Slow-cooked beef, carrots, garlic & lemon

photo (1)

Lois’ slow-cooked beef with carrots, garlic and lemon is perfect for a winter weekend. Late afternoon, when the sun is starting to lower, start braising the beef and carrots and gently softening the onions and garlic. From there it’s basically a matter of putting the dish into a low oven for an hour and half, while you read a book or devour another episode of that television series that you can’t stop watching. Back to the kitchen for some final stages and then for dinner that night you’ll be enjoying one of the cosiest winter meals I can imagine.

Slow-cooked beef, carrots, garlic & lemon (adapted from Lois Daish, Dinner at Home, p.71)

750g beef blade steak

6 medium carrots

cooking oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

6 cloves garlic, finely sliced

fresh thyme, leaves pulled from stem

fresh parsley, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups beef stock

3 medium-large floury potatoes, such as agria

grated zest and juice of two lemons

chopped flat leaf parsley and zest of one lemon to finish

Preheat oven to 140°C. Trim any fat or silverskin from the meat, but leave in place any seams of gristle in the meat, as these will soften during cooking. Pat the meat dry with paper towels and cut into large chunks. Peel the carrots and cut into pieces of a similar size to the meat. Heat enough oil to coat to the bottom of a large frying pan and brown the meat; it’s probably best to do this in two batches so that you don’t crowd the pan). Brown the meat on at least two sides and remove from pan and put on a plate. Add the carrots to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, giving the pan a shake every now and again.

While the meat and carrots are browning, take a lidded casserole dish that can be used both on the stove top and in the oven and add the oil and butter and heat over a low-medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and stir until the onion is soft. Add thyme, parsley and flour and continue to stir until the flour starts to colour. Pour in the stock and lemon juice and grate in the lemon zest, followed by the carrots and browned meat. Pour a little water into the frying pan and return it to the heat and scrape up any sticky bits left in the pan. Add this to the casserole. The meat and carrots should be almost covered by the stock and pan juices. Place the lid on the dish, bring to the boil and transfer into the pre-heated oven for about one and half hours.

After this time has passed, take the casserole out of the oven and place back onto the stove top. Bring to the boil and lower to a steady simmer to reduce the liquid while stirring regularly. Peel the potatoes, chop into 2cm chunks and place in a medium-sized pot of cold water. Bring to the boil, cook until tender and then drain.

Once the slow-cooked beef liquid has reduced and thickened slightly, add the potatoes and turn off the heat. Allow the slow-cooked beef to sit for about ten minutes; this will give the meat time to relax and soak up some more of the delicious sauce. Meanwhile, sauté some greens (such as cavolo nero with fennel seeds) and warm up some bowls in the oven. Just before serving, sprinkle the slow-cooked beef with the chopped parsley and lemon zest.

 

Advertisements

Warm chickpea & rocket salad

005

This is a very easy and very tasty lunch for two which, like many of Lois’ recipes, relies upon finding and using good quality ingredients: fresh rocket, good extra virgin olive oil, New Zealand garlic, and chickpeas. Each ingredient is carefully handled to result in an elegant lunch for two to be served with some fresh baguette.

Warm chickpea and rocket salad (Lois Daish, Listener, June 7 2003).

A can of chickpeas or 250g home-cooked chickpeas

Sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 handfuls rocket leaves

extra virgin olive oil to finish

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to the boil and add some salt and a sprig of rosemary. Add the chickpeas and simmer for a few minutes and then drain. Heat the olive oil gently in a frying pan and add the garlic. Stir briefly and then add the chickpeas and continue cooking for a few minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the vinegar, salt and pepper. Put the rocket leaves in a bowl and tip over the chickpeas. Drizzle with more olive oil and gently combine the greens and beans. Divide between two bowls and serve with some bread on the side.

Peanut brownies

peanut brownies 012

If your previous experience of peanut brownies is from a purchased bag of allegedly baked-on-a-farm biscuits, then you might understandably have a take it or leave attitude towards this old-fashioned baking staple. Prepare for that to be changed. These peanut brownies are incredibly delicious and cheap to make. Another old baking favourite due for a fashionable comeback in my opinion (see also Fruit Loaf).

Peanut brownies (from Lois Daish, A Good Year, p.61)

250g raw peanuts

140g softened butter

200g caster sugar

1 free-range egg

200g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 tablespoons cocoa (I used heaped tablespoons of Blooker Cacao)

Preheat oven to 175°C and begin by roasting the peanuts. Spread the peanuts into a single layer in a baking pan with sides and roast for 10-15 minutes, shaking the pan every couple of minutes. They are ready once the skins split and the nuts turn golden; keep a close eye on this process. Leave to cool and then rub the peanuts between your hands to remove the skins; take the tray outside and blow away the skins into the garden (or make use of the Wellington wind to blow away the skins for you).

Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and use an electric beater to beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and beat again until light. Sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa into the butter mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the peanuts and mix again.

Line two baking trays with baking paper and place rolled balls of dough (about 30gm makes a good sized biscuit) onto the trays allowing room for them to spread out. Lightly press down the biscuits using a fork (run it under the tap and flick off excess water to stop it sticking to the biscuits). Bake for around 15 minutes; you don’t want to under bake them but they do catch quickly. Leave the biscuits to cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container.