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Tag Archives: comfort food

Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks in Pedro Ximinez

 

It’s the start of winter in Sydney. A lovely time of the year, cold and clear, with blue skies and bright sunshine!

A ex-pat friend, Amanda M, is visiting from Cleveland, Ohio.  She remarked that it was “Fall” weather for her! I guess we are lucky in Australia to have relatively mild winters.

I’m posting this 2014 recipe again, to remind myself that it’s time time to get out the Le Creuset casserole and start making some lovely slow cooked beef dishes!

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!

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.

R

 

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Tie Dye Marshmallows Again

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I’m mad on marshmallow making and I just had to include my latest efforts, a little more vibrant than the previous version. The recipe is the same – the basic Jamie Oliver recipe from his book Comfort Food, with the addition of different bright colours to the marshmallow, using the swirling technique with a skewer.

Here is the recipe from my previous post. I just upped the level of the colours and I flavoured this batch with vanilla and rosewater.

This is Jamie’s recipe adapted for tie dye colours.

Ingredients

50g cornflour

5g icing sugar

50g liquid glucose syrup

450g caster sugar

10 sheet gelatin

2 large free-range egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla paste

A few drops each of different food colourings

Method

This is a precise recipe, so make sure you read through the method carefully before you start, get all your ingredients weighed out and get your equipment ready to go. Sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl. Finely sift half the mixture over a deep baking tray (20cm x 30 cm) and set the other half aside in the sieve until later.

Mix the liquid glucose syrup and caster sugar together in a pan over a low heat with 250ml of cold water. Heat gently, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved and you have a clear syrup.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a small pan with 125ml of water.

Once the sugar syrup is clear, turn up the heat, pop in a sugar thermometer and allow the syrup to boil vigorously (please don’t stir it). When it reaches 110ºC, place the gelatine pan over a medium heat and stir until dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites in a free-standing electric mixer until you have stiff peaks.

Once your syrup has reached 122ºC, very carefully and slowly pour it down the sides of the bowl of the moving mixer, then pour in the dissolved gelatine.

Add the vanilla paste and rosewater to the mixer bowl, then continue to whisk for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture has significantly increased in volume, but is thick and still pourable.

Have several bowls (one for each colour) ready, with a few drops of your chosen colours in each bowl. Once the marshmallow is whisked, pour into each of the bowls. Mix the colours through the marshmallow. You’ll need to work quickly, as the marshmallow will start to set.

Then pour each marshmallow mixture into the prepared tray. You can use your creativity here, in the way you place the colours. I used a skewer to swirl the colours together. You can smooth the top if you like, with a palette knife, but I like the rough effect. Sift over the remaining mixed cornflour and icing sugar and leave to set for two to three hours. Cut into squares and store in grease proof  paper in a tin. Keeps well for a few weeks.

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Tie Dye Marshmallows

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I love marshmallows, and when I discovered how simple they are to make, they have become part of my sweet treats repertoire. They’re dead easy to make, the only tricky bits are heating the sugar, glucose and water to the right temperature, and then pouring the hot mixture onto the beaten egg whites.

I recently found an image on Pinterest of bright multi-coloured tie dye marshmallows. I liked the concept, but went for a softer coloured version. My go-to recipe for marshmallows is Jamie Oliver’s great recipe from his book Comfort Food.

I was keen to get a whole lot of colours going, so opted for a basic vanilla flavour using vanilla paste. In my previous post, see here, I made lovely rosewater flavoured pink marshmallows. My problem was, with so many colours, what flavour to choose? So vanilla seemed the best choice.

This is Jamie’s recipe adapted for tie dye colours.

Ingredients

50g cornflour

5g icing sugar

50g liquid glucose syrup

450g caster sugar

10 sheet gelatin

2 large free-range egg whites

1 tsp vanilla paste

A few drops each of different food colourings

Method

This is a precise recipe, so make sure you read through the method carefully before you start, get all your ingredients weighed out and get your equipment ready to go. Sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl. Finely sift half the mixture over a deep baking tray (20cm x 30 cm) and set the other half aside in the sieve until later.

Mix the liquid glucose syrup and caster sugar together in a pan over a low heat with 250ml of cold water. Heat gently, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved and you have a clear syrup.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a small pan with 125ml of water.

Once the sugar syrup is clear, turn up the heat, pop in a sugar thermometer and allow the syrup to boil vigorously (please don’t stir it). When it reaches 110ºC, place the gelatine pan over a medium heat and stir until dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites in a free-standing electric mixer until you have stiff peaks.

Once your syrup has reached 122ºC, very carefully and slowly pour it down the sides of the bowl of the moving mixer, then pour in the dissolved gelatine.

Add the vanilla paste to the mixer bowl, then continue to whisk for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture has significantly increased in volume, but is thick and still pourable.

Have several bowls (one for each colour) ready, with a few drops of your chosen colours in each bowl. Once the marshmallow is whisked, pour into each of the bowls. Mix the colours through the marshmallow. You’ll need to work quickly, as the marshmallow will start to set.

Then pour each marshmallow mixture into the prepared tray. You can use your creativity here, in the way you place the colours. I used a skewer to swirl the colours together. You can smooth the top if you like, with a palette knife, but I like the rough effect. Sift over the remaining mixed cornflour and icing sugar and leave to set for two to three hours. Cut into squares and store in grease proof  paper in a tin. Keeps well for a week or two or three!

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Butternut Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Tikka Masala + Easy Flatbreads

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I love a mildly spiced curry and I’m keen on replacing meat with vegetable options, particularly when the sauce in a dish carries all the flavour. Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Tikka Masala from his lovely book Comfort Food is a great recipe, and easy to make –  see my post for his Chicken Tikka Masala.

So I have made a version of the dish using butternut pumpkin and sweet potato instead of chicken. For the curry paste, I used a Jamie recipe from his website on Easy Homemade Curry Pastes.  My variation was that I added turmeric to the paste rather than to the curry.

I then used the concept of the original chicken recipe, with veggies instead. The recipe that follows is my take on those Jamie originals.  My quantities for the actual curry are enough for 4. I used half the curry paste and I have frozen the rest for later.

I also made the easiest flatbreads ever, another Jamie recipe of course!

Tikka Masala Paste

Ingredients

2 cloves garlic

1 thumb-sized piece fresh root ginger

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tbs smoked paprika

2 tsp garam masala

2  tsp turmeric

½ tsp sea salt

2 tbs peanut oil (groundnut oil)

2 tbs tomato puree

2 fresh red chillies

1 small bunch fresh coriander

1 tbs desiccated coconut

2 tbs ground almonds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

Method

First peel the garlic and ginger. Put a frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the spices for toasting to the dry pan. Lightly toast them for a few minutes until golden brown and smelling delicious, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the toasted spices to a pestle and mortar and grind until fine, or put them into a food processor and whiz to a powder.  Whiz the toasted spices in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients until you have a smooth paste.

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The Curry

1 tbs peanut oil (groundnut oil)

2 onions

2 cloves of garlic

½ butternut pumpkin (squash)

1 large sweet potato

1 x 400 g tin of tomatoes

1 chicken stock cube

1x 400 g tin of light coconut milk

Method

Heat  the oil in heavy bottomed casserole. Peel the onions and garlic and put into the casserole on a medium to high heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until the onions are golden, stirring regularly. Add half the quantity of the curry paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the butternut pumpkin and sweet potato chopped into rough chunks and cook for 5 minutes until the vegetables are starting to soften. Pour in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube and add 150ml of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the coconut milk. Simmer for a final 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft but still intact.

Serve with whatever you usually have with your curry – I made easy flatbreads and had some yoghurt on the side.

Flatbreads

Ingredients

175g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

Pinch of  salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

175g natural yoghurt

Method

Add the flatbread ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon, then use clean hands to pat and bring everything together. Dust a clean work surface with flour, then tip out the dough. Knead for a minute or so to bring it all together – don’t need to knead it for long – just enough time to bring everything together.

Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour, then divide the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces, roughly the size of a golf ball. With your hands, pat and flatten the dough, then use a rolling pin to roll each piece into 12cm rounds, roughly 2mm to 3mm thick.Use a knife to cut 6 lines into the centre of each round, leaving about 3cm at each end. Place a griddle pan on a high heat, then once hot, cook each one for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until bar-marked and puffed up, turning with tongs.

I cooked the flatbreads directly on the bars of the barbecue  – it worked fine, but you don’t want the heat too high as the flatbreads can scorch.

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Jamie Oliver’s Marshmallows

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I love Jamie Oliver’s recent book Comfort Food http://www.jamieoliver.com/comfortfood/

It has some brilliant reworkings of classics as well as some innovative new recipes. One of my favorite cakes is Jamie’s Hummingbird Cake, which I have recreated in a previous post, see here.

I made Marvelous Marshmallows this weekend. They are really quite straight forward, but as Jamie notes, the recipe is precise so read it carefully first and follow the instructions exactly.

These delicate, pillowy marshmallows are fabulous to look at and even better to eat. I flavoured mine with rosewater, and coloured with rose pink food colour.

Beware – or like me, you’ll end up covered in icing sugar if you eat them without suitable covering!

PS Thank you to hens Maxine and Honey who provided the eggs for the recipe. You are the best!

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Here is Jamie’s recipe as is without tweaks.

Ingredients

50 g cornflour

50g icing sugar

50 g liquid glucose syrup) get it from the supermarket or a chemist)

450 g caster sugar

10 sheet gelatin

2 large free-range egg whites

2 vanilla pods

1 ½ tsp natural food colouring (optional)

Choose your flavour: rose water, orange blossom water, natural lemon extract, natural orange extract or natural peppermint extract

Method

This is a precise recipe, so make sure you read through the method carefully before you start, get all your ingredients weighed out and get your equipment ready to go. You’ll be working with hot sugar and syrups, so it’s best to keep your kids out of the kitchen until those marshmallows are cooling, ready to eat.

Sift the cornflour and icing sugar into a bowl. Finely sift half the mixture over a deep baking tray (20cm x 30 cm) and set the other half aside in the sieve until later.

Mix the liquid glucose syrup and caster sugar together in a pan over a low heat with 250 mL of cold water. Heat gently, stirring until all the sugar has dissolved and you have a clear syrup.

Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a small pan with 125 mL of water.

Once the sugar syrup is clear, turn up the heat, pop in a sugar thermometer and allow the syrup to boil vigorously (please don’t stir it). When it reaches 110ºC, place the gelatine pan over a medium heat and stir until dissolved.

Whisk the egg whites in a free-standing electric mixer until you have stiff peaks.

Once your syrup has reached 122ºC, very carefully and slowly pour it down the sides of the bowl of the moving mixer, then pour in the dissolved gelatine.

Halve the vanilla pods lengthways and scrape out the seeds, add the seeds to the mixer bowl, then continue to whisk for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture has significantly increased in volume, but is thick and still pourable.

You can have a plain white vanilla marshmallow, or you can add any of the flavours listed, to taste (remembering to start small as you can always add more, but you can’t take it away!). Add any natural food colouring at the same time (if using) – I like to try to match the colour of the marshmallow to the flavour I’m using, whisking for a further 2 to 3 minutes to give you a nice even colour and flavour. Either way, pour the marshmallow mixture into your prepared tray, use a palette knife to smooth it out, then sift over the remaining mixed cornflour and icing sugar and leave somewhere cool for 2 to 3 hours, or until set and soft.

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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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Devil’s Double Choc Malt Cookies

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This is a another great recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food.  The cookies are really easy to make.
The recipe is quite unusual –  condensed milk instead of sugar for the ingredients, and there are no eggs. The method is different from a normal cookie recipe too. Jamie suggests serving a couple of cookies sandwiched together with vanilla ice cream  – I thought that mascarpone might be nice –  it doesn’t melt and it’s not too sweet.

 

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Ingredients
50 g unsalted butter
200 g quality dark chocolate
1 x 396 g tin of condensed milk
25 g ground almonds
2 heaped teaspoons Horlicks*
200 g self-raising flour
100 g Malteasers
50 g quality white chocolate
* I omitted the Horlicks – I didn’t have any – and the cookies still tasted quite malty with just the Malteasers.
Method
Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan on a low heat until smooth and combined, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the condensed milk, followed by the almonds andHorlicks. Sift in the flour and a pinch of sea salt, mix together, then chill in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes (no longer). Once cool, but still pliable,smash up theMaltesers and roughly chop the white chocolate, then mix it all together.Preheat the oven to 170° degrees C. Divide the mixture into 24 equal-sized balls and place on a couple of large baking trays lined withgreaseproof or baking paper. Flatten each a little (you can freeze them at this stage to bake another day if you like),  then bake for around 12 minutes, or until chewy in the middle and firm at the edges. Leave to sit in the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Serve on the cookies their own, or sandwich together with ice cream, whipped cream or mascarpone. Scatter over chocolate shavings or drizzle with melted chocolate.
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