Category Archives: Beef

Sausages.

I don’t know how people feel about sausages in particular but I do know having a piece done well is never a bad thing. Sausages should be browned with a nice tan, but not burned; when you sink your teeth into a one, it should be toasty but not shrivelled, succulent and not dry. This morning, I’ve just discovered the best way to cook sausages, so that you get that crispy exterior enveloping juicy mince. Here’s how I did it:

  1. Place your sausages into a pot with a small drizzle of oil.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium and put the lid on, keeping any steam released within the pot.
  3. Let the sausages fry about by rolling them about in the pot with the lid still on. Check occasionally.
  4. Once the sausages are nicely browned, turn down the heat to the lowest setting and let them steam slowly for a couple of brief minutes before serving.

Remember, crispy yet juicy.


Sausage Casserole Pasta

One of the great things about doing a casserole or stew is its versatility with carbs. You can have it with toast if you’re lazy, pasta if you don’t mind the effort and even mashed potatoes if you can be bothered. So the limelight of this entry really is the casserole, as opposed to being a pasta dish.

 

Not sure if it’s the best way to do a casserole, but here’s my way:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180ªC.
  2. In a cast iron or pyrex pot, get a knob of small butter in, heating till the foaming subsides.
  3. Add in garlic slices and the sausage chunks, pork or beef is up to you. I usually squeeze out the meat from the sausage skins into thumb-sized chunks. Fry till fragrant and golden brown.
  4. Splash in coke and alcohol. This time I used rum ‘cos rum & cola always goes.
  5. Reduce the liquid till the alcohol has burned off.
  6. Toss in the diced vegetables of your choice – carrots, peppers, onions, celery, etc. Also, add chilli if you want the heat.
  7. Fill the pot with chicken or vegetable stock, till just before submerging the ingredients.
  8. Flavour and season with coriander powder and bay leaves, worschester sauce, salt and pepper.
  9. Bring to the boil and put it in the oven for 30-45 minutes, lid on.
  10. Serve with long pasta, and fresh salad leaves.

Shepherd’s Pockets

This is essentially a puff pastry tartlet of everything you put into a shepherd’s pie, without the hassle of cooking the filling first. Make a dumpling with cut squares of cold rolled out puff pastry and well-marinated meat. Brush it with an egg wash before baking in a preheated 200ªC oven. Place it on the top rack for 10 minutes or so until the pastry has puffed up, then place down on the lowest rack for another 10-15 minutes at 180ªC.

Another one to add to the list of this and that.


Beef Consommé

Couple of days ago, I finally acquired my own muslin cloth, which means I could finally make a consommé. So I tried my hand at making a beef consommé.

I’m not gonna go through the steps of how to make one here, because I’m sure there are very brilliant ones out there that should be followed. In essence, a consommé is a clear soup made from ground meat, together with mirepoix (pronounced as mɪərˈpwɑ – which is a combination of carrots, celery and onions), tomatoes, egg whites and stock, clarified with egg whites through the process slow simmering, and filtering with muslin.

I have to admit it looks like tea, and that it was an average result. I didn’t degrease it too. In any case, I think I’m very pleased. For a first attempt, that is.


Spicy Beef Fennel & Sage Goulash

Okay, I went a little ballistic with the ingredients in this one, but making a stew really is a good way to use up all those nearly-dead vegetables in your fridge. No prizes for guessing how fresh my veggies were.

  1. In a pot, toss together a knob of butter, smashed garlic, chopped fennel, diced carrots and potatoes, minced ginger, sliced chilli and a small stick of cinnamon. Fry everything till fragrant.
  2. Add in water to barely cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, marinate diced beef chunks with a bit of cornflour, red wine and balsamic vinegar and chopped chives. Then add to the pot as well.
  4. Dump in a dollop of cranberry sauce if you’ve got some, if not, a pinch of sugar will do.
  5. Crush in a small bunch of dried sage leaves and add a teaspoon of dark soy sauce.
  6. When beef is almost done, add about 2-3 mugs of meat or vegetable stock.
  7. Season well with salt and pepper and put the lid on. Turn the heat down to a simmer and leave it for 20-30 minutes.
  8. After 20-30 minutes, add in a splash of red wine.
  9. Make a mixture of cornflour and cold water. Then stir in the cornflour mixture a tablespoon at a time till it’s reached your desired thickness. Alternatively, you could blitz a quarter of the stew to thicken it.
  10. Have it with a toasty crusty bread roll.

New Year’s Dinner 2012

You’d know by now that we’re in 2012, unless you live under a rock. In which case, I think it’s awesome how you have internet access under there.

Anyway, I was fortunate enough to spend the new year with my best mate Sam and his lovely family. We’ve known each other since we were ten, and this new year’s day, I had the privilege of making dinner for his family, who are my family’s friends as well.

Planned out a three-course meal, which I wouldn’t say went perfect in terms of timing. After a coupla not-so-smooth processes and hair-pulling moments in the kitchen, here’s what was served:

Starter

Poached and butter-roasted leg of chicken on carrot smash. Served with a deviled egg of spinach and cheddar, and a white-wine lemon jus.

Main

Roasted beef and peppers, dwarf beans and sweet potato gratin. Garnished with a seared mushroom of fresh lemon juice.

Dessert

Bittersweet chocolate raspberry tart

Photography: Gerard Bong

•••

After this episode, I know how much more I should be doing in the kitchen, there is indeed a lack of finesse, dynamism and flare. 2012, here I come!

In any case, everyone here at Cook For Myself wishes you a splendid year ahead, may you be blessed with a great abundance of superb food, preferably of those made in your kitchen. Merry New Year to all!

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And what do you know, during this time of festivity, I’ve been given the chance to direct and produce the music video of Binary Concept’s English acoustic cover of Let It Snow. Check it out!


Roast Beef with Fondant Potato

Yes, even though it doesn’t seem so, the fondant potato is the star of the show. I tried my hand at this new way of doing potatoes: letting it bubble and boil away in a truck-load of butter till brown and done, and then repeating on the other side. Also, this involves adding a bit of stock towards the end just so the butter doesn’t go burning till black. Each side takes approximately 10-15 minutes; you’d know it’s done with you can stick a fork or knife right through the side easily. You might say it’s just about deep-frying a potato, I think.

Roast beef with a red wine jus. Served with fondant potato, carrot julienne, wilted spinach and buttered mushrooms.

Being the carnivore that I am, I cannot deny that the chunks of juicy red wine flavoured medium-rare beef stole the show. Nevertheless, I’m not limited to simply mashing, boiling and roasting potatoes.


Roast Beef with Lemon Salsa of Summery Peppers and Cranberry Sauce

I hope everyone’s had a fantastic Christmas meal yesterday, with family and friends. Food, family and friends are three vital ingredients for a happy life; of course, the three are not in any particular order of importance.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve officially taken ill after the very busy week leading up for Christmas Day, flustered with Christmas shopping, Christmas dinner grocery shopping, house decoration, house cleaning, etc. Yep, you know the drill.

So this Boxing Day, while Sarah and Stephenie head out to battle the crowds in the (in)famous Boxing Day Shopping Sale, I get out of bed late and make myself a lovely little brunch.

Roast beef, with a lemon butter salsa of peppers, peas, onion, chilli and parsley, served with a cranberry sauce.

A delicious medley of tender meatiness from the blushing pieces of steak and the sourish yet sweet tones of cranberry sauce, combined with the zingy buttery dance of spicy chilli bits, fresh parsley and juicy vegetables. What a treat!

•••

  • 80g beef frying steak
  • 1 generous knob salted butter
  • 1 small handful peas
  • 1 small handful chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 small handful chopped orange pepper
  • 1 small handful chopped white onion
  • 1 pinch minced chilli
  • 1 pinch finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tiny squeeze of lemon
  • leftover Christmas turkey cranberry sauce, or cranberry jam
*
  1. Season the beef with freshly ground black pepper and pan-sear it to its desired doneness. Then season with salt and let it rest.
  2. In a skillet on medium heat, melt the butter.
  3. Once the butter begins foaming, toss in the onion, frying till translucent.
  4. Add the yellow and orange peppers, and peas as well. Saute everything well.
  5. When done, squeeze of few drops of lemon and mix in the chilli bits.
  6. Slice the rested beef diagonally to expose its lovely red blush.
  7. Plate up and serve.

Black Pepper Beef

You know how you step into a chinese restaurant or eating house and you order that thing on the menu that says: “Black Pepper Beef with Steamed Rice”? Well, it’s not difficult to make it yourself at home and the best part is, you can make as much as you want. Now, isn’t that one of the main perks of cooking at home?

The most important part of doing this right is getting the marination of the beef done properly and according to your taste buds. Doing it a couple of times helps you get the exact flavour you want, be it more savoury, or less sour, it’s all up to you.

Here’s a rough estimation to guide you:

(Everything’s in teaspoon-quantity for ease of measurement and guesstimation.)

  • 100g lean beef, thinly sliced, and marinated with:
    • 2 tsp corn flour
    • 2 tsp black/balsamic vinegar TIP! Vinegar helps soften beef.
    • 3 tsp light soy sauce
    • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
    • 1 tsp sesame oil
    • 2 tsp oyster sauce
    • 1 dash white pepper
    • 1 generous crack of black pepper, freshly ground
    • 2 tsp red wine
    • 3 tsp water
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ mug water
  • (optional) ¼ small green pepper, thinly sliced
  • (optional) ¼ white onion, thinly sliced
•••
  1. With hot oil in a skillet, fry the garlic till fragrant.
  2. Toss in the green peppers and/or onions, if you’re having them in the dish.
  3. Once the veggies are almost cooked through, add in the marinated beef.
  4. Stir-fry the meat by adding water in small quantities, pouring a little each time whenever the pan gets rather dry. Do this until the meat is almost cooked, then add all the water at a go to make a gravy.
  5. As soon as the beef is done – the gravy should be about boiling as well – turn off the heat.
  6. Now, before serving, taste it! Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper accordingly.
  7. Finally, serve with hot steamed rice*.

*Thai jasmine or basmati would be nothing less than fragrant and fantastic.


Yorkshire Paradise

It’s tragic how I had my first Yorkshire Pudding only when I came to London some months back. It was about the size of my palm, and carried a scoopful of lovely roast beef, white onions and gravy. Definitely love at first bite. I always thought they were difficult to make until I came across Jamie’s Oliver’s Mini Yorkies recipe. Literally, a piece of cake.

Long story short, the versatile Yorkshire Puddings or Mini Yorkies: with a couple of tweaks, and some true advice from Yorkshireman Niall, here’s how I like mine done:

  • 1 large egg
  • half a mug of plain flour
  • half a mug of fresh milk
  1. Into a shallow 12-hole muffin tray, liberally drizzle olive oil in one swift motion, from hole to hole without stopping. Stick into the oven and preheat to 180°C on the top rack. While that’s in there, prepare your pudding mix. It’s real similar to pancakes, so pay attention.
  2. Get the ingredients in a big bowl and mix away, till smooth.
  3. When the oil’s all hot (and maybe bubbly), get the tray out. Then, with the pudding mix, fill each hole to about half, give or take. At this stage, you’d be horrified to see the rings of oil surrounding the pudding mixture. Don’t worry, it beats using butter, hands down. (The amount should be just about right for 12 holes. Work out everything else in between.) Don’t take too long or the tray will cool down. Chuck it back into the oven for about 15 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, you can prepare a beef gravy or whatever you fancy in a yorkshire pudding. Personally, I think yorkies were created to caress beef.
  5. Keep an eye on them yorkies and you’ll see that they rise beautifully at the sides first, forming a little well of goodness. Done till golden. Brilliant. It’s plain physics, or so Sarah explains. If you forget to preheat the tray and oil till hot, the sides won’t rise.

This is what you’ll get:

I had this with a pork belly stew. More on that here.

******

A coupla months back, here’s how I had them:

After I’d gotten them out of the oven and out of the tray, this is what I stuck into each hole, and back into the heat:

  • a slice of tomato, as the base.
  • beef mince, marinated the way I like, with thyme and sage.
  • half rings of white onion.
  • cheddar, as the ‘glue’.

When the toppings were ready, on a chopping board, I plopped them onto the individual yorkies. Then, top off finally with a couple of leaves of arugula and a sprinkle of paprika.

With a snack looking this delish, you’d be a fool not to smile. (: