Saturday, 9 August 2014

Mustard and herb roast beef

Mustard and herb roast beef - Steph's Kitchen

I love a weekend roast, but I know a lot of people are a little intimidated by them - leaving them to the Mums and Grandmothers of their world because they do them best. What a lot of people don't realise is if you follow a few simple rules, roasts can be pretty easy!

Once you know these roasting rules you'll find yourself experimenting with all sorts of combinations, like my roast chicken with apple stuffing.

Roasting rules-of-thumb

These are general cooking rules my Mum taught me which is always good to remember how long to cook your roast for. This way you don't need an exact size or have to use a recipe.

Red meat: Cook the roast an hour for every kilo (kg) at 180 C. Then rest for at least 20 before carving. This will give you a roast on the well done side, which is most people's preference. If you like it a little on the medium side, poke your roast with a skewer in the last 30 mins and check the colour of the liquid that comes out. You'll be looking for a almost clear liquid, with a little pink. If well done, you want the liquid to be clear.

White meat: Unlike red, white meats must be completely cooked through. As a general rule of thumb, cook your roast on 180 C for 40 mins for every kilo. Make sure you use a skewer before you remove it to check the juices running out are clear. If pink in any way, roast in 15min intervals until clear.

Rolled roasts: This is not something I was told, but something I have learnt from experience. If a rolled roast with a stuffing, I usually find that the usual rules above work fine.

If your cooking a rolled roast that is just all meat, you need to allow more time for it to cook. For white meat I allow an extra 20 mins per kilo on top of the ratios I've mentioned above. And for red meats, about 30 mins per kilo (if you are looking for well done). If you like it more on the medium side, no extra time required. Using the skewer to check before removing is a must, as depending on the size of the roast and thickness of the roll time may vary.

The roast I have for you is roast beef with a mustard and herb marinade. What I love most is you don't have to marinade ahead of time, and you can even just coat and roast straight away. It uses both Dijon mustard as well as seeded, with a combination of herbs and a little vinegar to give you a great flavour.

If you are thinking it might be a strong flavour, I can reassure you it is mild. I also love to roast mine on top of quartered onions for extra flavour. It also allows the roast to sit out of any fatty juices from the roast that usual pool around it in the pan.

Mustard and herb roast beef - Steph's Kitchen

Mustard and herb roast beef

Serves 4 adults

Mustard and herb marinade

3 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp roughly chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp parsley
1 1/2 tsp olive oil / vegetable oil (whatever you like to cook with)
1 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed garlic (1 small clove, crushed)
Generous amount of pepper

1 large brown onion, peeled and cut into quarters
1.5 kg sirlion rolled roast - have also used topside before and it it just as nice. You could really use whatever cut you would like.

In a small bowl add all your marinade ingredients, mixing until well combined. You could just smear this onto your roast but I've found a great (less messy) way of doing it using a large freezer bag. Yes, you heard me correctly! Grab a large freezer bag, add your roast into the bag and pour in your marinade. Remove the air from inside the bag and tie it off in a little knot at least 2 - 3 cm from the roast. To completely coat the roast simply move the roast in the bag, rotating until you are satisfied.

Now, you can leave the marinade on as little or as long as you like. You can do this the day before or in the morning and just pop it in the fridge until you need it. If you are a little impatient and don't have time, you can remove the roast straight away. I usually make it up at least an hour before so I know it's all done.

Pre-heat your oven to 180  C or 350 F.

In a large oven dish, preferably with high sides, place down your onions in the bottom of the pan in a sort of square. You want space between them but not too much. The placement will really depend on the shape of your roast. Once you find a position that you think will work, grab your roast (still in its bag) and place it on top. If you think it is in a good position to hold the roast up, then awesome. If need be play with it a little bit longer until you are happy. It's easier to do this now instead of when you have your roast out and it's all coated and hard to play with without making mess.

Mustard and herb marinade - Steph's Kitchen

Take the roast of the bag and place upon of the onion in the pan. I usually try to have a clean roast with as little oil/fat as possible as we find our tummies are thankful afterwards. As there is oil in the marinade, you don't have to add more oil if you don't want to. You can drizzle a little bit of oil over the top before placing it in the oven if you wish.

Using the cooking rule of thumb above, I cook mine for 2 hours 15 mins (1.5 hours for red meat + 45 as it's a rolled roast) as Mr Steph only likes well done roasts. If  I had my way I'd just do the 1.5 hours and have it medium. But you have to keep the "diners" happy, I guess!

Steph xo

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Macadamia and white chocolate chip cookies

Macadamia and white chocolate cookies - Steph's Kitchen

It may appear that I am on a macadamia binge since my last recipe (apple and macadamia upside-down pie) also showcased macadamia nuts. This cookie recipe is actually one that I have been making for many years now, and is a good old favourite that never disappoints.

I first started making these cookies when I was in my early twenties. I was baking cookies as Christmas gifts and decided to adapt my Mum's choc-chip cookie recipe as I had been obsessed with the macadamia and white chocolate combination - buying them anytime I came across them at cafes or just out and about.

The recipe is simple, using basic ingredients, and the dough is a great base for you to try your hand at any combination you desire.

Macadamia and white chocolate cookies - Steph's Kitchen

Macadamia and white chocolate chip cookies

Makes 18 medium sized cookies

125g margarine or diary-free spread
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cups SR flour
70g white chocolate chips (if going dairy free, swap for a dried fruit like cranberries or sultanas, or vegan chocolate chips such as Sweet William
60g macadamia nuts

Before anything else, pre-heat your oven to 180 C or 350 F.

For this first part, you can use electric beaters but I usually use a wooden spoon. Cream the margarine and sugar in a large bowl until the sugar and butter is well combined. Add the egg, vanilla and salt, mixing until it creates a thick batter.

Now for what makes these cookies so good: the macadamia nuts and chocolate. To smash the macadamia nuts, place them in a small zip-lock bag and use something with a little weight (like a can or mullet) to roughly smash the macadamia nuts. The pieces don't have to be even, simply broken up. If you'd like smaller chunks of nuts keep going until the pieces are the small you would like. I usually give them a little hit or two until the nuts are no longer whole. This way I get big and small pieces in the cookies, which I think makes them even better. Add the nuts and chocolate chips to your mixture and stir through.

Onto the flour.

I think it's best to add a little bit of flour at a time so you can easily incorporate it into the mixture. Using a 1/4 cup, add the flour a little at a time until you create a dough. Towards the end you may need to use your hands to mix in the remainder of the flour. You want the dough to be soft but not wet to the touch. If need be at a little more flour.

Cookie dough - Steph's Kitchen

Take small balls of the dough (about a table tennis ball in size or in Australia a 50 cent piece) and roll into a ball. Flatten slightly in your hand before placing them on a large, greased baking tray (or tray lined with baking paper). Sprinkle each cookie with a little bit of white sugar before placing them in the oven.

Bake the cookies in the oven for 10 - 15 mins until the edges of the cookies are golden in places. This way they stay a little soft inside. If you like them a little more crispy, cook for a couple more minutes until there's a little colour on top as well.

Steph xo

Tray of cookies - Steph's Kitchen

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Apple and macadamia upside-down pie

Apple and macadamia nut upside-down pie - Steph's Kitchen

I love quick and easy sweets.

This upside-pie came about when I went to make my apple and date upside-down pie and I was out of dates. I had already made the pastry so I looked through the pantry hunting for something to go with my sliced apples, the sweet brown sugar and the drizzle of melted butter that goes over the top of the pie before serving (yes, it is as delicious as it sounds!). I spied a bag of honey-roasted macadamias and had a little light bulb moment.

The combination was amazing! The nuttiness of the macadamias is a perfect match with the sweet of the apples.

The best part - it'll be ready in under 30 minutes ...

Apple and macadamia upside-down pie - Steph's Kitchen

Apple and macadamia upside-down pie

Prep and construction, 20mins
Baking time, 25mins

1/3 cup / 76g butter or margarine (I use marg)
1 1/2 cups of SR flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water

If you don't have time to do the pastry you can also simple use frozen puff pastry cut to the size of your dish.

2/3 cup honey roasted macadamia nuts
2 small or 1 large apple
3 Tbsp brown sugar

Just before serving: 1 Tbsp melted butter, sprinkle of cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 170°C / 338°F

First step, the pastry. In a food processer add the butter, flour and sugar, and blend until it forms fine breadcrumbs. Then slowly add the water while blending, letting your dough turn into one large ball.

Line a 24cm pie dish with baking paper, allowing it to hang over the sides a little (or a lot) so that you can use the over hanging bits to lift the pie out easily later.

Add the macadamia nuts a zip-lock bag, and using something with a little weight, such as a tin or a mug, lightly smash them. How much is up to you. Then core and thinly slice the apple. Now you're ready to put the pie together!

Firstly, sprinkle the brown sugar on the bottom, then the smashed macadamias, followed by slices of the apple. Over lapping the apple is ok, as there is a little more then you need to cover the bottom. Next we'll get started on the top of the pie!

Quickly knead the dough on a floured surface, then roll it out to slightly wider then the width of your pie dish. Place the pastry on top of your filling, pushing it down into the dish, tucking it slightly down the sides so it creates a sort-of lid around the filling. This will allow the apples better while the pie is baking while in the oven. 

Pop in the oven for 25 mins or until golden brown. Once ready, place a dish on top of the pie, turning it upside down so that it sits on the plate. Slowly pull back the baking paper and while still warm drizzle over the melted butter and sprinkle with some cinnamon. 

Serve with icecream or cream, or with custard for dessert

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