Lamb and Carrot Ragu

Not as hard as it seems. Really, I was surprised at how tasty it was considering I made it, and I’m bad at meat.

Lamb and Carrot Ragu

Lamb and Carrot Ragu

Inspired by a brunch I had somewhere in North Melbourne, but the recipe is mine

4 pieces round lamb bone chops – it has to be something with a bit of bone in it
8 tomatoes, chopped
2 carrots, diced small
1 red onion, chopped
5-7 cloves garlic, chopped
1.5 tablesp tomato paste
1 tablesp balsamic vinegar
1/2 teasp cumin seeds
3 bay leaves
1/2 teasp black pepper
Salt and sugar to taste

A pressure cooker

  1. Brown onion and garlic in some oil. Add the cumin seeds.
  2. While while that’s browning, chop the carrots. Then add the carrots.
  3. Same for the tomato – while the carrot browns, chop the tomato. Then add the tomato and a little salt.
  4. Mix it around and then close the pressure cooker lid. Pressure cook on high for around 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Clean the excess fat off the lamb. Open the pressure cooker (quick release), then add the lamb, tomato paste, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, and bay leaves.
  6. Close the pressure cooker, and cook on high for around an hour.
  7. Open the pressure cooker (quick release), then boil off the excess water until the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust the salt and sugar as needed.
  8. Serve over some small size pasta 🙂

Carrots in a Blender

So, to make this you need a blender large enough to hold a whole tub of cake mix. This isn’t a serious problem for me and Mr Chopper, who has a rather large belly. If your blender isn’t big enough then you can remove everything after a bit and continue with a hand mixer. or you can grate the carrots and chop up the pineapple and crush the walnuts separately, like in a normal recipe. Or you can do your chopping in shifts, and mix everything up in a big bowl with a spoon at the end. I think that’d be how I would do it without my faithful friend.

Obligatory prep photo

I just really liked how everything was originally done in a single bowl. You know that one bowl recipes are my favourite.

Icing prep

Also, this cake is so vege-packed that it’s almost a salad. Coleslaw, to be exact, what with all the shredded carrots. Healthy cake.

My dog likes (to play with) carrots

You would eat a salad as a meal. Hence, if this cake = salad, and salad potentially = lunch or dinner, therefore cake = lunch or dinner.

I haven’t included breakfast because I feel absolutely no guilt about eating cake for breakfast.

Here is my pretty, in her lumpy glory

I do dread the day when the thunderthighs come to claim me. In the mean time, let us, with this cake, toast to the strength of the gates of Tartarus.

Sorry bad photo, will upload a nicer one next time

Healthy-as-Coleslaw Carrot Cake

Adapted, barely, from Quirky Cooking. Awesome idea, I love cakes that you can just mix and pour.

200g carrots – peeled and quartered
300g pineapple chunks – if canned, drain well
2 large eggs
40g oil
1 teasp vanilla essence
90g honey
190g flour
1 teasp cinnamon
2 teasp baking soda
¾ teasp salt
75g walnuts, whole OR equivalent weight shredded coconut
40g raisins

Oven temperature: 165 degrees C, for an hour to an hour and a half. Cupcakes only take about 30 to 40 minutes.
Yield: 1 bundt cake, or 12 cupcakes.  Or a large loaf. Don’t use a regular cake tin, or the middle of the cake won’t cook properly. Instead, flour a small glass or ramkin and place it in the middle of the tin.

  1. Grease / flour bundt tin.
  2. Dump the following in a blender for about 5 seconds, and chop until it reaches the texture of grated carrot – carrot, pineapple (if using fresh), eggs, oil, honey, vanilla. Remove and set aside if your blender has a small capacity, otherwise just leave it in the blender.
  3. Blend the following on high for about 5 seconds – flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, walnuts / coconut, pineapple (if using canned).
  4. If you have set aside your carrot mixture, now is the time to mix in the flour et al, pretty thoroughly. Then mix in the raisins.
  5. Bake! Then set aside until it cools / chill it.

Eating suggestion: wait for the cake to cool fully before eating, or put it in the fridge for a bit. This is a super moist cake, so if you don’t do this it will be a little wobbly on the inside.

Orange Cream Cheese Honey Icing 

Adapted from Janie Turner and Sam Joffe in “Fast and Easy Cooking”.

1 tablesp granulated sugar
Rind of 1 large unwaxed orange, thin peelings of skin only – or any other citrus fruit
300g cream cheese, softened
15 – 30g runny honey

Yield: the top of one 8” cake.

  1. Blend granulated sugar with  the orange peelings to get them to squish together.
  2. Add cream cheese and honey, keep blending for about 20 seconds.
  3. If you like, after this you can whisk at medium speed for about 30 seconds to get a fluffier icing. The blender has taken most of the work out of this so you don’t need to do it for long.

Whoa, Tagine

Yea so I didn’t make a tagine. Your expectations of me are far too high. Bigfoot made tagine.

I said I wanted to record everything so we could make it again. Response: nod nod, yes yes Lea, don’t worry.

Hello lonely potato Yum yum corianderEverything is browning Mmm uncooked meat

The problem is that he is a more natural cook than I am, so what that means is that he chucks in lots of things until it tastes right, then remembers how it tastes, but forgets what he put in or how much.

Don't overfill and make sure you have enough water Yes, we overfilled Smells good. Tastes...like water Getting there I suppose

GAH.

The lid is slightly open because it bumped up and down scarily

Of course it isn’t entirely his fault. Once I had his agreement that he would ‘remember’ what was in the dish and what he did, I happily went off and did my own thing, disregarding absolutely everything that was going on. I cook to eat you know, not for the sake of cooking. My posts are the result of  my need for happy eating with minimal cooking. If someone else volunteers to do all the cooking, who am I to disagree? 🙂

Mmm..ahh

So, I do apologise, but in this post I will be pasting the recipe we used as-is. I’m sure it tasted awesome that way. I’m using this as a recipe binder – with the hope that next time we make tagine, I can update it to reflect how it was actually made. It tasted amazing the way we  *cough* made it too, so I hope that we can figure out how to do it again someday. Right.

Lamb, Prune, and Almond Tagine

Taken from Grantourismo. I have no idea how much we changed it, so you’re better off following their ingredients list, and method too if you like. I’ve added the method that we used below.

EDIT: you can find the original recipe on their website here. I’m a bit of a noob with regards to blog laws, and I didn’t realise you can’t paste entire recipes even if sourced.. Sorry guys, I won’t do it again, promise.
Big thanks to Terence for letting me know about my error!

I’ll add a new ingredients list once I figure out exactly what we put in our version.

Happy Bellea’s lazy unsupervised-cooking method:

  1. Fry onions, garlic, lamb, and spices in a pan until the lamb is browned. Start with the onion and garlic and add the lamb once that has cooked a little.
  2. Transfer everything to a crock pot (including the prunes and almonds). We also added some root vegetables here, like carrot and potato. Add the water here.
  3. Leave the crockpot on automatic for about 5 hours
  4. Take everything out and dump it in the tagine. Put the tagine over high heat, cover it and let it bubble. Keep going until it tastes nice, and add everything and the kitchen sink to make it so (yes, I don’t know what was added). Serve hot with crusty bread.

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Note: Also now I have looked up blog laws, and apparently it’s fine to reproduce ingredients lists, and as long as they are accompanied by a re-write of the method? (link) Anyway, sorry in advance if I attribute incorrectly, just let me know and I’ll change things 🙂

Grandpa’s English Kitchen: Oxtail Stew

When I was little, my grandpa made the long trip to visit us every year, until he was 98 years old. He used to cook sometimes, and my favourite dish was his oxtail stew. That sounds a bit odd, coming from someone who is an inconsistent flexitarian. However, this is different, and once you try it, you will know.

Close your eyes and imagine you are in a little cute english kitchen with wood panelled walls and a yellow table cloth. There’s a jack russel running around somewhere, and horses and cows outside, please don’t forget to take your muddy wellingtons off at the door.

Grandpa’s English Kitchen: Oxtail Stew

Oxtail – 4 slices. Get it fresh from your butcher!
Onions – 2 large ones. I used 3 as I had smaller ones.
Pearl barley – a handful, I like barley so I add more. This time I added a cup.
Oxo cubes – 2. Any other beef stock should also work, but Oxo comes out tastiest.
Lea & Perrins sauce – 2-3 table spoons
Bay leaf – two or three
Tomato paste – 2 tablespoons
Carrots – chopped
Any other vege you like – potato  and button mushrooms would be nice, you can use other vege like pumpkin but just be warned that it will change the flavour a bit
Water – enough to cover everything, and a bit more

  1. Heat everything in a big pot with the water, until it is boiling. Don’t add your extra vege at this stage, only the carrots.
  2. Add any extra vege. Use your cooking method of choice to finish:
  • Oven – pour into a large oven-proof dish. Make sure there is enough water in the dish to cover the ingredients, and cover with silver foil. Stick it in the oven at about 180-200 degrees celcius. Leave it there for about 3 to 4 hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is enough water.
  • Slow Cooker – pour into a slow cooker. Make sure there is enough water in the pot to cover the ingredients. Leave it on low setting for 8-10 hours, or 7-8 hours on high setting. If you are going to leave it alone for the whole day or overnight, add extra water and use low setting. (I haven’t tried this, this is just how I was told to cook the stew)
  • Pressure Cooker – pour into pressure cooker. Make sure there is an inch or more of water covering the ingredients. Close the lid and cook on high until it boils, then reduce the temperature and leave it on the stove for an hour or so.
    Pressure cooking can be scary and dangerous, it’s important to read the manual (I didn’t, who needs manuals, it’s a pot, it can’t be so hard, and so on). As a result there was some kitchen excitement as I tried to open the lid for the first time.

    Sauce trajectory:

    Caution, hot soup burns sometimes.

  •  Keep going until the meat gets so tender it drops off the bone.

It’s nice with crusty bread or potato (if you didn’t already put potato in the sauce).