Posts Tagged: beef

Dec 10

Beefed up


I love a recipe that’s virtually a one-pot wonder and a real crowd pleaser. Rather than faff around with pots and pans, cooking things in the oven and under the grill to put dinner together, this rendang recipe is all done in the one pot and is astoundingly good.

I’ve cooked it twice in the past couple of weeks – which will probably do for a little while as it is quite the rich dish. That’s a good thing though – just over a kilo of meat will easily feed 8-10 people.

It’s definitely one for the patient though – the ingredients take a short while to prepare but the simmering and reducing take three tantalising hours – the smell is incredible, aromatic, fragrant and will have you starving by the time it comes to the table.

The last few minutes of cooking while the coconut milk boils off and the beef begins to fry in the coconut oil are a little hairy – but stick with it, don’t panic and the results will astound. I normally serve this with a flatbread or naan, some finely sliced cucumber and red onion, a dollop of yogurt and a good sprinkling of mint, although rice would also be great. Serve with a lime cheek on the side to squeeze over.

Click here for my recipe for beef rendang

Aug 09

An Asian-American classic


Peanut butter is a great ingredient – both delicious and versatile. It’s one of those things that I sometimes forget about and find a jar lurking in the back of the fridge. I’m not a fussy one either – I’m just as happy with Sunpat as I am with the premium organic varieties, although it must be the crunchy one though.
I’m a big fan of the American classic PBJ – the combination of peanut butter and jam on buttered toast is a thing of greatness.  Peanut butter is the key addition alongside chocolate in my peanut butter brownie cookies.
They use it in the Victoria kitchen to make a fantastic ice cream – peanut butter is mixed into the traditional custard base and served on a devilishly dark cookie.

A chocolate and peanut butter milkshake is one of my guilty pleasures.

Peanut butter does make a great savoury ingredient too – and it was as a last minute addition to the classic South East Asian salad dressing of lime juice, chilli, fish sauce and palm sugar that it now comes before you.

A very large pestle and mortar are ideal here, but a whisk and bowl would work equally well.  Feel free to replace the beef with grilled chicken or even fish.

Thai beef salad with peanut dressing

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 sirloin or fillet steaks weighing approx 200g each
  • 4 tomatoes or 8 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ a cucumber
  • 1 red onion or 10 thai pink shallots
  • A couple of handfuls of bean sprouts
  • Handful of chopped coriander
  • Handful of chopped mint
  • 1 tsp ground rice (method below)

For the dressing

  • 2 tbs palm sugar
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 1-2 bird’s eye chillis
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 4 tbs peanut butter


First make the ground rice. This is traditionally done with sticky rice but feel free to use basmati. Toast the uncooked rice in a frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until golden brown. Crush in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder until you have a fairly fine powder. Set aside.

Cook the steaks on a griddle to your liking – I’d suggest medium rare for this recipe.
To make the dressing, crush the chillies in a pestle and mortar. Use one if you don’t like it too hot. Add the rest of the dressing ingredients and gentle bash it together. It will look like it won’t come together but then suddenly it will. Taste the dressing as it may need more fish sauce or lime juice.

Quarter the tomatoes, seed and dice the cucumber, finely slice the red onion and mix together with the bean sprouts and the herbs. Add half the dressing and toss to coat. Place the salad on a plate and then slice the steak and put this on top of the salad. Drizzle with the remaining dressing, scatter over the ground rice and serve.

May 09

Bring out the barbie for national barbecue week


May 25-31 is national barbecue week and this weekend is supposed to be a scorcher with temperatures happily sitting around 22-ish degrees. What better excuse to get the barbecue out and enjoy a lazy evening in the garden, sipping cold beers while slices of lime and meat, fish and vegetables sizzle away?

There’s nothing quite like the British barbecue. I’ve even barbecued in the rain before – which I’m sure would make our antipodean cousins chuckle as they cook over coals in their tropical afternoon sun.

The flavour of food that comes off the hot barbecue is unique – the charring gives it a delicious depth and crunch like nothing else, and I suppose is as close as most of us will come at home to the grill that most restaurants have. It imparts a distinctly smoky flavour to whatever you’re cooking.

Boned out chicken thighs are my current favourite. With just the right balance of fat and meat, the skin blackens in places and goes crisp and moreish. A squeeze of lime or lemon juice over the top is all your really need. I always pop a few extra on teh grill to use over the next few days as they just sing with flavour. Tossed through a salad or shredded into a sandwich with a dollop of mayonnaise and a drizzle of hot sauce they have few equals.

If you fancy trying something a little more adventurous than the usual sausages and burgers, take a look at our spiced skewered lamb or beef and red pepper burgers. And this halloumi, nectarine and prosciutto salad makes a nice accompaniment.

Click here to view all our fantastic barbecue recipes.

Mar 09

A celebration of the pie


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In case you are still sadly unaware, this week is British pie week ( – celebration of the humble delight which runs from March 2-8.


A pie in my mind is quintessentially British. First referenced in literary works of 800 years ago, they remain a key element of the UK’s culinary tradition.


While originally designed to protect the contents, these days pastry has become an art form in itself. A flaky layer of puff pastry covering a creamy chicken pie studded with gleaming peas is a thing of beauty. While a well-made shortcrust over a filling of slowly braised beef, carrots and mushrooms can be equally divine.


My first thought at mention of a pie is a savoury one, but I love tart, sharp-tasting fruits like bramley apples, coxes, plums, damsons and rhubarb. And a pie without a lid is a tart. But is a tart a pie?


I’d like to think so, otherwise we’d be missing out on a glorious range of culinary ideas. A good apple pie should be sharp, coupled with a crisp, sweet pastry and a good spoonful of silky clotted cream. The only way to improve on such a thing might be the addition of a few blackberries. Then, bursting at the seams, it should be eaten while your fingers are still stained purple from picking them.

The pinnacle of pie-making, though, is a much more regal thing – the pork pie.


A hot-water pastry crust encases a dense, meaty, fat-speckled filling surrounded by a layer of unctuous jelly. The jelly is the divider. Some can’t stand its texture, others adore the wobbly, gelatinous layer.


Historically, the pie was invented as a means of transporting meat for men on the hunt; the crust designed to withstand a bashing around while kept in the pocket. Fact or fable, who knows! Who cares, when they taste as good as they do?

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