Dinner in a brisket

I’m going through a phase. We all go through them. Sometimes it’s a black lipstick and creeper shoes-wearing thing. Or bad boys with leather jackets and motorbikes. Scuba diving. Knitting. Dance classes, because you marathoned all of the Step Up movies in a weekend, and you can totally do that.

At the moment, I’m obsessed with Jewish cook books. The transition into winter is probably the catalyst, following on from all the Lent-inspired recipes. Jewish cooking looks so comforting. If any kind of food felt like a warm hug, it’s definitely this. A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Monday Morning Cooking Club: The Feast Goes on. I liked it so much, I immediately picked up their other book. We’re going to come back and talk about this another day, but the important thing to note is: brisket. These books love brisket. I was immediately inspired.

Brisket, if you’ve never come across it before, is cut from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. It’s a tough piece of meat which benefits from some super slow cooking to render it tender and melty. I picked mine up from the magical team at Gingin Beef at the Subi Farmers Markets. Ask your local butcher for it, because you won’t find it at Coles or Woolies.

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Now I know what you’re thinking. This looks like a lot of work. I mean, brisket sounds fancy and complicated. But fear not! It’s incredibly simple, I promise. Would I lie to you?

The barbecue sauce is made up from stuff that you’ve probably got in your pantry. The spice rub is super easy to throw together, but if you’ve got a pre-made rub in the back of the cupboard, feel free to use it. Mac and cheese can be thrown together is 10 minutes. The recipe can even be doubled, or tripled, and divided up and frozen for future can’t-be-assed-cooking nights – and with the impending cold weather, we all know there are plenty of those comin’.

Now. The recipe that follows serves 6-8 people, so feel free to halve it all. The piece of brisket I used was 900g, which was a touch small for 4 people, so maybe aim for 1.2kg for 4 people.

Beef Brisket and Mac and Cheese

From Daily Life

Beef Brisket

A piece of brisket, about 5kg

Barbecue Sauce
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
500ml tomato sauce
100ml Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp malt vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
1 tsp chopped thyme
Spice Rub
2 tbsp each chilli powder and mustard powder
1 tbsp each paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, ground black pepper, castor sugar
1 bay leaf, crushed

To make the barbecue sauce, cook the onion and garlic in the oil, in a large fan over medium heat. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and blend with a food processor to form a smooth puree.

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Heat the oven to 150*c. Mix all of the spice rub ingredients together with a good pinch of salt, then rub all over the brisket.

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Add the sauce and two cups of water to a roasting tray, pop in the brisket, then cover tightly with baking paper and then foil. Place in the oven and roast for at least 4 hours (maybe 5 if it’s a big piece), until it’s fork-tender.

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Once it’s done in the oven, grill the brisket in a hot frypan for a couple of minutes each side, until lightly charred. Cut into thick slices and serve.

 

Mac and Cheese

500g macaroni
olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely diced
4 rashers streaky bacon, diced
600ml cream
150g grated aged cheddar
350g grated gruyere
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp seeded Dijon mustard
1 tsp smoked paprika
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley
100g  breadcrumbs

Place the pasta in a large pot boiling salted water, and cook according to packet instructions until al-dente. Drain well and set aside.

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Heat some oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then cool the onion and bacon until the onion is soft and the bacon is golden. Remove from the pan and leave to drain on a paper towel. Return the pan to high heat and add the cream, brining to a boil. Lower the heat and add the garlic, mustard, paprika and cheese.

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Simmer for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and sauce thickens. Return the onion and bacon to the pan and season with salt and pepper.
In a large baking dish, add the pasta and sauce, stir until the pasta is coated, then top with the breadcrumbs and parsley. If you’re prepping the mac and cheese in advance, refrigerate until the brisket comes out of the oven, turn up the heat to 200* and cook until warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes.

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In the interest of your arteries, serve with some kind of token salad. It definitely cancels out.

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Better than IKEA

For very brief, fleeting moments this week, it actually felt like Autumn. As a firm lover of blankets, pajamas and generally looking like an Eskimo, you can bet your ass I was excited.

It’s a widely accepted truth that everyone loves IKEA. Even if you hate it, there’s a perverse pleasure of being there, hating everything and everyone and coming out with 14 bags of Diam (which, by the way, is like crack). I, for one, love IKEA, and am the kind of person that can’t go unsupervised. Mostly because I need someone to remind me that I don’t need coat hangers/toys/500 picture frames and a whole new book shelving unit.

Of course, IKEA is also famous for it’s food court. It’s the cheapest feed in the world, why wouldn’t you eat your body weight in meatballs and mousse while you’re there? You’re going to need all the energy you can get when you’re at home and 4 hours into the most confusing bed assembly in the universe. The problem is, you can’t really go there for a meatball fix, lest you come home with a shelving unit, the temptation is far too great.

So here we have it, folks. The recipe that’s going to make your life just that much better. It’s perfect winter comfort food, and it’s also pretty damn easy.
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Better Than IKEA Meatballs

Adapted from The Londoner and Jamie Oliver

a handful of mixed fresh herbs, such as flat-leaf parsley or chives
300g minced pork
300g minced beef
1 large egg
100ml milk
75g dried breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon ground allspice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
1tbsp mustard
1-2tbsp Worcester sauce
1tsp honey
300ml double cream
Salt n pepper

Roughly chop the fresh herbs. Set aside a pinch for garnish, and then place the rest in a large, deep mixing bowl, big enough for you go get your hands in to. Add the mince, egg, milk, bread crumbs and all spice. Season with salt and pepper, then mix and scrunch together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into meatballs, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate for an hour to firm up.

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Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and brown all over, about 10 -15 minutes. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate and set aside.

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Add the flour to the remaining oil in the pan and stir until it makes a smooth paste. Add the stock and simmer, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan (you want this, they are delicious). Leave to simmer and thicken for a couple of minutes, then add the Worcester Sauce, honey and mustard. Give a good stir, then add the cream. Stir again, then add the meatballs to the pan, and turn to coat. Simmer for a further 5 minutes.

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Serve meatballs and sauce over your favourite carb – this is amazing with pasta, mashed potatoes, couscous or polenta. Sprinkle with reserved herbs.

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If you’re a little on the lazy side, or pushed for time, you can use your favourite flavoured sausages – just remove the meat from their casings, and roll into balls. The flavouring is already in the meat, so you’re good to go!

Those summer nights

There are some days where it’s pure torture to drag yourself into the kitchen. Even food bloggers aren’t immune to this.

Maybe it’s 38* outside.
Maybe you’ve had to do a lot of cooking lately.
Maybe you’re just too damn tired, and flopping on the couch with a season of Vikings and a bottle of wine is a much better idea.
Maybe it’s all of these things on the same day (last Monday, if you wanted to know).

These are all perfectly legit reasons to eat from the instant/delivered section of the food pyramid. BUT, if you stay with me, I can present to you a dinner that takes less time and effort to cook than it takes for Chinese to appear on your doorstep, with the added bonus of being good for you. I promise.

Lamb Skewers with Mint Pea and Feta Salad

From Good Food

500g lamb rump
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
Sea salt and black pepper
300g frozen peas
1 bag mixed lettuce greens
1/3 cup torn mint leaves, chopped
1/3 cup parsley leaves, chopped
150g marinated Persian feta
Flatbread, to serve

Dice the lamb into bite size chunks. Toss together in a bowl with oregano, olive oil and salt and pepper, then cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours. Soak wooden skewers in cold water, if you’re using them, to prevent them from burning.

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When you’re ready to eat, cook the peas in a pot of boiling water until tender (5 minutes, or whatever the packet instructions say). Drain, and refresh in cold water. Add the peas, herbs, greens and feta together and toss to combine.

Heat a bbq or frying pan. Thread the lamb onto the skewers evenly. Grill the skewers for a couple of minutes each side, or until cooked to your liking.

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Serve lamb with salad and flatbread.

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I used the flatbread to make everything into little wraps, because everything tastes better in a wrap. Duh.

Breaking Bread

So, this is Christmas. And what have you done? If you’re anything like me, you’ve been run off your feet with Christmas parties, shopping, wrapping, planning, cooking, shopping, drinking more shopping (what is with all these little last minute presents?!) and a million catch-ups.

It’s well documented that I’m a grinch, however, I can’t hate everything about this time of year. I mean, it’s the best time to get out and try all the places that you never got to during the year, under the guise of merriment and quality time with friends and family!

The one place I still haven’t gotten to is Fremantle’s Bread in Common. The brain child of Nic Trimboli (you might of heard of him – his other ventures include Balthazar, Duende, Gordon St Garage – oh, and a little place called Little Creatures) is buzzing on Packenham Street, away from the myriad of fairly average cappuccino and pizza/pasta tourist pleasers that has rendered Fremantle a culinary wasteland for far too long.

The hero dish (aside from the bread) that I’m dying to try are the mint lamb ribs with black garlic; there is nothing about that dish that doesn’t sound amazing to me. Luckily, I happened across the recipe in the current Delicious Magazine, and was ecstatic that I don’t have to wait to try them!

Lamb ribs are all kinds of fantastic. They’ve been living in the shadows of the more popular pork and beef ribs; but are increasingly taking centre stage on restaurant menus. The good news is, lamb ribs are a ridiculously cheap cut of meat (unlike pork and beef), and you can buy a kilo of ribs for around $10, making this a great dish to make for a group of people, or maybe even leave out for Santa! Actually, don’t do that. If you leave meat out overnight for Santa, you might just kill him.

Black Garlic & Herb Lamb Ribs

From Delicious Magazine

1.2kg Macabee Dorper lamb ribs
3tbsp peanut oil
2 carrots, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1tbsp chopped thyme and rosemary
375ml white wine
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
6 cloves black garlic
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, chopped
1 tbsp caster sugar
1/4 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
Coriander leaves, to serve
Marinade
1/2 bunch each of mint, rosemary and flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 long green chillies
2 tsp each coriander seeds, fennel seeds, and whole black peppercorns
3 garlic cloves
Blitz the ingredients for the marinade in a food processor with 2 tsp salt until coarsely chopped.

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Rub the marinade into the ribs, then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight if time allows.

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Heat your oven to 140*C. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat in a roasting pan. Add the carrot and onion to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the ribs, thyme, rosemary and wine to the pan, then add enough hot water to cover the ribs. Bring the pan to a simmer, then remove from heat and cover with baking paper and foil and place in the oven for 3 hours or until the meat is tender.

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For the dressing, mix together mint, black garlic, chilli, sugar, vinegar and last 2 tbsp oil until combined.
Remove the ribs from the roasting pan, and discard the liquid. Season the ribs and char-grill in a pan over high heat, for 6 minutes or until golden.

Place the ribs on a plate and serve with dressing and coriander.

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Black garlic can be bought in tubs from supermarkets, and is simply fermented garlic cloves. They’re sweeter, less pungent than regular garlic and the dramatic colour adds interest to the plate. If you can’t find it, substitute roasted garlic cloves.

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Everything tastes better when it’s round.

If there’s something that we can all agree on, there is nothing more delicious than pork belly. It appeals on so many levels – it can be roasted all sexy and crispy, or slow braised until it melts. It also works across the entire flavour spectrum, making it completely versatile.

But, let’s be honest, it’s also a little bit done. Everyone, everywhere, has done it to death. 

Enter your new Big Love – LAMB BELLY. It’s all the deliciousness of pork belly, with the additional awesome of lamb! You’re welcome, Kosher eaters.

Let me tell you – nothing makes you feel more cheffy than learning to tie something with kitchen string. Plus, everything tastes better when it’s round, which has been documented by science. Think about it, pizza, Wagon Wheels, scrolls, cheese burgers, doughnuts. You know it’s true. That is why this dish ticks all the boxes.

Crispy Stuffed Lamb Belly

Adapted from Food 52

3 tablespoons oregano, finely minced
1 cup feta, finely crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
900g lamb belly, off the bone
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef stock

Preheat the oven to 180*c.

Mix the feta, oregano and olive oil in a bowl (I used my food processor) and combine until it forms a paste.

Lay the belly out flat on a cutting board, fat side down.  Spread the feta paste evenly across the belly, leaving a small border around the edge.

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Start at one of the short edges, and roll the belly tightly, then tie every inch or there abouts with kitchen string. Rub the outside with the combined minced garlic, salt and a splash of olive oil.

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Place the rolled roast fattier side up in a heavy bottomed oven and stove top proof dish. Add the wine, stock and juice, cover and roast in the oven for 2 hours.   Increase the heat to 230*c and roast for a further 15 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

Note: As my piece of belly was only about half the size called for in the recipe, it was done in 45 minutes.


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Serve with Balsamic Roasted Tomatoes and a green salad.

Everything you see, I owe to pasta.

I mean, who’s going to argue with Sophia Loren?

There is no magic in this world quite like pasta. A staple of the family dinner table; the quickest dinner in any of our repertoires; the first thing we learn to cook. For something so simple (eggs, flour, salt, traditionally), you could go your whole life without making the same recipe twice.

Although I eat very little pasta in my day to day life, I get a kick out of making it when cooking for others. I weirdly feel the need to prove myself, that I can make more than mac and cheese (not that there’s anything wrong with mac and cheese!), or fusilli with a jar of pasta sauce and tinned tuna; my go-to uni student meal.

This is total restaurant quality stuff. It’s incredibly flavourful and moorish, and a great thing to plate up when you’re wanting to impress someone. Yeah, I’m calling it. Date food. Write it down.

Beef Short Rib & Mushroom Orecchiette

From Delicious

20g dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 cup sunflower oil
2.5kg beef short ribs (I only used 1.5kg)
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
2 cups beef stock
2 bay leaves
400g orecchiette
20g butter
200g swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
Parmesan, to serve

Heat the oven to 180*c.

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2/3 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, keeping the liquid, and halve the mushrooms if they’re large.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large flame proof and oven proof dish. Season the ribs really well with salt and pepper, then add to the dish and cook for 12 minutes, turning until well browned. Place the ribs on a plate and set aside.

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Add the carrot, celery and onion to the dish and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until soft.  Turn down the heat to medium and add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a minute, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, cooking for a minute.

IMG_7997Add the wine, stock, bay leaves, porcini and the reserved liquid. Add the ribs and resting juices to the dish, then bring to a simmer. Cover the dish and place it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.

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Remove the dish from the oven, and remove the ribs. Leave them to one side to cool slightly. Place the dish over medium high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer for 5 minutes until it thickens a little.

Cook the pasta according to packet instructions in a pan of salted water. Drain.

In a large frypan, heat the butter, then add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes until golden.

Remove the meat from the ribs, throwing away the cartilage and bones. Tear up the meat into small pieces, then add the meat and mushrooms to the sauce, along with the pasta. Toss together thoroughly, then season with salt and pepper.


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Here comes the meat sweats…

At some point, I don’t remember when, I decided that having a meat party was a great idea. I mean, there’s nothing more beautiful than bring together people you love, to break bread and share experiences over food. That bond can only be made deeper by meat sweats.

The invitations went out to my usual suspects – Pantry in Suburbia, The Skinny Perth, Lipstick Honey, Beers and Sympathy and our favourite taste tester cousins and partners. It was turning into one hell of a meaty pot-luck dinner. Look, I’m not going to lie to you, having food bloggers for friends is a tiny bit handy at times like these: roast lamb in all its glory, the most out-of-this-world buffalo wings and chorizo (because who doesn’t love chorizo?!) wrapped in flaky pastry. There might have been salads, for balance. I wouldn’t know, I didn’t eat them. I came here to party.

As with most events in my life, it was structured around a recipe. As in, I’d found one and wanted to make it so badly that I organised a dinner party just so I could. Is that a really girl thing to do? Am I the only person that’s bought a new dress/shoes/jewellery for no reason at all, then created a party/night out/breakfast just to show it off?Anyone?

Oh. Never mind, forget I brought it up.

Back to meat.

I know I posted a pulled pork recipe this year already. But it was over 6 months ago, so it doesn’t count. Plus, if I’m honest, I like this one better. It’s kind of simpler, in that there’s no brining, it’s less cooking time and a little less having to be organised. It’s certainly not a 30 minute meal by any means… But it’s worth every single second. I know the sauce looks like it’s a lot of ingredients, but 90% of it is stuff in your pantry. For the chipotle sauce, I used the sauce from a tin of chipotles in adobo sauce which I picked up from Fresh Provisions in Mount Lawley. If you see them, grab a couple of tins because they go beautifully in Mexican cooking. YUM. I used a couple of tablespoons, because it turns out I imagined the chili flakes in my pantry, and when I went to use them, they weren’t there. Clever me.

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All jokes aside, I absolutely love having a group of friends around to eat. There’s something really special about cooking for those you love, having them enjoy something you’ve brought to the table. You sit back and ask yourself why you don’t do these kinds of things more often (the answer is the bajillion dishes that took me an hour to wash the next day), but at that moment in time… It’s the definition of happiness. Good times, good food, good people. And if that’s not the meaning of life, I don’t know what is.

 Chipotle Pulled Pork Burgers

From What Katie Ate

2kg pork shoulder, bone in
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pulled pork sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, very finely diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 carrot, very finely diced
2 sticks celery, very finely diced
1 long red chilli, finely diced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons treacle (I used golden syrup, honey is ok too)
2 tablespoons mustard powder
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ cup (125ml) white vinegar
1 litre chicken stock
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon chipotle sauce
1½ teaspoons cornflour mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water

Heat the oven to 160*c.

Place the pork in a roasting pan, and season really well with salt and pepper. My pork didn’t have skin, but if yours does, make sure the skin is facing upwards, then cover with foil and place in the oven for 5 – 6 hours. I left mine in for 6, and it weighted a little less than 2 kilos. Check the pork at the 3 hour mark, and if it’s looking a little dry add some water (I threw in 1/2 a cup, just to be on the safe side). Once it’s done, set the pork aside to cool a little bit, then shred using a couple of forks or your hands – it literally falls apart. It’s amazing.

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At the 4 hour mark of the pork cooking, heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and a good pinch of salt and cook until soft. Add the garlic, carrot, celery and chilli and cook until they soften, about 10 minutes. Chuck in everything else except for the cornflour paste and let simmer for 2 hours uncovered until it’s reduced and thickened. Remove from the heat and then pass the sauce through a sieve to remove any chunks. Return the sauce to the pan, discarding what remains in the sieve, then add the cornflour paste and stir to combine.

Add the sauce to the shredded pork and stir to combine thoroughly.

Serve on fluffy white burger buns with coleslaw (the link has a great recipe, if you need one).

I’m sorry there isn’t more/better pictures, but it honestly didn’t last long enough to take any!

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Lezbehonest. Joey just gets it.