Chuck Steak Stew


I wanted to try some different cuts of meat this week, and decided on chuck steak and pork knuckle – stay tuned for the latter! The lady on the stall at the farmers market explained the effect the marbelling (fat) running through a piece of meat will have on the end result. Chuck steak has small streaks of fat running throughout and when it’s been stewed for hours the fat disappears into the meat and sauce, literally making it melt in your mouth. We’ve had yet more miserable weather here in Blighty so need comforting dinners, and this stew did not disappoint! After hours of cooking, the sauce had reduced way down with onions and garlic melted into it and the meat was beyond tender. Served with lots of seasonal veg, it certainly brightened up our evening.

Ingredients (for two adults & two kids):
500g chuck steak (diced into thick chunks)
Large red onion (chopped chunky)
2 large carrots (peeled and chopped chunky)
2 large cloves garlic (crushed)
100g mushrooms (peeled and quartered)
500ml stock (fresh is best)
200ml red wine
2 tbsp tomato purée
Large knob of butter (I use goats)

– preheat your oven to 160C fan/170C non-fan/325F/GM3

– cook the onions in the butter over a med heat for a few mins until soft, add the mushrooms and cook with the lid on for another few mins

– take off the heat and stir in the tomato purée and garlic. Mix well, then pour over the wine and stock

– arrange your carrots at the bottom of a sturdy casserole pot, then arrange the steak on top

– pour the contents of the saucepan over the meat and carrots ensuring they are completely submerged in liquid

– cook with the lid on for two hours, then reduce the heat to 150C fan/160C non-fan/300F/GM2 and cook for a further two hours

– serve with seasonal veggies

Paprika beef topped with spicy roasted squash and crispy kale


I set out to make a butternut squash lasagne the other night, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided to spice things up a little. I kept things really simple, as always, and will definitely be cooking this fab dish again!

Since learning that it’s one of the most nutrient dense vegetables on the planet, kale has become my new best friend and was a wonderful addition to this meal which traditionally would have some cheese on the top.

Ingredients (for two):
300g minced beef
100ml red wine
50ml tomato purée
50ml balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
Med red onion – finely chopped
2 lge cloves of garlic – crushed
Half a butternut squash – peeled & cut into 6 discs
100g kale
2 glugs of olive oil
Salt & pepper
Tsp dried chilli flakes (or more depending on your taste)

– preheat the oven to 175C/360F

– prep the butternut squash and arrange on a non stick baking tray. Drizzle over some olive oil, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. Roast for 30-40 mins until cooked through

– while the squash is roasting make the beef component. Gently fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until soft. Add the mince and stir well until all the meat is brown

– stir in the paprika and give everything a good mix

– add the red wine, tomato purée and balsamic, ensure everything is incorporated well. Allow to simmer on a low heat for 20-25 mins

– once the squash is cooked, put the kale on the top and season to taste. Cook in the oven for 3-5 mins until crispy, taking care to ensure it doesn’t burn

– layer up your bowls with beef, then squash and top with the yummy crispy kale


Bacon wrapped meatloaf with swede fries


As family life gets busier, my ability to spend hours in the kitchen lessens. Making food as simple as possible, without negotiating on flavour, has become my new mission. This meatloaf takes about ten minutes to prepare, and the veg is cooked on the same tray meaning less washing up. Hurrah, task for the day accomplished!

Ingredients (to serve 4-6):
(meatloaf) 500g beef mince
500g pork mince
4-6 rashers of bacon
Small red onion or large shallot (very finely diced)
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp ground nuts (any you have)
(fries) med sized swede
Tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper
(veg) large bag of greens or kale
Handful of cauliflower or broccoli cut into small florets

– preheat the oven to 180C/365F

– in a large bowl combine all the meatloaf ingredients, except bacon, and mix together with your hands

– place in the centre of a large non-stick baking tray, shape into a big square, wrap in bacon and place in the oven

– while it’s cooking, peel your swede and cut into thin matchsticks. Put them in a Tupperware box, drizzle over the olive oil and season to taste. Put the lid to the box on and give it a good shake

– when the meatloaf has been cooking for 20 mins, add the swede. Cook for another 20 mins, remove and allow to rest

– add the veg to the tray, incorporating well with the swede and meat juices

– cook for a final 10 mins and serve immediately with thick slices of meatloaf


Perfect pick me up lunch for one


My three year old has a nasty hacking cough that has been depriving our household of sleep this week. Unsurprisingly, as we’re now on day four, my energy levels were about as low as they get this morning. Pondering over how I was going to get through the day, I had a brain wave. Iron! I always get a massive energy boost by eating iron rich foods, so decided to treat myself to a fab lunch and it really did sort me out. I’m not saying I could run a marathon, but I made it to bedtime without falling over. This meal also ended up being lunch and dinner – I didn’t get hungry again at all!

Thick piece of ribeye steak, extra matured on the bone
Tsp anchovy paste
Large handful of broccoli (cut into small florets)
Large handful of spinach
1/4 of a leek (thinly sliced)
Knob of goats butter
Tsp olive oil

– get a frying pan or griddle pan really hot over a med-high heat, and melt the butter and olive oil

– smother your steak in the anchovy paste and place in the pan

– cook for three mins on either side for med-rare or four mins on either side for medium

– remove from the pan and allow to rest

– dump the leek into the buttery juices in the pan and sautée for a minute, then add the broccoli

– cook for two to three minutes with the lid on, then stir in the spinach

– cook for another minute with the lid off

– serve immediately next to your steak


Ox cheek & ale stew


On a recent trip to Twickenham to have lunch with a dear friend, I discovered that the awesome Laverstoke Park Farm guys have a shop! They’ve got a huge meat counter full of organic delights, tons of fresh veg, a massive fridge stocking their pork pies, quiches and beer as well as a deli counter offering lunchtime fare and freshly ground coffee. It was as if I’d literally died and gone to food heaven. I was in my element, but had to be restraint as I was carrying my eight month old in a sling and couldn’t fit too much more in the nappy bag. I feel I chose wisely however, and bought ox cheeks and beers to make this sumptuous slow cooked stew for our Sunday lunch.

1kg ox cheeks – diced into large chunks
1 leek – washed & chopped chunky
2 red onions – peeled & chopped chunky
500g carrots – peeled & chopped chunky
100g mushrooms – peeled & quartered
100g curly kale – washed & sliced
Bottle of ale
500ml stock
Large knob of butter (I used goats, you could use cows or olive oil)

– preheat the oven to 160C/320F

– melt the butter over a med high heat in a large saucepan and cook the leek and onion for a few mins. Stir constantly to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom

– add the mushrooms and cook for another few mins with the lid on

– while that is happening lay the carrots at the bottom of a sturdy casserole pot, and arrange the ox cheeks on top

– tip the leek, onion, mushrooms and pan juices over the top of the meat then pour over the ale and stock

– cook with the lid on for two hours, then reduce the heat to 150C/300F and cook for a further two hours

– at this point stir in the kale and cook for one more hour. The meat will melt in the mouth after all this oven time and the kale will take on the flavour of the stew. You’ll be left with an extraordinary rich almost gamey flavour. I know ox cheek can be a bit difficult to come by, but the taste is so worth it and they’re one of the cheapest cuts of beef you can buy. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

– I served this stew with cauliflower & sprout mash and got happy faces all round


Steak & kidney stew

Always eager to reinvent a classic recipe, I’ve taken the basics of a steak & kidney pie and turned it into a stew. Slow cooking for hours leaves the meat melt in the mouth tender, and gives the kidneys an almost smokey flavour. It was quite something and I’ll definitely be experimenting more with offal in the future.

Ingredients (for 6-8 servings):
1.5kg beef shin or good quality stewing steak (cut into large cubes)
6 lambs kidneys (halved)
1l bitter or ale
500g carrots (top, tailed, peeled & chopped chunky)
200g mushrooms (peeled & quartered)
3 onions (peeled & quartered)
6 cloves of garlic (peeled, left whole)
2 inch piece of fresh ginger (peeled & grated)
Salt & pepper

– preheat your oven to 160 degrees

– put the carrots, onions and garlic in the bottom of a large casserole dish

– place half the meat on top, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle over half the ginger and put the kidneys on top

– put the rest of the meat on top, then season again and sprinkle over the rest of the ginger

– slowly pour over the bitter or ale, put the lid on the pot and cook in the oven for four hours

– at this point take the stew out of the oven and remove the lid. Give it a good stir and put back in the oven. Cook for a further one to two hours with the lid off until the liquid has reduced down to a lusciously thick gravy

– serve with cauliflower mash and green veggies

*photo to follow next time I make this*


20120720-212154.jpg 20120720-213003.jpg

As promised in my previous post, here’s the recipe for the meatza I made for hubby’s birthday meal this week. It was so delicious it’ll definitely become a regular feature for us.

(base) 200g beef mince
100g pork mince
2 tbsp ground almonds
Tbsp basil
Tbsp tomato purée
Tbsp balsamic vinegar
(topping) balsamic onions as per this recipe
6 mushrooms – thinly sliced
3 or 4 tomatoes – thinly sliced
100g broccoli – cut into small florets
100g Roquefort cheese

– preheat your oven to 190 degrees

– thoroughly mix together all the base ingredients with your hands and press them into a pizza tray if you have one, large baking tray if you don’t. It should look something like the first photo above

– cook for ten mins, it will look like a gigantic very thin burger

– leave to cool a little, then spread over the onions (as you would normally spread tomato sauce over a pizza)

– layer your toppings ontop of the onions, then cook for 6-8 mins until the cheese has melted

– serve with a green salad