Archive for the 'Beef' Category

Classic bolognese


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Spaghetti bolognese – it’s an old standby, and as such has become one of the most used and abused recipes under creation. Outside of its hometown of Bologna in Italy, bolognese has become a catch-all name for any meat-and-tomato sauce quickly slapped together and served over pasta, which is almost invariably spaghetti.

But start investigating bolognese and you’ll find out some interesting things. In traditional Bolognese cooking, ragu alla bolognese is rarely served with spaghetti (usually it goes with tagliatelle); it contains very little tomato (eschewing the pound can or two of tommies that many people dump into the saucepan); there are no herbs in it (so rack off home with your shaker of dried oregano); and one of the key ingredients is time (not the herb – the stuff in your wristwatch).

Most surprisingly of all – to me, at least – the key to a lovely rich bolognese is a goodly portion of milk.

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Perfect Steak … in Time for Christmas


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People of the Year! Yep, that’s us in Time magazine’s special issue, which awarded the Person of the Year title to “You”, meaning independent content creators like us who post video, audio, photos and what-not to the web.

It all started when Time contacted us a few weeks ago for an interview. They hinted that a photo might be needed, but when we left for our Christmas holidays in Australia and they had not been back in touch we assumed the photo call wasn’t going ahead. When we touched down in Brisbane we turned on our mobile phone and there was a frantic message from Time in Sydney saying “Where are you? We need a photo!” We arranged to meet the photographer, Paul Blackmore, on the Gold Coast and did one shoot in our friend Angie’s kitchen, and another around at her mum’s place. Continue reading ‘Perfect Steak … in Time for Christmas’

What’s French for onion soup?


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In France, this ubiquitous soup is known simply as “gratinée” by virtue of the de rigueur melted Gruyère cheese on top.

Our travels through Quebec brought me into contact with the real thing (not a packet mix) for the first time, so of course we had to try and make it ourselves. Last episode we made beef stock as the base, and in this instalment we finish the process of creating French onion soup from scratch.

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It was a bit of a tearjerker for Lenny, who had to slice all the oignons because I was busy with bookkeeping. Continue reading ‘What’s French for onion soup?’

Bones about it: Beef stock from scratch

We’ve set out to make authentic French onion soup, complete with crusty toasted bread and gruyere on top. And when you embark on such a mission, you simply must make the soup base – beef stock – from scratch.

This is one of those really rewarding kitchen marathons. The stock may take hours and hours to make, but most of that is simply the simmering process that seethes out the delicious juices from the beef bones and vegetables.

And the preparation is enjoyably crude: vegetables roughly chopped, roasted with the bones, then tossed into a pot with water and a few simple spices. Continue reading ‘Bones about it: Beef stock from scratch’

Tajine or not tajine?

The festive season has come and gone, and yes, I know, I know, we sidestepped the whole issue of a Christmas episode.

Things were pretty hectic in the Crash Test Kitchen. We had 15 unruly expats and Brits over for Christmas dinner and we cooked two turkeys and a pork roast at once in our huge oven, along with a mountain of vegetables. Our freezer is now full of delightful soups – pea and ham, turkey, leek and ginger – that will keep us fuelled up well into the New Year.

Our MiniDV camera decided to see in the New Year by giving up the ghost, leaving us with no way to shoot episodes. After much heavy contemplation of the expense, followed by some serious comparison shopping, we’ve bought a new unit. So Crash Test Kitchen is back in business.

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Tajine, or our version of it, was one of our staples as we travelled across Canada in Gus the Bus last year. Continue reading ‘Tajine or not tajine?’

Here’s steak in your ale pie

Ah, London and its familiar smells. That tantalising, fatty waft of fish and chips. That grey electric dust that gets up your nose in the Tube.

But what we love best about London is the food culture. Fresh ingredients are plentiful in the fruit and veg stalls on the street, the multicultural stores, the market districts, and the new “gastro pub” movement is adding another dimension to the culinary scene.

After our transatlantic flight from Toronto we “dossed” with Lenny’s brother Cam for a few days while we found somewhere to live. We did our research and ended up moving into the first place we saw.

The good news is our new kitchen is EXCELLENT! Good lighting, plenty of bench space and, best of all, a gas stove. Continue reading ‘Here’s steak in your ale pie’