Saturday 20 May 2011

It was a glorious day at the market, still fantastic produce and products available.  Brussels sprouts are looking succulent at the moment and so are the brightly coloured fleshed pumpkins and squash.  I was serving up some wicked dishes yesterday in the mobile kitchen.  The shin of beef from Organicland was just how i had visualised it would be...meltingly tender, slightly sticky and aromatic with the hint of orange zest and cinnamon stick.  I served it with good-old mashed carrots and parsnips and worked out it would roughly cost $15.00 for a family or flat of six, pretty outstanding for such a fantastic dish.  And as i demonstrated (thanks to Pasta doro) if you have any left overs warm it through in a pan and toss through some freshly cooked pasta, toss together with a shaving or two of Parmesan and you have a hugely satisfying dish which has cost the price of a packet of pasta.  What a bargain!

Anyway i would just like to say a big thank you to the vendors who give so generously to the mobile kitchen.  Any as usual thank you all so much for all the positive feed back and it is great to see so many people going home to cook!

Organicland (thanks for the amazing shin of beef)


This is the perfect time of the year for cuts of meat like this which require longer and slower cooking methods.

Whether you are making a brown stew, casserole or braising larger cuts of meat the principals are all the same. You need a good heavy pot or casserole dish preferably with a lid. You need to have a selection of good quality vegetables such as celery, onion, carrots and leeks. A few sprigs of the more aromatic wintery herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage and a few fresh bay leaves and a good quality stock and patience! It is worth the wait.


1 kg shin of beef
2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite size chunks
1 onion, diced small
4 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 fresh bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 bottle red wine
200g plum tomatoes
1 cinnamon quill
2 large strips of orange zest
1 Tbsp flour (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 150 C

Heat a heavy-based fry pan over high heat, add the oil and brown the meat on all sides. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. Remove from the pan, lower the heat and add the vegetables allowing them to colour slightly. Sprinkle over the flour if using and coat all the vegetables. Return the meat back to the pan along with any juices, add the wine and tomatoes, stir well to combine. Add the herbs, cinnamon, orange zest and seasoning. Cover and cook gently for 2 hours. Do check it regularly as it may need a stir from time to time. During this time the sauce will reduce and intensify and the meat will start to fall apart. If this has happened yet return it back to the oven and cook gently.

Check for seasoning and adjust if required. It goes well with mashed potato, mashed carrots and parsnips, wet polenta or traditionally with saffron risotto (risotto Milanese).

Serves 4

4 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

4 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tsp honey
Sea salt and pepper
1 fresh bay leaf (optional)
50g butter


Put the carrots and parsnip together in a suitable sized pot. Cover with water, add the honey, bay leaf if using and a sprinkle of salt. Cook until the carrots and parsnips are tender. Drain 90% of the water out and discard. Leave the remaining 1-2 tsp of water in the pot add the butter and mash coarsely. Check for seasoning (pepper is good). Serve immediately.

NB; you can substitute parsnips for swede, carrots for pumpkin or squash.

KOAU FLOWERS (thanks for the wicked sprouts)


YEAR-ROUND VITAMINS - Sprouts are the super food of all super foods as they are living right until you eat them. They are one of the most complete nutritional foods available.

Sprouts are real 'Life Vitamins, Minerals, Proteins, and Enzymes.

What may surprise you is the sheer variety available
• Lentil
• Blue pea and blue pea sprouts
• Red clover
• Fenugreek
• Broccoli
• Alfalfa

Great in salads, sandwiches, tossed through a quick stir fry, on their own as a nutritious snack. I particularly like paring them with quinoa, cracked wheat, or lentil, try them warm with roasted vegetables and sprouts tossed through at the end or scattered over your hot baked potato. Be experimental and enjoy the benefits!

(thank you for the parsnips)


Parsnips add a delightful subtle twist to this wonderfully moist and nutty cake.

250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
250g self-raising flour, sifted
1 tsp ground mixed spice
2 Tbsp milk
150g toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped
250g peeled and finely grated parsnips (weight after preparation)

For the topping:

250g cream cheese or Ricotta
60g unsalted butter, softened
About 250g icing sugar, sifted
60g toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C

Lightly grease and line using baking paper either a rectangular (28x18cm) or round tin (25cm diameter).

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a spoonful of flour with each one. Fold in the remaining flour, plus the spice, nuts, parsnips and milk.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and place in the centre of the oven and bake for 40-50minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the topping, place the cream cheese (or ricotta) and butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Now beat in enough icing sugar to give it a thick and glossy consistency. Spread it over the cake and scatter on the chopped hazelnuts.

Serve and enjoy.



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