Sri Lankan beef casserole

OMG this was delicious. I used a recipe from Curry Easy by Madhur Jaffrey, but adapted it because I didn’t have any brisket, just stew packs. I also had some wonderful local beef to use.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg beef (preferably brisket, tied for a roast, but diced for stew works OK too)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
  • 4 tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
  • 1 inch of cinnamon stick
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 inches of ginger root, peeled and grated
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp of red wine vinegar, or 1 tsp lime pickle
  • 350ml stock
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 250ml coconut milk.

METHOD:

  • sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper
  • Put a small heavy pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the coriander, cumin, fennel and fenugreek. Toast for 30 seconds, and then empty onto a bit of kitchen paper or teatowel. Once the spices have started to cook, crush them in a pestle and mortar.
  • Preheat the oven to gas 3, 160C.
  • Put the oil into a large casserole dish. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides, and set it aside
  • Next, fry the onion ginger, garlic and cinnamon in the same pan. Cook for around five minutes.
  • Add the vinegar, stock, cayenne pepper, 1 tsp salt and the roasted ground sices. Stir together and add the beef. Bring to the boil.
  • Cover and place in the oven for around 2 hours.
  • When the meat is tender, transfer the casserole to the hob and stir in the coconut milk.

We served this with rice, but it also goes well with potato or bread.

Aubergine and Chickpea Stew

This is the first recipe I have tried from the ‘Cook for Syria’ recipe book. The book is a collection of recipes from Syria, and so much more. It tells about the culture of food and sharing in Syria, builds links with people using the #CookForSyria @CookForSyria tags, and raising money for Unicef to help children affected by fighting in their beautiful country.

I served it to a visitor, and we shared a lot of stories about the ethics and politics of food. I had to make a few adaptions to fit my ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 aubergines
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp za’atar (I used the mystery mixed Italian herbs, but za’atar is available from Seasoned Pioneers. )
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Chopped coriander to serve
  • Coconut vegan yoghurt, or grated creamed coconut

METHOD:

  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Chop the aubergine into chunks. I split them length-ways into quarters and then slice thickly.
  • Put the aubergines into a roasting tin with the spices and 4 cloves of garlic, coat with olive oil and roast for 25 to 30 minutes
  • Finely chop the red onion and cook it slowly in olive oil, for around 10 minutes
  • Add 2 cloves of garlic, chopped, along with the tomatoes, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Add the aubergine, chickpeas, salt, apple cider vinegar and cook until the chickpeas are hot.
  • Serve with a garnish of coriander leaves and coconut yoghurt.

I served this with rice, and we were very full afterwards

Stifatho – Greek beef stew with tiny onions

My recipe for Stifatho comes from The Home Book of Greek Cookery by Joyce M. Stubbs. I bought it in a jumble sale in 1987, and it has been in use ever since. There are many other versions online. The trickiest bit was to find small onions or shallots. Shallots grow well here. The ones in the shops are a bit too large, you are hoping to use shallots or onions about the size of a walnut.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg stewing steak, cut into portions about the size of half a post-card and 1cm thick
  • 1kg shallots or pickling onions
  • 200ml olive oil
  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 200ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • In a skillet, brown the meat in hot olive oil and put into a casserole dish.
  • Cover the meat with hot water, and stew gently in a moderate oven (140C) for an hour.
  • Using a soup wand, puree the tin of tomatoes, and add them to the meat, along with the peeled whole onions, garlic cloves, bay leaves, spices, red wine, wine vinegar, and the rest of the olive oil.
  • Bring the stew to a simmer, stir, cover with a lid and return to the oven for at least another two hours.
  • Once the meat is tender, and the sauce is rich and thick, take it out of the oven and set to one side. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper at this stage.
  • Cook some small potatoes, and serve with the stew. The stew could be served with mashed potatoes, or in small bowls with a side-serving of boiled potatoes.

Venison or beef with port, guinness and pickled walnuts

This is another recipe from Delia Smith’s Christmas recipe book. It is also available widely online. It is delicious. I serve it with mashed potato, or with potato mashed with celeriac.

The quantities below serve 10-12. It is easy to halve the quantities.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2.75 kg venison or beef, cut into flattish cubes around 3cm across
  • 1.2 litres of guinness
  • 275 ml ruby port
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 400g jars of pickled walnuts, drained and quartered
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper

METHOD:

  • The night before, put the meat in a large plastic container with bayleaf, thyme, port and guinness. Seal the top and give the mixture a good shake. A good technique is to put the ingredients in a bowl with a small plate on the top to ensure all the meat is immersed.
  • The next day, pre-heat the oven to 140C.
  • Melt half the butter/oil in a casserole dish and heat gently. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade for later. Pat the meat dry before frying off in small batches, until it is browned. Take the meat from the pan as each batch cooks, and set it aside.
  • Add the rest of the butter and oil to the pan, and melt together over a moderate heat until it starts to bubble. Add the onions and brown this for around 8 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to fry for another couple of minutes
  • Return the meat to the casserole dish, stir in the flour, and then pour in the marinade, add the walnuts and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the casserole to a simmer, then put the lid on, and transfer the whole thing to the warm oven for 3 hours.

Pork and tomato hotpot

This was one of my mother’s standard recipes, very delicious, slightly sweet and sour, and best served with rice.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 lb lean pork, diced
  • 1 oz fat
  • 1 oz flour
  • 1 lb onions
  • 1/2 pint stock
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 4 tbsp soft dark brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 dessert spoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lb chopped carrots
  • 1 can of tomatoes.

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 170C, gas 3
  • Fry off the pork in the oil, and set aside
  • In the same pan, gently fry the sliced onions until they are soft, and beginning to brown
  • Add the browned meat with the flour, and stir for a minute or so.
  • Add the stock and vinegar, and stir well, then add the sugar, tarragon, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce, and bring to the boil
  • Add the carrots and tomatoes and bring to the boil again.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish and cook for 3 hours in the oven

Pheasant with cloves, cinnamon and chestnuts

I came up with this recipe when we were given several frozen items from a friend who was moving.  We borrowed the recipe from Moro, and adapted it to what we had.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 150g panceta or other cured pork belly, finely sliced
  • 10 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 bayleaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick (although 1/2 tsp cinnamon would have been easier)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves, roughly ground
  • 1 can of chopped organic tomatoes
  • 1 large pheasant, jointed
  • 200ml white wine
  • 1 jar of cooked chestnuts (Ronnie’s shop)
  • salt and pepper to season

METHOD:

  • In a large suacepan, heat half the olive oil and cook the panceta over a medium heat for five minutes
  • Add the chopped shallots, carrot, garlic and bay leaves and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown nicely
  • Add the cinnamon, thyme, paprika, cloves, stir for a little bit longer then add the tomatoes, turn the heat down low.
  • While the tomatoes are simmering, in a large flat pan, heat the rest of the olive oil, season the pheasant joints and fry until brown on all sides.
  • Add the legs/thighs and then the wine to the saucepan with the tomatoes, and simmer with the lid on for 45 minutes.
  • Add the roughly chopped chestnuts along with the pheasant breast meat, and cook slowly for another 10 minutes, with the lid off.
  • Check the seasoning, and allow to rest for around 10 minutes before serving

We had this with roast parsnips and mashed potatoes. And wine.

Wild goose breast with wine and leeks

Courtesy of a greylag goose culler, we had goose in the freezer.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 goose breasts cut into 3cm chunks
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of good red wine
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 pint of marigold stock
  • 1 small celeriac, diced
  • 1 bayleaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp flour

METHOD:

  • Set the oven to 150C
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet or frying pan, and fry off the onions, leeks and garlic until they are nearly browning, and soft. Transfer to a casserole dish.
  • Fry off the goose in the same oil and transfer to a casserole dish.
  • Stir the flour into the remaining oil, heat through, and then slowly add the wine and the stock to make a sauce, and then add to the casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the celeriac and bayleaf, and mix together. Put the covered casserole dish in the oven and cook until tender. Goose is variable in toughness, so check at intervals to see how it is going – could be an hour or two.

Serve with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable, such as kale tops.
You could add fried mushrooms to this. Or truffle oil. Very good.

Moroccan spiced Lamb hearts

Another chapter in my quest to make sure that there is nothing to waste for our local meat. I was amazed how many lamb’s hearts were going for such a low price the last time I was buying local meat. I have got a dab hand at removing the fat and coronary arteries from the top of the heart: a bit like removing the top from a pepper. I find the best way to prepare a lamb’s heart is with a pair of sharp kitchen scissors. I snip the fat off around the top of the heart, in which the coronary arteries lie embedded. This includes snipping of the auricles, which are small, brown grissly looking appendages up at the top. You should be left with a cone of thick heart muscle. I also hoick out any blood clots still in the ventricles. As a guide, one heart serves one person.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 lamb’s hearts, trimmed, and cut in quarters lengthways
  • 2 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds (you can use ordinary cumin as well)
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bayleaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 pint stock

METHOD:

  • Grind the fennel, coriander and cumin together
  • Put the lamb’s hearts in a resealable plastic box with the freshly ground cumin, coriander, fennel, and the turmeric, ginger, crushed garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. Put the lid back on, give it a shake to mix, and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
  • Peel and cut the onions in half, then slice into half-rings.
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  • ry the onion gently in a small amount of olive oil for 10 minutes on a low heat, then add the meat and turn the heat up to brown it.
  • Preheat the oven to 140C
  • Add the carrots and stock, cinnamon and bayleaves, bring to a simmer and season to taste
  • Cover the pot and bake in the oven for a couple of hours

Serve with rice, couscous or pitta bread, salad as a side-serving. You could subsititute ras al hanout for the spices at the start, and add apricots instead of carrots.

Wild goose curry, with coconut

I have been experimenting with goose curry recipes. Most of the recipes I could find are aimed at people who have bought a posh home counties goose that has been roasted, so we have been adapting what is out there. This is the report on the second version.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 wild goose breasts, in thin strips
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 can coconut milk
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

METHOD:

  • Put the goose in the fridge overnight with the lime juice
  • Heat the oil in a large pan, and saute the onion, celery and carrots until lightly browned.
  • Next, add the garlic, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bayleaf, sugar and salt. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes
  • Add the lime juice, tomato paste and coconut milk, bring to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile, slice the goose meat into thin strips, and flash-fry before adding to the curry sauce about 3 minutes before serving.
  • Remove the bayleaf, add a sprinkle of cayenne, and serve with rice.

I’m sure this recipe could do with a bit more tinkering. I think it could possibly do with more coconut milk, and leave out the paprika. BUT it was delicious as it was.

Coq au Vin

An old classic. I have got very good at jointing chickens that have been passed on after meeting a sad end.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 chicken, jointed (or 1.5kg chicken pieces)
  • 1 onion
  • 225g mushrooms
  • 100g lardons, or bacon bits
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 300ml red wine
  • 3 tbsp brandy
  • 150ml stock
  • thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp butter squished with 1 tbsp flour

METHOD:

  • Melt the butter in a large casserole dish, and fry the chicken pieces for five minutes, and then set aside
  • Fry the onions, bacon, mushrooms and garlic in the same pan for another five minutes
  • Return the chicken to the pan, and then pour the brandy over the lot, and set alight for a minute or so.
  • Pour the wine and stock into the pan, along with the thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of hours.
  • Mix the flour and butter together, and add to the pan, about 10 minutes before the end.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.