Tag Archives: beef

Beef & stout pie with sour cream & thyme pastry

17 Jul

There are few things as comforting than a homemade pie on a cold winters day. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

 

I wish I was in a winter cabin in the woods somewhere, slowly simmering this pie filling while attending to the beautiful sour cream pastry. You don’t need to actually be in a cabin to enjoy these, but wouldn’t it be fantastic if we all could linger for a few days in a woodlands hideaway, sipping on steamy drinks next to a fireplace, slowly preparing comforting dishes throughout the day to enjoy when the sun goes down. Time stands still, the quietness fills the air with tranquility and the earthy smell of the thick pine needle carpet outside seeps into your clothes.

This hearty beef & stout pie with sour cream & thyme pastry is simply perfect for a cosy winters holiday. Don’t rush it – enjoy every moment of the preparation process like healing therapy for your soul. It’s totally worth it.

Beef & stout pie with sour cream & thyme pastry: (serves 4-6)

Tip: Start making this pie in the morning if you want to serve it for dinner. It takes a few hours to prepare, but I promise it is worth every minute.

For the filling:

Time: 30 minutes prep plus 3 hours simmering plus cooling.

Tip: Make the pastry while the filling is simmering.

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • 1 kg beef cubes
  • salt & pepper
  • 30 ml flour
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, finely sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves
  • 15 ml tomato paste
  • 440 ml stout
  • 500 ml beef stock
  • 15 ml Worcestershire sauce
  1. In a large dutch oven / cast iron pot, heat the oil and fry the meat over high heat in batches, giving it some colour and seasoning it with salt & pepper as you fry. Add a little flour to each batch as it is frying, using all the flour by the last batch. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside (it will still be raw on the inside).
  2. If the pot is smoking hot at this point, remove it from the heat and give it a few minutes to cool. Turn the heat down to medium, then add a little more oil and fry the onion, garlic and celery until soft.
  3. Add the bay leaf, cloves, tomato paste, stout, stock and Worcester sauce, stir well and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom to loosen and dissolve any sticky bits (covering the pot with a lid will help).
  4. Return the meat to the pot, then simmer over low heat for 3 hours, covered, until the meat is very soft and the gravy is dark brown and rich (stir once or twice during the process).  Pour some excess liquid off and keep aside for serving as gravy later. Use a fork to pull some of the meat apart, keeping some cubes whole.
  5. Cool the filling completely before baking in the pastry.

For the sour cream & thyme pastry:

Time: 30 min prep plus 2h30 resting.

Tip: For a more classic version, leave out the thyme leaves.

  • 3 cups (750 ml) white bread flour
  • 5 ml salt
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
  • 250 ml cold butter, cubed
  • 250 g sour cream
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked, for brushing
  1. Mix the flour, salt & thyme together. Rub the butter into the flour mixture using your fingers. When it starts to resemble coarse bread crumbs, add the sour cream and cut it in with a knife. Continue to mix until the mixture comes together in a non-smooth ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangular shape. Turn the dough so that it lies horizontally in front of you (divide it into thirds in your mind), then fold the right side over to the middle, and the left side over the folded part, to form three layers. Turn the dough over, turn it 90 degrees, and roll out again, folding it in the same way. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. Remove from the fridge and repeat the rolling and folding process. Return to the fridge for another hour.

To assemble the pie:

Time: 20 min assembling plus 1 hour baking.

  1. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface (the dough should be very smooth by now) to a long rectangle with a thickness of about 5 mm.
  2. Spray a medium size deep pie tin with non-stick spray, then line the bottom of the tin with pastry, easing it gently into the corners and taking care to not stretch the dough too much (leave the edges overhanging for now).
  3. Fill with the beef & stout mixture, then use a pastry brush to lightly brush the edges where the top layer needs to stick. Lay the rest of the pastry on top, cutting a hole in the middle or making slits here and there for steam to escape.
  4. Use a sharp knife to neatly trim the sides, then use a fork to press grooves into the edges. Use any leftover pastry to cut out shapes, or to make a plait for decoration. Brush with egg all over, then bake at 180 C for about 1 hour or until golden brown and cooked.
  5. Serve hot, with steamed veggies, the reserved gravy and mashed potato.

Beef and stout pie, perfect to make on a cosy winter holiday. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

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Caprese salad, triple cheese beef lasagne & tiramisu jars with Galbani Cheese

3 May

Caprese salad, triple cheese beef lasagne and individual tiramisu jars – my ultimate Italian-style feast! Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

When it comes to laid-back, festive, scrumptious food that’s packed with flavour, the Italians just know how. I’ve taken a few tips from their most popular traditional cheese-themed recipes to come up with my favourite three-course Italian-inspired feast: an over-the-top caprese salad, triple cheese beef lasagne (made with mozzarella, cheddar and mascarpone) and individual tiramisu cups with chocolate flakes and fresh raspberries. You can assemble the lasagne and tiramisu ahead so that you have more time to spend with your guests – the most important thing when hosting friends and family!

All my recipes serve 8, because they deserve a crowd. If you’re keen on a smaller gathering, just halve the ingredients to serve 4.

And don’t miss my video below – it shows how to make this killer lasagne.

Buon appetito!

My ultimate caprese salad with soft mozzarella, an array of tomatoes, fresh basil, pesto, toasted pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt flakes and ground black pepper. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Ultimate caprese salad (serves 8)

  • 3 very big ripe tomatoes, thickly sliced
  • about 400 g smaller tomatoes on the vine
  • a handful baby tomatoes, halved
  • 3 x 125 g Galbani soft white mozzarella, sliced into rounds
  • a handful fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
  • 3-4 tablespoons basil pesto
  • extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • balsamic vinegar, for serving (optional)
  • salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange the tomatoes on a large platter, interleaved with slices of mozzarella. Scatter with basil leaves and pine nuts, then drizzle with pesto (add a little olive oil to the pesto if it is very thick). Serve with olive oil and balsamic on the side, seasoned with salt & pepper. Serve immediately.

Note: The tomatoes will wilt on standing, so this salad is best served straight after assembling.

Triple cheese beef lasagne (made with mascarpone, cheddar and mozzarella). Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Triple cheese beef lasagne (serves 8)

For the beef Bolognese sauce:

  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 1 onion, skinned & finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled & finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 kg lean beef mince
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, stalks removed & finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried origanum)
  • 375 ml (half a bottle) dry red wine
  • 1 beef stock cube dissolved in 250 ml boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans whole Italian tomatoes, blended to a pulp
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

For the white sauce (béchamel):

  • 80 g (80 ml / 1/3 cup) President Butter
  • 80 ml (1/3/ cup) plain/cake flour
  • 1 liter full cream milk
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • a generous tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 250 g Galbani Mascarpone
  • salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

For assembling:

  • 1 batch Bolognese sauce
  • 1 batch white sauce
  • 500 g fresh/dried pasta sheets
  • 200 g President Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 300 g Galbani Creamy Mozzarella (semi-hard), grated

For the Bolognese sauce: Heat the olive oil in a wide, large pot with a heavy base. Fry the onion, carrot and celery over medium-high heat until soft and lightly brown. Add the garlic and stir. Add the mince and stir, breaking up any lumps and scraping the bottom to loosen any sticky bits. Add the rosemary and thyme. Continue to fry on high heat to brown the meat slightly, then add the red wine, stock, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar and stir well. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 2 hours, stirring every now and then.

For the white sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium high heat, then add the flour and cook for a minute, stirring. Add the milk and stir with a whisk until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens slightly. Add the nutmeg, mustard and mascarpone and season well with salt & pepper. Set aside.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 180 C. In a large rectangular roasting tray or oven dish, start with a thin layer of white sauce, then a layer of pasta sheets (they will swell so don’t fit them too snugly), a layer of meat sauce, more white sauce, a layer of cheddar, etc. Continue and repeat, ending with a layer of white sauce and the grated mozzarella on top. Bake for 45 minutes until golden on top, then let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Note: I sometimes chop my onion, carrot and celery together in a food processor to save time. The cooked lasagne will continue to stabilize on standing, becoming firmer and easier to serve. The assembled lasagne (cooked or uncooked) freezes well – thaw completely before returning to the oven.

Individual jars of tiramisu, made with mascarpone, brandy and some chocolate flakes. Photography by Tasha Seccombe.

Individual tiramisu cups: (serves 8)

  • 5 XL eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 x 250 g Galbani Mascarpone
  • 1 Italian-style sponge finger biscuits (Boudoir/ladyfinger)
  • 375 ml strong coffee, warm
  • 75 ml brandy
  • cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 2-3 chocolate flake bars, for serving
  • fresh raspberries, for serving

Place the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large bowl. Use and electric whisk to mix until it is very thick and creamy. Add the mascarpone and whisk until smooth.
Clean and dry this whisk, then whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. Add half the egg whites to the mascarpone mixture and fold in with a large spoon, continuing with the second half and folding until you have a smooth, creamy, mousse-like mixture. Set aside.
Working quickly, cut the finger biscuits into thirds, and divide the pieces into 8 groups of 9 pieces each (for 8 cups of 250 ml capacity each). Place the coffee and brandy in a shallow flat bowl, then dip 4 cookie pieces at a time into the coffee mixture, and place them into the bottom of each dessert glass/jar. Top with a dollop of the mascarpone mix, then a sifting of cocoa powder. Top with a second round of 5 dipped biscuit pieces, then place the remaining half of the mascarpone mix into a piping bag and pipe dollops of the mixture at the top of each glass to cover the biscuits. Dust some cocoa powder over the top, then cover with plastic or lids (not touching the mixture) and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
To serve, add some chocolate flakes and berries on top and serve straight from the fridge.

Note: The biscuits need time to soften in the fridge. If you serve them too soon, the cookies will still be tough. The tiramisu cups keep very well in the fridge for up to 3 days and the flavour improves with time.

(This post was created in collaboration with Galbani Cheese.)

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Best ever rare roast beef sandwich with mustard & aioli

18 May

Beef sandwichI’ve shared my favourite bread recipe of 2015 a few months ago, and this is a post to show you one of the best ways to enjoy it.

We had this sandwich on the menu at the demo KITCHEN last year and everybody loved it. We called it “The Bull” – a meaty, feisty sandwich with a strong mustard kick.

If you’re too lazy to bake, just use a good quality store-bought ciabatta or panini instead. And if you’re even more lazy, skip the roasting of the beef and just use a few slices of good quality pastrami (because sometimes we need shortcuts in life).

For the rare roast beef: (serves 6)

  • 30 ml olive oil
  • about 1 kg lean beef roast (silverside works well)
  • salt & black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180 C. In an iron skillet on the stove top, heat the oil over high heat. Sear the roast on all sides to get good colour, about 10 minutes in total. Season well with salt & pepper while searing. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes.

Use a very sharp knife to cut the meat into thin slivers, then set aside (cut it as thin as you can).

For the aioli:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 45 ml lemon juice
  • 15 ml Dijon mustard
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • about 250 ml canola oil

Place the yolks, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt & pepper in a food processor and mix well. With the motor running, add the oil in a thin stream through the feeding tube, creating a thick emulsion. When all the oil is incorporated, check and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Set aside.

For the sandwiches:

  • 6 paninis or small ciabattas (see the recipe for Scott’s bread)
  • aioli, for spreading
  • fresh lettuce leaves
  • sliced tomato (optional)
  • slices of rare roast beef
  • whole grain mustard, for topping (or a mixture of whole grain and Dijon)
  • salt & pepper

To assemble, start by slicing your paninis open horizontally, then spread generously with aioli. Top with lettuce leaves, tomato (optionally), slices of beef and then a generous drizzle of whole grain mustard. Season with salt & pepper, then place the top half of the panini in place. Enjoy!

Note: If you’re feeling luxurious, replace the silverside roast with a whole beef fillet. Roast it in the same way as above, or according to your taste and the size of the fillet.

Credits:

Recipe, food preparation, food styling & text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography, food styling & prop styling: Tasha Seccombe

This post has also been featured on The Pretty Blog.

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Farm to Table Festival at Boschendal, 23 & 24 April

21 Apr

Boschendal bannerA week ago I had the privilege of joining a handful of guests at Boschendal Farm for an intimate farm-to-table showcase. This historical farm dating from 1685, situated between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek on the Helshoogte Road, has been transformed over the past 3 years by new owners Sam and Rob Lundie into an agricultural farm that produces natural food in a way that respects the environment and helps the community to prosper.

The vineyards and fruit trees at Boschendal have been joined by lush vegetable gardens, a growing herd of free range, 100% pasture fed Angus cattle, a pasture raised chicken coup, picnics, two restaurants, a farm shop and deli showcasing all of the produce from the grounds, luxury guest accommodation, walking/cycling trails, child-friendly activities and much more.

Accomplished chef Christiaan Campbell has been part of the Boschendal journey for the past 18 months. His approach to food, with the availability of all the natural produce on the farm, has been to keep it simple and let Mother Nature do the talking. This respectful way of cooking helps guests to really taste the surrounding earth, soil and sun.

I was absolutely blown away by the professionalism, humble approach and honesty of the experience at Boschendal. A couple of hours was not enough to experience all there is to see and I’ll certainly be back to do a walking trail with my family, try my hand at fly-fishing, try the picnics and do a full wine tasting.

This weekend, Boschendal is hosting a comprehensive farm-to-table festival where you will be able to meet the team, learn from the farmers, join workshops hosted by some of the top professionals in the sustainable food industry, experience guided tastings and enjoy the best that this iconic farm has to offer. Booking is essential as space is limited. This event is a MUST on the calendar for serious food and wine lovers and explorers of the finest and most natural farms in the Western Cape.

In a nutshell: if you have not been to Boschendal lately, go there as soon as you can!

Here are some pictures from my last visit at Boschendal:

Stuffed tomatoes to enjoy with a glass of MCC.

Stuffed tomatoes to enjoy with a glass of MCC.

Chef Christiaan Campbell, nice enough to pose for a selfie with me.

Chef Christiaan Campbell, nice enough to pose for a selfie with me.

The garden team, responsible for a magnificent variety of produce.

The garden team, responsible for a magnificent variety of produce.

A shaded part of the vegetable garden.

A shaded part of the vegetable garden.

Taking a stroll through the lush gardens.

Taking a stroll through the lush gardens.

The beautifully restored manor house at Boschendal.

The beautifully restored manor house at Boschendal.

Inside Die Werf Restaurant. Beautiful Spanish decor.

Inside Die Werf Restaurant. Beautiful Spanish decor.

Chef Christiaan Campbell showing us how to make their farm to table menu.

Chef Christiaan Campbell showing us how to make their farm to table menu.

The starter straight from the garden, also with inhouse made nut cheese. Delicious.

The starter straight from the garden, also with in-house made nut cheese. Delicious.

A blurry feast with the most delicious wines, massive roasts from the beef herd and vegetables from the garden.

A blurry feast with the most delicious wines, massive roasts from the beef herd and vegetables from the garden.

Meringue egg shell, mango sorbet, granadilla curd, toasted hazelnut crumbs. Delightful.

Meringue egg-shell, mango sorbet, granadilla curd, toasted hazelnut crumbs. Delightful.

Thank you to the Boschendal team and Atmosphere Communications for the experience.

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Chilli con carne

5 Nov

A Mexican feast (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

I’ve been hosting many dinner demo’s over the past few months, and I’ve been asking people what they’d love to see on upcoming menus. I wasn’t surprised by the top answer: Mexican food, please! I agree – I’m crazy about a Mexican feast.

As you might know, I recently worked on Jan Braai‘s second book Red Hot as a recipe developer. One of my favourite recipes from this book is the chilli con carne. It’s a recipe with a long list of ingredients, but it is really simple to make and it doesn’t take too long to cook. The hearty flavours and decent chilli kick is an absolute joy, but if you add some fresh coriander leaves, a dollop of thick sour cream and some freshly mashed avodaco, it is simply one of the most satisfying meals to eat. Make it on the stove top, or even better, in a potjie on the fire.

Serve this with rice or baked potatoes or tortillas, or the starch of your choice. I just might serve it with some nachos and cheese next time…

Chilli con carne with beans and chick peas, topped with coriander leaves (photography by Tasha Seccombe)

Ingredients:(serves 4-6)

(recipe slightly adapted from Jan Braai’s Red Hot, available from most South African book stores and online)

  • 45 ml cooking oil (I use canola or olive)
  • 2 onions (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 red pepper (seeded and finely chopped)
  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 1 carrot (roughly grated)
  • 5 ml each of ground paprika, cumin, coriander and chilli powder
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 30 ml tomato paste
  • 1 can barlotti beans (drained and rinsed))
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 30 ml lemon juice (or white vinegar)
  • 10 ml sugar
  • 5-10 ml salt (adjust according to taste)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 250 ml sour cream (to serve)
  • fresh coriander leaves (to serve)
  • cooked rice/tortillas etc. (to serve)
  • guacamole or sliced avocado (to serve)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot (use a flame proof pot if you’re cooking on a fire). Add the onions, garlic, pepper and fry over medium-high heat vor 5-10 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  2. Add the beef, then turn up the heat to high and fry for about 10 minutes, breaking up any lumps. Fry until the meat start to turn brown on the bottom of the pan – that’s how you create all the flavour. Stir often to prevent the mixture from burning.
  3. Add the carrot, paprika, cumin, chilli and coriander, and fry for another minute, stirring.
  4. Now add the tomatoes & tomato paste, then stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to low, then cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice.
  5. Add the beans, chick peas, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper, then stir well. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and serve with your choice of starch, sour cream and avo, topped with fresh coriander leaves.

Credits:

This post was originally written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food preparation and text: Ilse van der Merwe

Photography: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius

 

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Cold Christmas platter

23 Dec

Cold gammon & beef platter with sweet mustard sauce & cranberry preserve (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

Christmas is around the corner and the festive spirit is almost tangible! This year, we’re planning an afternoon affair, lazily celebrating into the cooler summer evening.

With the serious heat of the Winelands upon us, there’s no need for heavy, piping hot dishes. Instead, we’ll be feasting on lighter tomato-based seafood soups, cold meat platters and a large array of salads and marinated grilled vegetables. For dessert we’ll be having fresh fruit salad, but just for indulgence’s sake I’ll also be making a family favourite: malva pudding (with extra brandy, pecan nuts and dates) with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.  And maybe a cheese platter for those who want to continue into the night!

My absolute favourite festive meat is a boneless smoked gammon, cooked in a fragrant stock made with onions, celery sticks, cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns (or cooked in apple cider), then left to cool overnight wrapped in a blanket – pot and all. The next morning, the meat is so tender that it almost falls apart! I serve it with a sweet mustard sauce and some cranberry preserve. It is best eaten at room temperature, so it will be perfect for our feast.

I know there are a lot of red meat fans in our family, so I also serve some beef on this platter. The beef is not as tender as the pork (unless you use fillet), but still tastes great with the mustard sauce.

Thanks to everyone who have been following my blog over the past 2 years! I have made so many new friends, and look forward to many more years of cooking, dreaming up recipes, and enjoying the amazing produce that is available here in SA. I have been so privileged to be working with the absolute dream team at The Pretty Blog (Tasha and Nicola) in 2012. Here’s to many more fabulous food posts in 2013!

I wish you all a very blessed festive season with your family and loved ones. Check in every Wednesday on The Pretty Blog for your weekly food fix.

Ingredients: Gammon

  • 1 x smoked, boneless gammon (tied up with string)
  • water
  • 1 onion, diced into quarters
  • 3 celery sticks, cut into chunks
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 peppercorns

Method:

  1. Put gammon in a large pot, then pour in water to cover slightly. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.
  2. Turn down heat and simmer (covered) for 30 minutes per 500g plus an extra 30 minutes. For a 2 kg gammon, it would work out to 2h30min.
  3. Remove pot from heat, then leave to cool slightly to 30 minutes, covered. Now wrap in newspaper, then in blankets, and leave to cool for 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Remove blankets and newspaper, open up pot and discard liquid. Remove extra fat from meat, and set aside (leave in the fridge until 30 minutes before serving, to return to room temperature).
  5. When ready to serve, carefully slice, arrange on serving platters and serve with sauces.

Ingredients: Beef

  •  1 large cut of beef (I used aitchbone, as it is an economic cut, but please use fillet if you can afford it!)
  • 15-30 ml canola oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 400 ml beef stock

Method:

If you are using an economical cut of meat, follow the instructions below. However, if you are using a great quality beef fillet, just grill it in a hot pan or over a hot fire, then let it rest and slice before serving.

  1. With a sharp knife, remove all tendons and tie the meat neatly together with a piece of string, if necessary.
  2. In a hot pan, add oil and sear beef on all sides and season with salt & pepper.
  3. Add stock, then turn heat down and simmer on very low heat for 90 minute to 2 hours, according to the size of the meat. The meat should still be pink on the inside.
  4. Remove from heat, discard liquid, and cool. Slice into very thin slivers just before serving. Serve with sauces.

Sweet mustard sauce:

  •  125 ml white grape vinegar
  • 125 ml lemon juice
  • 150 ml white sugar
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 2 heaped teaspoons dijon mustard
  • a pinch of salt
  1. In a medium size pot over low heat, heat vinegar, lemon juice and sugar until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and cool slightly for 10 minutes.
  2. Add eggs, mustard and salt, then return to medium heat and stir until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Store in a closed container in the fridge. This sauce will last at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

Cranberry preserve:

  • 1 cup (about 115 g) dried cranberries
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 30 ml sugar
  • 1 x cinnamon stick
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 strip orange peel
  1. Put all ingredients in a small pot, then simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. Wine should reduce to a thick syrup, but not reduce completely.
  2. Remove from heat,  discard cinnamon stick and orange peel, cool and store in a closed container in the fridge. Will last at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food & recipes: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling:  Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe

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Beef burger with brie & figs

12 Sep

Beef burger with brie and green figs (photograph by Tasha Seccombe)

Burgers, anyone? I can catch my husband in a trap with a homemade burger. He would probably eat it everyday if I served it. Me too, if all the factors were just right.

So, what makes a great burger? Here’s my list:

  • Ideally, you should use the best quality meat for your pattie, like coarsely ground steak (sirloin, rump or fillet). Flavour wise, you’re already halfway there.
  • The pattie should be a generous size, but not too thick. A thick burger is difficult to eat.
  • The pattie should be well seasoned.
  • The pattie should not be overcooked – the meat should be juicy. I also baste it with barbecue sauce while it’s grilling, to make it really juicy.
  • The bun should be really fresh and soft, but toasted on the inside. That extra buttery crunch of a toasted bun makes a huge difference.
  • Other toppings, like cheese, tomato and lettuce is completely optional, but melted cheese adds great flavour to a burger.

I can eat a toasted bun with a great beef/lamb burger pattie any day – just like that. But add the right mix of toppings, and it turns into something spectacular. Like a combo of oozing brie and sliced sweet green figs – just heavenly!

For this burger, I used regular ground lean beef mince – it is cheaper and it is available in almost every supermarket. Because this meat is not steak quality, I mixed it with some breadcrumbs and an egg for extra tenderness. If you can get hold of ground rump steak, you don’t have to used any breadcrumbs or egg at all, just salt and pepper!

Ingredients: (makes 3 extra-large patties or 4 large patties)

  • 500 g lean beef mince
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 small slice of bread, finely crumbed
  • generous amount of salt and pepper (at least 1 t salt and 1/2 t pepper)
  • oil for frying (I used Canola oil)
  • ½ cup of store-bought spare rib sauce or barbecue sauce
  • 3 or 4 hamburger buns
  • one block of brie cheese (we used Fairview)
  • sliced preserved green figs (in syrup)
  • lettuce leaves, tomato slices

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine mince, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Mix well with a clean hand.
  2. Lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface. Put meat mixture on top, and press down to flatten slightly. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, then roll out evenly with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 15 mm.
  3. Remove top layer of plastic wrap, then use a large round cookie cutter or dessert bowl to cut out rounds of about 12-15 cm in diameter. They will look completely oversized, but they shrink quite a lot while cooking! Remove the meat mixture in-between the patties, then cut out the plastic around each pattie – it is easier to handle individually this way.
  4. Heat some oil in a large pan over moderately high heat. Frying one or 2 patties at a time, transfer them to the pan (I put them in the pan facing downwards, then peel off the plastic from the tops immediately). Fry on each side until charred but still juicy inside, basting with spare rib sauce.
  5. In the meantime, butter the buns, then toast them in a dry pan over moderate heat until golden brown.
  6. Assemble the burger, starting with bun, leaves, tomato, then the well-basted pattie and cheese. Pop under a grill for 30 seconds to melt the cheese, then top with figs and the top half of the bun. Serve immediately with fries or a baked potato!

Tip: Onion marmalade work very well as a sauce on this burger. Otherwise, add your choice of mayo, tomato sauce, or barbecue sauce.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & Nicola Pretorius

 

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Boeuf Bourguignon

20 Jun

French Boeuf Bourguignon (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

This is the classic recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon that featured in the 2009 movie “Julie & Julia” starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep. I watched the movie before I became a blogger, and  before I knew who the legendary Julia Child was. A few weeks after, I strolled through a Le Creuset shop and picked up a leaflet with the original recipe that featured in the movie. I have since cooked it twice (adapting it slightly to suit SA supermarket ingredients), each time with great appreciation from my family and friends. Unfortunately I still don’t own the Le Creuset casserole that I really want to cook it in! But that will hopefully change soon – I have my eye on the cream-coloured 32 cm round casserole. 😉

The recipe is long, and it takes quite some time. Be sure to cook it when you are unhurried and feel like making something special – you will be well rewarded! It is deeply flavoursome and really worth the effort. As Julia once said: “…nothing is too much trouble if it turns out the way it should.”

Making it a day in advance is best for ultimate flavour development, then you can just reheat by the time your guests arrive.

Bon appétit!

Ingredients:

  • 1 T (15 ml) olive oil
  • 170 streaky bacon
  • 1.4 kg lean stewing steak, cut into cubes of 2.5 cm
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 t (5 ml) salt
  • 25 g flour
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 750 ml red wine
  • 600 ml beef stock
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 t thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 18-24 small onions (peeled) braised in about 500-800 ml beef stock
  • 450 g mushrooms, quartered and sautéed in butter

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 230 C. In a large cast-iron pot, add oil and fry bacon until slightly brown. Remove with slotted spoon.
  2. Turn up stove heat to high, then add beef cubes and sauté a few pieces at a time until brown on all sides. Remove and add to bacon.
  3. Turn heat down to moderate, then add sliced carrot and onion. Sauté until brown.
  4. Return beef and bacon to pot and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with flour, then place uncovered in the pre-heated oven on middle rack for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for another 4 minutes (this browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust). Remove from oven and turn heat down to 160 C.
  5. Add wine and stock to pot (liquid should just cover meat). Add tomato paste, garlic, herbs and stir. Bring to a simmer on stove-top, then cover and return to lower part of oven. Simmer slowly for 3-4 hours, regulating heat.
  6. While the beef is cooking, braise the onions in stock until tender and sauté mushrooms in butter. Keep aside.
  7. When the meat is tender, remove from oven and strain sauce into a separate container. Skim the fat off the sauce and taste for seasoning.
  8. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms over the meat, then pour sauce over. Cool to room temperature and reheat to a simmer before serving.

Tip: If your beef needs more liquid during the cooking process, add more water or stock (taste to check flavour intensity). If your sauce is too thick, add more water or stock. If your sauce is too thick, reduce it a little by cooking it on high heat. No two dishes will ever be exactly the same, so treat each one as a special individual! 🙂

Serve with boiled potatoes (the traditional way) or steamed rice and buttered peas or beans if desired.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Nicola Pretorius, Tasha Seccombe & Ilse van der Merwe.

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