About these recipes

I rediscovered my cooking vibes this past couple of months. Being stuck inside for voluntary self-isolation does that to you I suppose. Many things happened actually. One of which was something of an upside-down-wring-out reshuffle of one’s insides and one’s existence. A stark reality check ‘this is your life’ what are you really doing with it huh? HUH? HUH??!. 

The time was brimming with mixed emotions, questions, tears, adoration for loved ones, reconnecting with my kidlets and memories of my own childhood, long-distance bonding of rellies, tediousness, uncertainty… 

When I did manage to gather myself up and take a big swig of fortified wine and start some slow cooking, the day seemed to melt into a better one. And the beautiful, brilliant meals we enjoyed were some damn delicious highlights to accompany a rather peculiar Covid19-avoiding time. Slow cooking was BIG, as was Thai food. For example, I had a lot of fun making this Thai red curry paste using fresh chillis. A lot of (isolation) gin may have also been enjoyed.Botanist Gin Mary Valley Orange

Inspired by some cookbooks, wonderful tips over messenger from friends, and a bit of online meat and veg shopping, these delightful recipes are as delicious on the tastebuds as they are for warming the soul. 

Side Note: If you have a duty as a chef in this house, sipping on a 10 am fortified wine before it splashes its way into the pot for the long cook is pretty important for the mood. Drink responsibly of course but damn enjoy that mouthful also. A slow day with succulent slow cook vibes wafting all around the kitchen. Aaaand, relax. 

Side Note on Iso: It could have been worse here

No complaints. Actually, I’ve had many and plan to have more, though I realise we have been some of the VERY lucky ones here. No one’s body parts are flying around the neighbourhood in a full-blown human to human war which in itself is something to be terrifyingly grateful for daily. And even in this strangely eerie quiet of a microbe floating about the place that would squish your lungs with its overbreeding, it remains less terrifying and just a bit more than peculiar how quickly so many things came to a grinding halt.   

I’m sure the chalk drawings on the footpath of Mario characters and the scooter rides, trampoline ball throws and Nintendo time was not only enjoyed by the kids, but I have to admit OMFG. If I ever needed a reminder that we CAN actually parent our kids for eight weeks straight over school holidays without escaping on a luxury holiday or two, it was definitely this little turd of a virus that slapped me back into reality. 

We can do this (although, at the end definitely will be pretty fragile and ruffled around the old neck feathers. like old chooks after a huge downpour of stormy and simultaneously calm weather). Not to say we won’t mostly fall back into consumerism at least in some part when the dust settles. I for one will never wholeheartedly complain about being tired on a holiday or missing out on my own kidless time ever again. 

Recipies

Pork Ribs in BBQ Sauce  

Meat at Billy’s, our local butcher, already marinated these suckers in lush Hickory Bbq sauce. I’m sure there are plenty of recipes out there that show how to make a great marinade.  I had to ring them to check how I actually cook these as I was nervous about mucking it up! This is how I interpreted the instructions. What I heard was it’s as simple as one, two, three go!  

Slow Cooked RibsPrep: 5 min
Cook Time: 2.5 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2kg Ribs (pre-marinated)
  • liquid chicken stock
  • Side dish: hot chips
  • Side dish: coleslaw of raw carrow, zucchini, cabbage, kewpie mayo

Method

  1. Lay ribs out on a shallow oven tray. Add 1cm of liquid chicken stock. 
  2. Cover first with baking paper then with alfoil.
  3. Cook at 140 degrees for 2.5 hours. At the last 30 mins remove the paper and alfoil.

We like to serve with steak cut chips and coleslaw made of raw carrot, zucchini, cabbage and a dollop of kewpie mayo.

Middle Eastern Lamb Shanks

Having gone in search of tarragon and sumac, I instead found Mistress of Spice blend Baharat. Turns out it was serendipitous and delicious. Chillis Mistress of Spice Baharat Mix

Prep: 10 min
Cook Time: 3-4 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients 

  • 4 Lamb shanks 
  • Dash of Olive oil
  • Flour for dusting
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Approx ½ bottle of Marsala wine or similar
  • Spice Mix – eg Baharat or whatever you choose
  • 1 Bottle of passata and approx half bottle water
  • Roughly chopped carrots and potato

Method

  1. Dust lamb shanks with flour and spice mix then fry gently in olive oil in a large pot until browned.
  2. Add a good slug of wine, the garlic, and bay leaves and cook for a further 10 mins or so. 
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except the carrots and potatoes. 
  4. Cover and cook in a slow oven for 3-4 hours or until the lamb becomes tender. In the last hour or so add carrots and potato.

Slow Cooked Beef Cheeks

This was the meal that piqued my interest in cooking! So delicious.

Similar to the lamb shanks, but instead of the spice mix add some fresh oregano, thyme, and rosemary in the last hour of cooking. Adapted from a friend’s recipe that was inspired by Stephanie Alexander cookbooks.

Slow Cooked Beef CheeksPrep: 15 min
Cook Time: 2-3 hours
Serves: 6

Ingredients 

  • 4-6 beef cheeks
  • Flour for dusting
  • Dash of Olive oil
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 4-6 shallot onions 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Approx ½ bottle of Marsala wine or similar
  • 1 Bottle of passata and a tin of tomatoes
  • 1 cup of chicken stock 
  • Vegetables roughly chopped into approx 2cm pieces, eg zucchini, carrot, potato
  • Fresh thyme, rosemary, oregano (you can grow these all in pots)
  • Fresh parsley for garnish

Method 

  1. Dust the beef cheeks in flour and fry gently in olive oil in a big pot until lightly browned. 
  2. Add garlic, shallot onions, bay leaves and wine and simmer for approx 10-15mins.
  3. Add passata, tomato and stock. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours in a slow oven or until beef cheeks are deliciously tender. If the sauce is too liquidly rather than soupy, take the lid off for the last 45min or so of cooking to reduce. Or, add more stock if you require more sauce.
  4. In about the last hour of cooking, add the vegetables and fresh herbs.
  5. Serve alone or with some crusty buttered bread or similar. Garnish with fresh herbs, eg parsley plucked from the garden.

 

Jessica Meier

Jessica Meier

Garden fairy / mother of 2... also, I like to cook :)

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