If anyone is reading this blog after my 6 month hiatus, I have decided to do things differently. I stopped blogging on the site as I kept getting frustrated with how long it took to upload pictures on blogger (does anyone else have this problem??) and deciding what I should and shouldn’t blog.
What I mainly want to use the blog for is to document what I make for dinner each night, as there are times I make something really good and then forget where I got the recipe from or forget about the meal entirely.
Luckily I have a great partner who cooks a lot too, so I won’t be updating what I eat every night, just what I cook.
So a great place to start is with a Nigella recipe! I love watching her cooking programs (and have got Frankie to watch them too!) and they really make you want to cook whatever she is cooking. I like that a lot of her recipes are simple too, cause my favourite recipes are the simple ones that pack a lot of flavour.
This recipe is very easy, but you need time to braise the meat, so best made on the weekend. The salad is an excellent accompaniment to the dish as well. Nigella served hers with noodles on the show, but I prefer rice.
Sweet and Sour Salad
Finished meal over rice
Nigella’s Asian Braised Beef with Sweet and Sour Salad
For the beef
2 onions, peeled, quartered
5cm/2in piece fresh root ginger, peeled, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp vegetable oil
250ml/9fl oz Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)
4 tbsp soy sauce
4 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 litres/3½ pints beef stock, preferably organic (I only used 1 Litre as 2 seemed quite a lot for the chuck steak)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
3.5kg/7½lb beef shin, on the bone, cut by the butcher into thick slices (or 1kg/2¼lb beef shin off the bone, cut into large cubes) (I used 1kg of Chuck Steak instead)
For the salad
3 carrots, peeled, cut into matchsticks
4 spring onions, cut into matchsticks
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
1 long green chilli, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
20g/¾oz bunch fresh coriander, finely chopped
For the salad dressing
1 lime, juice only
4 tbsp Thai fish sauce
1 tsp caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2.
2. For the beef, blend the onions, ginger, garlic and coriander in a food processor until well combined and finely chopped.
3. Heat the oil in a large casserole or ovenproof frying pan and fry the mixture over a medium heat, stirring regularly, until soft and beginning to catch in the pan; this should take about 10 minutes.
4. Pour in the Chinese wine (or sherry) and let it bubble up. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, stock, oyster sauce and rice wine vinegar and bring to a boil, then drop in the cinnamon sticks and star anise.
5. Add the pieces of beef shin and let everything come up to a bubble again, then clamp on a lid and put into the oven for 2 hours.
6. Take the casserole carefully out of the oven and, using a slotted spatula, remove the beef to an ovenproof dish. Cover with foil and keep warm in the oven while you vigorously boil the sauce in the casserole (or pan) on the hob, without a lid, until it has reduced by about half.
7. For the salad, combine all the julienned vegetables and the chopped coriander in a bowl.
8. For the salad dressing, mix the lime juice, fish sauce and caster sugar in another bowl and dress the vegetables with this.
9. To serve, arrange the beef on a serving platter and pour the reduced sauce over the meat. If you are using cubes of stewing steak, rather than slices of shin, you’d probably do better to use a deeper dish. Dress the top of the beef with the hot and sour shredded salad.
This is definitely a dish I will make again.