Ultimate Comfort Food! Slow Cooked Beef Cheek Casserole…

Beef cheeks 2

Rich, tender and luscious! The ultimate comfort meal on a cold winter night!

I was first introduced to beef cheeks by my gorgeous neighbours. They are the most wonderful and amazing people. They are now retirees and they have led the most inspiring life (and still do). They have owned butcher shops locally (amongst a hundred other amazing business ventures!) and they KNOW their meat!  They have become surrogate parents to us and stand-in grandparents to our children. They will remain an integral part of our lives always.

 Marlene first introduced me to beef cheeks some time ago when she asked us over for dinner. Now, I am pretty brave when it comes to food and I will have a go at pretty much anything. So imagine my excitement when she announced this little beauty was on the menu!

This is a variation of Marlene’s recipe. She throws hers into the oven in an earthen or cast iron pot – with onions garlic and tomato. That’s it! Even though my version has a few more ingredients, both dishes are succulent and absolutely satisfying and rich.

I hope you enjoy as much as we do!

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg beef cheeks (organic if you can get them)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 organic garlic cloves
  • 1 tbspn apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup tomato passata
  • 3 tbspn red wine
  • 1/4 cup rapadura
  • 1/4 cup organic tomato paste
  • 3 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbspn coconut aminos (or soy / tamari sauce)
  • 2 tbspn vege stock paste (recipe from Thermomix EDC)

Beef cheeks

Ready to cook!!

Method:

  1. Slice beef cheeks with a very sharp knife. The meat is incredibly tough when raw, but it softens to a meltingly tender texture after the long, slow cooking process. Add to slow cooker.
  2. Chop onion and garlic and throw on top of the meat.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
  4. Cook on low heat for up to 10 hours. (The longer the better!)
  5. Serve with desired accompaniments – eg sweet potato fries cooked in coconut oil and blanched snow peas / whipped potato mash / sweet potato mash / polenta.

Enjoy!

Beef cheeks 3

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Winter Warming Breakfast – Choc Cinnamon Rice with Pear

Choc rice 2

Comfort food PLUS! What could be more cosy on a bleak, grey morning than warm rice, chocolate, cinnamon…..softly cooked pear….. (hold on, I just gotta go check my fridge – I’m sure there are leftovers in there……)

Pears are so sweet and yummy right now! Juicy and firm. The window of  ‘pear ripeness’ is regretfully narrow. Back in the day I worked at a Fruit, Veg and Health Food shop (see, it’s always been in me to love all things wholesome and healthy!)

I remember my boss telling me to get in and buy up the pears as they are at their peak for approx a week, maybe two during the season. Then they becoming ‘trickier’ to ripen.

The pears in this recipe provide a soft, warm, sweet burst of flavour and texture while you eat. Delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 150g arborio rice (I used arborio because I needed it to cook quickly this morning.  Brown would be fine. I’d like to try it with quinoa)
  • enough milk to fill up to the 1 litre mark in the TM bowl (you could use coconut milk, almond milk etc)
  • 2 tbspn pure, organic maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • 2 tbsnp raw, organic cacao
  • 2 (just) ripe pears, cored and chopped into quarters, then quarters again

Pear

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients into Thermomix.
  2. Cook on Sp 2, 20 minutes, 90 deg

It will thicken on standing – great to pour straight into your Thermoserver.

That’s it! Enjoy!

(If you don’t have a Thermie, you can use a saucepan. Just continue to stir gently to ensure it doesn’t stick.)

Choc rice

Thick, Dark and Luscious *****Strawberry Jam! ******

This recipe is totally and utterly the result of my fan-like devotion to all things ‘Tenina’!

 

Here is the link to the original recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Jam.

 

Every year I wait, (IM)patiently, for strawberry season to begin. THIS is why!

 

Jam ingredients

This recipe has been slightly tweaked to reduce the sugar content (I use less each time) and I add less apple as I find it is such a firm jam without the whole apple.

Ingredients:

2 punnets strawberries (washed, then hulled)

rapadura (half the weight of the strawberries after hulling)

half an apple, sliced, skin on

large piece of lemon zest (no pith) and approx 1 tbspn lemon juice

half vanilla bean

Jam cooking

Method:

  1. Place all ingredients in Thermie bowl. (I have reduced the amount of sweetener. Eg, the last time, I had 420g fruit and 170g rapadura)
  2. Cook on Varoma temp, Sp 1 for 30 minutes, placing basket on top in place of the MC
  3. Many jam recipes will call for testing on chilled plates to see if your jam ‘wrinkles’. I find this jam is really thick every time, but if you want to, drip some of the hot jam onto a cold plate and ‘push’ it to see if it looks thick.
  4. Allow to cool slightly and pour into sterilised jars.
  5. Hurry up and make some scones, cos you are gonna NEED them soon – knowwhatimsayin’?

Finished jam

 

 

Enjoy!!

Pizza Scrolls

Use up your leftovers and create a delicious, portable snack! Fantastic for kids!

 

I wasn’t sure whether I should be relieved these are so filling (or disappointed, cos they are so dang delicious!)

Pizza scrolls 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 quantity ‘Simple Spelt Bread’ dough – risen once and set aside (see here)
  • leftover bolognaise mince (choc full of thermie-fied veg)
  • 1 and a half cups of soft cheese of choice (grated in Thermie – a few seconds on Sp 8)
  • Fresh basil, oregano (or whatever you can lay your hands on)

 

Method:

  • Split bread dough into halves and roll out onto lined baking trays (approx 1cm thick)
  • Spread leftover mince over dough (ensure it is quite dry or it will all fall to bits)
  • Sprinkle cheese over the top

Pizza scrolls 1

  • Sprinkle fresh herbs over the top
  • Roll up carefully into a ‘log’ shape
  • If you have time, it’s best to let this refrigerate for a while. I didn’t have time and it still worked – they were just a bit ‘squishy’ 
  • Slice in half. Then slice the halves into half, then slice all four sections in half (you will have 8 pieces in total) 
  • If you have time, leave them in a warm place to rise slightly before baking. (If you don’t, just place them into a cool oven instead of a pre-heated one)
  • Bake until golden brown in a moderate oven

 

Enjoy!

 

Doooooooonutsssssssss!

Choc Banana Donuts

Donut 1

I originally found this recipe here, at Janie’s Kitchen. I have tweaked it and altered it to use my pantry staples and to suit the Thermomix.

There is this lady I have become friends with recently who knows me so well! She has brought (and shared) bubbles, recipes, delicious dips and DONUT PANS!! Thank you Lauren ❤  I have immense gratitude for these amazing and like minded women who have come into my life over the past few years – ‘My Tribe’. I love you all so much – I made you some donuts. 🙂

I may or may not have eaten 4 for lunch.

I will never tell.

Ingredients:

  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 50g coconut sugar (or rapadura)
  • 120g organic natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted over warm water)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 230g organic white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine himalayan crystal salt
  • 1 cup chopped raw/organic dark choc of choice

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Method:

1. Whiz the topping ingredients on Sp 9 for approx 20 seconds until fine. Set aside.

Donut 4

2. Mix the bananas, yoghurt and coconut sugar on Sp 3 for 3 sec (scrape down and blend for a further second if needed)

3. Add vanilla and eggs and mix on Sp 3 for 10 seconds. While mixing, slowly drizzle the coconut oil through the lid.

4. Add the flour, baking powder and bicarb soda. Mix on Sp 5 for 5 seconds. (Scrape down and blend for a further second if needed)

5. Add chocolate and mix on Reverse, Sp 3 until just incorporated.

6. Spoon carefully into donut pan. Ensure each section is no more than 3/4 full.

7. Bake in moderate oven for approx 12-15 minutes (or until the centre springs back when touched)

Donut 3

8. Allow to cool slightly. Remove from pan while still warm and dip into cinnamon / coconut sugar mixture.

9. Eat immediately!!!!!!!

10. Repeat the process regularly 🙂

Donut 2

Perfectly Imperfect Chocolate Ice-cream ‘Scroll’ (Grain Free, Nut Free, Dairy Free option)

Chocolate Roll

Chocolate Scroll served with whipped cream (coconut cream topping for dairy free) and fresh blueberries. (Yummier than it looks!)

The original recipe can be found here at Primally Inspired. The recipe has been altered to suit the Thermomix. The ice cream is based on the ‘Quick Blueberry Ice Cream’ recipe in the EDC.


Chocolate Roll:

4 eggs

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup liquid (I used milk – you could use coconut milk)

1/3 cup raw cacao

¼ cup pure raw honey

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 heaping tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

 

Mix all ingredients for approx 6 sec, Sp 3. (Scrape down and remix if necessary) I find it best not to overmix or play with coconut flour batters to much. They thicken up really quickly!

Pour onto a tray lined with baking paper (and lightly oiled with extra coconut oil) and bake in a moderate oven (check from 15 minutes, cake should be just cooked through so it is light and springy)

Freshly baked (still looks quite nice at this stage ;) )

    Freshly baked (still looks quite nice at this stage 😉 )

 

Cool slightly and roll up firmly with baking paper. Allow to cool.

Rolled and cooling

Rolled and cooling

‘Cheats’ Ice-Cream: (shhhhh!)

100g coconut sugar

350g frozen organic berries of choice

500g frozen (in ice cube trays) organic coconut cream (I used approx 300g coconut cream, 200g pure jersey cream)

 

Whizz sugar for up to a minute, Sp9 until it is as fine as possible. Add half of berries and frozen cream and process – gradually increasing speed and using the spatula to help incorporate it all (as you would for sorbet). Add remaining berries and cream and continue to process until smooth. (I used extra cream to help it incorporate and to make sure the texture was spreadable)

Tastes delicious on its own!

Tastes delicious on its own!

Unroll chocolate log and spread ice cream over the base. Re-roll firmly (trying NOT to let it all fall to bits like mine did!!!) and wrap in clingfilm tightly. Freeze.

Remove from freezer approx 10 minutes before you want to serve. Enjoy!

Next time I will use the roasting idea for the strawberries – mentioned in Primally Inspired’s recipe. (Sounds amazing!!) I would also unroll the cake a little earlier and not allow it to cool quite as much as I did in an effort to reduce the amount of cracking.

Even though it fell to pieces (*read – looked like a total train-wreck!!!!) after rolling, I managed to scoop it up into the cling wrap and it froze into a kind of conglomeration of cake-ey, ice-cream-ey goodness. Not really a scroll, but a really yummy dessert!

Let me know if you give it a try 😀

Ready to cut

 

Simple Spelt Bread

photo (2)

Spelt Bread with coconut butter and whole fruit jam – A delicious, wholesome treat

Ingredients:

500g white spelt flour

generous pinch of fine celtic / himalayan sea salt

50g extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons dried yeast

260g warm water

Method:

Place all ingredients in TM bowl (take care not to mix salt and yeast – eg place salt on the bottom, then flour, then yeast, oil and water.) Mix on Sp 6 for 6 seconds.

Knead for 2 minutes and then place in a covered, oiled bowl in a warm place until mixture doubles in size. Knock down and reshape, placing it in a well oiled (lined with baking paper helps) loaf tin.

You have two choices here. You can either allow it to rise a second time, then bake OR you can pop it into a cold oven and it will rise as the oven reaches temperature.

Tap the centre of the loaf as it browns (approx half and hour, depending on depth of the dough). If it sounds hollow, it is cooked.

Allow to cool, then turn out onto a board.

Enjoy!

 

photo (3)

Spelt dough after first rise

This is a great recipe to ‘play’ with. I often grind a combination of buckwheat and quinoa (even millet) and reduce the amount of spelt. It’s best eaten fresh, but toasts beautifully for a few days.

Thanks to Quirky Jo for the original recipe (and for inspiring my inner baker!)

x Ang