Boeuf Bourguignon

mmm boeuf bourguignon…. I could’t resist making this last week. When I found out it was Julia Childs birthday and stumbled onto this clip  of Julia Child cooking it I just had to make it! I had a ball making it, its was my lazy saturday and so I spent the majority of the day cooking (and whacking the fire alarm off!). It was quite hilarious at times as the beef bourguignon kept setting off the fire alarm -even though it wasn’t burning,  and the fire alarm system connects to the block I’m in so there’s no battery I can take out. In the end I literally had a chair, fan and broomstick poised ready for every time it went off! Anyway I’m writing this up while I bake a three layered cake, cookies and pudding and I am so freakishly sore! I’m definitely not an athletic person, actually i think I’m closer to a sloth then anything…anyway for some strange reason I agreed to play badminton and basketball this morning – and not only do I suck at the game, but now I get to feel the delightful soreness from running up and down the court for two hours! I honestly have no more energy left so instead I’m posting this hopefully my battery doesn’t die because the power cord is upstairs and nooooo stairs please!

…………………………………3 hours later……………………….

Ok so the battery died and it kinda took me a while to convince myself to tackle the stairs! I better post this now before I start complaining again, anyway don’t be deterred by the recipe length, it’s really not that difficult, and once you coordinate making the mushrooms and onions during cooking the stew it won’t feel like you wasted any time at all! So anyway enjoy 🙂


for the stew

  • 180g bacon, solid chunk (or if its not available, then around 3 rashes of bacon)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1.5kg lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (Preferably use chuck,if not then gravy beef)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tablespoons flour 3 cups red wine (a full bodied wine like Bordeaux or Burgundy or Chianti)
  • 2 -3 cups beef stock (if you buy it make sure you use the salt reduced)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely cut
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf,

For the braised onions

  • 18 -24 white pearl onions, peeled (AKA pickling onions!)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup beef stock salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley

for the sautéed mushrooms

  • 500g mushroom, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


For the stew (the first half anyway!)

  1.  First prepare the bacon: cut off the rind and reserve.
  2. Cut the bacon into lardons about 0.5cm thick and 3.75cm long.
  3. Simmer the rind and the lardons for ten minutes in 1 1/2 litres of water.
  4. Drain and dry the lardons and rind and reserve.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 230 degrees celsius. Put the tablespoon of olive oil in a large fireproof casserole dish and warm over moderate heat.
  6. Saute the lardons for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly, Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
  7. Dry off the pieces of beef and saute them, a few at a time in the hot oil/bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides.  Once browned, remove to the side plate with the bacon.
  8. 11 In the same oil/fat, saute the onion and the carrot until softened.
  9. 12 Pour off the fat and return the lardons and the beef to the casserole with the carrots and onion. Toss the contents of the casserole with the salt and pepper and sprinkle with the flour.
  10. Set the uncovered casserole in the oven for four minutes.
  11. Toss the contents of the casserole again and return to the hot oven for 4 more minutes.  Now, lower the heat to 160 degrees celcius and remove the casserole from the oven.
  12. Add the wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic and herbs and the bacon rind.
  13. Bring to a simmer on the top of the stove. Cover and place in the oven, adjusting the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly for three to four hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.

For the onions 

You should have more than enough time to prepare the mushrooms and onions while the stew is cooking

  1. Peel the onions, make sure they are intact when you peel them – if the skin is being difficult quickly dip the onions into boiling water for 10-30 seconds and the skin should peel off nicely, don’t forget to cut a cross it the root end.
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet and add the onions to the skillet.
  3. Saute over medium heat for about ten minutes, rolling the onions about so they brown as evenly as possible, without breaking apart.
  4. Pour in the stock, season to taste, add the herbs, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but retain their shape and the liquid has mostly evaporated. Remove the herbs and set the onions aside.

For the mushrooms

  1. Add the oil to the pan, when hot add the butter and let it completely melt (but not dry burn!) This occurs when the foam begins to subside and go down
  2. Add the mushrooms and toss and shake the pan for about five minutes or until the mushrooms have slightly browned, remove from heat. 32

To finish the stew

  1. When the meat is tender, remove the casserole from the oven and empty its contents into a sieve set over a saucepan.
  2. Wash out the casserole dish and return the beef and bacon to it
  3. Distribute the mushrooms and onions over the meat.
  4. Skim the fat off the sauce and simmer it for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat which rises to the surface. You should be left with about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly. If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock, if the sauce is too thin, boil it down to reduce to the right consistency.
  5. Taste for seasoning, (this is essential!!)
  6. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
  7. If you are serving immediately, place the covered casserole over medium low heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with rice or potatoes (preferably Robuchon style mashed potatoes!- I would have made it for this recipe but I didn’t have a drum sieve 😦 ), and garnish with parsley (I used continental because that was all that I had but feel free to use common parsley- the flavour is subtler so it should match the dish better)
  8.  If serving later or the next day, allow the casserole to cool and place cold, covered casserole in the refrigerator.  20 minutes prior to serving, place over medium low heat and simmer very slowly for ten minutes, occasionally basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce.



Beef and Guinness Pie

Nooooooooooooooo!!!! Uni’s back on again 😦 🙂 ?? On one hand its great I love learning and seeing all my friends again…..but…. I’m gonna miss sleep. I can’t believe that the holidays managed to go pass so quickly, I want to go back to sleep! I’m writing this right before by lab class hoping it’ll wake me up. I forgot to say as well that after 3 weeks of lessons I can now drive a manual car!!!!!! I passed my test on friday so now I can drive. Yay yay yay!! Yay yay yay!! -in case you can’t tell I’m very very happy, I’m not exactly the most coordinated person in the world ( that is me being extremely understated- seriously I fall down the stairs in my house like twice a month!) so I can’t believe I passed. After, I even drove my dad (like 3 km only!) for the first time, unfortunately he spent the time gripping his seat so tightly I’m shocked his hand still works, and he hasn’t let me drive with him since, but hey it’s a start!

Anyway I made this pie last week back at home, and didn’t get around to posting it. So instead of writing out my outcomes for my portfolio I decided to write this up instead!! Hope you enjoy 🙂

Prep time: 30 mins

Cooking time: 3 hours


For the pastry

  • 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 160 g cubed cold  unsalted butter
  • 4-6 tablespoons chilled water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 900g beef, trimmed and diced ( use something like chuck  or gravy beef cuts as its going to stew for a long time)
  • 2 brown onions, finely diced
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalks chopped
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 cups guinness
  • 400g diced tomatoes
  • salt and black pepper to season
  • 1 egg lightly beaten



To make the pastry

  1. mix together the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until it resembles bread crumbs (if you do not have one like me, just use a knife and cut the mixture together)
  2. Add 2 tablespoons water and mix again until the pastry comes together, add more water if required.
  3. Transfer pastry to a lightly floured bench top and knead until smooth
  4. wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate until needed

To make the filling

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius
  2. add two teaspoons of oil to a hot pan and fry the beef until the outsides are brown (make sure beef is dry or it won’t brown). Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining oil, sauté the onions for 3-5 mins then add the carrots and celery and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Re add the meat then sprinkle the flour over the top of the mixture and continue stirring
  5. Add thyme, guinness, tomato and add salt and pepper to season.
  6. Bring to the boil then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 mins. Place in oven for 1.5 hours. Remove from oven and place back on stove and simmer for 30 mins (or until mixture has become thicker). Remove from heat and allow to cool (it doesn’t have to completely cool, it just has to be cool enough that it doesn’t cause the pastry to dissolve! I usually just wait till it is warm)
  7. Roll out pastry and cover pie dish, add the filling then cover with remaining pastry. Cut a cross in the top to let out steam then transfer back to the oven for 20-30 mins, or until the pastry is golden brown.

Osso Buco

mmmdelicious -if I do say so myself. This is the ultimate winter dish, packed full of flavour, with sauce just waiting to be mopped up by a soft bread roll. Hope you enjoy, (cause I certainly am!)

Prep time: 1 day – only for the beans because it needs to soak overnight

Cooking time: 2.5 hours


  • 100g dried cannellini beans
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 6 x 200g pieces osso buco (veal shin), you can use beef instead if you want
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 8 stalks flat- leaf parsley, leaves shredded, and stalks reserved
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 lemons zested
  • 400g diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups (750ml) veal stock


  1. Place beans in large bowl and pro over 250ml cold water. Stand overnight. Drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place flour in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Very lightly coat the veal with this mixture, heat a frying pan with 2 tablespoons oil and fry the veal, so it is sealed.
  3. Place casserole dish over high heat and fry the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and parsley stalks for around 7 minutes or until just soft.
  4. Stir in wine, bay leaf, thyme, tomato paste and half the lemon zest and cook for 5 mins or until liquid is reduced by half. Add tomatoes and cook stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in stock and bring to the boil, add the beans and cover with lid and transfer to oven stirring occasionally  for 1.5 hours.
  6. Transfer casserole to the stovetop and uncover, cook on low-medium heat for 40 mins or until sauce has thickened and the meat is falling off the bone.
  7. Remove from heat, add the remaining lemon zest and parsley. Serve and mmmenjoy.

top left: sealed osso buco. top right: frying the onions, bottom left: frying vegetables, bottom right: just before stock is added