In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Winter is here – slow cooking all the goodness

Hello Blog – I’ve missed you.

Yes, yes – too much to do, too little time to write. But I’ve missed you.

I was going to tweet about what I made with my booty from the Carlton North Primary School Farmers Market, but it was going to be like three tweets so I thought I’d just write a blog post instead – I know! (look don’t get used to it, twitter is still my main food outlet but … well follow me there :-))

Today’s cooking has been inspired by a few things; first up I grabbed some Hawker’s Beer Imperial Stout a week or so ago from the Prince Wine Store. It’s a delicious stout that lends itself to cosy winter afternoons on the couch with some blue cheese or a slow braise. On my rounds during the week I picked up some Cape Grim beef short ribs from Skinner & Hackett that looked so amazing I couldn’t wait to cook them into unctuous, falling-off-the-bone beefy goodness. 

Beef Short Ribs in Stout: So, I browned an onion and the ribs, deglazed the pan with the stout, added three cloves of garlic, some oregano, some delicious Angelica Organic celery and some tomato passata from the Goulburn Valley Farmers Co-op. (These guys used to grow tomatoes for Heinz before they got left out on a limb – I bought mine from Obelix & Co in North Fitzroy) 

Two hours in a 150°C oven and it’s ready. I’ve shredded the meat and reduced the sauce a bit and now it’s ready to become tacos during the week.

Two weeks ago I made poached quinces but made it with heavy sugar syrup instead of light and so I’m finding them too sweet for my morning porridge or granola. So I bought a bunch of rhubarb and roasted it in the 150° oven with a sprinkling of some home made vanilla sugar.

I’ll stir this into the quinces so they are less sweet and have it for breakfast during the week with Schulz Organic yogurt. 

Then I turned to the Plains Paddock veal I bought. I love veal, I love the flavour and I love that I’m eating what is essentially a by-product of the dairy industry (if you drink milk, you should eat veal). And Anna from Plain’s Paddock has some lovely veal. And the Tour de France has started in Normandy so Gabriel Gate inspired this veal casserole.

Veal with Sage and Creme Fraiche. Using a cast iron casserole I’ve lightly browned my cubed shoulder in oil and butter, added a diced red onion and three cloves of Angelica Organic garlic. Then 2 tbsps of plain flour with I browned for as long as I could (it gets sticky and hard to stir). Deglazing was courtesy of some Bress cider left over from last night, then I added a cup of strong chicken stock (made from lovely Yapunyah chicken a couple of weeks ago), some diced celery, 7 or so small sage leaves, some parsley stems and two bay leaves. I’ve popped this into the same 150° oven and in about 1.5 hours time will add a third of a cup of crème fraîche with an egg yolk stirred in, half a cup of chopped parsley and rewarm gently. I’m not sure how I’ll serve this yet – but I’m tempted to serve it stroganoff style with flat noodles. 

A note about poached quinces (so I don’t stuff it up next time)

A light sugar syrup is 1 cup sugar to two cups of water. I add bay leaves and a vanilla pod. I am usually lucky enough to get Champion variety quinces, which I slow cook under a cartouche for 5 or 6 hours. The result is deeply ruby coloured, with a chewy, firm edge and so much deliciousness it’s hard to eat them any other way.

The oven has been on most of the afternoon and I’m done my chores around the slow cooking. Ready for a big week ahead. 

Stay warm out there and enjoy the amazing produce you can buy from our local farmers and shop keepers. 


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