Honey Pepper Beef Marinade and Stirfry Recipe

pepper beef

“I just love Chinese food. My favourite dish is number 27.” ~ Clement Attlee

 

Note: Finally, the recipe I tried to post the other day! This is the one that kept uploading pictures of the beach, instead of my food pictures. How grateful I am now that this post was already written and only needed to have the pictures added, as we are still grief-stricken here at the farm, and missing our dear dog Bert so very much. I could barely think what to write this morning. Now that I’ve added these pictures we are taking Harry to the beach for a walk and then a coffee, as he is heartbroken at the loss of his brother. Thank you for all of your messages of love and support. They have been a great comfort to us. Anyway, read on. It really is a very tasty recipe…

 

This is a simple but really flavoursome dish. I’ve given quantities to serve four, but the recipe can easily be adjusted for fewer or more people.

The meat needs to be marinated for an hour minimum, but I prefer to leave it at least four or five hours for the flavour to deepen. I’ve also left the meat in the marinade for a few days, well refrigerated, and it was delicious when finally cooked.

If you want you can also use the marinade for steaks, chops and ribs. It goes equally well with beef, pork or lamb.

 

Marinade Ingredients:

2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch/cornflour or arrowroot, Pinch of salt, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sherry or Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon sesame oil

Other Ingredients:

500 grams thinly sliced beef strips

For the Stirfry:

Four cups of mixed vegetables, chopped into thin slices or cut into pieces. A slug of your favourite oil for cooking. Rice to serve.

Any of the following are good: onion, red onion, asparagus, snow peas, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, capsicum (bell pepper), cabbage, carrots, egg-plant, zucchini, Chinese vegetables such as bok choi or pak choi, canned or fresh baby corn spears, bamboo shoots, water chestnut slices.

Keep fast-cooking vegetables like bok choi to one side, to cook last.

 

Method:

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the beef strips. Mix well. Cover and chill for at least an hour. Longer is better and will give a more tender and flavoursome result.

To cook:

Use a wok or a large frypan with high sides. Have your prepared vegetables ready and your rice done or close to done. You’ll also need a large clean bowl to hold the cooked beef strips. *Never return cooked meat to a marinade, and never put a used marinade on cooked food!

Place some oil in the pan and put it on to a high heat. You want to cook this fast and hot.

Place a handful of strip in the pan. They should sizzle. Stir them until browned, remove to a clean bowl and then repeat with the rest of the beef.

Add a little more oil to the pan and then dump in the vegetables that will take longer to cook. Stir for a few minutes over high heat until they are softening. Add in any remaining marinade. Stir well, and then add the beef back in to reheat. Stir to combine and wait til everything is piping hot. Finally, add the quick-cooking vegetables like your Asian greens to the top of the pan. Stir them through. It will only take a minute or so for them to soften down.

Remove from heat. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

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Mango-Misu – A Delicious and Easy Dessert!

mangomisu

“Take your pleasure seriously.” ~ Charles Eames

 

Every New Year’s Eve we have a small party at the farm, to celebrate life, the ending of the old year and the coming of the new AND the birthday of a dear friend.

What party of such calibre would be complete without dessert?

Mango Misu (or mangomisu) is a tropical twist on the classic Italian dessert Tiramisu. It’s light, luscious and totally delicious. As a further bonus it is one of those elegant and simple desserts that takes minutes to throw together, but that impresses everyone. Yay!

 

Ingredients

4 large mangoes, 6 to 8 small passionfruit or 4 large, Juice and zest of 1 lime, 1 cup of orange juice (Try to use freshly squeezed – it tastes so much better than bottled stuff!), 1.5 cups of thickened cream, 1.5 cups of ricotta cheese, 2 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar (confectioners sugar), 2 tablespoons Cointreau or Grand Marnier (optional but good), 250grams of savoiardi sponge finger biscuits (also known as Italian Ladyfinger biscuits)

Method

Find a shallow serving dish or a pretty bowl that will fit about 10 cups (2.5 liters)

Zest and then juice the lime.

Take the pulp from 1/2 the passionfruit.

Place the cream into a mixer with the icing sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold through the passionfruit pulp, ricotta cheese, lime zest and juice. Taste. If not sweet enough for your liking add a little more sugar. Set aside.

Cut up your mangoes and dice the flesh. If you want to be fancy cut one mango into slices to add a decorative twist to the top of your dessert.

Pour your orange juice into a shallow wide bowl, big enough to fit a sponge finger in. Add the alcohol. (It’s fine to omit the alcohol if you prefer alcohol-free!)

Now begin your layers.

Dip a sponge finger biscuit into the orange juice mixture and leave for just a moment. Remove and place into the dish. Complete a layer of biscuits and then add a layer of the cream and ricotta mixture.

Add a layer of chopped mango.

Repeat with layers of biscuit, cream and ricotta and mango until you reach the top of the dish. Spoon the pulp from the remaining passionfruit over the mango layer. Chill for 4 to 6 hours, or overnight if possible to really allow the flavours to amalgamate.

Serve and enjoy!

lime zest

passionfruit

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And how it looked when we ate it?

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It was GOOD.

So good…. 🙂

Why not whip one up this weekend? You’ll be glad you did!

mangomisu

Green Goodness Sauce Recipe

green sauce

“She pulls on her heavy boots and carries the water bucket past the rose bushes, past the herb garden, and back to the barn behind the house. Her steps kick up the scents of herbs: thyme, mint, and lemon balm. The plants send up new stems each year from the roots that survived the winter and grew up again along the path. The perfumed walk is a mystical part of her world. Walking here is her favorite part of mornings. Sometimes, this is the highlight of her day.”
J.J. Brown

 

One of the simple pleasures of my life is to grab a handful of herbs from one of the pots or vegetable gardens at my back door to use in our evening meal.

This green sauce recipe takes just a minute or two to whiz together, and it elevates all kinds of meals to a new level of yum.

The sauce itself is vegan. It’s also sugar, dairy and gluten free.

I love the versatility of this sauce. I often use it as a dip with chopped up vegetables, or I fold it through a little yogurt (use coconut yogurt if you’re dairy free) for a creamier version – it’s also good with chunks of fresh bread or crackers.

You can spoon this sauce over steamed or baked vegetables, toss it through a bowl of pasta, add it at the end of a risotto dish, or serve it with fish, chicken or any kind of meat.

It’s a fabulous accompaniment to barbeques. I’ve even used it as a salad dressing.

I’ve given you this recipe base upon parsley and basil, but you can experiment with whatever other soft herbs and edible leaves, including bitter greens, you have to hand. Just a caution on bitter greens – use only 1/4 to 1/2 of your total herbs as bitter ones or the sauce becomes a bit too bitey. This recipe makes about a jar’s worth of sauce.

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Ingredients:

An equal-ish mix of parsley and basil leaves to make three cups. (If you have a little mint, thyme, chives or dill feel free to chuck a bit of that in too!) Up to three cloves of garlic. Juice and zest of one lemon, a tablespoon of gherkins, a tablespoon of capers, up to one half cup of extra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper, half (or one small) red salad onion.

Method:

Tear the leaves off the basil and add in the tops of the parsley. It’s okay for there to be some parsley stalk – don’t be too particular. Rinse if necessary.

Keep one cup of leaves aside and chop roughly. Dump the other two cups in a food processor or blender.

Add the peeled garlic, gherkins, capers, lemon zest and juice and 1/4 cup of oil in your processor or blender.

Whiz until combined and smooth.

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Spoon the green sauce into a bowl.

Add the chopped herbs and finely diced red onion to the sauce and stir to combine. This gives a lovely contrast of textures. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

If there is any sauce left over it will keep in a jar in the fridge for up to one week.

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The vegan version – green sauce spooned over roasted cauliflower and sweet potato with a fresh garden salad.

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The meat-arian version – green sauce served over barbecued sausages with roasted cauliflower and sweet potato with a fresh garden salad.

green sauce

 

(Tip – if you have sausages left over, use them the next day in pasta – slice sausages and add to the green sauce then stir through pasta)

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Easy Mango Mousse #dairyfree #glutenfree #vegan #yum #paleo

vegan mango mousse

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair…”
~ Susan Polis Schutz

 

Mangoes are finally in season here in Australia. This is a super-easy and yummy mango mousse that tastes of summer and is something you can make all year round, even if you can’t access fresh mango. I’ve made this before with frozen mango and canned mango too. Perfect if it’s winter in your neck of the woods but you’re craving a little sunshine.

I’ve adjusted an old recipe of mine that called for cream and loads of sugar, and converted it to a recipe that is dairy-free and refined sugar-free. You can make this as a vegan or a paleo dessert – and it’s so healthy you could eat it for breakfast!

All you need to make this is a blender.

Ingredients:

270ml can of coconut cream – chilled (or use one cup), cheeks of three fresh mangoes, or the drained contents of an 800 gram can of mangoes or 2 cups of frozen mangoes, 1 tablespoon of agar agar (or use 1 tablespoon of gelatin if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian – this is a great option if you follow a paleo diet), 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of maple syrup or sweetener of your choice – natvia is a favourite of mine for sugar-free but coconut sugar also gives a great flavour (if you’re not vegan you could also use honey), a squeeze of lime juice or lemon juice if you have no limes!

Method:

Chill the can of coconut cream in the fridge for an hour or two or until when you shake it there is no liquid sloshing. If you’re in a cold climate it may already be like this at room temperature, but you need your coconut cream cold or it won’t whip.

Slice up your mango flesh or drain canned mangoes.

Soak your agar agar in 1/3 cup of water so it swells. Do the same if you are using gelatin. It’s fine to use the juice from canned mangoes or any squeezed pulp if you prefer.

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Place the chilled coconut cream (omit any liquid), mango flesh and agar agar mixture (or gelatin) into a blender or food processor. Whip on high speed until combined and fluffy. The time for this will vary depending on the speed of your motor, but really it should only take a minute or two.

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Now taste your mixture. Some mangoes are so sweet that they will need little extra sweetening. Add the quarter cup of sweetener (less if you feel it only needs a touch) and the squeeze of lime to freshen the flavour, pulse or blend quickly to combine and then taste again and add more sweetener if necessary until you are happy with the levels.

Pour into individual serving dishes or one larger bowl and refrigerate til set. You’ll need at least one hour for this.

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You can eat the mousse on its own, or garnish with more mango pieces. It’s also fabulous with a side of gelato or ice-cream, or a few gingersnaps.

I had a friend coming for dinner and I wanted to make pretty, so I chose a dollop of coconut yoghurt, some grated dark chocolate and a few fresh blueberries as my garnish. The nasturtium flowers made it feel completely celebratory.

The result?

Mango party for your mouth! ❤ So very yum. 🙂

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Green Goji Bliss Balls

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“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.”
~ Joss Whedon

 

I often whip up a batch of these healthy, yummy snacks. Green Goji Bliss Balls are packed full of nutrition, and the lemon gives them a lovely fresh tang.

They are incredibly easy to make, especially if you have a good food processor or blender.

This recipe is high in good fats and protein, and in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. It is also vegan and gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy-free. A couple of these Bliss Balls and a fresh juice make a satisfying lunch if you’re on the go, and a great snack anytime. Don’t let the green colour put you off – they are absolutely delicious and lemony.

Note: Broccoli sprout powder is super-nutritious and helps to detox the body of heavy metals, as well as metabolising estrogen, normalising DNA methylation and working as a potent anti-oxidant and immune booster. But it’s fine to omit or to substitute for something else. 🙂

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pepitas, 1/2 cup brazil nuts, zest of two lemons, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 1 cup of unsweetened coconut, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 cup goji berries, 2 heaped teaspoons spirulina, 1 heaped teaspoon broccoli sprout powder, 3 tablespoons of maple or rice malt syrup . Extra coconut for rolling.

Method:

Zest your lemon and then squeeze the juice.

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Use a food processor  or spice grinder to chop the almonds and brazil nuts until they are finely chopped. Do this in a couple of batches if you need to. It’s fine for there to be a few larger chunks. Don’t process until it is a paste – you are looking for a crumbly, chopped texture rather than goo!

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Add all the dry ingredients and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix well with a spoon.

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Add the lemon juice and mix the entire lot together with a clean hand. You could use a spoon but your hand will do a better job!

When the mixture is well combined, roll into balls about the size of a golf ball. Drop the balls into a small container of coconut and cover them well. Place into the refrigerator to set (about thirty minutes).

These bliss balls will keep for a week refrigerated, if they last that long. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Coconut Chia Pudding #dairyfree #glutenfree

strawbs

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” ~ Erma Bombeck

 

I could call this delicious pudding ‘dessert’.

But I have also been known to call it ‘breakfast’…

This creamy strawberry pudding is a versatile and healthy option as a snack, a meal or as a sweet treat at the end of a more substantial savoury offering.

I’ll show you how to make a ‘fancy’ offering with a choc-dipped strawberry garnish, good if you are entertaining or celebrating. Of course you can always just make the pudding without the garnish. It will still taste scrumptious – it just won’t look so ‘party’!

The pudding is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and dairy free. It’s high in protein, good fats, vitamin c, and antioxidants.

It’s also dead easy to make. So easy that #EvenBenCouldMakeThis

(I thought if I hashtagged my easy recipes, I may fare better during my recovery after surgery. It’s the best plan I’ve come up with in ages!)

 

Ingredients to serve 4:

500ml (2 cups) of warmed coconut milk. (I used a 270ml can of coconut cream and then added warm water to make up the rest of the volume), 250 grams (1 cup) of fresh ripe strawberries, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup chia seeds, 1/4 cup maple syrup or up to 2 tablespoons of your favourite sweetener, 4 squares of dark Lindt chocolate 70% cocoa or higher, 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, coconut yoghurt or coconut cream or ice-cream to serve.

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Method:

Place the coconut milk into a jug or mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the top and then stir in well.

Keep 2 strawberries out. Hull and puree the rest. If you don’t have a blender, chop finely and then squash through a sieve (or just chop finely if you can’t be bothered!).

Add the pinch of salt, strawberry puree and maple syrup to the chia mix. Stir well and allow to stand for ten minutes, stirring every so often to distribute the chia seeds which will begin to swell and thicken.

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If you need your pudding to look fancy, divide into four serving glasses or place in one pretty serving bowl. Otherwise place mixture into a plastic storage container with a lid.

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Melt the chocolate and coconut oil on low until liquid but not hot. Allow to cool slightly. Have the remaining strawberries and dip the cut side into the chocolate. Place on baking paper to cool and pop into fridge. If you have any chocolate left over feel free to give them a second coating once the first one has set.

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chia pudding

Drizzle a little of the remaining chocolate onto the puddings and then place in fridge to thicken and set.

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To serve, add a dollop of coconut yoghurt/cream/ice-cream on top of parfait and add chocolate-coated strawberry. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon or cocoa if you feel inclined.

Or, simply spoon some into a bowl and demolish!

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Bacon, Egg and Broccoli Slice

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“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
~ Albert Einstein

 

I am a big fan of using simple ingredients thrown together to make easy meals. Meals that ANYONE can cook. (Even people with no cooking experience, and people who have rarely ventured into a kitchen or whose repertoire consists of toast, take-away and two-minute noodles. Yep, I’m talking to you, Ben!)

I make variations of this particular meal often. It tastes delicious fresh from the oven, but it’s also great cold and it makes a good lunchbox filler.

Here’s what you’ll need. Adjust your quantities up or down, depending on how many mouths you’re feeding or how many meals you’d like to get out of this dish!

Method:

Grab a high-sided baking dish. It doesn’t matter what shape it is. (Or you could use smaller individual dishes. But that’s a lot more washing up.) Line it with some baking paper so that there is less mess to clean up later.

Ingredients:

Broccoli. Bacon. Red capsicum (bell pepper). Fresh or canned corn. Feta or grated tasty cheese. Salt and pepper. Fresh parsley or green onion (Shallots).

Really, you can add so many kinds of fresh vegetables to this recipe. If they are hard vegetables like carrots – grate them to reduce cooking time. You can also use thin slices of pumpkin, sweet potato, potato.

Eggs. For my baking dish (30cm x 25 cm) I used 8 large eggs. You could use more! Some milk, soy milk, almond or rice milk to mix with it. I used about a cup. What you are essentially making is a simple custard.

*Oven:

When you have lined your baking tray preheat your oven to 180 degrees – 350 degrees fahrenheit. (If your oven is fan forced drop the temperature by 10 degrees.) Then go ahead and prepare the filling for your slice while the oven is heating.

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Chop your bacon into rough small pieces. Make sure you have removed the rind first or it will be really chewy. For my big baking dish I used 3 very big fat rashers, which gave me about a cup of bacon pieces. Use as much or as little bacon as you want. You can also substitute ham or cold roasted meats for the bacon. Vegetarians may enjoy using a seasoned tofu or tempeh.

Cut broccoli into small florets. Throw these directly into your paper-lined pan. When the base of the pan is well covered with broccoli you have enough. Cauliflower also works well, or do a combo!

Remove the corn kernels from a fresh cob or two, or use a small (or large if you are a corn fan!) can of corn.

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De-seed and chop up your capsicum (bell pepper).

Then chop up a good handful of parsley (only the leaves, not the stalks) or a couple of green onions (shallots).

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Throw all of that into your baking tray and then use a large spoon or clean hands to mix it all together so that the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Sprinkle a pinch of salt and a good grind of pepper over the top.

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Now crack your eggs into a large bowl and add the milk of your choice. Whisk it gently together with a fork so that the yolks become broken and everything is blended.

Add a half cup of crumbled feta or grated cheese to the top of the vegetable and bacon mixture. Try to spread it evenly. Go on – use a bit more cheese if cheese is your thing. 🙂

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Pour the egg mixture into the baking tray. Use the fork you whisked the eggs with to gently poke the vegetables a bit to make sure that the egg mixture goes all the way to the bottom of the baking tray.

You’ll still have a few bits poking up that didn’t get covered. That’s okay. It will still cook and taste fine.

If you over-calculated and have too much egg mixture make another quick small individual serve in a bowl or ramekin or even some muffin cases! Just chuck a few bits of vegetable and cheese and maybe a little extra bacon or ham in there. Note: If you use small dishes grease them well with a little butter or oil or the egg and cheese will stick!

If you don’t have enough egg mixture, whisk another egg or two with a splash more milk and pour over. Use your best guess but don’t get stressed about it. It takes practice to work out quantities well.

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Place baking dish into the oven and cook for forty minutes, or until golden and puffy on top and cooked through. You might want to check on the slice after thirty minutes baking time, just to see how it is going.

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Serve on its own, with a spoonful of your favourite relish or chutney, or with some green leaves or a salad.

Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to four days.

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PS – Ben, if you are reading this now, some time post my surgery in early September, you are an awesome husband and you have totally got this. It’s easy, babe. Promise!