Its Mustard! Sausages, Fennel, Spiced Crispy Apple, Baked Jersey’s and a Wicked Sauce

WP_20150425_18_47_13_ProThis was going to be a simple recipe, but ended up more complex as my brain chewed (sorry!!) over the options.

I had popped into the local Deli (Cook & Butcher, Thatcham), its recently moved to a larger location and was checking on my whether they had expanded on their range of Fox’s Gourmet products. A quick look around the shelves and yes, they had, my eyes drawn to a Tarragon & Champagne Mustard which looked interesting.

There were some freshly made sausages in the chilled counter, and I was soon walking out of the Deli, my brain whirring away with ideas on various recipes and thoughts on what I could prepare to delight the taste buds, Sausages & Mustard!

This isn’t a 30 minute meal, we are going to make a Chicken Stock from scratch which needs 2 hours simmering so read the whole post first, the stock can be made in advance and the leftover frozen for future use.

There is one picture in this post you might find a bit distressing, you have been warned…………………………

So as the dish developed there was a common theme developing, Aniseed. Linking flavour profiles and textures makes what might seem a boring meal that bit special, and I wanted to take the humble sausage (I am an addict of this British favourite), to the next level.

So if you fancy having a go, you will need the following;

  1. 1.5 Kgs Chicken Wing Tips
  2. 1 Calfs Foot, Split!
  3. 1 Carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  4. 1 Onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  5. 1 or 2 Sticks Celery roughly chopped
  6. 5 Cloves Garlic
  7. 1 Tsb Tomato Puree (Double Concentrate)
  8. 1 Glass White Wine
  9. Olive Oil
  10. 6 Litres of Water
  11. 1 Jar Fox’s Gourmet Tarragon and Champagne Mustard
  12. 6 Pork Sausages (the BEST you can get, don’t skimp!), 3 per person!
  13. Jersey Royal potatoes
  14. 1 Apple (I used Pink Lady), peeled, cored and cut into 10mm approx. slices
  15. 1 Lemon
  16. 1 Fennel Bulb (sliced 5mm thick)
  17. 300 Ml Double Cream
  18. Butter
  19. 1 Egg
  20. Plain Flour for dredging the apples
  21. Panko Bread Crumbs for coating the apples
  22. 2 -3 Star Anise
  23. Ghee (clarified Butter)
  24. Salt
  25. 10 White Peppercorns
  26. Pepper

Making the Chicken Stock from Scratch

File 26-04-2015 12 01 32Yep, this is what 1.5kgs of Chicken Wing tips and a split Calfs foot looks like, drizzle with Olive Oil, mix well and roast in the oven at 180-200 deg, until browned 20 – 30 minutes.

WP_20150425_14_50_31_ProOnce you have roasted off the Chicken etc. place in a very large saucepan add 5 litres of water and slowly bring the boil.

Using the baking tray for the meat, place on the stove top, add the vegetables, 5 roughly chopped Cloves of Garlic, and start to scrape the bottom of the tray, releasing any sticky meaty bits.

WP_20150425_14_56_19_ProAfter about 5-10 minutes, as you can start to smell the aromas, add the Tomato Paste to cook out the raw bitterness, then add the Wine and cook for a further 5 minutes to burn of the alcohol.

WP_20150425_15_02_18_ProThen, add the remaining litre of water, add to the Stock Pot and start to skim off any scum that rises to the surface with a large spoon. The Stock needs to gently simmer for 2 hours, Chicken does contain quite  bit of fat, so keep checking the surface and remove as the delicious broth develops its deep rich flavour.

WP_20150425_15_11_59_ProAfter 2 hours, remove any remaining fat on the surface, and put to one side to cool down. You will only need about 1/2 Litre for the recipe, but now you have an amazing base for sauces and gravies which will be so much nicer than anything you get in the shops.

To cook the main event is quite straightforward. Bake the Sausages in the Oven, mine took about 35-40 Minutes at 180 deg. The Fennel once sliced, is placed in a baking dish and almost covered with some of the freshly prepared stock, add a decent knob of butter, season with Pepper, and squeeze 1/2 Lemon over the top. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for about the same time as the Sausages.

I boiled the Jersey Royals, let them cool and they also got the oven treatment to crisp up in some clarified butter, and seasoned with Sea Salt when served at the end.

WP_20150425_19_26_27_Pro With everything doing its cooking in the oven, you can prepare the Apples, which need dunking in well seasoned flour ( I only used Black Pepper, no Salt), beaten Egg and then Panko Breadcrumbs as in the picture above. At this time, you might want to stick some plates in the oven to warm up, ready for serving.

To cook, add a decent amount of Butter in a frying pan, then 3 – 4 Star Anise, you don’t want the Butter too hot or the solids will Burn.

WP_20150425_19_41_37_ProYou will start to see the Aniseed theme, in the Mustard, in the Apples, and of course, the Fennel. Once cooked to crisp on both sides, remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper, they can rest for a few minutes in the warm over whilst you finish the final stage, the amazing sauce.

When everything is cooked,  we are ready to get the sauce done and serve up. Take a frying pan, place on the heat and add about 300 mls of the Chicken Stock and boil vigorously, reducing by at least 1/2, then add a ‘glug’ of white wine, and continue to do the same.

WP_20150425_19_50_45_ProTake the dish with the Fennel in, and take about 2 Tbls of the cooking Liquor and add to the frying pan, this enables the Fennel theme to travel further through the dish, and the Lemon Juice in the cooking liquor, adds a further lift, finally add about 150 mls of Double Cream and continue to reduce.

This part of the process requires YOU to estimate, based on taste and consistency, every Pan and Hob is different so use YOUR judgement to adjust and you will be rewarded with a sauce of beauty.

The last stage is too add the Fox’s Gourmet Mustard, I used about 2 Tsp’s, again adjust and taste to get to your preferred flavour, finally season with salt after tasting again, if needed. If you are happy with the consistency, then serve up, if not reduce or add more cream, whatever you feel is needed.

WP_20150425_20_03_29_ProThat’s it, Sausages, Fennel, Jersey Royals, Crispy Star Anise Apples and an amazing sauce, you won’t be disappointed.

Yes, preparing the stock takes some time, but its really well worth it as now you have the base for further cooking with all the major prep done.

Hope you have a go at this and get the same satisfaction that I did. I am off to France in the next few days to learn some more cooking skills at The French House Party, I will be posting if I get the time and a full review will get posted after.

Until next time……………………L8ers…………..


Celebrating 25 Years, Pain D’Épice, Babi kecap & Foie Gras

WP_20140824_13_22_45_Pro25 Years ago today I got married to a wonderful lady, 25 years later I am proud to say we are still together and everything is fantastic. We had planned a few days on the south coast, but cancelled at the last minute when we saw the weather forecast!! Instead, we have booked a trip to Tunisia in October, where I celebrated by 21st birthday MANY years ago!

My better half has recently had an operation and is still suffering with back pains so when I offered to book a nice place to eat, the answer I got was ‘please can YOU cook me something nice, I would prefer it’! Its a double celebration this week as it’s her birthday so I sat surrounded with cookbooks and my trusty Mac, and scoured for something nice to prepare.

WP_20140824_15_55_31_ProDavid Lebovitz is well known in the food blogging world, an accomplished Chef and writer, I recently got hold of his latest book, My Paris Kitchen. Its a brilliant piece of work and contains some really good recipes, two of which caught my eye.

As previously blogged, I spent a week in Gascony earlier this year and learned some new skills and recipes. One was preparing Foie Gras using something called Pain D’Épice, a spicy bread like cake and very tasty. The one we used was purchased, I had found a recipe to make it myself  In David’s book, you can see the end result above.

The reason I picked this was that it is also a component of Carbonnade Flamande, a delicious Beef dish from Belgium which I am cooking on our anniversary today, I will be posting the results later this week. You may wonder why I picked a dish that does not seem s0 special, a beef stew! Well our son Justin was conceived in Brussels on my 40th Birthday, and so the trip holds MANY fond memories for both of us including trying my first Carbonnade Flamande.

The big Red bag of Spice above is something quite special, Piment d’EspeletteIt has AOC status, the origins of AOC date to the year 1411, when Roquefort was regulated by a parliamentary decree. In practise this means its production, marketing and sales are tightly controlled. You CAN get it mail order from ‘The Spicery”, I ordered it Friday last week and it arrived Saturday!!!!

Piment d’Espelette is a component of preparing a particular style of Foie Gras, hence my purchase. i also plan to experiment with some Basque cooking, I have just ordered a new cookery book which focusses on this particular cuisine, more on that later.

WP_20140824_17_55_48_ProSo for the Birthday treat I turned to Rick Steins Far Eastern Odyssey and Babi Kecap, you can see the ingredients above, along with those for Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad), which I have described before. Both were to be served with Coconut Rice to balance and join the flavours and textures.

WP_20140824_13_48_46_ProTo Start Babi kecap you need an ‘Asian Chicken Broth’, essentially a spiced Chicken Stock. Mine was made with a whole Organic Chicken, the flavour enhancers included Star Anise, Spring Onions, loads of Garlic and Galangal and Red Kampot Pepper from Cambodia, (I had recently re-stocked my spice cupboard using Steenbergs mail order and added this to the list as something new to try). You can find the recipe at the back for Rick Steins book, its needs bringing to the boil, skimming to remove the sludge and gently simmering for 1 1/2 hours, job done!

The next stage is to fry loads of shallots until golden brown, then add more Garlic and Ginger, some pork shoulder and colour. Then add the stock and all the other ingredients including the Kecap Manis, a sweet Soy Sauce from Indonesia. After 1 1/2 hours I removed the meat to a warm covered dish, sieved the remaining sauce and hard reduced until shiny, sticky and unctuous!

WP_20140824_20_25_57_ProServed with the Som Tum salad and Coconut Rice it was absolutely stunning, well worth the effort in finding the Sweet Soy Sauce which is available mail order, (just google the name) or, from Asian Supermarkets. I got mine from See Woo in Reading who seem to have all the unusual and difficult to get ingredients including Fresh Turmeric and Green Papaya.

The missus had a great birthday, some food cooked with love, and very tasty too. Watch out for the followup later this week as I have more cooking to do.

Until next time…. L8ers……



Rượu táo om má thịt lợn phong cách Việt – Cider Braised Pork Cheeks Vietnamese Style

Back to to the Far East and a new recipe that evolved as I was driving back from Casey Fields farm Shop! This one is most definitely my own and came about as I was looking for a different spin on braised Pork Cheeks, read on to find out about a new addition to my repertoire.WP_20140506_17_24_59_ProThe last time I cooked Pork Cheeks I prepared Carrilleras Estofadas, a Spanish Braised dish, rich with Red Wine, Beef Stock, Tomatoes and Carrots, ideal for Autumn and Winter, but not necessarily a Spring or Summer Dish. Wanting to develop something lighter, I looked to the Far East for further inspiration and thought about what goes with Pork…………CIDER!

For this little beauty you will need the following ingredients, as with the last couple of recipes, you will need to adjust some of the flavours by taste, to get the right balance.

Cider braised pork cheeks Vietnamese Style (for 2 people)

  • 4-6 Pork Cheeks
  • 2 Inch length of Galangal, sliced
  • 1 Lemongrass stalk, bashed with a rolling pin and cut in half widthways
  • 1 Tbls Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Cloves Garlic chopped roughly
  • 3 Kaffir Lime leaves
  • 2 Red Thai Chillis (Leave Whole)
  • 1 Green Thai Chilli (Leave Whole)
  • 3 – 4 Shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 Star Anise
  • 1 Tbls Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbls Nam Pla (Fish Sauce)
  • 1 Tbls Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbls Palm Sugar
  • 500 ml Chicken Stock
  • 300 ml Tutts Clump Special Reserve Cider (if you can’t get Tutts Clump, then a DECENT dry – medium cider)
  • 2 Servings Plain White Rice
  • 1 Bunch Coriander
  • 2 Pak Choi (quartered)
  • 1 Tbls Sesame Seeds
  • 8 – 10 Drops Sesame Oil
  • Plain Flour, Sea Salt & Pepper to Coat Cheeks/Season
  • Cornflour/Water (Slurry)

WP_20140506_17_31_04_ProThe first step is to put some flour and liberal amounts of Maldon Sea Salt and Pepper in a dish, and coat your Pork Cheeks, then fry them off in some Ground Nut or Vegetable Oil until brown and sealed, set aside on a plate whilst you make the braising liquor. Set your oven to 140 deg (fan) 160 deg (convection) next, this baby is going to slow cook for at least 2 1/2 hours.

WP_20140506_17_41_09_ProPut some Oil into a Dutch Oven or suitable casserole and gentle fry the Shallots, Galangal, Chillis, Garlic, Star Anise, Lemongrass and Coriander Seed until the aromas start filling the kitchen, then place the Pork Cheeks on top, and add the Chicken Stock, Cider, Rice Wine Vinegar, Nam Pla, Palm Sugar and Kaffir Lime Leaves and gentle stir to dissolve the Palm Sugar.  You then need to make a CARTOUCHE, a scrunched up piece of greaseproof paper that you put on top of the meat/liquor pressing down gently so it touches the surface of the liquid, acting like a close fitting lid. Put the lid on top and place into the oven and set the timer for 2 1/2 hours.

WP_20140506_20_04_21_ProFingers crossed, when the timer pings, you should have something that looks like the above, the brown line around the surface of the liquid is where the cartouche was sitting during the cooking process. Remove the Pork Cheeks gently from the liquor, they should be very tender and could fall apart, put them in a dish, cover with foil and put back into the oven, turning the temperature down to under 100 degs, you just want to keep them warm. Strain the liquor into a saucepan and put onto a high heat to reduce for 5 minutes, in the meantime make a Slurry from 50/50 Corn Flour and Water about 2 Tsps worth and add, stirring continuously until the liquor starts to thicken, it should stick to the back of a spoon.

Turn the temperature down to low, we are nearly ready to finish the dish. For speed, I used quick cook Rice, which only takes 90 seconds in the Microwave (Gasp, oh no, surely not….Its quick!). The Pork Cheeks are to be served with Plain Rice, that has chopped Coriander mixed through it, and Pak Choy, with Sesame Seeds & Sesame Oil, really easy to do.

WP_20140506_20_19_21_ProTake a frying pan with a lid, add some Oil on a medium heat and put in your Sesame Seeds to cook for 30 seconds, add the Pak Choy which has been quartered, add a little water to create some steam and put the lid on quickly. I cooked mine for about 2 minutes maximum, remove the lid and CAREFULLY add about 10 drops of Sesame Oil all over the Pak Choy and gentle turn to mix, that’s it done!

WP_20140506_20_20_48_ProSo all there is to do now is plate up, nappe the thickened sauce over the Pork Cheeks and serve with the Rice and Coriander mix. The great thing about this dish is the fact that it is very light, very fragrant, and does not have the fiery kick of other dishes I have recently posted, so suitable for younger mouths if you want to introduce them to unusual cuisines.

WP_20140506_20_26_08_ProIf you want it spicier, then rather than adding whole Thai Chillis, chop them up to release the heat, you can play with the balance of Sour, Bitter, Sweet, Spicy & Salty, the Ying and Yang of Vietnamese cuisine by adjusting the quantities of Fish Sauce, Soy & Rice Wine Vinegar, the Pak Choy adds a slightly bitter iron dimension and some crunchy texture if you don’t over cook it.

Hope you have a go, it was great fun thinking this one up, cooking it, and finding another way to enjoy my local Tutts Clump Cider.

Until next time,


π, No not that one, Pie! My take on an Egyptian Neolithic period or New Stone Age food!

Hi peeps, it’s Sunday, I’ve finished work until the 6th January and don’t need an excuse to get in the kitchen. We had planned to have Chicken on Saturday night, but instead went for a Cheese Fondue as I wanted to do something a little special, and Roast Chicken and all the trimmings so close to Christmas just didn’t seem right.


I absolutely love a good Pie, but getting one is really challenging, I believe the best are ones made with love and care in your own home, by your own hands and fresh as a daisy!  I am sure there are good Pie’s available but quite often my eating habits change within the space of five minutes, so here is my take on something that first surfaced in 9500BC!


For me a good Pie is made of the best ingredients you can get (or afford), in this case an excellent Free Range Chicken from our favourite supplier, no added ANYTHING! You also need a quality stock to make a sauce, the carcass of the Chicken is the base of this, with some aromatics such as Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley, Peppercorns and a Star Anise.


I roasted the Chicken on the Saturday evening,  put half a head of Garlic in the cavity along with a halved Clementine, rubbed Olive Oil all over the skin and seasoned with Salt and Pepper. Roasting took 1 hour 20 minutes in my case, I then covered the beast with a couple of layers of foil, and a towel and let cool for a good couple of hours. Transfer the Chicken to the fridge, covering with greaseproof paper and foil to keep all those flavours where they need to be! DON’T clean the roasting dish, you are going to use it in the morning so cover with some foil to keep any nasties out.

The stock is simmering as I am writing this blog entry.

Earlier this morning I stripped the carcass of its meat and put the carcass back in the same roasting dish I used last night, adding to the flavour with the juices and crispy bits. Also in the dish went a stick of celery and a carrot, cut into chunks, and two onions cut in half with their skins still on, then into a 180deg oven (160 deg fan) for 1 hour.

Once roasted put into a stock pot if you have one, or a large saucepan along with about 4 pints of water, a bunch of Parsley, 2 sprigs of Thyme, a sprig of Rosemary, 10 Black Peppercorns (Lampung in my case), 5 White Peppercorns (I used Muntok) and one Star Anise. The Stock needs to gently simmer for 4 hours, skimming any impurities of the surface as you go.WP_20131222_15_07_42_Pro

After 4 hours, remove the stock from the heat and filter through a sieve, the aromas filling the kitchen were….CHICKEN! You can see a small amount of fat on the surface, this can be removed when the stock has cooled down if you want too.


Whilst the stock is simmering, you can attack the Pâte Feuilletée or Puff Pastry. I know the shop bought stuff is apparently good, but this was to be a special pie and so an excuse to have a go myself. I followed the instructions of the well renowned Richard Bertinet, in his book Pastry, which I mentioned in the last blog.

There are a number of stages to go through, with chilling between each so allow yourself enough time (you could go and buy some but it won’t be the same!)


This is my attempt after I had added ice cold water to the flour, and knocked ten tons of, no, only joking, flattened the butter between two sheets of cling film. After another chill in the fridge, the butter will be incorporated into the flour mix in layers.


There a two ways of folding to create Puff Pastry, Double Book and Single. Double Book is where you take each end and fold it into the middle. Single is where you fold ONE end in, and the other overlaps.  Just for a challenge I went for single, which requires 6 folds and 1/2 hour resting in the fridge after each (Its not a fast process!). This is mine after fold three, the finger dimples are intentional to enable you to remember where you are!


In between the puff pastry process you can start to prepare the filling. You need Onions, Garlic, Button Mushrooms, Butter, Flour, Stock, Roast Chicken (chopped) and frozen Peas; Salt and Pepper to taste, Herbs de Provence or whatever flavourings you fancy. I included a small amount of Chilli to provide a background warmth.

Chop the Onions and fry gently in some Butter and Olive Oil until translucent, then add the Garlic (crushed or chopped) and continue to cook. Quarter the button Mushrooms and add, cooking for at least 5 minutes then the Roast Chicken and a tablespoon or so of Flour, and continue to cook, then about 300 ml of the freshly prepared Chicken Stock. Gently simmer for about 15 mins and towards the end, chuck in about 3 handfuls of frozen peas and remove from the heat. It should look like the above.


To accompany ‘The Pie’ was going to be one of my all time favourite potato dishes, Gratin Dauphinoise. Layers of Potato, Garlic, Salt & Pepper and grated Nutmeg, filled with double cream and cooked slowly until golden and bubbling. Its a very rich and flavoursome dish that can be a meal in its own right.


I topped mine with grated Grana Padano Italian hard Cheese which i deemed acceptable as the dish is from the Dauphiné area of France, near the Italian border, you could also use Gruyere as an alternative.

Back to the Pastry and we are almost done. We are now at turn six of the single turn method.


When you cut the Pastry you can see the thin wafer like layers of Butter, we are going to make a Flat Pie and you need to make the lid slightly larger than the base to cover the filling.


Once you have the base rolled out to a thickness of a slightly less than a pound coin, brush egg wash  about an inch around the edge, pile in the chilled filling and place the lid on top. To seal the edges I used the thumb and two finger method to crimp the edge, and then rolled like a Cornish Pasty edge, nothing was escaping this bad boy!


Brush the lid with egg wash and put in the fridge to relax for 10 mins. The take it out the fridge, egg  wash it again (this will help it go a deep brown colour) and using the BACK of a sharp knife, gently make curve patterns from the centre to the edge. If you don’t do this after the egg wash, you will loose the pattern. You can also make an incision in the centre to let some of the steam out during cooking.


Approximately 45 minutes in a 180deg oven and you should end up with something like the above, be brave and turn the heat up a little during the last 10-15 mins, you want a deep brown and nearly caramelised colour and finish. The pastry should be flaky and crispy, the filling succulent and flavoursome.


I also fancied another favourite, Green Beans & Pancetta, cooked beans, rolled in the salty Italian Bacon and fried quickly for a few minutes to crisp up.

The Boss is generally not to fussed about pies, until she tried this one, it was stunning, tasty and there is plenty left over for tea on Monday. So here it is, my take on a Pie, you could use Beef or Pork if you don’t like Chicken, just make the appropriate Stock base to match the filling.

As an aside, I use a Camera Phone for the pictures on my Blog. Those very kind people at Nokia gave me the Lumia 1020 last week, a 41 Megapixel beast with Carl Zeiss lense, the pictures on this entry were taken on the new Nokia.

Previous entries were on either the Nokia 920, BlackBerry Z10 or Samsung S4. (Maybe you can guess what my day job might be?) Maybe you can see the difference, i’m not the best photographer or stylist but try to make the images ‘real’.

Hope you all have a very Happy Christmas.


Jacobs Ladder – Slow Braised Beef Short Ribs In a Fragrant Sauce

As you will notice, many of my recipes are a bit time consuming, mostly due to the complex flavours I like to experience on my palate, but also the cuts of meat I like to experiment with.


Earlier in the week I had been thumbing through some cookery books trying to find something to make at the weekend and came across a couple of recipes, further bolstered by a trawl on the internet I headed out to our favourite meat supplier, who has never disappointed with unusual and different cuts of meat.

These bad boys (to use a Tom Kerridge phrase!), are Beef Short Ribs and are extremely good value if you can find a supplier. In this case £4.89 yes, that cheap for 1.25 KG’s of taste sensation. They are also known as Jacobs Ladder, which is a reference in the book of Genesis, and in my case, one of my favourite rock songs by the group RUSH, a Canadian rock band.

The dish I am about to describe will take a couple of days to complete, as the preparation and cooking is done in several stages, most of the time is spent cooking/resting, the hands on prep is about 30-40 minutes max. I started on the Saturday afternoon for a Sunday evening tea. You will need the following for two hungry people:

  • 1.25KG’s Beef Short Ribs
  • 1 Tbs Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Lampung Black Peppercorns (available from Steenbergs), or whatever is in your cupboard
  • 1/2 Tsp Muntok White Peppercorns (available from Steenbergs), or whatever is in your cupboard
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 4 Whole Cloves
  • 3-4 Shallots roughly chopped
  • 4cm piece Lemongrass (bash with a rolling pin or knife to break apart)
  • 4cm piece Galangal roughly sliced
  • 4cm piece Fresh Ginger roughly sliced
  • 6 Red Chillis
  • 1 Head Garlic sliced in half
  • 2 Litres Chicken Stock (preferable Low Salt & Organic, Kallo is great and readily available)
  • 1 Tbs Fish Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Light Soy
  • 1 Tbs dark Soy
  • 2 Tbs Shaoxing Rice wine
  • 1 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 4 Tbs Tamarind
  • 2 Tbs Palm Sugar
  • 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • 1 Tsp Shrimp Paste
  • 1 Bunch Coriander
  • 1/2 Lime Juiced

Stage 1

Take all the dry spices and roast them gently in a frying pan without any oil until you can smell the evocative aromas filling the kitchen. This process causes the oils in the spices to develop, if you look at the Cloves, you will notice they will have expanded considerably.


Now that the spices are toasty the next stage is to season the ribs with Salt & Pepper and seal in some flavourless oil such as Ground Nut or whatever you have available. We are trying to get some colour on the meat and also release some of the sugars which turns the meat brown. You can click HERE for a really geeky explanation of the Maillard reaction which is what we are trying to achieve.

WP_20131130_008Mine looked like this after this stage and took 10-15 minutes making sure you turn the meat and cook each side.

Stage 2

We now need to put some oil in a dutch oven or decent size saucepan, the Ribs’s are going to braise for 4 1/2 hours at 125 Deg (fan), 145 Deg (Convection) and the meat needs to be covered so use this as you guide as to the size of pan to use.

Firstly, fry the shallots until the develop some colour, about 5 – 10 minutes. Then, add the toasted dry spices and continue to fry gently, you will start to smell the heady aromas fill the air. Then add the sliced Galangal, Ginger and Lemongrass, continuing to cook gently, then the two halved Garlic heads, and Chilli’s.


At this stage it should look something like the picture above. You want to cook the spice mix gently so nothing burns but hard enough to extract the flavour oils from the ingredients. Now set your oven to 125 deg/145deg to warm up.

After 10 – 15 minutes start to add the wet ingredients, starting with the Soy Sauce, Fish Sauce, Rice Wine etc. Then a bunch of coriander, finish with the sugar, then the Chicken Stock at the end and put the Ribs in, ensuring the are covered completely. Finally add the Lime juice.


You now need to get a piece of Tin Foil, doubled in half, that covers, and overlaps your pan. This is going to be used to seal the pan with the lid firmly pressed on top. Then place in the oven, set the timer for 4 /12 hours and go and put your feet up!!

Stage 3

After 4 1/2 hours, remove the pan from the oven and take out the ribs and place in a container and stick in the fridge, covered with foil or a Plastic container with lid. Drain the remaining sauce through a strainer and also place in the fridge overnight.

You will have noticed in the 1st picture, there is a decent amount of fat on the ribs, the slow braising will have rendered the fat into the sauce and in the morning you will have a ‘fat lid’, sitting on the sauce. The following morning, take the meat and sauce out of the fridge,  gently remove the fat and strain the sauce to remove as much of the fat as possible.


This is what mine looked like before sieving the sauce to remove the remaining bits of fat which you can see floating on the surface. The colour has changed significantly into a deep rich brown colour, partly as a result of the browning stage (Monsr Maillard again!).

Once this is done, the meat on the left needs to go into the sauce, to marinade for a few more hours to further develop the flavours. Cover the pot with cling film or foil and pop it back into the fridge until you are ready to complete the final stage. It will take about 45 – 60 minutes at 160 deg/180deg before the ribs are ready to eat, so you can plan when dinner is served and when you need to be back in the kitchen.

Stage 4

Almost done! Set the oven to 160deg/180deg and remove the meat/sauce from the fridge about an hour before you are ready to cook to bring it up to room temperature. To go with the beef I was going to do some equally fragrant Rice and Bok Choi.

Take a saucepan, and put some water on to boil, you will need a Jasmine Tea bag, 1 star anise, kaffir lime leaves (2) and a couple of slices of Galangal. I left the tea bag in the water for a couple of minutes before removing, the remainder of the spices had a good 30 minutes in the pan. Thats the infusion completed, just follow the instructions on the rice packet, mine needed about 10 minutes.

The Bok Choi was quartered lengthways, and put in a pan with a glug of hot oil, followed by a splash of water to create a steam. I chucked in a couple of cloves of garlic that had been bashed, a splash of Shaoxing Rice Wine, similar of light Soy sauce and a little sugar to counterbalance the salty Soy.

WP_20131201_008Finish the Bok Choy with a twist of fresh cracked pepper and you are done. The beef can be removed from the pot, and set aside in a covered dish and left in a warm oven whilst you finish off the sauce. You may find its still a bit thin so you can reduce it on a hob, and use a little Cornflour or Arrowroot and water to thicken. Drain the rice and you are ready to serve.

WP_20131201_005 To add some further texture elements I dry fried some Cashew nuts and Red Chilli for a bit of punch, and fried some prawn crackers and dusted with 5 spice powder to accompany the ribs. All you need to do now is serve the meat/rice/sauce and vegetable on a warm plate and experience a tasty, sumptuous exotic meal, all prepared by your own hands and not breaking the bank!WP_20131201_010

So there you have it, Beef Short Ribs, with  a fragrant sauce and assorted accompaniments, delicious.

Go on, have a go yourself.