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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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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’)

Indian Spiced Lamb Skewers with Vegetable Curry

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Wouldn’t you just know it? I haven’t been sick at all so far this year and less than a week to go before my holiday, I am fighting a chesty thing. It’s desperately trying to get the upper hand, but so far I think I’m winning. Let’s hope my immune system can keep fighting the good fight and send the chesty thing running snivelling home to its mummy!

Recently I have been on a spicy food kick. I have been craving really strong spice combinations: Indian, Thai, Middle Eastern, North African… Here is my lamb skewers and vegetable curry recipe. It’s a common ritual in the UK to get Indian takeout on a Friday night. This beat that greasy, unhealthy stuff from the local Tandoori takeaway hands down! I was quite conservative with the hot chilli powder, but feel free to add more if you like to blow your head off! (I think next time I’ll add more!)

Indian Spiced Lamb Skewers with Vegetable Curry (serves 2-3)
Ingredients

For the Lamb Skewers
1 shallot
3 large cloves garlic
1″ piece ginger root, peeled
165 ml coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder (add more of a bit of a kick)
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp black pepper
500g lamb leg steaks, cubed
1 tsp black onion/ nigella seeds

Whizz all ingredients except the lamb and nigella seeds in a blender or food processor.
Put lamb, nigella seeds and marinade in a ziplock bag.
Massage well to ensure lamb is completely coated.
Leave for several hours or overnight in the fridge.
Thread lamb cubes onto skewers.
Bake in the oven for 30 mins at 180C, or better still, fire up your barbecue and grill until cooked through.

For the Vegetable Curry
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 aubergine/ eggplant, diced
1 courgette/ zucchini, diced
1 sweet bell pepper, diced
1 sweet potato, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomatoes
250ml chicken stock
1/4 tsp hot chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Juice of half a lemon

Melt the coconut oil in a large pan.
Add aubergine and onion and fry until softened.
Add garlic and spices. Toss over the heat for a few seconds.
Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
Allow to simmer for around 20-30 mins until veggies are tender.
Serve with the lamb skewers and some cauliflower ‘rice’.

“Porchetta” Style Roast Pork

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What a lovely afternoon/evening! The sun is shining, it’s quite warm (well, compared to the weather we’ve been having lately!) and the birds are chirping! Perfect for a spot of boxing in the park!

A promised, here is the recipe for the porchetta I made on Sunday (the day of the pig party!). Basically it is a pork belly, rubbed with spices on the inside and stuffed with a pork tenderloin. My butcher kindly gave me extra pork rind to completely enclose the meat, but in the end I didn’t use it as I wanted the juices and fat to seep out and into the veg in the bottom of the pan. I laid the pork on a bed of fennel bulbs which had been quartered and parsnips which were cut into chunky sticks. Feel free to omit or change the veg (I haven’t included them in the recipe).

“Porchetta” Style Roast Pork (serves 6-8)
Ingredients

2kg pork belly with skin which has been scored
500g pork tenderloin
1 bay leaf
4 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tbsp dried sage
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only (discard woody stems)
1 tbsp coarse sea salt crystals
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 tbsp red chilli flakes (less for milder heat)
A drizzle of EVOO
Himalayan salt

Preheat oven to 200C.
Put all ingredients except pork, EVOO and Himalayan salt into a food processor and blitz until it is finely ground and forms a dry-ish paste.
Season the tenderloin with Himalayan salt. Set aside.
Rub the meat side of the pork belly with the seasoning paste, making sure you go right to the edges.
Place the tenderloin on top of the pork belly, tuck in any edges and roll up. Tie the joint with string in several places to keep everything together.
Place in a roasting pan, with or without veg of your choice.
Place in the oven for 40 mins.
After 40 mins, turn the oven down to 150 and cook for a further 2 hours.
After 2 hours, turn the heat back up to 200C and cook for a further 20-30 mins to really crisp up the crackling.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins before carving and serving.

Harissa Lamb Meatballs with Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Sauce

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Today was the micro pig party for my niece! 2 small pigs basically snuffled their way around my sister’s garden on leashes whilst the kids brushed them and fed them carrots. Just an hour earlier, I had stuffed my face with a porchetta roast and loved every bite of it! I guess years of vegetarianism end up causing a reverse reaction – I am now obsessed with eating meat! The porchetta recipe will be uploaded soon, but I felt it was insensitive to put it up today along with a picture of one of the pigs! Instead I have decided to share yet another meatball recipe with you. Lamb with Harissa in a Moroccan spiced veggie sauce. When you buy your Harissa, check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t contain any dodgey ingredients (non-Paleo vegetable oils, sugars, additives etc).

Harissa Lamb Meatballs in Moroccan Spiced Veggie Sauce (serves 3)
Ingredients:

For meatballs
500g lamb mince
1 onion, finely chopped
A few sprigs fresh mint, leaves chopped
1 tbsp Harissa paste
Himalayan salt

For sauce
3 courgettes, large diced
2 peppers, large diced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp Harissa paste
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Himalayan salt.

Mix the meatball ingredients together in a bowl.
Form into balls with your hands.
Fry in a deep saucepan or work until browned on all sides and some of the fat has rendered out.
Pour off most of the fat.
Add the veggies and sauté until they begin to tenderise.
Add the spices, Harissa, tomatoes, salt and balsamic vinegar.
Allow the dish to simmer for at least half an hour until the meatballs are cooked and the vegetables are tender.
Serve on cauliflower ‘rice’ with a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt if you like.

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Micro pig at the party today.

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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A tasty winter warmer : Slow cooker chipotle beef with cauliflower ‘rice’

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Good Lord it was cold and snowed most of the day in London (although it didn’t really settle). Unfortunately I was either in a gym with no heating, or out in the elements today. Luckily I had this delicious, warming dish to come home to after a cold and wet bootcamp this evening.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

500g beef stewing steak cut into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic
120g chorizo
1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 small chipotle chili, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp honey
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
A handful fresh cilantro/ coriander leaves, chopped

In a large pan heat the oil and sauté the onion. Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the beef and cook until each chunk has been seared on all sides.
Add the chorizo and fry for several minutes to release some of the fat.
Next add the veggies and sauté until they start to soften.
Sprinkle in the spices and oregano, pour the tomatoes over the top, stir in the honey and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to the slow cooker and leave on high for 6 hours.
Just before serving, mix the fresh coriander leaves into the casserole, reserving a few as a garnish.
Serve with cauliflower ‘rice’ (recipe below)

Cauliflower Rice (serves 4)
Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
A large knob grass-fed butter
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Boil or steam cauliflower until very tender.
Drain and mash the cauliflower with a fork or potato masher.
Add the butter and mix in once melted
Season with salt and pepper.
Voilà – easy peasy!

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