Boeuf Bourguignon


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My brother, Michael, organizes a ‘world cuisine’ lunch or dinner were our friends and family can gather to catch up and enjoy good food. We pick a different theme each time we get together, the latest being French cuisine. We usually post on the Facebook page he created what each of us is going ot make, so we don’t make the same dishes. I choose to try the boeuf burguignon. Why did I chose this dish you ask?… well I forgot to prepare a meal and my husband kindly reminded me that the lunch was happening the Sunday just gone. Luckily, we were at the supermarket, so I quickly googled French cuisine and chose the first non-chicken based dish I could find (everyone else was doing chicken). I think this came out really nice. It is so simple to make and very tasty!

INGREDIENTS

1.2kg chuck steak, trimmed of fat, cut into 4cm cubes
1/4 cup plain flour
20g butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
150g small button mushrooms
200g bacon, cut into 3cm cubes
12 eschalots or spring onions, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
1 cup red wine (such as shiraz or cabernet sauvignon)
1 1/2 cups beef consomme or stock (preferably home made)
1 bouquet garni
flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, to serve

METHOD

Step 1

Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly coat meat with flour. Heat a large, ovenproof casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add 10g butter and 2 teaspoons oil. When butter and oil are sizzling, add one-sixth of meat and cook for 6 minutes or until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining meat, adding more butter and oil as required.

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Step 2

Add mushrooms to casserole and cook, stirring often, until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside until required. Add bacon, eschalots and carrot to casserole. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until golden. Drain away any remaining oil. Pour wine and consomme into casserole. Bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen sediment on base of casserole. Return beef to casserole with bouquet garni. Cover and place in oven.

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Step 3

Cook for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and add mushrooms. Return to oven, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove bouquet garni and season with salt and pepper. Spoon casserole onto plates, garnish with parsley and serve with Pommes Anna (recipe published soon).

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Try this for yourself and let me know what you think? What other French inspired dishes do you like?

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Bouquet Garni


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The bouquet garni (French for “garnished bouquet”) is a bundle of herbs usually tied together with string and mainly used to prepare soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is cooked with the other ingredients, but is removed prior to consumption.

There is no generic recipe for bouquet garni, but most recipes include thyme and bay leaf. Depending on the recipe, the bouquet garni may also include parsley, basil, burnet, chervil, rosemary, peppercorns, savory and tarragon. Vegetables such as carrot, celery (leaves or leaf stalks), celeriac, leek, onion and parsley root are sometimes included in the bouquet.

Sometimes, the bouquet is not bound with string, and its ingredients are filled into a small sachet, a net, or even a tea strainer, instead. Traditionally, the aromatics are bound within leek leaves, though a coffee filter (or cheesecloth) and butcher twine can be used, instead.

Dishes made with a bouquet garni include:

Boeuf bourguignon
Pot au feu
Brown Windsor soup
Poule au pot
Carbonnade flamande
Lapin chasseur
Blanquette de veau
Ossobuco
Bouillabaisse
Court-bouillon
French onion soup
Cassoulet

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bouquet_garni

Cake Decorating Basics #10


Cupcake Frosting Technique using Wilton Tip #67

This is such a cute frosting technique! The tip is actually a leaf decorating tip, so I would never have thought to use it in this fashion. It’s so simple, yet so effective! Thank you ‘strawberrychicblog’ for sharing this!

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What do you think of this technique? Any other suggestions?

Toblerone Non-Bake Cheese Cake


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This is one of my most requested desserts! So easy to prepare and make. No baking required.

**You can use any type of chocolate you like

INGREDIENTS

BASE
1 packet plain chocolate biscuits
*(I use Arnott’s Choc Ripple and usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of packet)
80g butter, melted
1/4 cup almonds (optional)

FILLING
500g block PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
*(I generally use 250g of Original and 250g of Light)
*(I wouldn’t recommend 500g of Light… not as tasty)
1/2 cup caster sugar
200g TOBLERONE** Milk or Dark Chocolate, melted
*(I’m a HUGE chocolate fan and have used 600g chocolate)
1/2 cup thickened cream

TOPPING
200g TOBLERONE** Milk or Dark Chocolate for shaving

METHOD

Biscuit Base
1.
 Lighty grease or line with baking paper a 20cm baking dish/springform pan.
2. Put biscuits into a food processor and process until fine crumbs. Transfer to mixing bowl.
3. Put almonds into a food processor and roughly chop. Add to biscuit crumbs.
4. Add melted butter to biscuit and almond mixture.
(I know I said 80g butter, but I would add small bits at a time in case you don’t need the whole 80g. Basically… you want to add enough butter to get the biscuit crumbs to combine).
5. Once combined, put biscuit crumb base into the pan and use hand to distribute evenly on the base.
6. Place in fridge to chill.

Cheese Cake Layer
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer until smooth.
3. Melt Toblerone**
4. Add in the melted Toblerone** and cream to the cream cheese mixture and beat until well combined.
5. Pour mixture onto the prepared crumb base and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours until set, or overnight.
6. Serve topped with the Toblerone** shavings.

So easy. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

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Lamb Tagine with Butternut Pumpkin & Chickpeas


This is a modified recipe from ‘It’s all good’ by Gwyneth Paltrow.
I made this for ‘what-was-meant-to-be’ dinner last night, which is now lunch and dinner today.
I decided to make a Chicken & Kale Soup and this Lamb Tagine at the same time. Another one of my genius ideas, and I would have pulled it off if I had properly prepared myself. Again, I just didn’t realised how much time was needed to cook this dish, which I would have if I had read the instructions.  Anyway… I got there in the end and I must say, this is absolutely delicious!
I have modified the recipe from the original, not intentionally, but I thought I was growing cilantro (coriander) in the garden. I sent my husband to get some and he returned with flat leaf parsley and basil. Turns out, my coriander is M.I.A, I assume it’s either been eaten by the possums or died. So, since it was late and it was going to take 2 hours to cook, I decided to use my flat leaf parsley. I don’t know what the marinade is actually meant to taste like, but I can assure you, my modified herb choice is fantastic!

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Ingredients:
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, plus extra to serve
3 teaspoons minced garlic
2-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled
1 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea Salt
1 kg boneless lamb cut into 2-inch cubes (I used a roasting lamb)
500mls chicken stock
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
700g butternut pumpkin, seeded, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 small lemon, finely chopped

Method:
1. Combine 1/2 cup parsley leaves, garlic, ginger, onion, cumin, pepper, olive oil and a large pinch of salt in a blender. Blend until everything is completely puréed.
2. Place lamb in a large bowl and pour the marinade over it. Use your hands or a spoon to thoroughly coat the lamb.
(Now… the original recipe says to cover the marinaded lamb and refrigerate for 6 hours. Since I didn’t have this luxury  I think I left it for all of 20 mins while I prepared the next few steps and waited for the oven to heat up).
3. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
4. Put lamb, along with all marinade, into a large pot and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occassionally, until completely browned all over.
5. Once lamb is browned, add the chicken stock. Bring this to the boil, scraping the sides and bottom often. Turn the heat off.

6.
If you own a tagine
Transfer the lamb and chicken stock into the tagine, put lid on and place in oven to cook for 1 1/2 hours.

If you don’t own a tagine, as per ‘It’s all good”
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit inside the pot, crunch it up into a ball, and wet it. Smooth out the damp paper and lay it over the lamb like a blanket (this will help keep in the moisture). Put lid on pot and place in oven for 1 1/2 hours.

7. Take the lid off (and if using a pot, set parchment paper aside). Stir in chickpeas and pumpkin.
8. Put lid back on (if using pot, relay parchment paper over lamb). Put back in oven and cook for final 30 minutes.
(I will admit, while my tagine makes enough food for 6, when I added the pumpkin and chickpeas, I had to remove some of the marinade/sauce as it was overflowing. I put this extra marinade in a small bowl and added it back to the lamb when I transferred it into a larger dish)
9. Season with salt and pepper (mine didn’t need it). Served with lemon and extra parsley. I also served mine with quinoa.

The art of living like Gwyneth

it-s-all-good

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Chicken & Kale Soup


I was looking at ways to change my eating habits and experiment with new recipes. I came across Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook ‘It’s all good’ and thought I’d give her recipes a go.
As most of you know, all good cooks read a recipe all the way through before starting. I skimmed the recipe and thought.. too easy. Sent my husband to buy the ingredients while I was at work, and got home at 530pm to start cooking. I was off to a good start, putting the chicken with vegetables on and went onto the next step and realised, oh… step 1 is simply making a stock and it’s wasting good veggies, plus it’s gonna take 2 hours! So by the time I got the stock on, it was 630pm which meant we wouldn’t be eating this until around 830-9pm. Wow… had not expected this, even though it was clearly written! And I was starving! So, I baked some extra chicken breast with left over parmigiana sauce (which took 30mins in the oven to cook through), and I started taking some of the leek, celery, carrot and onion from the stock pot and served it with the chicken breast. Soup would be for dinner the tomorrow night.
Even though I took some of the veggies out of the stock pot, it didn’t affect the taste of the stock. The stock has such a rich, smooth taste to it. Perfect for winter! So I guess I’m reminding you all… A) read the recipe through and B) be patient.
This chicken and kale soup has a slight variation to the recipe in the cookbook.

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Ingredients:
1 whole chicken (uncooked) or 1.2kg whole chicken breast
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large leek, washed and roughly chopped (stalk and leaves)
3 large carrots (1 peeled and roughly chopped, 2 peeled and diced)
1 yellow onion, quartered
3 bay leaves
2 leafy springs of thyme
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 bunch kale, leaves stripped off stalks into bite-sized pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt

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Method:
1. Combine the chicken, celery, leek, roughly chopped carrot, onion, bay leaves, thyme, whole black peppercorns, and large pinch of salt in a large pot and cover with cold water.
2. Bring this to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
3. Strain the stock into a clean pot (or transfer into bowl and reuse the pot you are using) and discard the cooked vegetables.
(If you have a problem with wasting good food, like I do, I saved the cooked vegetables and served them with chicken breast the following night. Alternatively, make a hot pot).

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4. Pull the meat off the whole chicken or get your chicken breast and roughly dice. Add the chicken to your stock, along with remaining carrots and kale.
5. Simmer for a further 20 minutes. Add additional ground pepper and salt to taste.

The art of living like Gwyneth

it-s-all-good

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