Archive for the 'beef' Category

Simple “French” Roast Beef

When Frank and I decide to cook roast beef two things happen. 1. We immediately forget how to cook roast beef. It’s as if we have never cooked it before, and 2. We become French.

I love cooking roasts on the weekend, and Saturday was a great day for trying another roast beef. The first time I made it the oven turned off on its own (??) and it was still moo-ing when it came out. The second time I made it the roast was tasty, but resembled boot-leather.  So when we put the beef in the trolley this time I hoped it would be third time lucky!

When it came time to make the roast, Frank gallantly volunteered to take charge of it. Frank isn’t a big fan of cooking, and despite making one of the best omlettes I have ever eaten, he doesn’t like forcing people to eat the food he’s cooked. But when he does get into the kitchen you’re guaranteed to have the giggles!
This is when the French started. The beef was only referred to as le boef, and as he was frying it he was yelling “wee wee” and making weird noises in a french accent. Le boef was treated very well, and got sweet nothings whispered to it while in the pan, which must have worked as the beef turned out really well! We used the time parameters below, which worked for us. Frank tried to use his new meat thermometer, but it was registering as still cold on this inside when in fact it was perfectly cooked, so perhaps we won’t go with the thermometer next time.

This recipe makes a delicious roast beef that isn’t dry at all, so it wouldn’t need to be marinated beforehand. But if you like different flavours, soaking it in a little red wine and garlic wouldn’t go amiss. And don’t forget to speak to it in a French accent…

Simple roast beef – Frank’s way
Serves 4

1.25 kg topside beef
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp mixed herbs
2 tsp barbeque spice mix
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 220C. Heat a pan on the stove and sear meat on all sides to seal in juices.

Place on a roasting rack, and fill base with 1 cup water/stock.

Place beef in the oven for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180C and cook for 40 minutes (for medium rare)
Allow to rest for 15 minutes, carve and serve with mustard or gravy!

If you like your beef cooked more, or less, here are the recommended times for topside:
Cook for 220C for 15 minutes and then turn down to 180C for:
– rare: 10-15 minutes per 500g beef
– medium: 15-20 minutes per 500g beef
– well done: 20-25 minutes per 500g beef



As a kid I hated mixing savory and sweet flavours. I also hated mince, despite my mom telling me it was just tiny pieces of steak. She used to make us delicious meals (she is a fantastic cook even though she won’t admit it, Frank loves it when she makes us dinner!), and no doubt either my brother Dude or I would complain about what was put in front of us.

Frank said to me when we started dating that he doesn’t like tomatoes. Not understanding this, I asked when he had last had tomatoes. He claimed that he hadn’t eaten them since he was a kid, and he wasn’t going to change now. Having only realised over the last 5 years that your taste changes as an adul,t I tried to convince Frank that he might like tomatoes if he tried them again, and even though he wanted none of it I decided to take my own advice.

Bobotie is one of the most traditional South African dishes. It is basically curried mince with raisins, topped with savoury custard. It does mix sweet and savoury flavours, but it is so delicious because of that! (I never thought I would say that, and Mom is sad that only now do I admit I like it after many years of tears at the table…)
According to Wikipedia (oh yes, again), the recipe probably originates from the Dutch East India Company colonies in Batavia, with the name derived from the Indonesian Bobotok. It is also made with curry powder leaving it with a slight “tang”. The Bobotie recipe was transported by South African settlers to colonies all over Africa. Today, recipes for it can be found that originated in settler communities in Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia. There is a variation that was popular among the 7,000 Boer settlers who settled in the Chubut River Valley in Argentina in the early 20th century, in which the bobotie mixture is packed inside a large pumpkin, which is then baked until tender.

Mom gave me the recipe she’s used from a South African chef by the name of Lynn Bedford-Hall. It is incredibly straight-forward, and a good dish to make in advance as the curry only gets better over time. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Bobotie – recipe from “Best of Cooking in South Africa” by Lynn Bedford Hall

1 fairly thick slice crustless bread (brown or white)
375 ml milk
25 ml oil
10 ml butter
2 onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
25 ml curry powder (or more to taste)
10 ml salt
25 ml chutney
15 ml smooth apricot jam
15 ml Worcester sauce
5 ml turmeric
25 ml brown vinegar
1 kg raw mince
100 sultanas (or raisins)
3 eggs
pinch each salt & turmeric
bay leaves

Soak bread in milk.  Heat oil and butter in large pan and fry onions and garlic.  When onions are soft, add curry powder, salt, chutney, jam, Worcester sauce, turmeric and vinegar and mix well.  Drain and mash bread and reserve milk.  Add bread to pan together with mince and sultanas.  Cook over low heat, stirring and when meat loses its pinkness, remove from stove. (At this point you can pop it in the fridge if making in advance) Add 1 beaten egg, mix well, then spoon into greased, 28 x 16 cm baking dish and level the top.

Beat remaining eggs with reserved milk (you should have 300ml) and the salt & turmeric.  Pour over meat mixture and put a few bay leaves on top.  Stand dish in a larger pan of water (this is important to prevent drying out) and bake, uncovered, at 180°C for 1 hour or until set.  Serve with rice and sambals.
Serves 8

Suggested sambals – chopped tomato and red onion;  sliced banana or sliced banana mixed into thick Greek yogurt;  chutney

“Fettucine bolognaise – ta dah!”

It was my birthday two months ago, and, at the request of Frank, I made a list of what I wanted. (A verbal list of course, wouldn’t want to make it too easy!) Most of the items on the list related to cooking, which made me incredibly excited for the actual day. One of the fantastic presents I got was a pasta maker from Popsie & Parksie, which I wanted for ages and was forbidden to buy. And it isn’t just any pasta maker, it is a beautiful pasta maker.

As I am on a mission to make food from scratch, I tried to make fresh tortellini a couple of months ago. At that stage I didn’t have a pasta maker, or even a rolling pin, so I used an empty wine bottle dusted in flour. It felt like I was running backwards on a treadmill, every time I rolled the darned dough out it shrank back to its original size within seconds! I persevered until I got the dough slightly bigger, and then continued to make the tortellini with 5mm thick pasta dough. Needless to say, Frank had a massive sigh of relief when he saw my new pasta maker, as he had to chew though all the tortellini I put on his plate!

I’ve had some issues with my stomach lately, and I’ve been put on a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately this happened right after my birthday, so I haven’t been able to make any pasta. After Popsie asked me for the third time if I’ve used my shiny new gadget, I decided to cheat on my diet for one night (or perhaps once every night as it seems lately…) and crack out my new baby! Following the recipe provided in the manual, I managed to make the thinnest, most wonderful fettucine ever to grace the Pig Palace kitchen – if I don’t mind saying so myself! Not only was the pasta easy to make (so no cursing coming from the kitchen, Frank was even worried at how quiet it was), it was really fun. I made fettucine to go with bolognaise, but next time I’ll be giving the tortellini another go!
Fresh pasta – from my Pasta Roller manual

2 eggs
2 cups ’00’ flour

Put the flour directly on a workbench.

Make a well in the middle and add the eggs. Beat the eggs with a fork, while slowly incorporating flour from the sides of the well. Once you can no longer beat with a fork, start kneading the dough until smooth. Form into a ball, cover with cling wrap and leave on the bench for 30 minutes. Cut dough into 6 pieces and run them all through a pasta roller – 6 to 8 times on the widest setting, and once on every setting after that getting progressively smaller.

Feed through cutter and hang up to dry. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes and serve!

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All recipes are on Petitchef