Beef and mushroom daube

A daube is a casserole or stew, basically. The word is French and covers all manner of different dishes that all share a few basic ideas. They involve cooking meat, usually beef, for a longish period of time over a low heat, together with wine, vegetables, aromatics and other seasonings and herbs.

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Crespelle with beef, parmesan and spinach stuffing

Crespelle are the Italian equivalent of the French crêpes, pancakes basically.

Mine were made with two large eggs, plain flour, a pinch of salt and milk, all whisked up to produce a batter as thick as double cream. I can’t give accurate measures, I judge it by eye. After this had stood for a while, the crespelle were cooked normally in a non-stick crêpe pan and set aside. Continue reading

Barbecue-style brisket

This was inspired by watching the Adam Richman TV series, Man v Food.

Obviously, I don’t have access to those huge barbecue ovens that all the restaurants on the show have, but I thought that pot-roasting a piece of brisket would work after a fashion.

I started this off on Friday morning by making a dry rub from the following; soft brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, smoked sweet and picante pimenton, chipotle powder, dried oregano, dried thyme and powdered cinnamon which I rubbed all over the meat in a large plastic freezer bag.

This was then left in the fridge for 24 hours.

On Saturday morning I sliced up a couple of carrots and onions (skin included) and put them in an enamelled iron oven pot. I added a couple oof dried chillies, a few bay leaves and a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary. I put the brisket on top and poured in most of a bottle of cheap white wine that would make up a gravy and provide steam while the meat was cooking. I sealed the pot with tin foil and put on the lid and then put this in a low (120C) oven for about four and a half hours. After that. I turned off the oven but left the pot in the oven, to get the benefit of the remaining heat.

On Saturday evening, I poured off the rick stock and reduced it down in a saucepan.

The meat was wrapped in foil and warmed through in the oven while some jacket potatoes were cooking.

To serve, I made a kind of coleslaw with red and white cabbage, grated carrots and sliced red onions in a mustardy vinaigrette made with olive oil and cider vinegar.

The spuds were topped with butter and grated cheese and the reduced gravy poured over the incredibly tender meat.


Merguez-spiced meatballs with couscous

These meatballs were made from leftover sausagement from the Yotam Ottolenghi sausage rolls I made previously.

I fried them in olive oil while I made a simple spicy vegetable stew with aubergines, courgettes, celery, peppers, white cabbage and onions, all cut into roughly the same-sized pieces and cooked in olive oil and flavoured with a spice mix of ground ginger, ground cumin, paprika, saffron and pimenton piccante, which was simmered with some water with the meatballs on top until the vegetables were cooked.

This was served with couscous and some chilli sauce to make a tasty evening meal.

Beef and peppers in black bean sauce

This was a real success. It is one of the dishes that I like to order in Chinese restaurants and I fancied making it for myself.

I used a couple of those minute steaks that you occasionally see but rump also would work well.

I sliced the meat thinly and marinated it for about half an hour in Shaoxing rice wine, sesame oil, sugar and light soy sauce.

The other ingredients I used were one red and one green pepper, sliced into strips, a small bunch of spring onions, trimmed and sliced into short lengths, beansprouts, a few quartered chestnut mushrooms, two crushed garlic cloves, a heaped tablespoon of black bean sauce and some cornflour paste.

i heated a wok and added some sunflower oil. When this was hot I threw in the peppers, garlic, mushrooms and spring onions, stirring them so they cooked without burning.

Then I added in the beef with its marinade and cooked this for about a minute before adding the beansprouts and black bean sauce.

I carried on cooking for another minute and then added in the cornflour paste, which thickened the sauce almost immediately.

I had already cooked some noodles, which I tossed in sesame oil and served the beef and peppers on top of the noodles.