Beef Stroganoff

It’s July. It’s summer. It’s Ireland so winter fare still makes a regular appearance on the menu! It is part of what we call our Sum-inter menu – if the Gods can combine seasons so can we!

So Beef Stroganoff – not exactly a summer dish but very tasty. This recipe is at least thirty five years old and has fed hordes of family and friends through the ages. While there are very few ingredients in the sauce, it is still delicious. Quick to prepare, slow cooking and the dish is done. We serve it with boiled long grain rice.

And the photograph? The pot was empty before I had a chance to snap!

Serves 4
1½ lbs – 2lb rib steak, cut into pieces
1 large onion, sliced
Good pinch of curry powder
1 tablespoon of flour
2-3 tablespoons tomato purée
1 pint good quality beef stock
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
2 ounces butter
2 teaspoons English mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons sour cream

1. Place the beef in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, mustard and curry powder and make sure meat is coated in this mix
2. Heat the butter in a saucepan and fry the onion until soft
3. Add the flour and combine thoroughly, cooking for a few minutes
4. Add the stock in stages making sure that with each addition, it is combined with the onion-flour mix and there are no lumps
5. When coming to the boil, add in the tomato purée, salt and a generous grind of black pepper
6. Heat the oil in a frying pan and brown the meat
7. Add the meat to the sauce and simmer for c.1 hour until the meat is tender
8. Add the sour cream and cook for simmer for another 10 minutes
9. Serve with boiled long grain rice.

Beef, Ragu

Slow-cooked Beef Ragu


Mince may be a flexible ingredient but we often tire of it too! Today, we wanted a pasta dish but with something a little different. Suggestions were made for salmon and cream sauce, carbonara, bolognaise, tomato and basil but the teen greeted all suggestions with a ‘meh’ response.

For a change, I slow cooked beef Ragu in the oven made with a strip of beef rather than minced meat. Yes, it was very rich but it was also rather delicious. Cooking it slowly gave the dish time for the flavour to deepen. The meat absorbed all the other flavours and liquid. At the end of the cooking process, it simply fell apart. The completed dish really was a winner!

The preparation was also quick. As this was oven cooked, I didn’t pre-fry anything so there was no added fat. This recipe serves 4-6.

2lbs rib steak
1 large onion, sliced in rings
4 cloves of garlic, chopped in small pieces
1 tablespoon of parsley, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, stems removed
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes in own juice
1 pint good quality beef stock
¼ pint red wine
4 tablespoons tomato puree
Salt and pepper

1. Heat oven to 220 C
2. Cover the bottom of a heavy casserole dish with the chopped vegetables and lay the meat flat out on top
3. Mix all the wet ingredients and herbs together. Season with salt and pepper
4. Pour this mix over the meat and vegetables
5. Place greaseproof paper over the top to help seal the dish and secure the lid on top
6. Place in the oven and after 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 150 C
7. Cook at this heat for 3 to 3 ½ hours – it is done when the meat is falling apart and the sauce has reduced
8. Remove from the oven and mix together
9. Cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes
10. Serve with pasta of choice


Beef, Chilli

Dining around schedules


We’re on different schedules these days, the teen and me. Not only do I need a dinner which fits but something which can be served with a range of different items according to the mood of the diner. So a big pot of chilli suits all these. Spicy and tasty. In this home, it is served with rice, baked potatoes, potato wedges, in pitta bread with salad or in a bowl with some grated cheese on top.

1 lb good quality minced beef
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans or black beans drained and rinsed
1 medium onion chopped finely
3 cloves garlic chopped finely
1 hot chilli deseeded and chopped very finely or 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 red pepper deseeded and chopped finely
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon honey
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
Salt and pepper

1. In a heavy saucepan, heat the oil and fry the onions for about 5 minutes
2. Add in the garlic, chilli and red pepper – frying for another couple of minutes
3. Break up the mince, add to the pan and after coating with the onion mix, brown the meat
4. Stir in the spices and cook for another minute
5. Add in the rest of the ingredients
6. Reduce to a simmer and cook slowly for about 1 hour

Beef, Burgers, Burgers

We’re all about burgers


It doesn’t matter how amazing food is or how sophisticated the dining experience, there are times when we simply crave burgers. Not the frozen variety but the homemade version. It’s not merely about the taste but the whole ensemble.

The wrapper has to be correct – whether it be bun, crusty roll, pitta bread or flatbread. The accompaniments must be just right too – assortment of salads and sauces. There has to be sauce as a burger is too dry without one!

We alternate between beef and lamb depending on what we fancy. The lamb burger is spicy and is best made in advance while the beef ones can be prepped and cooked at the same time.

Each recipe makes four large or six medium sized burgers.

1lb beef minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 large egg, beaten
Salt and ground black pepper
Sunflower oil for frying

1. Mix all ingredients together until completely combined
2. Shape into four or six burgers
3. Heat the oil and place the burgers in the pan
4. Reduce heat and fry for 4-6 minutes on each side depending on preferences
5. Alternatively, these can be cooked in the oven by placing the burgers on a baking sheet. Place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 10-15 minutes depending on preference. There is no need to add oil
6. Serve immediately on a burger bun or crusty roll with salad (shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, carrot) or cheese with or without crispy bacon and sauces (ketchup, mayonaise, mayonaise mixed with curry powder or chilli jam or horseradish).


1lb lamb, minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced finely
1½ inch piece ginger, grated finely
1-2 green chillis, chopped finely (Cayenne Pepper can be used if necessary but it is best to use fresh chillis)
1½ cups bread crumbs
1 large egg, beaten
1½ tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
Salt and ground black pepper
Sunflower oil for frying

1. Combine onion, garlic, ginger and chilli and blend into a rough paste
2. Add to the mince
3. Add breadcrumbs, garam masala, cumin, beaten egg, salt and pepper
4. Mix until all ingredients are completely combined
5. Refrigerate the mix for 30 minutes or until needed
6. Divide into four or six burgers
7. Heat the oil and place the burgers in the pan
8. Reduce heat and fry for 5 minutes on each side
9. Serve immediately on crusty rolls, flatbread or in pitta bread
10. Accompaniments can include salad (chopped tomatoes, lettuce, grated carrot, red onion), natural yoghurt (plain, herbed or raita), mayonnaise and/or chilli jam

Beef, Keema

The Versatility of Mince…

photo (25)


Minced meat always makes it into my shopping basket a couple of times a month. If it is lamb, it could end up as tasty Kofta served in flatbreads or a rich Moussaka. If it is chicken, it would usually be made into spicy burgers served in pitta breads with oodles of salad and lashings of yoghurt. If it was turkey – okay, that never ends up in my shopping basket as I don’t like the stuff minced!

Beef mince is the most common purchase as it can be moulded into all shapes and sizes. It is cooked and spiced according to recipes of different far-flung places. It could be juicy homemade burgers or comforting Shepard’s Pie. It could be rich lasagna or a rather spicy chilli with oodles of beans.

This week was different. Mince may be versatile but I groaned – loudly – when I saw it. I had no interest in cooking any of the favourites, let alone eating them. I needed to think of an alternative. Aha! I thought! I’ll cook Keema.

Never having cooking it before, I searched through a number of recipes and cooking styles. Garnering bits and pieces, I set about preparing my own version. Did it work? It worked wonderfully! Although I cooked rice, I didn’t eat it as I found the Keema too filling. Instead, I ate it with a small naan bread. The Teen ate it just as it was.

Traditional Keema contains peas but I left them out. Don’t get me wrong – I love them but not when they have been slow-cooked and turn that icky grey-green colour! They taste fine – it is simply a question of the look of the little spheres!

Instead of opting for a stove top method, I slow-cooked the Keema in the oven. I wanted it to have a richness of flavour which cooking in a pot rarely achieves to the same depth.


Minced Beef Keema
(serves 4-6)

1 large onion chopped roughly
3-4 cloves garlic chopped roughly
1 fresh chilli chopped roughly
1 piece of ginger (about 1.5 inches long) peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 1/2 lbs minced beef
1lb potatoes peeled and cut into large, bite size cubes
1-2 cinnamon sticks (according to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds crushed
1 teaspoon coriander seeds crushed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1/2 pint good quality beef stock
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
Salt and pepper to season
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional – if prefer more of a kick)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
2. Blitz the onion, chilli, ginger and garlic in a food blender to make a paste
3. Heat the oil in a heavy (cast iron) casserole dish
4. Fry the onion paste for 2 minutes and then add the mince, mixing it in with the paste and cooking for about 5 minutes
5. Add in all the spices and cook for a further 2 minutes
6. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, tomato puree, half of the beef stock, salt and pepper
7. Cover and place in the oven
8. Cook at 180C for about 10 minutes and then reduce to 160C, cooking for a further 40 minutes
9. If the mix is too thick, add the remainder of the stock at about the 30 minute point of cooking. Some cayenne pepper may also be added at this  point if you prefer the dish to have more spice
10. When cooked, remove from oven and let stand for about 5 minutes
11. Remove cinnamon stick and give the mixture a gentle stir so as not to break up the potatoes
12. Serve on a plate with rice or in a bowl – on its own or with a warm naan bread.