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Friday is international beer day and I could not pass up the opportunity to celebrate this day as an Australian. Aussies are renowned for their love of the amber liquid, nothing quite beats sitting back on a sunny hot day with an icy cold beer particularly with the BBQ going.


Given that its winter, and the nights are cool I decided not to do a BBQ recipe instead a slow cooked beef roast with an amazing beer gravy. If I was honest I could have drunk the gravy on its own it was that good and I have a feeling this will be the gravy of choice in our house for some time!


As the beef has cooked slowly in the oven for 5 hours it is so tender and every mouthful slathered in the gravy is just melt in your mouth deliciousness. I chose to have mashed potato and roasted root vegetables but you could also shred the beef and turn it into a pie.


Beer is a great ingredient to use in slow cooked meals. The flavour from the beer adds depth and its a great alternative to using wine or just stock. As it cooks for hours the alcohol evaporates and you are left with a deep beautiful sauce that the family will love.


If you want to use your slow cooker you will need to cook it on low for 8 hours and it will be beautiful and tender, I must say I loved the charred top of the beef that you get from cooking it in the oven (although you could put the oven on high and achieve the same result while you are making the gravy.


So this Friday at the end of the working week why not toast international beer day twice with this amazing recipe and also a icy cold beer!


Prep 10 min// Cook 5hrs


INGREDIENTS

1 piece of beef (I used a slow cooked beef roast but you can use blade roast which is perfect for slow cooking)

2 1/2 cups of beer (I used great northern but any light ale will do)

2 cups liquid beef stock

5 tbs EDMK steak spice rub (or any commercial brand)

4 tbs minced garlic

4 tbs seeded mustard

2 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 tbs plain flour

1/2 tbs butter


METHOD

Heat oven to 160 degrees fan forced.

Season the beef on all sides with salt and pepper and then rub the steak spice rub over each side.

In a bowl mix the minced garlic and the seeded mustard together and then rub all over the beef.

In an oven tray pour 2 cups beer, 1 cup liquid beef stock and the Worcestershire sauce in and stir to combine.

Add the piece of beef and cover the oven tray tightly with foil and place in the oven.

After 4 hours remove the foil and add a further 1/2 cup of beer and 1/2 cup of liquid beef stock to the tray and cook for a further hour or until the meat is nice and tender.

Remove the beef from the oven and cover with foil to rest.

In a saucepan melt the butter and then add the flour and whisk until it is a roux and light brown in colour.

Add sauce from the oven tray and the remaining 1/2 cup liquid beef stock and stir until the gravy becomes nice and thick.

Slice the beef thickly and pour the sauce over the meat (reserve some for your veggies because its amazing!).

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Last weekend when we I was driving the kiddoes to a birthday party we passed my favourite road side fruit and vegetable stall and I bought our weekly fruit and vegetables including fresh lemons and oranges.


Aside from making a lemon cake and an orange and poppy seed cake for school lunches I decided to make a quick dessert to have a sneaky guilty pleasure after the kids had gone to bed - sorry kids but I wanted something delicious to eat while watching Farmer Wants a Wife!


If I had to pick a dessert when I am out one of the things that I would tend to choose is a tart. I love the sweet buttery flaky thin pastry and a sharp filling. And if it is served with cream then its like you have won the jackpot.


Sadly I do not like making pastry. Its quite time consuming with making the dough, chilling the dough, rolling it out and blind baking it. When you have a busy family and work life and you want dessert you want it to be made quickly and easily.


Most people would know about the good old fashioned lemon bars where they are so simple and the base is perfect and easy to make. The basis of this recipe came from that. Using a base that is not a traditional pastry dough and topping it with beautiful citrus flavours and popping it in the oven.


The base is a shortbread recipe and the filling well its a mix between a curd and a custard and the lemon and orange marry together so well that for me it was the perfect dessert while watching one of my favourite reality television shows.



FResh out of the oven waiting for some cream and a strawberry


Prep 15 min // Cook 15-20 min


INGREDIENTS

Pastry

1 cup plain flour

1/3 cup icing sugar

1 tbs lemon zest

1 tbs orange zest

1/2 cup cold butter cubed

2 tbs iced water


Filling

3 large eggs at room temperature

1 1/4 cups white sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of one orange

1/4 cup melted butter


METHOD

Pastry

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease a tart tin and set aside.

  2. In a food processor (or thermomix) place all ingredients in and pulse until a smooth ball is formed.

  3. Remove from the machine and press the dough into the prepared tart tin and up the sides and then set aside.

Filling

  1. Place eggs, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice and the zests into a bowl and whisk together.

  2. Add in the melted butter and whisk until smooth.

  3. Pour into the prepared tart tin and then bake for about 20 min (depending on size of tart tin) or until just about set (the mixture will just be wobbling like jelly).

  4. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then serve with cream and strawberries.

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Sometimes the best dessert is an old fashioned favourite particularly on a cold winter's night and you need some comfort food.


I can remember both my Nana's making stewed apple and either using it for breakfast or putting in a pie or my ultimate favourite topped with a buttery crumble. The sweetness of the fruit topped with that buttery chewy crumble with ice-cream to me was like heaven. We were never a family who had dessert after dinner so going to Nan's place for dinner was a highlight because there was always dessert and this particularly dessert was my favourite.


Its funny how you continue traditions in your family, we are also not a dessert after dinner household unless we have people over. If the kids are hungry after dinner they can have a piece of fruit and that is about it. But like most kids they do like dessert so the other day when they asked I decided to teach them about crumble and why it was special to me. They loved helping make it but they enjoyed eating it even more!


There is something special about making a recipe that is in your family. As I made this I told my kids stories and memories about my Nana's and the famous Sunday dinners that they both used to host for family. But for me the memories really came flooding back as I ate each mouthful of the crumble because it was exactly as Nana used to make.



A bowl of heaven and childhood memories


Over the years cooks and chefs have altered the humble crumble mix to make it a more healthier version. Many recipes now cut down on the sugar and butter component and instead use oats to get the crumble topping or another healthier baking ingredient to make the crumble.

I have tried these recipes and whilst I appreciate the healthy option its still not a crumble in my opinion. You need to have the sugars and the butter to create something so amazing. Some recipes in my opinion just never should be modernised and this is one of them.


So no its not the most healthy crumble but as I always say no food is bad when it is in moderation.


Prep 10 min // Cook 45 min


INGREDIENTS

Fruit Mixture

5- 6 large apples peeled, cored and chopped into pieces (traditionally people use granny smith apples but you can use any apples you have )

1 cup strawberries cored and cut into half

1 cup blueberries

1 cup raspberries

4 tablespoons caster sugar

1/4 cup water


Crumble

1 1/2 cups plain flour

3/4 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 tbs cinnamon


METHOD

Fruit

  1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and place on a high heat until boiling and then stir until the apple is soft then remove from heat and place into a baking tray to cool.


Crumble

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

  2. Place all ingredients except the butter into a bowl and mix through well.

  3. Chop the butter into small knobs and put in the dry ingredient mixture.

  4. With your fingers massage the butter through until the mixture resembles a soft fine crumble.

  5. When the fruit is cooled scatter the crumble mix over the fruit and then bake in the oven for about 20min. To crisp the crumble change the oven setting to grill on high and grill for about 5 min.

  6. Serve hot with ice-cream.

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