Fancy cooking something French and really special? Try this iconic French dish of beef, stewed with lovely vegetables and herbs in wine which are then strained off, reduced and thickened to create a densely flavoured, smooth and silky sauce. Yes, if you’re feeling lazy, you could technically skip the sauce straining steps, but then it would just end up being a lovely stew, not a true boeuf Bourguignon! I personally think the extra step makes all the difference!
Ingredients (4 people)
200g bacon, solid chunk cut into lardons
800g braising steak, cut into cubes
2 tbsp flour
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
12 shallots, peeled and sliced
3 cups red wine (ideally Bordeaux)
2-3 cups beef stock (enough to cover)
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 garlic cloves, mashed
2 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, preferably fresh
200g mushroom, quartered
50g unsalted butter
salt & fresh ground pepper
Potatoes, roasted or mashed (to serve)
Crusty bread (to serve)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan, sauté the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned and set aside on a plate.
2. Coat the pieces of beef in flour, season with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides in the bacon fat and olive oil. Set aside with the bacon. Again, in the same oil/fat, sauté the shallots, garlic and the carrot until softened. Set aside with the meat.
3. Deglaze the frying pan with the wine, pour it into an oven-proof casserole along with the meat, lardons, shallots, garlic, carrots and add enough stock to almost cover the mix. Stir in the tomato paste and add the parsley, sage and half the thyme. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove, cover and place in the oven. Reduce heat to 120 degrees and simmer slowly for 3 hours to 4 hours, or until a fork pierces the meat easily.
4. In the meantime, start preparing the mushrooms. Heat a spoonful of butter and a spoonful of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. As soon as the foam begins, add the mushrooms and a sprig of thyme, season with salt and pepper, toss and sauté for about five minutes until brown and set aside until ready to use. You may also want to start preparing the side of potato at this stage.
5. When the stew meat is tender, remove all solids from the sauce by draining through a sieve set over a saucepan. Return the beef and bacon to the casserole, discarding the bits of carrot, shallots and herbs which remain in the sieve.
6. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two. You should be left with about 2-3 cups of rich, dark sauce, thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thin, stir in a spoonful of flour and boil it down to reduce to the right thickness. If it’s too thick, add a bit of stock.Taste for seasoning before serving.
7. Pour the sauce over the side and garnish with fresh parsley to serve.
If serving later, simply allow the casserole to cool before placing it in the refrigerator. Place over medium heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally stirring the meat with the sauce.
This delicious dish is perfect to be made on the weekend and then heated up in the oven for 15 minutes when you get home. For added health benefits, this recipe is made with wholemeal instead of white pasta and is literally packed with heaps of veggies!
Ingredients (8 servings):
2 tsp olive oil
2 brown onion, halved, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
12 mushrooms, washed and finely sliced
3 capsicums, finely sliced
2 bay leaves
500g beef mince
1 small bunch basil, finely chopped
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
300g frozen peas
1/3 cup plain flour
2 cups milk
8 wholemeal lasagne sheets
1 cup coarsely grated parmesan cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large non stick pot over medium heat. Stir in the onions, garlic, bayleaves and cook for a few minutes or until soften. Add the mince and use a wooden spoon to break up any lumps. Add the mushroom, capsicum, half the basil and season with salt & pepper.
2. At that stage, you can add a splash of red wine if you fancy it. Add the diced tomato, tomato paste, a cup of water, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Add the peas and simmer for another 15 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
3. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a non stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour gradually until if forms a thick paste. Gradually pour in the milk, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat, add a third of the parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper.
4. Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a large rectangular oven dish with oil and sprinkle with flour to make it non stick. Arrange 1 layer of lasagne sheet in the bottom, top with half of the mince mixture, half the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with half the cheese and fresh basil.
5. Continue layering with the remaining lasagne sheets, mince mixture, finishing with a layer of bechamel. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 40-60 minutes or until brown and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside for 10 minutes to set.
Cut the lasagne into 8 portions, top with fresh basil, sour cream and serve with mixed salad leaves.
Homemade comfort food has never been easier!
Blue cheese is a great addition to a gourmet burger at home, but imagine if the cheese wasn’t on top but inside…the creamy cheese leaking of the burger as you bite into it. Absolutely delicious!
Ingredients (serves 2):
300g beef, freshly minced
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
Freshly ground pepper & sea salt flakes
2 tbsp Worcester sauce
30g blue cheese
2 soft bread buns
1/2 small onion, finely sliced
2 slices lettuce
1/2 tomato, finely sliced
4 cornichons or 1 large pickled gherkin, finely sliced
2 tsp ketchup
2 tsp mayonnaise
1/2 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
1/2 red chili, finely chopped
1 tsp Pesto (optional)
4 slices of Gruyere cheese (optional)
1/2 avocado, mashed (optional)
2 flat mushrooms (optional)
1. Place mince into a large mixing bowl, add the egg, chopped onion, garlic, coriander, worcester sauce. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Shape a patty with a fourth of the mixture, place half of the blue cheese on top and place another thin patty on top of filling. Press lightly to seal. Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to cook.
2. Pre-heat oil in a large frying pan and cook the burgers for 3 mins on each side. Season with a pinch of salt & pepper.
3. To prepare the sauce, combine the ketchup and mayo, add the fresh chives and chili.
4. Cut the bread buns in half, spread a spoonful of sauce, slices tomatoes lettuce leaves on one side and cheese, cornichons and any other toppings on the other one. Place burger on top and serve immediately.
Make sure you choose the freshest ingredients for the best results, but don’t use lean beef as a bit of fat is better for juicy burgers!
Filet is the most tender of all the types of steak and is also lean and healthy. It is often also the most expensive cut available, so you want to make sure you cook it to perfection! While searing is a good way to cook a filet, finishing it in the oven helps it cook more evenly. The garlic & parsley butter is a simple but elegant way to add an extra touch of je ne sais quoi!
Ingredients: (serves 4)
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 parsley bunch, finely chopped
100g butter, cubed
4 x 150g marbled fillet steaks
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Remove the steak from the refrigerator and pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. To make the parsley butter, mix the parsley, garlic, and salt together, add the cubed butter to the parsley-garlic mixture.
2. Place the mixture into a plastic wrap, roll it tight and refrigerate.
3. Heat a frying pan on medium/high heat, season your steaks and grill for 2 minute on each side to seal the juices in.
4. Transfer to a hot baking tray and finish it in the oven for 5-6 minutes for medium rare.
5. Remove from the oven, place on a rack and cover with foil and leave in a warm place for up to 10 minutes. Serve it with a slice of garlic and parsley butter on top a side of Dauphinoise Potato Gratin. Click here for the recipe!
Any leftover butter can be held for at least a week in the refrigerator, or frozen for several weeks. It’s delicious with grilled prawns, pasta or crusty bread!
Re-cap: Top 5 secrets for the perfect steak:
1. Prepare it
Allow to come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.
Brush your steak lightly with some olive oil, rather than the pan
2. Let it sizzle
The pan should be hot enough so that the steak sizzles as it first hits the heat.
3. Turn it once
Only flip the steak once to keep it tender.
4. Shorter on the other side
It won’t take as much to cook evenly through.
5. Let it rest
To seal in the flavour and juices, it’s very important to let the meat rest for a few minutes after cooking
This has to be my favorite soup in the world and also the most often requested recipe amongst my friends! Be aware though that this is an easier & quicker “modern” version of an old classic. As you may know, cooking Pho Bo the traditional way can be a very long cooking process and might take quite a few trials and errors to get the taste right. So I have decided to skip making the broth from scratch and use instead good quality pho stock cubes and beef flavour paste that you can find in Asian grocery stores. The trick is to focus instead on adding a lot of fresh herbs, spices and meat to make it really special! It’s reasonably quick and actually tastes better than any other homemade pho I have tried…I even managed to convert my mum (who was born in Saigon) not to bother with the old family recipe!
Ingredients: (4 people)
3 tbsp instant beef flavour paste (gia vi nau pho)
2 cubes of pho soup seasoning (Vien gia vi pho)
4 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
4 lemons, 3 juiced and 1 cut into 4 wedges
4 tbsp fish sauce
400g lean beef brisket or fillet, very thinly sliced
1 large pack of flat rice noodles
1 large onion, sliced
300g bean sprouts
1 small bunch of Asian/Thai basil, washed and sliced
1 small bunch of coriander, washed and roughly chopped
4-5 spring onions, washed and finely sliced
2 red chili, seeds removed and finely sliced
1. Bring a large pan of water to boil (8 cups), then turn down the heat and stir in your beef paste and 1 of your two seasoning cubes. After a couple of minutes, add the sliced onion, star anise, cinnamon sticks and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Add the lemon juiced and fish sauce and cook for another 10 minutes on the lowest heat.
3. In the meantime, bring a separate large pan of water to boil, add your remaining seasoning cube in the water and cook your rice noodles following the instructions on the packet (usually 6 to 7 minutes). Steam the bean sprouts for same amount of time.
4. Equally divide the noodles, bean sprouts and spring onions between the bowls.
5. When you’re ready to serve, bring your broth back to a boil and cook the raw beef slices for a couple of seconds to medium rare before serving.
6. Add the beef pieces to each bowl, cover with hot broth and garnish with 1 lemon wedge and a small amount of herbs and chili.
Place the remaining herbs & chili on the table for each guest to top up to taste!
If you want to stick to a more traditional flavour, you may want to swap the coriander for mint. I personally tend to prefer it with coriander. You may also want to buy your beef at the butcher as they may be able to slice it paper-thin for you.
In the lead up to Australia day, I thought I would try make one of the most iconic Aussie food myself. You wouldn’t think a Frenchie like me would be able to produce a decent traditional pie, but I’ve quite a bit of experience eating pies back in the UK and more recently at Harry De Wheels down at Woolloomooloo! Mmm… ‘Tiger’…
Ingredients (4 pies)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g lean beef mince
1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp cornflour
3/4 cup beef stock
1/3 cup tomato sauce
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp barbecue sauce
1 tsp Vegemite
4 sheets frozen, ready-rolled shortcrust or puff pastry
1 egg yolk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom saucepan over high heat and cook the onion and garlic until soft. Add mince and cook until browned, which should take about 4-5 minutes.
2. Add cornflour to the meat and stir in the stock, sauces and Vegemite. When it starts boiling again, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 8 minutes or until thick. Let it cool down.
3. Preheat oven to 220°C. Grease and flour 4 individual round pans to make it non stick.
Cut 4 large circles of pastry, just enough to cover the bases and go slightly over the sides of the pans and prick several times with a fork. if you don’t have enough space to cut the top circles out of the remaining pastry, knead the remaining dough back into a ball and roll it out flat again on a lightly floured surface. Use one of the pans to shape and cut of the top circles.
4. Fill each base with a fourth of the mince mixture. Brush rims with water and place the top circles over the meat. Press hard to seal the sides and trim the excess of pastry. Brush with the egg yolk.
5. Season with salt & pepper and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden.
You may want to serve it with mash, mushy peas, gravy and a side salad! Feel free to be creative and try swap mince meat for chunky steak, add a bit cheese or more mushrooms.