Our latest feast

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Goulash Tirolese aka Tyrolean Beef Stew

I know a lot of my friends and family think I am made for menu planning.  But although I look nerdy and to some a control freak there are benefits to being organised. A major benefit is that I have meals I want to try and know how long they are going to take to prepare and cook.  This means that I can not only work out which meals are suitable for weeknights and which meals take a little more time.  It also means that from menu planning I create a shopping list and therefore have all the ingredients needed in one shop to pull off a week of cooking.  Totally win win for me... sadly totally outrageous to others.

Needless to say I love finding new recipes to try and share with our friends and family and you, the readers of my blog.

Anyway - I would like to introduce you to Gennaro Contaldo. Gennaro was born in Amalfi, Italy, and came to public attention as the chef who inspired Jamie Oliver when they worked together at Antonio Carluccio’s Neal Street restaurant.  He also co-presents the BBC2 Two Greedy Italians series with Carluccio and has published several cookbooks, including the recently released Slow Cook Italian, from which he shares the following recipe for Goulash Tirolese (Tyrolean beef stew).

“This classic stew from the Trentino-Alto Adige or South Tyrol region of northern Italy is slow cooked with onions, cumin and paprika – its distinct central European flavour is influenced by neighbouring Austria,” he writes in the recipe introduction.

To read this recipe was a pleasure but I must say to cook it and stand in my kitchen just smelling the Goulash (occasionally tasting it because I had too) was an honour.  I am so glad that I tried this recipe.  The flavour matched the aroma that filled the house.  The ease of the recipe was unbelievable especially compared to the flavour.

A very robust goulash style stew with only a few ingredients.  The beef was very tender and the pieces of pancetta that laced the thick sauce were tasty and added a salty yet salty element to the dish.  As we are not a polenta loving household (I am the only one that likes it) we had mashed potatoes to make ensure comfort food status was achieved.

Goulash Tirolese aka Tyrolean Beef Stew
(Recipe sourced from Indaily.com - Slow Cook Italian)

Serves: 4

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, sliced
100g pancetta, cubed
About 1 litre (4 cups) hot vegetable stock
1kg stewing beef, cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 tsp paprika
2 sprigs thyme
freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and sweat the onions on a medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time to prevent sticking, until softened. Remove and set aside.

Add the pancetta to the pan and cook on a medium heat until coloured but not burnt. Remove from the pan and set aside. 

Return the onions to the pan, add about 3 tablespoons of stock and cook for a minute or so until the liquid has evaporated.

Add the beef, increase the heat and brown the meat all over.

Add 100ml (scant ½ cup) of stock, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook very gently for 30 minutes, then add another 100ml of stock and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Stir in the garlic, cumin, paprika, thyme and pancetta.

Add 400 ml of stock, cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for a further 1 hour, gradually adding more stock and stirring from time to time to ensure the meat doesn’t stick.

Remove from the heat and serve with creamy polenta or mashed potato or crunchy bread.

For a slow cooker

Cook the onions, pancetta and beef as above.

Once the beef is browned add 750 ml (3 cups) stock, the garlic, cumin, paprika, thyme and pancetta.
Bring to the boil, stirring, then transfer to a large slow cooker pot, press the meat beneath the liquid, cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)

Monday, May 21, 2018

Kashmiri Lamb Korma

It was a miserable day, weather wise, and I had a curry planned on the menu so it was already a win win in my books.

The curry chosen for tonight wasn't a hot and spicy dish but rather a thick creamy mild comforting one.  Korma just means a mild curry. Yet, it is actually a very rich stew in which the meat, chicken or vegetables and nuts are braised in cream, yogurt or coconut milk. 

Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region in Indian. It borders Pakistan, Afganistan and China, the Tibetan region. Kashmir has its own special and traditional foods influenced by the climatic conditions and customs. Rich and redolent with the flavour of the spices used –cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, saffron, etc. Kashmiri food can be the simple meal of a family, or a 36-course wedding banquet called Wazawan. The staple diet of every Kashmiri is rice, the most preferred being the dense, slightly sticky grained Kashmir variety, which is prized in the Valley. Mutton, chicken or fish are of prime importance in Kashmiri meal and everyday cooking often combines vegetable and meat in the same dish.

Once again another curry made from scratch - no jar in sight.  The combination of spices was easy and not over complicated.  Cooked slowly the lamb was beautiful and tender, all most melt in your mouth.  Enveloped with a thick creamy sauce this recipe may not be completely authentic but with lots of spice and herbs, this delicious korma packs a punch of flavour which we all enjoyed.

Kashmiri Lamb Korma
(recipe adapted from Taste.com)

Serves: 4

60 grams ghee or butter
3 brown onions, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4 green cardamom pods, crushed
1 cinnamon stick
8 black peppercorns, crushed
6 whole cloves
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 kilogram lamb shoulder, cut into 3cm pieces
2 cups water
1 cup natural yoghurt
freshly ground black pepper
80 grams ground almond meal
additional water if required
toasted flaked almonds, to garnish
chopped coriander, to garnish

Heat the ghee in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden.

Add the turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, cumin, garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, chilli and paprika and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic.

Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until tomatoes are pulpy.

Add the lamb, stirring until completely covered with the tomato mixture.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the water and mix well.  Allow mixture to come back to a simmer.

Add the yoghurt and bring to a simmer, ensuring that you mix the yoghurt through completely.  Season with salt and pepper.

Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or until lamb is very tender and sauce thickens slightly.


Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.

Transfer to a large casserole and cook, covered in the oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally or until lamb is very tender and sauce thickens slightly.

Add almond meal and mix through well.  If too thick add a little water.

Spoon lamb into a serving bowl and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Serve with steamed rice, if desired, and coriander.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe).

Sunday, May 20, 2018

"Royal Engagement" Roast Chicken aka The Perfect Roast Chicken

Well everyone in the world knows what took place yesterday ... the Royal Wedding!   The wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle was held in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in the United Kingdom.  

It was a beautiful event fully televised and I thoroughly enjoyed spending most of my Saturday infront of the tv.  Growing up, like most girls, there is always the dream that I would grow up and meet my Prince Charming, be swept off my feet and live life like a princess! So while I pottered around doing my usual "Princessy" things such as putting the groceries away, cleaning, cooking and menu prepping I watched on in awe (and I guess a little jealousy) an event that will change history.  

Sunday, as most of you know, is family roast dinner day at the House of Murry (now seriously how regal does that sound?) and when possible I ensure that we do sit down for a roast dinner.  Giving the Royal Celebrations this week I thought we would have the "Engagement Chicken" that Meghan Markle cooked for Prince Harry the night that he proposed.  

In an interview from People November 2017 it was revealed that Prince Harry got down on one knee to propose while the couple was at home making roast chicken, the origin of the dish was from famous celebrity chef  and host of the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten — and it’s one of Meghan’s go-to recipes.  Ina Garten couldn’t be more pleased that her recipe is now part of the royal couple’s love story.

This recipe has been around for quite sometime despite it's new found fame.  The original recipe which I followed was published on Food Network in 1999 however since gaining celebrity status it has been revamped and can be found here.

The roast chicken itself is quite a plain dish when you read the recipe.  It's quite simple and easy to prepare.  However the decadent flavours from the thyme, lemon and garlic lacing the tender juicy meat which are cooked on a bed of roasted fennel, onions and carrots that are enveloped in the stunning chicken flavours contradict the simplicity of what you read.

Needless to say if it was good enough for Meghan's Prince would be good enough for mine and our loyal subjects?

Yes it was definitely was......

"Royal Engagement" Roast Chicken aka Perfect Roast Chicken
(Recipe sourced Ina Garten: Food Network)

Serves: 6 - 8

2 kilogram roasting chicken
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 large bunch fresh thyme, plus additional 20 sprigs
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced
4 carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb of fennel, tops removed, and cut into wedges
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Remove the chicken giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pin feathers and pat the outside dry. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, both halves of lemon, and all the garlic.

Brush the outside of the chicken with the butter and sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.

Place the onions, carrots, and fennel in a roasting pan. Toss with salt, pepper, 20 sprigs of thyme, and olive oil.

Spread around the bottom of the roasting pan and place the chicken on top.

Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Remove the chicken and vegetables to a platter and cover with aluminum foil for about 20 minutes.

Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the vegetables (or get one of your royal followers to do it for you LOL).  Accompany with other vegetables as desired.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Stir Fry Lamb Strips with Carrot, Mushrooms and Broccoli

One thing we don't cook enough with is Lamb.  It's one of those meats here in Australia that you can get a cheap leg or shoulder of lamb but all the other cuts are really expensive. We love lamb, especially a roast, but it's not on the menu very often.  Which is s shame.

I'd recently asked our son what he fancied for dinner and he replied "a lamb stir fry would be really nice Mam - we haven't had one of those for a long time". I thought this was an interesting answer but to be honest it's nothing out of the ordinary for anyone in our family to request something outside the norm.

I came across a new butchers,  Australian Butchers Store, near work (I normally buy all our meat over in Clayton) and I must say I was a little excited about this.   In fact I was pretty impressed with the butchers.  Having only opened recently it was my first chance to go in there and have a look around.  Needless to say the ban on my buying any meat for our freezer went out the window as I came home armed with lots of bargains which included lamb strips.

Using my old friend Google I started looking for a stir fry recipe to cook using the lamb strips.  this was a harder challenge than I thought.  There are actually not that many Asian recipes using lamb.  I finally came across a recipe that sounded really nice.  I hadn't noticed what site it was on but I started reading the recipe and thought to myself this sounds pretty good.  I will cook this and then I read on further only to start laughing at the serving suggestion given.... and couldn't stop laughing. 

Serving Suggestions
Serve with rice or potatoes or fill a pitta bread or tortilla wrap with the stir-fry.

To my surprise the recipe was actually on the Irish Food Board which I guess explains the potatoes??  Please if you are Irish do not take offence to this post - I thought the comment was magic.  I actually cooked this recipes (although I did adapt slightly) but served ours with rice noodles.  It was absolutely delicious and enjoyed by everyone.

The meat and vegetables were tender and laced with the sweetness of the hoisin sauce and traces of the Chinese five spice.  It was a simple dish but bold at the same time.  I would defintely suggest you give this Asian number a go.

Stir Fry Lamb Strips with Carrot, Mushrooms and Broccoli
(Recipe adapted from Bord Bia)

Serves: 6

200 grams dry thick rice noodles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
1/2 teaspoons Five Spice Powder
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons rice wine
freshly ground black pepper to taste
900 grams lean lamb strips
2 tablespoon oil
2 carrots thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
200 grams button mushrooms, sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
4 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Cook rice noodles as per packet instructions.  Drain and set aside.

Combine the garlic, ginger, five spice, soy sauce, rice wine and pepper together in a medium bowl.  Add in the lamb strips and mix well to combine.  Allow to stand for at least 30 minutes or longer if time permits.  

Heat half the oil in a wok or frying pan. Then add in the vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the wok. Stir-fry the lamb in 2 batches.

Return the vegetables to the wok, add back in the cooked lamb and stir in the hoisin sauce. Mix well together.

Place noodles on a a large serving platter and top with lamb stir fry.  Serve immediately.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Meatball Tomato and Mozzeralla Tray Bake

It's that time of year again - football season and winter.   When meals need to be quick and easy due to weeknight footy training, not to mention Saturday is game day and then there is always our social life to fit in.  

So it officially started this weekend for us.  Two football matches on Saturday (one in Carrum Downs and the other in Hastings).  Needless to say Saturday was busy until around 2pm. Saturday Night we went out for dinner with our beautiful friends, Tanya and Pete, whom we actually met through football.  We were all being "restaurant Guinea Pigs" as I had chosen a restaurant that none of us had been to before.

We had some amazing flavours at the Sun Wah last night - definitely had the taste buds jumping.  Everything on the menu sounded delicious so we all settled for the "Our Chef Degustation Menu".  Eight courses of amazing flavours and the presentation - wow it was magnificent.  This was the second time we had sat down for a Degustation feast - the first time was at Ten Minutes By Tractor.  I have to say we really enjoyed our first experience of a Degustation menu at the beautiful restaurant and winery in Main Ridge so needless to say I was definitely eager to see how the Chinese laid it our.  Our feast at the Sun Wah was as follows:

Amuse Bouche
Duck & Pork Croquette w. black truffle mayo

First Course
Ginger pear scallops, crispy pork belly, golden pearl sago, chilli jam

Second Course
Blue swimmer crab dumpling, Yarra Valley salmon caviar, clear consomme

Third Course
Twice cooked lamb rib, chilli jam, coriander

Fourth Course
Hopkins River grass fed eye fillet, eggplant, snake green beans, snow peas, mushrooms. teriyaki jus
Served with Special Fried Rice

Fifth Course
Roast Peking duck, steamed crepe, pickles, cucumber, hoi sin

Sixth Course
48° poached salmon, black bean, soy dressing with
dry fried spicy green beans

Seventh Course
Stuffed chicken w. minced prawns and mandarin jus

Eighth Course
Indulgence sharing dessert platter

Followed By Coffee and Tea
and Petit Fours 

Tonight's dinner truly had to be worthy of a king to match up with the food we ate last night.  LOL I am only kidding - tonight's dinner needed to be the perfect homemade meal.  A balanced meat and vegetable dish with lots of flavours.  This is a dish I have made a few times and it always goes down a treat.  Not only is it really easy, a fabulous one pot wonder, it is quick and manages to disappear.

Meatball Tomato and Mozzeralla Tray Bake
(Recipe adpated from Weight Watchers Australia)

Serves: 4
Smart Points per serve: 9

500 grams lean beef mince
3 shallots, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon rind, finely grated
2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
1/2 cup fresh wholegrain breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices)
1 egg
freshly ground black pepper
1 medium red capsicum, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
cooking spray
400 grams canned cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoons baby capers, rinsed, drained
100 grams bocconcini, torn
1/2 bunch fresh basil, leaves

Preheat oven to 200°C or 180°C fan-forced.

Combine mince, shallots, parsley, rind, chilli flakes, breadcrumbs and egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.  Roll level tablespoons of mixture into 24 meatballs.

Place meatballs, capsicum and zucchini in a large baking dish. Lightly spray with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes or until meatballs have browned.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, paste, garlic and capers in a bowl.

Add tomato mixture to meatballs and stir to combine. Top with bocconcini and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese has melted and meatballs are cooked through.

Serve sprinkled with basil.

(Click here for a printable version of this recipe)