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





south african ‘frikkadel’ in a creamy tomato broth

This dish brings back very fond childhood memories. The smell of the ‘frikkadel’ lingering through the house as it was baked in the oven sits firm in my memory bank. They always tasted the same, never different, which now tells me that it was obviously a recipe that was passed down many generations to my mother who never felt the desire to change or alter it. And rightly so, as the ‘frikkadel’ recipe i so well remember was delightfully delicious and completely moreish.
Frikkadel is a traditional AFrikaner dish, consisting of minced meat, onion, bread, eggs, vinegar & spices and then baked or sometimes deep-fried.
There are so many amazing sides to this dish although it was served with rice in our family home thus making rice the traditional side for me.
This recipe is not that of my mother as I think some things are meant to be kept secret.
I used the base of the original recipe with a few tweaks here and there and then turned it up a notch to boost it to the 21st century.
Frikkadels can be made ahead of time and freeze really well so i suggest doubling the recipe to give you extra for the freezer. Perfect for lazy days or days when you really just don’t have much time to spend behind the stove.

ingredients | serves 4-6 | easy
500g minced beef (or pork of a mixture of the two)
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1T crushed garlic
2 medium tomatoes, centre removed and cut into small blocks
1 egg
2T chopped parsley
1.5T worcester sauce
1/2C breadcrumbs
2T chutney (i used Mrs Balls)
1/2t salt
1/2t black pepper
3T olive oil, for frying

For the tomato broth
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomato
1T brown sugar
1t salt
1/2t black pepper
1/2t dried oregano
1/2t dried basil
1/2t dried parsley
1/2t chilli flakes (optional)
1T butter
1T olive oil
1/2C cream
Bunch fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs except the breadcrumbs & egg together. Break the egg into the mixture, add the breadcrumbs and using your hands, mix until well combined.
Form balls a little smaller than a golf ball, using the palms of your hands.
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and brown the frikkadels on all sides. Transfer the frikkadels to an ovenproof dish and bake for about ten minutes. Lift the frikkadels out of the skillet, pour the juices out of the skillet and set aside. (Do not clean the skillet)

Heat the olive oil & butter for the tomato broth in the same skillet of the frikkadels. (This will add more flavour to your broth)
Saute the onion until glossy. Add the oregano, basil, dried parsley & chilli flakes and cook for about one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic, salt & pepper and cook on a low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the juices from the baked frikkadles into the broth and stir well.
Add the cream to the tomato broth and stir through.

Place the frikkadels into the tomato sauce, cover with a lid and cook for about five minutes until heated through.

Dish the frikkadels into bowl and pour the sauce around it. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with basmati rice or mashed potato.


spicy poached pear

There are so many easy, great tasting desserts, giving you the opportunity to use fruits that are in season. Fruit, not only eggs and fish, are a natural choice for immersion in a simmering, warm bath. During poaching the luscious fruits are infused with amazing flavours and your home lingering with enticing, beautiful aromas.
Pears hold up really well during poaching and retain their beautiful shape. What i love about poaching pears is that they sit beautifully atop a tart or on a plate, enveloping a beautiful syrup or sabayon.
I peel the pears and leave the stems attached to their long giraffe like necks, making the visual presentation the perfect dessert temptation.
Serve these little beauties alongside homemade ice cream or freshly whipped cream or creme Chantilly with some toasted nuts for added texture.

ingredients | serves 4 | easy
4 pears, peeled
3c water
150g castor sugar
1 vanilla pod, cut open lengthways
1/2c brandy
3 orange zest peels
pinch of saffron
4 cardamom pods, crushed
2 cloves
3 star anise
1 cinnamon quill

how to do it
Using a sharp knife, carefully remove the bottoms of the pears. (Cut into the flesh and remove the small black stems at the bottom)
Combine all of the ingredients except the pears in a deep pot / skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat and gently lower the pears into the poaching liquid.
Make a cartouche using baking paper. Simply cut a hole in the centre of the baking paper and place the paper on top of the pot / skillet to form a ‘lid’ of sorts. This will allow only a small amount of liquid to evaporate during poaching.
Poach the pears until soft, about 15-20 minutes depending on the pears and the size.
Remove pot / skillet from the heat, discard the cartouche and leave the pears to sit in the poaching liquid for at least 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pears and set aside.
Strain the poaching liquid into a clean pot and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook until reduced and thickened.

When ready to serve, drizzle the pears with the lovely gold liquid.

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

method
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.