Beef casserole

Winter in Australia is here, but in Queensland where I am it is just not as hot as usual. Still, winter food beckons and I answer the call! This dish is packed full of beautiful root vegetables to help fight away any cold and flu, to nourish the gut and get your taste buds dancing! I hope you enjoy this quick little one!

Ingredients

1kg diced beef

1 onion, diced

1 turnip, diced

3 sticks of celery, sliced

2 carrots, diced

1 swede, diced

6 button mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves of garlic, chopped as you wish

1 cup beef stock

½ a glass of your favourite red wine

1 can crushed tomatoes or 4 tomatoes chopped finely

2 big silver beet leaves, sliced

A handful of parsley

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Method

Like most casseroles, we are going for full flavour and aroma here! So brown your beef in a little olive oil. Now add your onion and garlic and saute down for a couple of minutes. Now add your vegetables, except the silver beet, and swoosh them around, letting them all mingle at the party. Now add your stock, wine (no harm in having a little tipple yourself) and tomatoes. Simmer this all together for about half an hour on low heat. Add salt and pepper to your liking, stirring that in very well ensuring it goes through the dish. Add your silver beet leaves and parsley.

 

When serving casseroles sometimes I have a side of mashed potato, or a little pasta. Here I went for a little gnocchi and it was a good solid accompaniment. If you don’t want a side, don’t do it! Enjoy this easy, flavoursome dish for the hero it is!

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Beef casserole

Afghan lamb

This dish is really amazingly simple but is packed with flavour. It is a quick week night dinner for the family, and left overs are great heated or cold the next day. I am in awe of how simple good food can be. This Afghan lamb is a song to that!

Ingredients

1 Kg diced lamb

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp salt

1 lemon

 

Method

Leave the lamb in the bag from the butcher. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze over the lamb chunks and then add the spices and salt. Shake the bag, and then leave for half an hour or so. Pour a little olive oil in a pan and heat. Once warm and slippery, spoon the lamb into your pan and fry. Move around a bit whilst you cook the lamb, and it will be done in about 20 minutes. I like to put the lemon halves cut side down in the pan to caramelise. Serve with vegetables you love, cous cous or as I did, with my polenta and vegetable pie!

Afghan lamb

Deconstructed Caesar salad

Queensland hot summers call for loads of salads. And that can get tiresome if you don’t mix it up a bit! This little number is a red hot favourite with the family, and lunch guests. It looks somewhat impressive, and takes minimal effort – just my kind of dish! So have a crack! I bet you make it a summer favourite!

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Ingredients

100g jarlsberg cheese

2 small cos lettuce, chopped rough or whole leaf

A red onion, diced

Cucumber, chopped as you like

Tomatoes, as you like

Handful of flat leaf parsley roughly chopped

A roasted capsicum, sliced

Left over sourdough cut into 2cm cubes

Olive oil

A clove of garlic

An avocado

1 kg chicken thighs

A lemon

A handful of herbs (I used thyme, oregano and flat leaf parsley)

 

Method

Put your chicken thighs in a baking tray and splash with olive oil. Crack some salt and pepper on top, cut your lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice on. Add your handful of various herbs and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 35 minutes.

Either rub the sourdough with your garlic clove before you cut it up, or crush the garlic clove and sprinkle it on top of the squares. On a separate tray place your sourdough squares, spray with olive oil. Cook in a 200 degree Celsius oven for about 5 minutes.

Tear or keep your lettuce whole, arranging it in your salad bowl. Chop your tomato, cucumber, onion and capsicum how you like them and rest them on top of your lettuce. Put a bit of cheese around! Sprinkle with your chopped parsley. Now cut your avocado as you like and leave on a plate. I like this deconstructed version of Caesar salad for many reasons including its simplicity. It is downright delicious. I hope you enjoy it too!

 

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Deconstructed Caesar salad

Sweet spud bake

This dish came to be because I’d made my Mexican spuds and had leftover roasted whole sweet potatoes. But it is so yummy that now I’ll roast the spuds just for the dish!

 

Ingredients

4 roast sweet spuds

¼ red cabbage

3 tbs rice malt syrup

3 different cheeses, about 100g dotted around

Parsley, chopped rough

 

Method

Wrap your sweet potatoes in baking paper and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for one hour.

All wrapped up and ready for the oven!

Mash the potatoes into a lasagne tray. Drizzle the rice malt syrup onto the top, and then sprinkle with sliced red cabbage. Now add whatever cheese you like to the top.

Mashing the sweet spuds straight into the tray.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for half an hour. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving!

Sweet spud bake

Roast vegetables

It seems crazy to have a roast vege recipe, but some people don’t know how to do a good roast veg. When I was 16 I had to do the family cooking, and there were no blogs, and no recipe book had roasting vegetables – it was a given you knew – so this is for anyone out there who is like me; I had no idea but wanted to make nice hearty meals. You’ll be fine with this! Just remember the smaller the veg the hotter the oven and less cooking time. The larger the veg the lower the oven temperature and the longer the cooking time.

Ingredients

Whatever veges you have!

For this particular roast I used;

4 button squash cut in half

3 carrots, cut into half centimetre widths

A handful of green beans

5 potatoes, cut into pieces about the size of a whole walnut

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Here’s another version without the squash!

Method

Toss your veges in a drizzle of olive oil so they are nicely coated. Place on a roasting tray (you can pre-warm it before putting them on or line with baking paper). Now sprinkle some salt and pepper over them. Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes. If you like your vegetables bigger, chop them bigger! That will increase cooking time to 1 hour and degres the temperature to 150 degrees Celsius. If you like extra crispy spuds, I suggest boiling them first for a few minutes and then baking them under a high heat for 10 minutes – but that’s another recipe! I hope you like your roast veges, they truly are a great way to enjoy the flavours of the Earth!

Roast vegetables

Lazy pasta

Sunday lunches have to be quick to make and long to eat around here! But in being too lazy to do the groceries, I only had a few ingredients so this is what came of it. It is actually pretty nice and fresh!

 

Ingredients

200 g baby spinach leaves, fresh

1 punnet cherry or baby Roma tomatoes, sliced in half

Salt and pepper to your liking

Dash olive oil

200 g spaghetti

 

Method

Bring a pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt and your pasta. Once pasta is ready, drain. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan and add the pasta, tossing the oil through. Now add the spinach and tomatoes. Salt and pepper as you wish and you’re done. We smothered it in fine parmesan cheese – oh so yummy!!

Lazy pasta

Chicken soup

This is the bomb! The flu bomb! The sniffly nose bomb! The I feel like I need a hug bomb! It just happens to be my son’s favourite soup, and he was feeling a little off so I made this for his lunch. It freezes very well, so the rest is in the deep box for next time someone needs to feel better.

Ingredients

10 cloves garlic, crushed

1 red onion, diced

2 carrots, diced

3 celery sticks, diced

1 can creamed corn

2 tbs vegetable stock powder

1 roast chicken, torn apart

3 desiree potatoes, diced chunky

1L water

Handful of parsley

A couple of sprigs of thyme

Splash of olive oil

 

Method

Shake a splash of olive oil into a large pot and heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery and carrots, cooking together for five minutes. Now add your water, stock powder, creamed corn and shredded chook. Bring to the boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer for a further twenty minutes. Add your herbs and serve piping hot!!

Chicken soup