Beef Bourguignon with Star Anise and Cloves

This beef bourguignon is made even more soul warming through the addition of star anise and cloves. The resulting dish has just the right dash of these spices to liven up what can be a rather heavy dish. Great winter staple. The smell of this cooking will get everyone salivating.

Prep time: 30 minutes  Cooking time: 2.5-3 hours
Ingredients:
1.5 kg chuck steak diced into medium size chunks
200g thick cut bacon with fat cut into strips
2 tbspns Vegetable oil
6 tbspns butter
12 eschallots or baby onions
12-14 button mushrooms
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot diced
3 cloves of garlic crushed into paste
2 tbspns plain flour
750ml red wine
1.5 tbspns tomato paste
Bouquet garni
3 star anise
4 cloves
3 cups chicken or beef stock
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley chopped to garnish

Method:
In a large casserole dish cook bacon over medium heat until golden brown and fat has melted.


Brown beef in small batches, adding oil in between batches if needed. Keep browned beef aside.

In a separate frying pan melt 2tbspns butter and fry baby onions until golden and set aside

Then fry mushrooms with another 2 tbspns butter and fry until golden and set aside


Add rest of butter to casserole pot, melt and then add star anise, cloves, onions, carrots and garlic and cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes

Add the flour and stir through, then add wine, tomato paste, bouquet garni and bring to the boil, scraping bottom of pan

Add beef and bacon to the casserole and add the stock, bring to boil then simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 2-2.5 hours until meat is very tender

Add salt and black pepper to taste

Add the mushrooms and onions and cook covered for another half an hour


Remove the bouquet garni and star anise

Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes, green salad and crispy bread rolls to help mop up the sauce

Snapper in Indian “Crazy Water” Broth

This dish is based on the Italian inspired recipes by Marcella Hazan and Neil Perry for “fish in crazy water”. Having previously made and enjoyed Neil Perry’s recipe, I had found the original light broth reminiscent of the texture of the South Indian soup known as Rasam that often accompanies meals. This version is of my own creation and includes the distinct aniseed flavour of star anise and the fruity sweet-sour flavour of tamarind. You can also easily play around with the combination of herbs and spices to suit your palette. This dish is perfect to serve with blanched spinach for a light and healthy dinner.

Prep time: 15 minutes  Cooking time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:
2 large snapper fillets with skin on
3 large, very ripe tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
3 red chillies
1/2 tspn sea salt
small handful coriander leaves
small handful mint leaves
1.5 tsp tamarind concentrate or 2 tspns tamarind juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 star anise
60ml olive oil
900ml water

Method
Place tomatoes in bowl of boiling water, then peel off skin, remove seeds and chop

 Soaking tomatoes in hot water makes it easier to peel the skin off
Soaking tomatoes in hot water makes it easier to peel the skin off

Finely chop coriander and mint (save half for garnish)
Finely slice garlic cloves

Sliced garlic, coriander and mint for crazy water
Sliced garlic, coriander and mint for crazy water

Deseed chillies and dice finely
Put all ingredients, except the fish fillets, into large heavy based saucepan and bring to a boil.

All the ingredients except the fish go into making the crazy water
All the ingredients except the fish go into making the crazy water

Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes with lid on
Remove lid, return mixture to a boil and reduce sauce to half again, but ensuring some of the light broth remains
Add snapper fillets skin side down for 2 minutes, simmering over medium heat
Carefully turn fillets over and cook for a further 5-8 minutes until fish is just cooked through
Serve with finely chopped and blanched spinach or bok choy

Snapper in Indian Crazy Water served with blanched spinach
Snapper in Indian Crazy Water served with blanched spinach