food for thought

by michelle

Archive for the ‘red meat’ Category

beef short rib stew

leave a comment »

This Korean stew is deliciously sweet and salty. Cook it slowly or (if you’re short on time) in a pressure cooker.

Sear 1.5kg (3 lbs) of beef short ribs in some vegetable oil over high heat then remove to a plate. Lower the heat and add 1 finely diced onion. Cook until soft before adding 4 large finely diced cloves of garlic and an equal amount of finely diced ginger. Cook for a minute more then deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar. When the vinegar has cooked away add ¼ of a cup of apple juice, ¼ of a cup of orange juice, ½ a cup of mirin (sweet cooking sake), ¾ of a cup of soy sauce, 12-15 dried whole shiitake mushrooms and 3 cups of water (or 1½ if you are using a pressure cooker). Simmer for 2 hours (35 minutes in a pressure cooker) then add 2-3 diced carrots and a diced turnip or swede and cook for a further 20-30 minutes (5 minutes in a pressure cooker) until the vegetables are soft. Add 1 drained can of sliced water chestnuts and cook for a few minutes more. Add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and a small bunch of sliced spring onions and check for seasoning. Thicken with cornflour if desired and serve with steamed rice and kimchi.

Written by michelle picker

May 27, 2017 at 6:02 am

lamb tagine with prunes and raisins

with one comment

Adapted by David from an Emeril Lagasse recipe, this tagine has a wonderful balance and depth of flavour.


Using lamb on the bone imparts much more flavour to this dish but you can also use diced boneless lamb. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan or tagine and brown approximately 1 kg (2 lbs) of lamb over high heat in batches, removing the browned meat to a plate. Return all the lamb to the pot and add 1½ cups diced onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, a pinch of crushed saffron and a bunch of coriander (cilantro) and bring to boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the meat is tender. Meanwhile pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of pitted prunes and ½ a cup of golden raisins. Let them soften for 20 minutes then strain them and set aside. When the lamb is nearly tender add the fruit, ½ a thinly sliced onion, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, ½ a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, and ¾ of a teaspoon of salt. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous and a fresh salad.

Written by michelle picker

March 24, 2017 at 6:17 am

fine dining in Aukland

leave a comment »

sky-tower-aukland The Sky Tower in Aukland, New Zealand is a distinctive landmark. Thanks to Nicolas who generously gave me a voucher, I ate there with 6 others at The Sugar Club on the 62nd floor. We tried many dishes from chef Peter Gordon’s degustation menu.





First there was an amuse-bouche of turmeric cured salmon over an anchovy paste with crispy lentils.

The menu is designed to go from lighter dishes to heavier so here, in the same order, are some of the outstanding dishes we ordered followed by equally good desserts.

Hiramasa kingfish with nori, cucumber, orange, chilli soy dressing, peanuts and wasabi cream


miso eggplant with medjool dates, feta, crispy buckwheat, tahini yoghurt and mango puree


asparagus and spiced quails eggs with shiitake, miso and almonds


spiny crayfish and Marlborough saffron linguine with pine nuts and aged parmigiano reggiano


creamed Pāua (the Māori name for abalone or ormer shells) with kiwi dip and frybread


octopus with corn puree, quinoa, celery and capsicum


tempura aubergine (eggplant) and blue pea inari with panch phoron spiced tomato pickles, rhubarb and guava


line-caught fish with tempura oyster, mussels, cucumber and dashi


Hawkes Bay lamb rump with pecorino gnocchi, pesto, lamb floss and preserved lemon dressing


Mahy Farms beef fillet with spiced beef cheek, smoked mash and spinach


Aukland harbour sunset from the Sky Tower


berries and meringue


Zealong Oolong panna cotta with matcha sponge, blueberries, fennel confiture and red shiso


peanut butter parfait with miso caramel, sesame, paprika and orange


chocolate cru virunga 70% semifreddo with spiced pineapple, mochi and tamarind caramel


Written by michelle picker

February 4, 2017 at 5:57 am

garlic steak + miso pumpkin

leave a comment »

Japanese garlic steak. Need I say more?


Make some shallow cuts into each side of the steak and marinate in 45ml (1½ oz) of soy sauce, 1½ tablespoons of mirin (sweet cooking sake) and 2 crushed cloves of garlic for at least 20 minutes. When you’re ready to cook, heat a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) until smoking hot, smear a little oil onto the steaks and cook for 5 minutes or so on each side (for thinner steaks or ones without bones, cook for less time). Serve garnished with green onions.


I served my steak with miso grilled butternut. Cut your butternut into wedges, toss in a little oil and salt and bake in a hot oven until softening. Now heat your grill (broiler). Brush the squash with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of sesame oil, 1 tablespoon of mirin, 1 tablespoon of sake, 2 tablespoons of white or yellow miso and 1 tablespoon sugar and grill until caramelising.


Written by michelle picker

January 23, 2017 at 5:37 am

sous vide beef ribs

with one comment

Having just acquired an Anova Precision Cooker, I decided to experiment with some beef ribs. This very useful page at chefsteps helped me choose a temperature and timing. After 24 hours of cooking at 70ºC (158ºF) the result was moist and tender meat, not falling apart but coming away from the bone cleanly. Of course you can still cook great ribs without this equipment, but the Anova allows you to set and forget and to concentrate on the other parts of the meal without being distracted.


While the meat is cooking make a barbecue sauce. In a saucepan combine ½ a cup of dark brown sugar,½ a cup of  ketchup, ¼ of a cup of cider vinegar, ¼ of a cup of tomato passata or purée, ¼ of a cup of molasses (treacle), 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of Frank’s Hot Sauce, 2 teaspoons of onion powder, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce and 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes. When the ribs are cooked remove them from their vacuum bag, dry them and place them on some baking paper on an oven tray. Brush on generous amounts of barbecue sauce and grill on all sides under a hot grill.


I served my ribs with extra barbecue sauce, oven potato and sweet potato chips, vinegar-dressed cole slaw, and cucumbers in a sour cream and dill dressing.


Written by michelle picker

November 6, 2016 at 5:39 am

lamb in coconut milk

with one comment

Introduced to the South American cuisine by African slaves, coconut is used widely in Brazil and the Andean countries. This recipe, adapted from Maria Baez Kijac’s The South American Table comes from the Pacific Coast of Columbia.


Trim and dice 450g (1 lb) of lamb. In a heavy pan, heat some oil and butter over medium heat and seal the lamb in batches. Remove it from the pan and add 1 large diced onion, an equal amount of diced red pepper and diced celery plus 6 cloves of finely diced garlic. Cook until the onion is soft then add a generous pinch each of ground allspice and cayenne pepper. Return the meat to the pan with 2 tablespoons each of chopped parsley and coriander (cilantro), 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar and 1½ – 2 cups of boiling water (just enough to nearly cover the meat). Cook over low heat, covered, for 1 to 1½ hours until the meat is tender. Stir in 1 cup of coconut milk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes then serve with rice.

Vegetable salads with vinaigrette dressing are very popular in South America, the vegetables changing with the seasons. Here’s the one I served.


Written by michelle picker

August 26, 2016 at 6:01 am

8 hour smoked lamb shoulder

leave a comment »

Cooked by Thomas, following a recipe from, this lamb shoulder was truly amazing. With all the fat rendered, what was left was beautifully moist and smoky meat falling off the bone. You will need a charcoal barbecue or smoker, a thermometer and a free day to cook this.


The day before cooking your lamb shoulder, prepare it by removing all the surface fat and the tough silver skin, then season with salt (½ a teaspoon per 450g /1 lb) and keep covered in your fridge overnight. The next day combine 2 tablespoons of dried rosemary, 1 tablespoon of whole mustard seeds, 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of ground bay leaves, 10 cloves of crushed garlic and a little water to make a paste. Coat the lamb shoulder generously with this rub – this should be enough for a large shoulder. Preheat your barbecue or smoker to 107ºC (225ºF). Place the lamb over indirect heat and allow to cook (making sure you keep the temperature as even as possible) until the meat reaches 95ºC (203ºF). This will take 8 hours or so. Meanwhile make the black barbecue sauce, an excellent accompaniment to the rich meat. In a saucepan combine 2 cups of water, ½ a cup of Lea & Perrin’s Worcestershire Sauce, ½ a cup of distilled vinegar, ½ a teaspoon of ground white pepper, 7 tablespoons of brown sugar, ¼ of a teaspoon ground allspice, ¼ of a teaspoon onion powder, ¼ of a teaspoon garlic powder, 1¼ teaspoons of table salt and 1¼ teaspoons of lemon juice. Simmer for 10 minutes then set aside to serve with the lamb.

We served our lamb with roasted root vegetables and peas with fresh mint.



Written by michelle picker

July 21, 2016 at 5:49 am