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

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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.