 4.6kg of brisket! So I portioned it, wrapped it and placed it in my freezer for a next occasion. One piece, however, was on my dining table last night. And it was sublime! The warm earthy flavours of the spices it was marinated in worked well with the skillet potato & sweet potato and, of course, was the perfect meal for a chilly winters evening.
The low and slow method is very important here so give it the full four hours as per my recipe. You will not regret it.
I also requested my butcher to remove the bone, which was ideal when slicing the meat.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
1.3kg beef brisket, bone removed
Olive oil
2t paprika
2t ground coriander
2t mustard powder
1t garlic powder
1/4t salt
1/2t black pepper
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2T brown sugar
2T tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, whole
3 bay leaves
1.5C red wine
chicken stock (about 2 cups depending on the size of your roasting tray)
corn flour if necessary

how to
In a bowl, mix together the paprika, coriander, mustard powder & garlic powder. Drizzle about three tablespoons olive oil over the brisket and gently rub it into the meat on all sides.
Tip the spice marinade onto the brisket and rub it in using your hands, covering the meat on all sides. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for one hour.
Remove the meat from the fridge and leave to come up to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet or tray big enough to hold the brisket. Brown the brisket on all sides, about five minutes per side. Remove the brisket and set aside.
Add a knob of butter to the same skillet without wiping it clean. Sauté the onion for about two minutes. Add the carrot and cook for one minute, stirring.
Add the tomato paste & brown sugar to the skillet and cook the mixture for about three minutes, caramelising the onion & carrot. Add the garlic, stir through and then deglaze the pan with the red wine. Leave to simmer for about three minutes. Add the bay leaves, salt & black pepper. Now pour the chicken stock around the brisket, just more than halfway up.
Tightly wrap the skillet with tin foil or cover with a tight fitting lid.
Place into the oven and roast for 4 hours.
Once cooked, leave to rest for about ten minutes, loosely covered with tinfoil. Meanwhile, using an immersion blender, blitz the stock and vegetable mixture and then strain through a sieve into a sauce pot.
Bring the mixture to the boil and then to a medium simmer. Taste and season. Thicken with corn flour if needed. (Two teaspoons corn four with two teaspoons water.).
Using a serrated knife, slice the brisket flat, against the grain.

Serve with skillet vegetables and couscous or roasted root vegetables.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

braised beef short rib with mushrooms

I am very passionate about stews and casseroles so generally look for any excuse to cook another rich, hearty one pot. (Not that i ever need an excuse to cook anything!)
Good quality meat is the perfect start to any good stew or casserole followed, of course, by fresh vegetables and drinkable red wine. I always buy good quality boxed red wine and keep it in my pantry. It lasts much longer than bottled red wine, making it cost effective.
These dishes need a lot of love and patience, which is all worth it once you lift the lid and sniff the wonderful aroma of slow cooked meat, garlic, herbs and red wine.
Short rib is a fairly inexpensive cut of meat and is beautiful served on its own in portions or pulled in a beefy BBQ sauce or use the pulled meat for a short rib pie in a puff crust.
If this kind of food does not do something for your soul, i really am not sure what will.

ingredients | serves 6 | a little effort
2kg beef short rib (portioned by your butcher)
5T plain flour
200g bacon, diced
1 punnet (250g) button mushrooms, halved
3 stalks rosemary, leaves only
1 garlic head, halved
2 medium carrots, grated
3 leeks, diced
1 large white onion, chopped
3 celery ribs, diced
2T tomato paste
1t salt
1t black pepper
3T olive oil plus extra for browning meat
2T butter
600ml drinkable red wine
2C beef stock
1T brown sugar

how to do it
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
Dredge the meat in the flour and shake off any excess. Heat about four tablespoons of olive oil in a large oven proof skillet and brown the meat in batches until it has a beautifully coloured crust. Set aside.
Add the bacon to the skillet and cook until browned and crispy. Set aside.
In the same skillet, melt the three tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. Sauté the chopped onion until glossy. Add the garlic and press it down, releasing the garlic flavour into skillet.
Add the grated carrot, diced leeks & celery and stir. Add the tomato paste and allow this to cook for about one minute.
Add the brown sugar, salt & pepper and stir to combine.
Pour the red wine into the skillet and allow to cook for about five minutes. Now pour the stock into the pot, add the bacon and the short rib and bring the mixture to the boil.
Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid or tin foil and carefully place in into the preheated oven to cook for 2.5 – 3 hours until the short rib is soft and almost falling off the bone. Meanwhile, heat butter and olive oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms until just cooked. Set aside.

If you prefer a smooth sauce like i do, remove the meat from the skillet and strain the sauce through a sieve. Press the garlic out into the sauce. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce until thickened. Add the meat and mushrooms to the skillet and gently simmer for about five minutes to heat through.
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with smooth, garlicky mashed potatoes.

If you prefer to keep the sauce in its natural form, simply remove the garlic head, press the garlic out into the sauce and do not strain. Follow steps as above.

From my kitchen to yours, with love x

meatballs in curry cream

Mince is just one of those ingredients that i always have in my freezer as there are so many wonderful dishes i can cook using it.
Good, easy and quick food is really what I am after most days. Not because i don’t have enough time or because I am lazy but merely because I also want to spend quality time with my family.
I served this dish with basmati rice although mash will also make a wonderful accompaniment to soak up all the wonderful, flavourful juices.
And if you prefer a mixture of beef and pork mince, you are welcome to make that change. I, however, only had beef mince on hand.
You might think the meatballs are fairly plain, considering what i added to the meat, but it works really well as the sauce is wonderfully fragrant.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
500g mince meat
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1tsp minced garlic
1/2c fine breadcrumbs
1 egg
1tsp salt
black pepper

place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. using your hands, roll balls almost the size of a golf ball. set aside on a baking tray covered with baking paper.

curry cream sauce
2tbs Olive oil
good knob of butter
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2cm ginger, grated
2tsp mild curry powder
2tsp turmeric
1tbs brown sugar
2tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp onion seeds
1/2tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 can chopped tomato
1 can coconut milk
bunch fresh cilantro
spring onion, sliced at an angle
salt to taste
black pepper to taste

Heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Set aside.
Blitz the canned tomato until smooth. Set aside. In the same skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. Saute the onion until glossy. Add the ginger, curry powder, turmeric, sugar, & onion seeds and cook for about a minute. Add the chopped tomato and fish sauce, stir it through and cook for one minute. Season with salt & pepper. Add the chilli flakes now, if using.
Slowly pour the coconut milk into the skillet and bring the mixture to a light boil. Turn the heat down to a gentle simmer and add the meatballs. Cover with a lid and cook on low for about ten minutes, turning the meatballs once.
Remove the lid and cook for a further ten to fifteen minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced, turning the meatballs halfway through cooking.
Roughly chop the cilantro and add it to the dish. Garnish with sliced spring onion.
Serve with basmati rice of mashed potato and a side dish of roasted pumpkin or sweet potato.

easy, budget friendly family meal – sausage & spicy rice

I welcome easy, budget friendly meals that my family will enjoy. Meals that are packed full of flavour even when I didn’t spend hours slaving away in the kitchen.
Cooking shouldn’t feel like a chore. Food is meant to be enjoyed and not only when eating it but also when preparing it. For this reason, easy, quick dinners, that fit into our busy schedules work wonders for me!
I used normal sausage but you can use a spicy sausage, pork sausages or really any kind of sausage you prefer. Removing the meat from the casing adds extra flavour to the dish so i highly recommend doing so.
I served this dish with a green salad of leaves, avocado, green pepper and topped it with toasted almonds, red onion and radish. Steamed greens or roasted vegetables will also be perfect as side dishes.

ingredients | serves 6 | easy
600g sausage, casing removed
4tbs olive oil
3tbs butter
1 red onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1.5tbs paprika (not smoked)
pinch chilli flakes
6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
1/2tsp coriander seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
1/2tsp onion seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1/2tsp salt
black pepper
3/4c long grain rice
1 can chopped tomato
1/5c chicken stock `
1 red pepper, cut into blocks
spring onion, sliced at an angle (garnish)
handful fresh parsley, chopped

how to do it
remove the sausage meat from the casings/s and set aside.
heat oil and brown the sausage, about two minutes. set aside. add the butter to the skillet and cook the onion until glossy. add the paprika, oregano, thyme, onion seeds, cumin seeds, chilli & coriander and cook for one minute, until fragrant.
tip the rice into the skillet and stir through to coat. add the garlic, diced tomatoes, red pepper & chicken stock and stir. tip the meat into the mixture and bring it to a light boil.
turn down to a gentle simmer. cover with a tight fitting lid and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes, until the rice have absorbed the liquid and is cooked through.
add a little more water if desired.
remove the skillet from the heat and stir the chopped parsley through the food. garnish with the sliced spring onion and serve warm.

rosmarino & beef meatballs

another easy, great tasting mid week meal, perfect for the whole family! and of course, it is another one pot wonder, which falls right into my meal favourites!
a little effort as the meatballs take some time but if you double up the meatball recipe you can use half for this dish and the other half can be frozen for future use.
rosmarino and orzo pasta remind me of family comfort food…good food made easy. i sometimes tuck in with a spoon only.
and if you feel like treating yourself, break a few eggs into the dish a few minutes before the end of the baking time, making this a pasta & meatball shakshuka!!
home made chilli sauce and a side salad are the perfect accompaniments to this dish.

for the meatballs | makes about 35
500g minced beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1tsp minced garlic
1 egg
handful fresh parsley, chopped
1tbs chutney
1tbs Worcester sauce
1c breadcrumbs
3/4c milk
1tsp dried oregano
1/2c finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2tsp salt
grind of black pepper

for the sauce
200g rosmarino or orzo pasta
3tbs olive oil
2tbs butter
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2tsp fennel seeds
1tbs brown sugar
1tbs tomato paste
1 can chopped tomato
2c beef stock
1tsp salt
1/2tsp black pepper
1tsp onion seeds
1tsp dried oregano
1tbs fresh rosemary, chopped
120g mozzarella cheese, shredded
chives, for garnish

how to do it
pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and set aside. tip the mince into a mixing bowl together with the remaining ingredients. mix through. add the breadcrumb mixture and, using your hands, mix until well combined.
using the palms of your hands, roll small or medium sized meatballs and place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. to cook, either fry the meatballs in a little oil until just cooked or place the whole baking tray into a 180 degrees C oven for about ten minutes, until just browned but not completely cooked through. set aside.
preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
in an ovenproof skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter and sauté the onion until translucent. add the fennel seeds, Italian herbs, brown sugar, oregano, rosemary, onion seeds and tomato paste to the skillet and cook, while stirring, for about 2 minutes.
pour the chopped tomato into the skillet with the two cups beef stock. stir and bring to the boil. taste and season.
remove the skillet from the oven and drop the meatballs into the sauce. add the rosmarino pasta to the skillet and lightly press it down to ensure that it is covered with the sauce. cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid or tinfoil and bake for about 35 minutes, until the pasta is cooked through.
remove the skillet from the oven. nestle the shredded mozzarella into the sauce, cover with a lid again, and bake for a further 5 minutes.
remove from the oven and garnish with chopped chives.

from my kitchen to yours, with love x