Tag: beef

a pound of mince? Meatballs!

As mentioned, we had a pound of mince to use up, as it wouldn’t fit into the new freezer regime.

I minced some garlic and a shallot, and chopped some fenugreek leaves small, while Pete ground spices (black cumin, lots of coriander seeds, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamon, allspice, black pepper), and made that lot into meatballs with a bit of sea salt.  It made 16, I think.

I cut an onion in half and half again, and cut it into thin rings, then fried it in ground nut oil (together with more garlic) till it was translucent.  Then we added more spices (more coriander and cumin, ajwain, nigella, fennel) and cooked it down for a bit.  In went a jar’s worth of roasted yellow peppers, sliced thin, and I set it to cook over a low heat.

I browned the meatballs in more groundnut oil, and tipped them (and the oil) into the pepper sauce.  Left them to cook while I did some basmati, to which I added a shallot, some cardamon seeds, and a generous pinch of Marigold veg bouillon.

a weekend's cooking

We had already set aside Saturday evening to make a batch of Pete’s Wondrous Chilli – the beans were boiled and slow-cookered on Friday night, and we set to and made it yesterday afternoon.  4lbs of lovely Dexter stewing beef was turned into 10 really rather generous portions; we shall have  some for supper tonight, and four tubs have gone in the freezer.  We cooked it overnight in the slow cooker, and the smell drove us quite demented.

Yesterday, Pete sallied forth with his bicycle and trailer to do the shopping, and returned bearing (amongst lots of other things) two huge bunches of herbs; one of coriander, and one of fenugreek, which I’ve never seen before in its fresh form.

The coriander was easy – we found four chicken breasts in the freezer (we are really getting it under control now!) and a batch of lemony coriander chicken is in the slow cooker now.

I’ve never cooked with fenugreek before, but we put some leaves in the chilli (well, why not?!).  I also minced up the last of the breast of lamb we had last week, grated up carrot, celery and onion, chopped garlic and fried it up with the lamb. Added my version of the Ras El Hanout spices I love so much*, and bunged in about a cup full of lentils. And more fenugreek. That’s currently cooking slowly downstairs on a diffuser, for a moussaka in the week.

I’ve had enough now, although I might just whip up a pear and chocolate crumble, as there are pears that need eating. (Pete has just said “ohmigod”).

* I should have made a note, but I used lavender, rose petals, paprika, cloves, cinnamon, ground ginger, galangal, coriander seeds, cardamon seeds, peppercorns, mace.  It might not be authentic, but it smells nice.

slow cooked beef rib

I usually do this in the oven, but being in slow cooker experimentation mode, I decided to try it in there.

One rib of beef – not very big, probably only a couple of pounds.  Ours was a slab of Dexter, bought from the wonderful Mr Rawlings. I browned it in some groundnut oil, and put it in the slow cooker pot.

Then I cooked up some carrot batons and about a dozen shallots (always wise to put shallots in boiling water for about five minutes – makes them much easier to peel, and then you get nice oniony water for stock).  I added a bit of maple syrup to the pan at this point, to start the vegetables caramelising.

In went a tablespoon of flour and a heaped teaspoon of grain mustard, stirred round, then I started experimenting.  Half a glass of red wine, a slosh of teriyaki, two heaped teaspoons of marmalade – (the redcurrant jelly had gone mouldy :(.  Some ground peppercorns and juniper berries, the onion water, some sea salt.  Reduced the liquor a bit, then put it in the pot with the beef.

Cooked on auto for 3 hours, then low for another, while we did roast potatoes and cauliflower and yorkies (can’t remember the last time we had yorkies).

I’ll be doing that again – the meat was just beautifully tender.

3lbs of stewing steak

I wanted to make Anjum Anand’s Gujerati lamb with fenugreek dumplings at the weekend, so sent Pete out to the icy wastes of the outdoor freezer to fetch some lamb.  He returned without, as he couldn’t find any, and it’s all gummed up with ice and we need to defrost it.  But he was clutching about 3lbs of Dexter stewing steak.

Anjum’s book isn’t big on beef, so we compromised, switched things round, left it to cook a lot longer over a low heat – I did most of it, while Pete struggled with a recalcitrant RAID array in our Linux server, and then he did the dumplings.  And delicious it was too.

But I only used half the beef – we’re not big meat eaters, so I put in far more chickpeas than she recommended, and thus was left with the same amount again to deal with.

On Monday, we stirfried some with some tinned black beans from the chinese supermarket (gorgeous – but half a tin was too much; wonder if they freeze), and green pepper and so forth.

And on Tuesday lunchtime, I whipped up the rest of it into a pie filling.  Fried off the beef, then quickly sautéd a chopped onion, some garlic, three big mushrooms chopped, and a couple of carrots, diced.  In a big casserole dumped the beef and veg, a slosh of red wine, a small tin of tomato purée, a slug of balsamic vinegar, a little water, a bouquet garni and some seasoning.  Brought it to the boil and then put it on a very low heat on a diffuser, and we suffered the smell wafting up the stairs all afternoon.

Cheated, and got some puff pastry out of the freezer to make the pie, which we had with potatoes roasted in olive oil, and broccoli and cauliflower.

So, that 3lbs of beef made:

  • 8 portions of beef curry (I put three tubs in the freezer)
  • 4 portions of pie (we shall have the rest of it tomorrow or Friday)
  • 2 portions of stir fry

Which I think is not at all bad.

beef stroganoff

beef stroganoff

Using up: ribeye steak, mushrooms

Along with the three sausages, we also returned from Summer Camp with a heap of ribeye steak, which simply didn’t get eaten.  I flung it in the freezer in the general melée of dealing with wet tents, missing cats, etc., but a carton of organic mushrooms in the fridge gave me pause for thought …

So: cut a big onion in half, and slice it as thinly as you can.  Sauté that with lots of butter (this is not a good recipe for cholesterol haters) and oh, about a tablespoon of paprika until the onion is soft.  Then add mushrooms, sliced, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are soft.

Decant this paprika-y mess on to a heatproof plate and keep it warm.  Wipe out the pan.

Take steak (it really does need to be good quality for this, trust me), slice it into 1/4″-1/2″ strips across the grain. Fry this in batches in sunflower oil until it’s done as you like – we keep it fairly rare.  Drain out the oil from the pan, put everything back in, add soured or double cream, lemon juice, seasoning and chopped flat-leaf parsley.

It may be thought of as heresy, but we always eat this with chips.  I know, I know, but if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it properly.

By the way, chips, peas and ice cream are the only frozen goods I buy – everything else I freeze myself.

boeuf stroganoff

boeuf stroganoff - onions and paprika

I hate waste, and we had a bunch of flat leaf parsley which looked a bit tired. So what to do?

We also had some mushrooms, and so I nipped, or popped, to the Local Shop and bought some cream. And then I remembered there was a fillet of Dexter beef in the indoors freezer.

This is one of our favourites – it’s Rick Stein‘s version, and he recommends that you serve it with thin chips. Who are we to argue? – it works remarkably well. We do tend to increase the mushrooms and decrease the meat, but that’s because we don’t like too much meat in a dish.


675g of beef fillet, preferably cut from the tail end
65g unsalted butter
1.5 tbsp of paprika
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
350g button mushrooms, very thinly sliced
3 tbsp sunflower oil
300ml soured cream
2tsp lemon juice
a small handful of finely chopped parsley
salt and black pepper

Cut the steak into slices 1cm thick, then cut each slice across the grain into strips.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the paprika and onion, and cook slowly until the onion is soft and sweet, but not browned. Add the mushrooms, and fry gently until they are softish. The recipe says 3 minutes, but that’s not nearly enough in my experience. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

Wipe out the pan with some kitchen paper, then heat half the oil in there till it’s very hot, add half the sliced fillet steak, season it and fry it quickly for a minute or so. Put aside to keep warm (I use the dish with the onion and mushrooms in it), and repeat with the rest of the meat.

Put everything back in the pan, add the soured cream; bring to the boil, and cook for a minute or so. Then fling in the parsley and lemon juice.


home made burgers

Finely chop a shallot, some fresh coriander and a red chili. Combine this with 1lb of Dexter mince, together with some sel gris. Shape into vaguely hamburger-shaped shapes

In a bowl, combine a can of chick peas, some chopped fresh mint, diced cucumber, finely chopped spring onions, some cold cooked potatoes from the fridge, and grated carrot. Make a dressing with walnut oil, white wine vinegar and a splash of shoyu and toss it about a bit

Get Pete to stand in front of a very hot ribbed cast iron pan and cook the burgers

Sprinkle the salad with sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which have been dry fried, then tossed in a little tamari.

Perfect summer food.