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Category Archives: Slow Cooked Food

Simple Quince Tart

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This is a really easy tart. Some short crust pastry blind baked in a flan dish and some wonderful baked quinces layered in the pastry. Serve with cream. Bliss.

A few weeks ago I had a wonderful dinner with friends. Slow cooked lamb followed by tarte tatin made with quinces, which were redolent with heady spices. Cooked overnight, the quinces were a beautiful deep ruby red colour, and the cooking liquid had become quince jelly.

To me, baked quinces are the epitome of gorgeous winter comfort food!

My tart was not so elaborate as the tarte tatin but easy to knock up on a winter weekend afternoon, and quite delicious. This is a small flan just enough for 3 or 4 people.

Baked Quinces

Ingredients
50g butter
2 quinces
120g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Method
Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Peel the quinces, halve lengthways and remove cores. Cut in quarters or slices. Melt butter in a heavy oven proof baking dish. Roll the quinces in the melted butter. Scatter over sugar and squeeze the lemon juice over the quince pieces.

Cover tightly with a doubled sheet of foil. Bake the quinces for 2-3 hours, basting a few times through the process, until the quinces are soft and a ruby red colour. Remove from the dish to cool.

Short Crust Pastry*

Ingredients
100g chilled unsalted butter
125g plain flour
75g sour cream

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced. Pulse the butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Remove from the processor and shape pastry into a ball. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
 Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in a well greased flan dish or mold, about 18cm or 7 inches in diameter. Any small mold will do.

Rest for 15 minutes in the fridge. This will help reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights or rice on the baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the weights or rice and the baking paper.

To assemble

When cool, place slices of baked quince as elegantly or as rustically as you please in the flan. Serve as is or with cream or creme fraiche.

*This makes enough for a small flan. Doubling the quantities will give you a large pastry shell. You would need 4-5  baked quinces to fill a larger flan.

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Winter Pasties Revisited

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I made these pasties in 2014, and with winter almost upon us in Sydney, I am revisiting the recipes to get some inspiration for more winter cooking.

Beef, Tomato and Pedro Ximinez Pasties

The filling was some slow cooked beef cheeks, cooked in Pedro Ximinez sherry. I added in a chopped fresh tomato and and handful of chopped sundried tomatoes. I reduced the tomatoes with the cooked beef until the mixture was thick enough to be used a pastie filling.

Recipe for the beef cheeks follows.

For a dozen pasties, you would need about 1/3 of the recipe quantity. The rest is great served with mashed potato or pasta, root vegetables or green salad.

Ingredients

Beef Filling

1.5 kg  beef cheeks
125 ml  olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlic bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml  Pedro Ximenez sherry or a port or Madeira
500 ml  red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Pastry

3 sheets bought (butter) puff pastry

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C.

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced.

Increase the oven to 190 degrees C. Take 3 puff pastry sheets, and using a plate as a template, cut out 12  20cm circles; you may have to gather up the trimmings and re-roll them to get all your circles. Don’t worry if you don’t get 12; just get as many as you can from the pastry sheets.

Spoon the stew on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp well to seal.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

Eat pasties warm or cold.


Sundried Tomato and Persian Feta Pasties

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.

Simply chopped sundried tomatoes and crumble some Persian soft feta. Add a sprinkling of fresh herbs like coriander or thyme to taste.

The quantities are up to you – I used 6 sundried tomatoes and 3 small pieces of feta to make 2 large pasties from 1 pastry sheet.

Prepare 3 puff pastry sheets as in previous recipe.

Spoon the filling on to one half of each circle. Brush the pastry edges with water, fold the other half of the pastry over the filling to form a half-moon shape and crimp to seal. These pasties may open during cooking, but as the filling isn’t liquid, they stay intact.

Place the pasties on a lightly oiled baking sheet and brush the tops with beaten egg. Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown.

These ones are best eaten cold.

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Jamie Oliver’s Mexican Chilli

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I first cooked this delicious, simple and cost-saving recipe from Jamie Oliver in 2014. The recipe has certainly been popular on my blog! I guess everyone is looking for hearty, slow cooked casseroles and stews that can be quietly cooking away for a few hours. The original post can be found here.

The recipe comes from Jamie’s book Save with Jamie. I absolutely love it because it’s cooked with beef shin, bone in! Beef shin is so rich in flavour and gets better and better the longer you cook it.

The recipe needs to be cooked for a long time – 5 hours – and you end up with a lovely, unctous stew with plenty of liquid. The meat just falls apart, it is so tender.

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So here is Jamie’s recipe.IMG_8801

Ingredients

Chilli

Olive oil

2 red onions

4 cloves of garlic

2 fresh red chillies ( the large, not so hot ones – or more if you want more heat)

30 g fresh coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tomato tins of water

1 kg beef shin, bone in, sinew removed

2 fresh bay leaves

1 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans

Rock salt and freshly ground pepper.

Fluffy basmati rice and yoghurt or sour cream to serve

Method

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.

Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top on a medium heat. Add swig of olive oil to the pan. Add chopped red onions and minced garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add chopped chillis and the roots and stalks of the coriander, leaving the tops for the garnish. Add the spices and a good grind of salt and pepper. Fry till the mixture is caramelized and gnarly, but not burnt.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, fill each tin with water and add these to the casserole. Stir to mix, making sure you gather up all the goodness at the bottom of the casserole.

Roll the shin of beef in salt and pepper to coat, then place gently in the centre of the casserole. Turn to coat in the liquid. Pop the bay leaves into the mixture.

Place the lid on the casserole and move to the pre-heated oven. Cook for 5 hours. I suggest checking after a couple of hours, and then each hour, to make sure the liquid is not drying up. Top up with water, to loosen if needed.

20 minutes before the end, drain the tin of cannellini beans and stir through. Add a splash of the bean juices if the chilli looks dry.

When the meat is falling apart and the chilli is thick, shake the marrow out of the bone and stir it back into the chilli.

Serve the Mexican chilli with fluffy rice and yoghurt or sour cream, and coriander leaves to garnish.

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Slow Cooked Food and Cast Iron Ware

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A friend recently married, has acquired the Rolls Royce of slow cooking cast iron ware, Le Creuset.

http://www.lecreuset.com.au/Resources1/product/Material/Cast-Iron/

These wonderful cast iron cooking utensils have been hand made in France since 1925. I own several Le Creuset casseroles and baking dishes, as well as a grill pan and some ceramic dishes.

I also own some cast iron ware in other  brands, but Le Creuset is definitely the “top”.

If you are interested in long slow cooking, cast iron ware is the only way to go.

Here, for the benefit of my newly married friend, and as requested, are the links to some slow cooked food in cast iron ware, including that other wonderful cooking device, the tagine.

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/04/08/jamie-olivers-shin-stew/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/08/23/jamie-olivers-mexican-chilli/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2014/05/03/slow-cooked-beef-cheeks-in-pedro-ximinez-movida-recipe/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/10/27/moroccan-chicken-tagine-with-dates-apricots-and-couscous/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/05/09/tagine-of-lamb-shoulder-with-apricots-and-raisins-pomegranate-couscous-and-avocado-salad/

https://thequirkandthecool.com/2013/06/09/winter-pies-beef-and-red-wine-pasties-ham-leek-and-mushroom-baby-pies/ The recipe for beef pies includes a slow cooked beef and red wine filling.

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Save with Jamie: Mexican Chilli Beef

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*For an updated version of this dish please see my 2015 post.

This is a great recipe for lovers of slow cooked food! it’s from Jamie Oliver’s book Save with Jamie:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/category/books/save-with-jamie

It’s a Mexican chilli dish made with slow cooked shin of beef rather than minced steak.

I’m a HUGE fan of shin beef, and cook with this cut regularly. It’s perfect for casseroles and stews, any dish that needs long slow cooking.

In this recipe Jamie cooks the beef bone in, in one piece. This creates a real depth of flavour. At the end, when removing the bone, you scrape out the bone marrow into the dish for that extra burst of flavour.

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It’s a really easy dish to prepare – nothing complicated – but it takes time. 5 hours cooking. Perfect for a wet weekend when you are staying indoors anyway.

My comments are that I lowered Jamie’s original oven temperature of 170 degrees C to 150 degrees C. If you are cooking for 5 hours you want the temperature nice and low.

Also, my casserole was not as “liquidy” as Jamie’s. Next time I will add a little more water or some more tinned tomatoes to the mix, or cook for slightly less time.

Ingredients

Chilli

Olive oil

2 red onions

4 cloves of garlic

2 fresh red chillies ( the large, not so hot ones – or more if you want more heat)

30 g fresh coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 x 400 g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 tomato tins of water

1 kg beef shin, bone in, sinew removed

2 fresh bay leaves

1 x 400 g tin of cannellini beans

Rock salt and freshly ground pepper.

Salsa

1 green pepper

4 spring onions

150 g cherry tomatoes

Splash of extra virgin olive oil

Splash of white wine vinegar

Fluffy basmati rice and fat free yoghurt (to serve)

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees C.

Heat a large heavy bottomed casserole on the stove top on a medium heat. Add swig of olive oil to the pan. Add chopped red onions and minced garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add chopped chillis and the roots and stalks of the coriander, leaving the tops for the salsa and garnish. Add the spices and a good grind of salt and pepper. Fry till the mixture is caramelized and gnarly, but not burnt.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes, fill each tin with water and add these to the casserole. Stir to mix, making sure you gather up all the goodness at the bottom of the casserole.

Roll the shin of beef in salt and pepper to coat, then place gently in the centre of the casserole. Turn to coat in the liquid. Pop the bay leaves into the mixture.

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Place the lid on the casserole and move to the pre-heated oven. Cook for 5 hours. I suggest checking after a couple of hours, and then each hour, to make sure the liquid is not drying up. As I mentioned, my chilli could have done initially with more liquid, or half an hour’s less cooking time to retain more moisture.

Meanwhile, empty the tin of cannellini beans into a frying pan with a swig of olive oil, and fry for a couple of minutes until some of the beans split.

Remove the casserole from the oven, and add the cannellini beans.

To make the salsa,  blitz the green pepper, spring onions, cherry tomatoes and most of the coriander tops in a food processor. Put into a bowl with a splash of extra virgin olive oil and white wine vinegar.

Serve the Mexican chilli with the salsa, fluffy rice and yoghurt, and coriander leaves to garnish.

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Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Pedro Ximinez – Movida Recipe

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This recipe hails from MoVida Bar de Tapas, restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney, from the cookbook MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures.

http://movida.com.au/slowly-braised-beef-cheeks-in-pedro-ximenez-with-cauliflower-puree-carillera-de-buey/

I cooked the beef cheeks in the oven rather than on the stove top as the original recipe suggests. The temperature needs to be low and the cooking time long.  This is slow cooking at its best!

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cookbook MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures
cookbook MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures
cookbook MoVida: Spanish Culinary Adventures

Ingredients

1.5 kg  beef cheeks
125 ml  olive oil
3 carrots, roughly chopped
1 garlicky bulb, halved
1 brown onion, sliced
500 ml  Pedro Ximenez sherry
500 ml  red wine
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 140 degrees C or even lower if your oven is hot (like mine).

Trim the beef cheeks to neaten them up and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well.

Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy-based baking dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden, then remove from the pan.

Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic and onion and sauté over high heat for 12-15 minutes, or until well browned. Stir in the sherry, wine, bay leaves, thyme, sea salt and 500 ml water.

Reduce the heat and add the beef cheeks.  Cover and place in the oven to cook for 3-4 hours, or until the cheeks are beginning to fall apart.

The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the baking dish, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat on the stove top until nicely reduced. Gently reheat the cheeks in the sauce if necessary.

I served the beef cheeks with slow baked yellow, orange and purple carrots, and grilled corn tortillas to soak up the sauce – mash or pappardelle or rice would also be good.

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Jamie Oliver’s Shin Beef Stew

IMG_9851This dish is fabulous – the meat can literally be eaten with a spoon! I would describe it as a Beef Ragu because the meat is so tender. Jamie describes his recipe:

“Cooking a shin of beef or any good stewing cut this way gives you some really fantastic comfort food. Just letting it slowly blip away in the oven, with the sauce becoming more and more intense, is the nicest sort of cooking there is. Delicious served with some mashed root veg – like carrots, potatoes, a bit of swede, some turnips – but you could also serve it with straight mash, polenta or bubble and squeak (you know, fried veg and potatoes, cockney-London style!) and some nice buttered cabbage or spinach.
”

His original recipe comes from “Cook With Jamie”, and here is the link to the website recipe:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/beef-recipes/melt-in-your-mouth-shin-stew

I love shin beef, and in Australia it is known as gravy beef. Jamie sing sings its praises and lovingly describes the unctuous flavours derived from long slow cooking of this cut of beef.

Here is my version. The most significant change I made is to lower the oven temperature to 160 degrees C. I think long, slow cooking is the way to go with this recipe.

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Ingredients

• Lug of olive oil
• 6 eschallots, peeled and roughly chopped
• 6 baby carrots, trimmed and used whole
• 2 cloves garlic chopped
• A few sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 1 bay leaf
• 750g quality shin of beef, trimmed and cut into 5cm pieces
• Sea salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• 1 tbs flour
• 1 x 400g tinned tomatoes
• 1/2 bottle red wine – shiraz or cab suav

Method

Preheat your oven to 160 degrees C.  In a heavy-bottomed casserole, heat a lug of olive oil and gently fry the eschallots, carrots, garlic and herbs for 5 minutes until softened slightly. Meanwhile, toss the pieces of beef in a little seasoned flour, shaking off any excess. Add the meat to the casserole  and stir everything together, then add the tomatoes, wine and a pinch of salt and pepper. Gently bring to the boil, cover with a double-thickness piece of aluminum foil and a lid and place in your preheated oven for 3 hours or until the beef is meltingly tender and can be broken up with a spoon. Taste and check the seasoning, remove the rosemary sprigs and bay leaf.

Serve with pappardelle, polenta, mash or rice.

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