food for thought

by michelle

Posts Tagged ‘beef

tomahawk steak

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Fifi turned up with this enormous steak for a barbecue dinner. We rose to the challenge and produced a melt-in-the mouth medium/rare steak with just enough char and smoke.

The steak was marinated in soya sauce, mirin and garlic for about an hour, or the time it took to get the fire going and the charcoal ready. We used the reverse sear method – we placed the steak on the grill as far away from the charcoal as possible and cooked it very slowly. The steak was turned only once and when it had some good colour but still felt quite rare, we placed it directly over the hot coals, cooking each side until it looked and felt perfect. And it was!


Written by michelle picker

March 27, 2019 at 12:05 am

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Originally from Indonesia, Rendang is also a popular Malaysian dish. Known as a dry curry, it consists of meat cooked in coconut milk and spices until the meat is incredibly tender and the coconut and spices are reduced to a rich thick paste which clings to the meat.

Use 1½ kg (3⅓ lbs) of gravy or shin beef cut into medium-sized chunks. To a blender add 2 roughly chopped onions, 6 cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, 6 fresh red chillies and ½ a cup of coconut milk. Blend to a smooth consistency then pour into a casserole dish. To the pot add another 1½ cups of coconut milk, 1½ teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric, up to 3 teaspoons of chilli powder (according to taste), 2 teaspoons fo ground coriander, 6 curry leaves, 1 bruised stem of fresh lemongrass and 1 teaspoon of galangal (laos) powder. Mix well, add the meat and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and add ½ a cup of tamarind liquid (or 1½ teaspoons of tamarind paste) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the gravy is quite thick. Turn the heat to very low and continue to cook, stirring more often, until the gravy is nearly dry. After approximately 2½ hours, when the oil separates from the gravy, add 2 teaspoons of sugar and cook, stirring constantly now, until the gravy turns a dark brown. Serve with white rice, and one or two vegetable dishes.

Recipe from The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon.


Written by michelle picker

January 23, 2019 at 12:14 am

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ribeye roast with mustard and horseradish sauce

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Succulent beef, roast vegetables and a delicious sauce. Who could ask for more?

To improve the crust on your ribeye roast, allow it to air-dry, uncovered, on a rack in the fridge overnight. Season it generously with salt and pepper on all sides – seasoning with salt up to a day in advance helps the seasoning penetrate the meat. Preheat your oven to121°C (250°F). Place the prepared roast on a rack in a roast pan with the fat cap facing upwards and cook until the centre of the roast registers 52°C (125°F) on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare or 57°C (135°F) for medium. This could take up to 4 or 5 hours. Remove it from the oven to a large plate, tent it loosely with aluminium foil and allow it to rest. Meanwhile increase the oven temperature to the highest possible setting. Wipe out the roasting pan and replace the rack. Remove the foil from prime rib and place it back on the rack with fat cap facing upwards and cook for 6 to 10 minutes or until well browned and crisp on the outside. To make the sauce, fry a very finely diced onion in some olive oil over low heat until wilted and caramelised. Sprinkle with a little flour and allow it to cook a little more. Add ½ a cup of red wine and 1 cup of good beef stock and cook until thickeniong and reduced to half or less. Now add 1 tablespoon of seeded Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of grated horseradish, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, plenty of freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste. To finish, add some butter and stir through for a delicious glossy sauce.

* this roasting method comes from Serious Eats.

Written by michelle picker

November 29, 2017 at 12:22 am

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Hanger steak is a cut of beef (from the lower belly of a steer or heifer) prized for its flavour and tenderness. In the past it was sometimes known as butcher’s steak because butchers would keep it for themselves. In Mexico it’s known as Arrachera and is generally marinated, grilled and served with a squeeze of lime juice, accompanied by guacamole, salsa and tortillas.

For 1½ kilos (3 lbs) of hanger steak whisk together 3 tablespoons of finely chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons of corn oil, ½ a cup of tequila, ¼ of a cup fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon of coarse salt, ½ a tablespoon of ground cumin and ½ a tablespoon ground black pepper. Place the steak in the marinade and leave for 1 hour (or up to 24 in the fridge), turning often. When you’re ready to cook the steak heat a heavy (peferably cast iron) pan or griddle until very hot. Cook the steak for 2-4 minutes a side depending how you like your steak. Serve sliced and garnished with coriander (cilantro).

* this marinade recipe comes from Galley Wench on

Written by michelle picker

August 1, 2017 at 5:44 am

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beef short rib stew

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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

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sous vide beef ribs

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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

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cooking class in Hoi An part 2

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imageOur second cooking class in Hoi An started with a visit to an organic vegetable village where all the gardening and watering is done by hand, the vegetables are fertilised with local river seaweed and the only pesticide used is ground clam shells. From there we went shopping for our ingredients at the local market. The first 2 recipes we were cooking were Phở or Hanoi beef noodle soup (including making the noodles) and lemongrass prawns wrapped in banana leaf and barbecued.

imageTo make the beef stock we used 2 pots of boiling water. The ingredients were all grilled over charcoal (either to reduce fat or to bring out flavour) then cleaned in the first pot of water before cooking in the second. This keeps the soup clear. We used 1 kg (2 lbs) of beef bones, 1 piece of ginger, 2 sticks of cinnamon, 2 star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 3 bruised lemongrass stalks, 3 peeled shallots and one peeled onion. Salt and sugar (2 teaspoons each) were added before simmering for at least an hour. Meanwhile we made the noodles using the same method as for rice paper (see cooking class in Hoi An) but this time oiled, folded and cut into 1 cm wide strips.


The noodles are placed in the bowl along with  very finely sliced raw beef, fried shallots (see secret recipes) and spring onions and the boiling stock is poured over them. Served with the soup are fresh herbs including sawtooth coriander, mint, Vietnamese mint, bean sprouts and lime. We also made pickles to have with the soup. These were made by cutting 3 shallots, 3 cloves of garlic and 1 green and 1 red chilli into similar sizes before mixing with 1 cup of white vinegar, 1 teaspoon of sugar and ½ a teaspoon of salt. These need to stand for at least 30 minutes.

The lemongrass prawns (shrimp) were made by pounding 2 stalks of finely sliced lemongrass, 2 shallots, ½ a fresh chilli and ½ a teaspoon each of salt, sugar and black pepper to a fine paste. We added 2 teaspoons of oil and combined this mixture with 200 gm (¼ lb) of deveined and shelled prawns.This mixture was wrapped in banana leaves and barbecued for 10 minutes.

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The prawns were served with a dipping sauce of salt, pepper and sugar in equal amounts mixed with fresh lime juice.

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To be continued……………………………

Written by michelle picker

April 4, 2013 at 7:52 am