Tag Archives: Beef

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.

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.

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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. (:


Red Wine & Oregano Beef Stew

Mummy was out at work today so I had to make lunch for the family. Here’s a great one-dish meal to have with fresh bread or rice.

Red Wine & Oregano Beef Stew 

Ingredients:

  • 250g minced beef, prepared with:
    • 1 tbsp of corn flour
    • 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 potato, peeled and diced
  • half a green pepper, chopped
  • 1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • half mug of beef or vegetable stock
  • quarter mug of red wine
  • 2 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • a pinch of dried oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • a pinch of fresh coriander leaves

Cooking:

  1. Put the oil and knob of butter into a hot wok. TIP! This is to prevent the butter from burning to brown.
  2. Add the onion and green pepper, and fry till they start to shrivel a little.
  3. Toss in the carrot and potato.
  4. Together with the garlic and chilli, wine and stock, get the minced beef in.
  5. Add the dark soy sauce too.
  6. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper, and just a little salt, according to taste.
  7. Don’t forget the pinch of dried oregano.
  8. Bring to a boil, place a lid on top and lower the heat to a simmer.
  9. Let it stay on the stove for 15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes or so that it doesn’t dry up. If it’s too dry for your liking, add water in small quantities till you get the consistency you want. Be sure to add salt if necessary.
  10. Serve with fresh coriander leaves on top.

Bolognese Brilliance

Bolognese Brilliance: no serious slurping, no mess, just awesome food.

Building on from Springy Bolognese, I’ve decided to list some numbers and ingredients for this massively easy pasta dish. Its hearty and satisfying; perfect for that one time when you’re feeling incredibly hungry. Hurhur.

The brilliant thing about bolognese is that there’s no hard and fast rule about what goes inside. To me, it’s like Chinese Fried Rice; you add whatever tickles your fancy. Personally, I aim for ‘colourful’.

So here’s what I had in mine this time. Extremely extravagant. 

  • 1 third of pasta from a standard size quick cook spaghetti pack
  • 1 handful of chopped red pepper
  • 1 handful of chopped yellow pepper
  • 1 handful of peas, frozen works the same
  • 1 handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 white onions, minced
  • 1 third of a finger chilli, minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized knob of butter
  • 50g of double concentrate tomato puree
  • half tbsp of dried basil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 handful of finely grated cheddar (if you have parmesan, even better)
  • 1 handful of fresh rocket (optional)
  • 1 handful of beef minced (omit this is you’re vegetarian)

With all the ingredients ready, what you’re going for now is efficiency and speed. No mucking about. You’re hungry, and if you’re not about getting angry yet, your stomach is. A hungry man is an angry man. Whatever.

This is how to roll:

  1. Since we’re going for speed, quick-cook pasta is the key choice here. Get that in a pot of boiling water and let it work its magic. If you believe in the Italian saying that ”the water for pasta cooking should be as salty as the Mediterranean”, then go right ahead and salt that water.
  2. While that’s happening, get another pot/wok on the hob too. If your peas are frozen, get them straight in, together with that knob of butter. If not, get everything you want in your bolognese e.g. onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots, etc. and dump them in. Let them fry about while you wash up your chopping board and knife, and welcome the Aroma Fairies.
  3. When they (the ingredients, not fairies) are just about done, in goes the minced beef. Toss.
  4. Then, tomato puree goes in too. Here’s a tip. Instead of using plain water to dilute your sauce, get some of that starchy pasta water, about half a cup full and pour it into the sauce. Happy days.
  5. Mix about before adding the dried basil. Mix some more and taste. Season with salt and pepper your liking. Turn the heat off.
  6. Your pasta should be done, so drain the water out and get it straight into your superb bolognese sauce. Toss about, coating every strand of that spaghetti in red goodness. Move all to a serving dish.
  7. Top with fresh rocket leaves. Then, grate your cheese straight onto everything.

Mushroom & Mince Marmite Miracle

Recall Marmite PowerMushroom Marmite Magic.

Now combine both.

Have it with a light green salad. Happy days.


Marmite Power

I got a suggestion from a friend to try this one out – Marmite Pasta. (In case you don’t know what Marmite is, it’s made from yeast extract, a by-product of beer brewing. Imagine a concentrated gravy, thick and sticky.) It’s Nigella Lawson’s recipe, which she got from someone else, and I’m sharing it here. I decided to have an evening snack and had no idea what I was getting myself into.

This five-minute meal is incredibly easy to make. While the pasta is cooking, toss a wad of butter into a hot saucepan. Add Marmite, according how salty you’d like it to be. Then, steal some of that starchy pasta-cooking water and add it to the saucepan as well. Stir and smile to yourself.

At this stage, I got itchy and dumped a portion of minced beef into the sauce. It reminded me fondly of Bovril, which is similar to Marmite, except that it’s beef extract. Well, at the least the original one is, until Mad Cow Disease changed it to chicken extract. I remember. When I was a kid, every time I was down with a fever, Dad would spread Bovril on toast and cut each slice into sixteen smaller parts. Then, he would stick a couple of toothpicks in each piece, so the plate resembled a dish of cocktail finger food. He did this ‘cos he knew I didn’t feel like eating proper food. Thanks, Dad. (:

Anyway, away from memory lane now. Finally, drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Mix and serve. Gobble and slurp.