SATURDAY COOKING: VIETNAMESE BEEF CURRY

This recipe comes from Pete Evans’s cookbook “One pot wonder”. Another delicious recipe to try. It will serve 4-6.

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1.2kg beef cheeks, cut into 2.5cm cubes
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon coconut sugar (optional)
sae salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 red Asian shallots, cut into 1cm thick slices
1 carrot, chopped
4cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, sliced
650ml beef or chicken bone broth or water
3 tablespoons fish sauce
300ml coconut cream
1 large handful of water spinach or spinach leaves
1 large handful of Vietnamese mint leaves
lime wedges, to serve

Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
    2. Combine the beef cheeks, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne pepper and coconut sugar (if using) in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, cover and marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes.
    3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and carrot and cook for 4 minutes until slightly soft. Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minutes until the garlic starts to colour and is fragrant. Remove from the dish and set aside.
    4. Wipe the dish clean and melt the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the marinated beef and cook for 5 minutes until well browned. Return all the meat and the garlic, shallot, carrot and ginger to the dish, pour in the broth and fish sauce and bring to a simmer.
    5. Cover the dish with the lid and transfer to the oven to cook for 2½ hours until the meat is tender. Stir in the coconut cream and cook, uncovered, on the stovetop over medium heat for a further 5 minutes.
    6. Season the curry with salt and pepper, if needed, and fold in the spinach. Scatter the Vietnamese  mint leaves over the top and serve with the lime wedges on the side.
    7. Eat!

I used the coconut sugar because I had some at home, but you could use brown sugar instead. I used vegetable oil instead of coconut oil and I used beef stock. I added a mix of rocket and spinach leaves at the end. If you can’t find beef cheeks, use chuck or gravy beef. But the cheeks are beautiful.
I cooked the beef at 150°C for 3½ hours. Then I reduced the whole thing on the stovetop before adding the coconut cream.
I ate with vegetables and rice.

SATURDAY COOKING: SLOW BAKE CHICKEN, TOMATO AND OLIVE

I can’t remember where I got this recipe from. It’s super easy to make and super yummy.
It’s for 6 but I did it for me and only used 2 chicken marylands.

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6 × 350g chicken marylands, trimmed
1/2 bunch thyme
4 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 tbl lemon zest
250g cherry tomatoes
1 cup (280g) tomato purée
1/2 cup red wine
5 anchovies
1/2 cup (120g) mixed olives
salt and pepper

Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place all ingredients in a large heavy based saucepan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with a tight-fitting lid.
    2. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the lid, increase oven temperature to 200°C and bake a further 30 minutes until the skin is golden.
    3. Eat!

I used some Dolmio tomato sauce instead of tomato purée and I added sliced mushrooms.

SATURDAY COOKING: CARROT SOUP WITH COCONUT CREAM

My neighbour cooked this soup for one of our driveway parties. It’s awesome! The flavours are so good and it’s a simple recipe.
It will serve 4-6.

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1 tbs olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 small red chilli, seeds removed, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
500g carrots, chopped
1 kumara (400g), chopped (that’s sweet potato)
4 kaffir lime leaves, 2 whole, 2 finely shredded
1l (4 cups) chicken stock
2 tbs palm sugar or brown sugar
2 tbs fish sauce
juice of 1/2 lime
200ml coconut cream
150ml thickened cream
1/3 cup (25g) toasted shredded coconut

Method:

    1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion and cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
    2. Add garlic, chilli, ginger, carrot, kumara, whole kaffir lime leaves and stock. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20-25 minutes until vegetables are tender.
    3. Remove kaffir lime leaves and discard. Set aside mixture in saucepan to cool slightly. Using a blender or stick blender, blend soup to a smooth purée, then return to the pan over medium-low heat. Add palm sugar ( or brown sugar), fish sauce, lime juice and half the coconut cream, then stir to combine.
    4. Meanwhile, using electric beaters or a balloon whisk, whisk together the thickened cream and remaining 100ml coconut cream to soft peaks.
    5. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, then swirl through a spoonful of the coconut cream mixture. Top with shredded kaffir lime leaves and toasted shredded coconut.
    6. Eat!

I didn’t make the coconut cream mixture. I just added the shredded lime leaves and toasted coconut.

Monday Lifelines

From “The little book of stress” by Kaz Cooke.

Gardening: that yard is full of thorns and poisonous thingies. Get a noisy weed whacker and lay into it. With a bit of luck, it may lead to another fight with the neighbours.

Have a baby, move house and get divorced at the same time. You might also like to begin a new job and come out of the closet, just to get everything over and done with at once.

Practice frowning and sneering. These expressions take more muscle work than smiling and will therefore give your face a good work-out.

Try to be funny all the time. Everyone likes a laugh, so make sure you slip a pun into every sentence. If nobody laughs, try two or three puns.

Put each sock in a different drawer. This will present more of a challenge when you’re late for work.

FashionAdvisor: Christmas in July

Today is Christmas in July. For some of us here in Australia, it’s a chance to pretend we are in Europe in December, being cold and eating hearty meals. Not prawns on the barbie like we actually do in December when it is 40°C outside…
For such a special occasion, you need a special outfit. Something you can wear in winter with white leggings, white boots and a white skivvy (totally gross mental picture!) but that is also suitable for a hot summer day… Something cute, but also totally dag and ghastly.
This will be PERFECT with a blond wig!
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And if you are wondering what this is, it’s a plum pudding dress…
Merry Christmas! Only 6 months to wait for Santa!