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Nose to Tail Slow Cooker Beef Rendang

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I love trying out different cuts of meat from my butcher. I popped in around midday in Saturday, hoping to pick up some beef short ribs as I really fancied making something rich in collagen and full of the goodness of grass-fed beef bones. They had already sold out of short ribs, so I decided to go with oxtail instead. Then something else caught my eye – beef cheek! I’ve had it before in restaurants, but never tried cooking it myself. I bought one with the idea in my mind of ‘beefing up’ (pardon the pun) my oxtail dish.

I wasn’t exactly sure what on earth I was going to make with these random cow parts, so I had a flip through some of my favourite recipe books to get ideas. Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey piqued my interest as I already had some bits and pieces from the Thai supermarket lurking in the fridge. I decided I would make my own take on his Beef Rendang recipe (a Malaysian curry).

Nose to Tail Slow Cooker Beef Rendang (serves 3)
Ingredients:

For the spice paste:
60g desiccated coconut, toasted in a dry wok
6 dried birds eye chillies
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
6 cloves garlic
4 shallots (small)
4 red chillies, deseeded

For the beef:
1 tbsp coconut oil
6 kafir lime leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, slit down the middle
160ml coconut cream
1 large cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tbsp tamarind paste mixed in 120ml boiling water
15 drops stevia liquid
1 beef cheek cut into chunks
3 large pieces oxtail
1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Make spice paste by placing all ingredients into a food processor and blitzing until it forms a thick goo.
Melt coconut oil in a large pan or wok.
Add oxtail sand beef cheek and sear on all sides.
Add in the spice paste and fry for 1 min.
Add in remaining ingredients (except cilantro) and mix well.
Transfer to slow cooker and leave to cook for 4-6 hrs on high.
Just before serving, stir in cilantro leaves and sprinkle a few on top to make it look pretty!

I served this with mashed swede and rainbow chard sautéed in coconut oil, as that is what I had in the fridge. This would be great served with cauliflower ‘rice’.

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Lamb Biryani

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This horrible weather just makes me want to stay at home and eat comfort food! Last night I had a real hankering for Indian food with it’s rich comforting flavours. Luckily I had some organic lamb leg steaks in the fridge, and half an enormous cauliflower. I was struck with a great idea – lamb biryani using cauliflower instead of rice. I also threw a bit of kale in there for some extra greenery, fibre and nutrients. I also happened to have half a can of coconut milk left over from something else, so in that went too! The resulting dish was exactly what I was after! Tasty, satisfying, easy and pretty quick.

Lamb Biryani (serves 2)
Ingredients:
2 lamb leg steaks, trimmed of excess fat and cut into cubes
1/2 large cauliflower, finely chopped
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
6-8 large kale leaves, tough stems removed and leaves chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup chopped coriander/cilantro leaves
Sea salt

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan and once really hot, add the lamb and sear. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate.
Add the onion to the remaining fat in the pan. Sauté until soft.
Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry until fragrant.
Add the vegetables, lamb and spices and salt to taste and stir well so that everything is mixed and coated with spice.
Add the coconut milk.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 mins until the cauliflower is well cooked, but not mushy.
Remove the lid, break the cauliflower up with a spoon so that it resembles rice grains.
If there is quite a lot of liquid in the pan, turn the heat up and reduce until the dish is fairly dry.
Just before serving, stir in chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves.

Moroccan Beef Stew

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I’m back! Did you miss me?
I know it’s been forever since I last posted, but with good reason…I’ve spent the last 3 months working on cruise ships performing and teaching belly dance. It was a fantastic experience! I met some amazing people and saw some amazing places and generally had a great time. It was weird though to rely on someone else cooking for me every meal every day! It was pretty straightforward sticking to a Paleo/Primal diet (although you never really know if there are some nasty hidden ingredients), but on the whole I did well and I lost weight too! I think I’m probably the first person in history to lose weight on a cruise ship! It’s quite terrifying to watch how much and what people eat when allowed free reign of the buffet!

I was at a friend’s house for dinner the other night. He made the most delicious lamb and prune stew with – kind of Moroccan spiced. I had some beef in my fridge and decided I would try to recreate it at home the next day so that Mr (not entirely) Grain Free could try it (he wasn’t with me on Friday night).
The result was delicious, although I think the flavour of lamb suits the spices better, so I would urge you to make it with diced lamb leg if you can get it. If you’re not a lamb fan, do not worry, it is still delicious with beef.

Moroccan Beef/Lamb Stew (serves 3-4)

500g stewing steak/ leg of lamb, cubed
1 cup prunes (pitted)
1 red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 large carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp EVOO
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp red chilli, finely chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180C
Put all ingredients except the coriander leaves in a large lidded casserole dish – no need to brown the onions or meat first (honestly it makes no difference and just makes extra work).
Give it a good stir so that the liquid and spices coat everything.
Cook in the oven for around an hour and a half. Check after an hour to make sure the liquid hasn’t all cooked away. You can always add a little more chicken stock if it is already looking a bit dry.
Just before serving, stir in the chopped coriander leaves.
I served my stew with cauliflower ‘cous cous’ (made the same way as cauliflower ‘rice’)

Asian Style Shrimp and Samphire Salad

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It has been gloriously sunny all week! As a result, one of my clients asked if we could do a five mile run in our session today. This means I cycle to his house, cycle alongside him while he runs and then obviously cycle back home afterwards. It literally started raining as I got my bike out to cycle to the session, and stopped about ten minutes after I put the bike away! That is what we here in England call “Sod’s Law”!

Anyway, enough moaning about the British weather… I’m sure I have already bored you with enough tales of food I ate whilst on my travels in Southeast Asia, including the best Thai meal of my life which consisted of the (definitely not Paleo) tasting menu. One of the dishes we were served was a salad of shredded jumbo shrimp with samphire. I went to a BBQ at my sister’s house last weekend, so I decided to try making my own version of the shrimp and samphire salad to take with me. The result was delightful, although I’m not sure it tasted exactly like the one I had in Bangkok, and I certainly couldn’t get shrimps the size of the ones in Thailand, let alone shred them! This recipe makes a large bowlful – definitely enough for sharing with many friends /family alongside some juicy pasture-raised barbecued meats!

Asian Style Shrimp and Samphire Salad (serves 8-10)
Ingredients:

540g samphire
4 shallots, very finely sliced
2 Ramiro sweet red peppers, very finely sliced
300g cooked and peeled king prawns/shrimp, roughly chopped into small pieces
1 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
7″ piece of cucumber, deseeded, cut into 3 and very finely sliced
For the dressing:
1 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp coconut sugar

Bring a large pot or wok of water to the boil.
Add the samphire and blanch for 1 minute.
Remove to a bowl of cold water to stop it cooking further. Drain and put in a large bowl.
Slice the veggies very finely – preferably with a mandolin (but be careful not to get slice fingers – we don’t want that in the salad!).
Mix the shallots, pepper and cucumber into the samphire. I recommend using your hands to do this so you don’t damage the fragile samphire or veggies.
Add the chopped shrimp and again, toss with your hands to mix well.
Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl or jug.
Pour over the salad and toss (with your hands).
Just before serving, mix the cilantro/coriander leaves through.
NB. There is really no need to add any salt to this salad. The samphire, being a sea vegetable, is naturally very salty, and the fish sauce in the dressing will add extra saltiness to the whole salad.

My favourite breakfast – quick and easy Huevos Rancheros

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Today is day 6 of my 21 Day Sugar Detox (written by Diane Sanfilipo, for those of you interested who have never heard of it). So far so good. I’m not really craving sweet things too much, however tonight is going to be the real test! It’s Saturday and I’m going out with my boyfriend and some friends, but I am not allowed to drink alcohol (at all!) This is going to be a real challenge. I’m not an alcoholic by any means, but I do enjoy a drink (or two) in a social setting. However, I am determined to prove to myself that I can go for three weeks without it!

It’s a beautiful sunny morning in West London – perfect weather for training a client outdoors. I decided this morning was the morning for some Mexican flavours for breakfast. One of my boyfriend and my favourite breakfast/brunch dishes is Huevos Rancheros. I always find the kick from the chillies first thing in the morning gives me a spring in my step for the rest of the day. I used to make this dish with black beans or refried beans on whole wheat tortillas before adopting a Primal way of eating. To be honest, I don’t miss either the beans or the tortilla as both are the least flavourful part of the dish anyway. This morning I served it with sliced avocado as I was in a hurry to get to my session, however if you have more time, feel free to make the avocado into guacamole (I posted a recipe for this previously with the Mexican spiced Tuna).

Quick and Easy Huevos Rancheros (serves 2)
Ingredients:

1 red onion, chopped
1 yellow (or whatever colour you have on hand) bell pepper, diced
A glug of EVOO
4 eggs
1 tsp cumin powder
1 whole chipotle chilli, chopped or pulverised in a food processor
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 large bunch coriander/cilantro, leaves and stalks finely chopped
1 avocado
1/2 lime, cut in two
Sea salt

Sauté the onion in a frying pan in the oil until slightly translucent.
Add the pepper and continue to sauté until it begins to soften.
Add the cumin and chipotle, stir to mix.
Add the tomatoes and season with sea salt.
Leave to simmer while you chop the cilantro.
Add the cilantro and mix well.
Crack the eggs onto the top of the tomato sauce, and cover the pan to help the eggs cook.
I like my egg yolks soft, so I left them to cook for around 4 mins. The yolks were still sticky and slightly runny in the very centre. Cook longer if you want completely solid yolks.
Serve with the sliced avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Delicioso!

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