Winter is coming and I am armed with new slippers. Tofu approves.
This post is part of Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event to encourage us to try new food related things. Sonya from And More Food is the host for month’s event. If you have a blog and have tried something new with food this month, come and join this event.
Mother’s Day is a popular day for eating out, because mothers generally get a holiday from kitchen duties. Interestingly, the Entertainment Book is invalid on Mother’s Day, but not Father’s Day (which is traditionally a popular day for eating in). With my sister and her boyfriend currently eating their way through Turkey, this is the first time where I get to play only child.
Being more confident in the kitchen, I offered to cook for Mum. Now, I never thought I had a tiger mother, but maybe I was wrong. For Mother’s Day, Mum requested Julia Child’s Bœuf Bourguignon! I had never made this dish before and I was also using a slow cooker for the first time. A perfect candidate for Our Growing Edge this month.
This slow cooker recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking: Boeuf Bourguignon. The original is quite a bit more work and is made in the oven. I’ve always liked the idea of a slow cooker but lack of kitchen space meant that other things took priority on benchtop real estate. But we reshuffled a few things (i.e. stacked higher) and a new home for a slow cooker was made. I’m looking forward to using and abusing the slow cooker for the next few months.
Traditionally, the onions and mushrooms and standalone recipes that fully cooked and added to the stew towards the end. I browned these separately and added to the slow cooker 2 hours before serving but they would have been better in for much longer so I’ve adapted this recipe to reflect this change.
Slow Cooked Boeuf Bourguignon
- 250 grams bacon steak (approx 2 steaks)
- 5 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 sliced carrot
- 1 sliced onion
- 2.5 cups young red wine (pinot noir)
- 2.5 cups beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.3 kg stewing beef
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 12 pickling onions
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 sprigs parsley
- 400 grams white mushrooms
- Cut the bacon into lardons, which are sticks about 1 cm thick and 3 cm long. Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a skillet or frying pan and cook for 2 minutes until browned lightly. Remove bacon to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon or tongs.
- Fry the sliced carrots and onion in the bacon fat. Remove these with slotted spoon or tongs and add to the slow cooker.
- Add wine, beef stock, tomato paste, garlic and thyme to slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Trim beef of fat and cut to 3 cm cubes. Dry the beef in paper towels or a clean teatowel. Put into a bowl and add flour, salt and pepper. Combine until beef is coated. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet and divide beef in half and fry in two batches until browned on all sides. Remove beef with to the slow cooker with a slotted spoon or tongs.
- Turn on slow cooker and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
- While the slow cooker starts, work on the onions and mushrooms. Once these are done, add to the slow cooker to cook further.
- Onions: Cut both ends from each onion and roughly chop the parsley. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet or frying pan. When butter is bubbling, add the onions and saute over moderate heat for 10 minutes, rolling the onions so they brown as evenly as possible. Add the chopped parsley towards the end of cooking. Remove onions from pan and add to the slow cooker.
- Mushrooms: Brush off any dirt from mushrooms, trim ends off if they are particularly long and then cut each mushroom in half. If your mushrooms are small, you may leave them whole. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet or frying pan. When butter is bubbling, add the mushrooms and saute over high heat for 10 minutes. The mushrooms will absorb all the fat and then afterwards, begin to brown. Once they have browned, removed from heat and add to slow cooker.
- Just before serving, you may want to reduce some of the sauce down. Ladle out 2 cups of sauce from the slow cooker and put in a small sauce pan whisking in 1 tablespoon flour. Boil for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Add back to slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Taste and season if required, remove ceramic inner from slow cooker and present at the table with mashed spuds, rice, pasta or crusty bread.
I served this with rice and Mum brought over a couple loaves of her french style bread. Yum. Great enjoyed with company and bottle of wine.
Another salad fit for a rabbit. Another tiny carrot from our garden. At this rate, we won’t be eating any of these. I haven’t eaten a single carrot from our garden yet, not even a nibble. They’ve been going to Tofu only who loves the tops as much as the tiny bottoms. They smell very sweet and delicious. Tofu the bunny doesn’t like to share.
Also, dandelion leaves, bright lights silverbeet (rainbow chard), cos lettuce, sage leaves and coriander (cilantro).
A delivery once a fortnight is perfect for our two person (plus one bunny) household. I’m glad we’re not getting these once a week. Possibly if we ate only fruit and vegetables, but we’re omnivores so the Tuesday box of goodies is only part of what we eat. I wouldn’t mind a little more fruit to get us through, but other than that, the vegetables are spot on. Because we only get the $33 Appetiser box, that makes it great value at $16.50 a week.
I’ve been slacking off in my vegetable garden lately due to the rain. I think my radishes, carrots and beetroot are suffering. Would it be considered crazy to poke clear umbrellas into the soil to shield them from the weather?
I’m getting the hang of planning for the two weeks at a time. The bonus is that we shop less than so I can spend more time cooking, writing, photographing, and dreaming up new projects (also eating, being wrapped in blankets, drinking wine, playing with a fat rabbit etc).
Our new secondhand oven is deranged, so baking is out of the question. After failing at baking repeatedly, I invested in an oven thermometer to confirm my suspicions. Now I’m not the best baker and I’m working on that but 3 hours to cook a roast was crazy. Fluctuating up to 100°C off course, when the dial says 260°C, it’s only at 160°C, but the top layer may burn. This means it’s all a crazy experimental and requires constant monitoring of the thermometer. Is this what cooking on a firepit is like?
Roasting is possible, though takes much longer and melting cheese is fine.
Still waiting on our landlord on the outcome.
Foodbox Menu 2
Items in bold or italic are from our Foodbox or vegetable garden.
- Sirloin steak with sweet stem broccoli, coleslaw, creamy mashed swede.
- Spiced meatballs and spaghetti in tomato sauce. Kale sauteed with olive oil and garlic.
- Egg foo young with prawn, sweet stem broccoli, mung bean sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, spring onion and coriander on rice.
- Smoked chicken penne with roasted cherry tomatoes and sauteed kale. Topped with parmigiano reggiano.
- Bœuf Bourguignon. (by special request)
- Corned beef with cabbage, potato, carrots, onion and mustard sauce.
- Corned beef hash with potatoes, onion, topped with smoked cheddar.
- Tortilla pizza with prawn or smoked chicken, cheddar, cherry tomatoes, basil and spinach leaves.
- Smoked ham and vegetable soup with grilled cheese sandwiches
- Slow cooked brown sugar beef with mashed potatoes and cabbage.
- Ham sandwiches with mung bean sprouts, spinach leaves, beetroot, smoked cheddar, pickles, mayo and mustard.
- Steak salad with spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, mung bean sprouts, fresh peas, basil and chick peas.
- Smoked chicken wraps with spinach leaves, basil and mayo.
- Corned beef sandwiches with spinach leaves, mustard sauce and pickles.
- Sausages, baked beans and eggs on toast.
- French toast with maple bacon and grilled banana.
- Omelette with ham, basil, sweet stem broccoli, cherry tomatoes and cheese.
I’ll be saving the soup for the final day as a failsafe to use up whatever is left before the next delivery. I’m sure there will also be plenty of leftovers eaten throughout the week.
This is a guide only. Whether we’ll make 17 meals over the next 2 weeks remains to be seen. It seems quite daunting laid out like that.
For a full list of our Foodbox contents, please see my previous post.
Our second Foodbox arrived yesterday afternoon and though we had a dinner date, I couldn’t help but sample one of the lovely ambrosia apples before we left. Easily the best apple I have eaten. Ever.
I made the amateur mistake of putting the apple core in my office bin instead of the heavy, lidded kitchen bin. When we got home from dinner, the rubbish was knocked over, the apple core missing, scattered seeds in the hallway and one nonchalant rabbit.
I guess we’ll never know who did it.
Good. Seemed just as heavy as the last box though I couldn’t be bothered weighing everything this time. Some exotic things to our regular shopping list. A good thing as it’s a chance to experiment a bit with cooking and eating unfamiliar things.
- Kale (cavalo nero) x 1
- Mini white cabbage x 1
- Sweet stem broccoli x 1 medium bag
- Spinach leaves x 1 large bag
- Mung bean sprouts x 1 medium bag
- Potatoes x 8
- Carrots x3
- Swede (rutabaga)
- Italiano Cherry heritage tomatoes x 1 punnet
- Persimmon x 1
- Mandarin x 4
- Apples x 3
- Kiwifruit x 4
- Bananas x 3
- 1 dozen free range eggs
The most interesting thing in the box
There were many items that I wouldn’t usually buy. Persimmon, swede, cavalo nero, sweet stem broccoli, heritage tomatoes and mung bean sprouts.
CSA Link Party
If you are interested in CSA and what see what other people around the world are getting each week in their boxes, please check out at the weekly link party What’s In The Box over at Heather’s blog In Her Chucks.
As a graphic designer I have designed a few restaurant logos and I am always hoping to design more. I am still looking for that elusive bunny foodie client. Until then, here are some of my favourite bunny restaurant logos from around the world.
Clicking on images will lead to the source.
In no particular order…
It’s been raining all weekend and we spent a hungover day holed up at home, wrapped in blankets, watching movies and feeling pathetic. It’s not super cold yet, but when you are feeling fragile, comfort is priority. Soup and grilled cheese sandwiches was just the ticket – pretty easy to make and to eat.
I always have canned tomatoes in the pantry. I buy 3 to 4 cans at a time because one brand or another will have a special deal on. Canned tomatoes are a handy base for pasta dishes, nachos, stews and more recently, tomato soup.
In terms of equipment, you really need 1 large saucepan and a stick blender. You can use a regular blender if that’s all you have. I would use 1/2 a cup of milk minimum. If you’re prefer a bit more milk or even full fat cream, go for it!
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 cans of canned whole or diced tomatoes (400 grams/14.5oz each)
- 1 can of water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- A pinch of smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 to 1 cup milk
- sugar (optional)
- salt (optional)
- Fresh pepper
- Peel and slice onion and garlic clove.
- Heat 1 tablespoon cooking oil in a large saucepan, medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until onions are cooked but not browned.
- Add both cans of tomato plus 1 can measure of water. Add tomato paste, smoked paprika and honey.
- Stir and bring to boil. Bring heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat and using a stick blender, blend the soup until smooth.
- In a small container dissolve 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda with a table spoon of milk. Add to the soup along with 1/2 cup to 1 cup milk. Mix well.
- Taste the soup and if it’s a little sour or under seasoned stir in a teaspoon of sugar and/or a pinch of salt.
- Divide between 4 bowls and add a little drizzle of cream, or milk and fresh pepper if you’re feeling flash. Serve with a monster pile of grilled cheese sandwiches.
*Note on baking soda. Baking soda with tomato is an old trick to reduce the acidity of the tomato. Too much baking soda and the soup will foam up and also alter the flavour. A little bit of foaminess helps make the soup creamy.
Who thought that something so simple would be so popular? I cooked this for The Koala on the weekend and shared a photo on this blog and the response was overwhelming. So here is my recipe. Easy enough for a man or a child accomplice…or a man-child accomplice.
This recipe made two large hash browns, but you could easily divide it into four thinner hash brown, just do not cook as long.
Simple Hash browns
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1 free range egg
- Pinch of paprika
- Generous grind of sea salt
- Dried or fresh herbs of your choice (chopped)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- Peel potatoes and grate. A handful at a time, squeeze all the liquid from the potatoes, discarding the liquid (I do this over the sink) and put squeezed potato into a mixing bowl.
- Add the egg, paprika, salt and herbs. Mix well. Leave for 10 minutes. More liquid will be expelled. Squeeze liquid from potatoes again, discarding the liquid.
- Divide the mixture into two and in your hands, press firmly into cake or patty shapes.
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add the oil. The pan needs to be hot, but not smoking to create a crunchy sear. Once oil is hot, place potato patties onto fry pan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, turn temperature right down and cook for a further 5 minutes until half cooked through. Flip carefully and cook for a further 10 minutes until completely cooked through.
- Serve with other breakfast fixings like bacon, eggs and mushrooms. Or with meat and vegetables for dinner. Great with tomato sauce (ketchup) and/or sour cream or even aioli.
Variations to try: cheese, bacon bits, basil pesto, sundried tomato pesto, onion, garlic.
Every foodie enjoys a good foodie bucket list. We read them like a true/false quiz. Bucket lists really light my fire and several foodie bucket list items were tackled this month right here on Our Growing Edge. We cooked and ate home made pastas, master level baking, new vegetables, social occasions and experiments.
This month’s challenge was largely dominated by New Zealanders and we also had bloggers from Singapore, Australia, Canada and the US.
Danielle from Keeping Up With The Holsbys conquered one of her culinary nemesis: gnocchi. She even went a step further and made it gluten free! Rants, Raves and Rations made homemade pasta with lovely step by step photos and report to prove it.
Jessie from Purple House Cafe made a stunning raspberry white chocolate croquembouche to tick off her bucket list. Jess is Canadian and did a stint here in New Zealand where she learned to pour a real coffee.
Over in New York, ex-pat Hayley from Condiments On A City Life whipped up a casual soufflé.
Jess from Jessness Required is Cali girl living in New Zealand and took on the ambitious challenge of posting a recipe a day.
Sonya from And More Food held a cheese and wine party and you can see her photos and party tips here. Sonya is next month’s link party host.
Nom Nom Panda tested the murky waters of the Social Cooking. Alicia from Big Vegan Affair tried her first parsnips. I ate the first radishes from our vegetable garden. Gray from Food Is The Best Shit Ever conjured up a moroccan lamb sandwich after a store bought version failed to satisfy.
Speaking of experimental, Marnelli from Sweets and Brains experimented with apples, yoghurt and rice flour and came up with this scrumptious apple and yoghurt cake. I wish I could make up recipes on the fly like her (and have them come out edible!).
Linda from The Orange Bee was gifted an adorable honeycomb cake pan and made a honey lemon bee cake with it. Linda lives a charmed life in Texas, raising bees and making honey. Living the dream!
It was a pleasure to have the Food Opera sisters join us this month: Vanessa and Ingrid Opera. Vanessa is a graphics teacher, the Ingrid a freelance graphic designer here in New Zealand and going by their blog, the are very competitive with each other when it comes to cooking. Ingrid submitted this adorable cake she baked for her baby girl’s first birthday.
I’d like to end this post with a strong inspiring note: Things To Food Before I Die by Chef Kevin Blakeman. Kevin is head chef at one of Auckland’s most beloved Italian restaurants and his list of 50 bucket list items is insightful.
Edit: Late entry Chandler from The Chef With The Red Shoes tested out and made a bunch of mistakes on her Torrone Morbido journey.
If you have a blog (it doesn’t have to be a food blog) and would like to tick off a foodie bucket list item this month or try something deliciously new, you are welcome to join us. More information can be found here or you can link up to the party directly here.
Everywhere I turn these days, I see bunny themed stuff hidden amongst *regular* stuff.
I recently stumbled upon Old Gold Boutique, an online store specialising in gold hued jewelry. They have quite a range of bunny related jewelry. You can find all these and other interesting pieces over at their website www.oldgoldboutique.com.
And one more delightfully hilarious foodie necklace that I had to share with you: A rotisserie ring.
This the first week of our Foodbox deliveries. If I didn’t plan out a menu, we wouldn’t have a hope of finishing all the produce.
I have decided to receive a Foodbox once a fortnight instead of once a week.
I rediscovered a jar of laksa paste in our fridge so features heavily on this week’s menu. I got personal with the paste and a free range chicken at the start of the week and a spatchcock chicken led to dinner for two and 2 lunches.
Foodbox Menu 1
Items in bold are from our Foodbox.
- Hash brown, garlic butter mushrooms, free range bacon and fried egg. (pictured)
- Scrambled eggs with parmesan and onion on Vogels toast.
- Avocado and parmesan on Vogels toast.
- Chicken salad with lettuce, tomato, boiled eggs, broccoli florets, dressing.
- Roast chicken sandwiches: lettuce, edam, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato.
- Spatchcock chicken, smeared with laksa paste, roasted with potatoes, kumara, courgettes, onions, carrots and garlic
- Laksa with fat noodles, prawns, lime, mushrooms, broccoli and onions.
- Pan fried salmon with butter lime sauce. Served with sweet corn, courgette and millet.
- Courgette pasta with free range bacon and broccoli topped with cheesey breadcrumbs.
- Spicy chicken burritos with lettuce, onion*, cheese, sour cream, guacamole.
- Mince and cheese pies with chopped salad: lettuce, tomato, sweetcorn, onions.
For a full list of our Foodbox contents, please see my previous post.