Slow Cooked Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup

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Nanny’s Soup

There are few greater feelings for a mother than having dinner on at 9.30am – knowing that you won’t have to pull a rabbit out of a hat later on when everyone is tired and cranky. Better still, is when dinner is this magical healing soup.
It’s based on the delicious soup my mum made us every winter to fill our bellies and ward away the coughs and colds. Which we all have here at the moment – terrible coughs, aches, fevers and chills. It’s rough taking care of sick kids when you’re delirious with fever yourself…
Anyway, hopefully this soup will help return us to good health. (And hurry up Spring!)
It’s cheap, it’s easy and utterly delicious. I make a huge batch so that I can freeze half.
Nanny adds a packet of chicken noodle soup to hers at the end for a bit of extra flavour but as we like to avoid additives I add half a cup of risoni, some mixed dried herbs and a good pinch of sea salt instead.

Here’s How:

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In a slow cooker (or large stock pot if making in the stove top)

Add:

At least 500 g of a cheap cut of beef – I used 4 pieces of Osso bucco this time as I like to get all those healing minerals from the bones and marrow but I’ve also used gravy beef, casserole/chuck steak etc…
1.5 cup soup mix (Barley, split peas etc…)
1 diced onion
2-3 minced/finely chopped garlic cloves
2 carrots diced, chopped or grated
2 celery sticks, chopped
Optional (1 grated parsnip)
2 litres stock
Top up with 1 litre of water
Good pinch of salt and cracked pepper
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1/2 cup risoni

Cook on low for 8 hours
After 4 hours, remove meat and cut into bite size pieces, return bones and all to the pot.
Add risoni 1 hour before serving.

Enjoy:-)

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Really awesome things to do with leftover bread – Part 1

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*If you are not into grains or carbs, this post is not for you I’m afraid…

Mind you, we don’t eat a lot of bread here. Well, C does actually. He drives a truck for work and he needs food that can be managed easily so sandwiches or wraps tend to be a daily staple for him. J5 loves a toasted sanga, but while R2 will munch on some toast, he won’t eat sandwiches at all. I love bread, I just don’t think the love is mutual…
Anyway, we often end up with half a loaf of uneaten bread. I’m not one for wasting food, to me it’s just like throwing money in the bin, so I thought I’d share a series of posts about what we do with our left over or day old bread. This is part one…

TASTY TRIANGLES

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These are essentially little tarts made from bread and leftovers. You can fill them with anything – bolognaise, savoury mince, tuna mornay, casseroles, baked beans, bacon and eggs etc… This time, I used the rest of last night’s bacon, zucchini and tomato risotto. (made with brown rice though, not aborio)

Step 1
Cut a diagonal slit from the centre to one corner of a piece of bread.
Cut one crust off and fold the bread in to form a triangle cup.
Squish the bread together to seal and line a muffin tin with 12 pieces.

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Step 2
Fill triangle cups with leftovers.
*I drizzled a little olive oil over the empty bread baskets too but it’s not really necessary.

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Step 3
Top with grated cheese and bake @ 180 C for approx 30 minutes.

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Step 4
Such a perfect weekend lunch or quick midweek meal Enjoy 🙂

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Bread Posts Still To Come…

Part 2 – “Savouries”
Part 3 – “French toast, family style”

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WINTER WARMER WEDNESDAY – Slow Cooked Hearty Beef

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Well slow cooker season is well and truly here. Today, some sun has managed to briefly peek through the clouds but generally the mornings have been icy and the days, wet, windy and dreary. On the plus side, spending more time indoors does inspire some delicious meals and baked goods.
The slow cooker is back as a permanent fixture on my kitchen bench. It’s just so satisfying to turn a cheap cut of meat like gravy beef into a tender, mouthwatering meal with so little effort.
As well as that, slow cookers make it so easy to cook in bulk and freeze half for later. I can’t believe that it’s taken me three years to figure out that using the slow cooker is also the best way to defrost and reheat those meals. You just dump the frozen sauce, soup, casserole etc… Into the slow cooker and about 6 hours on high should do the trick! Why did I waste all those hours defrosting things in the fridge or on the bench?
Once it’s hot, you can even add your rice or pasta into the pot with no need for extra dirty dishes. I add some extra water, about 1/2 – 1 cup so it doesn’t suck too much of the liquid out of the meal.
You can easily halve this recipe by the way if you prefer but I like to cook a lot and freeze half for a rainy day.
Anyway, let’s get down to business…

Slow Cooked Hearty Beef
1 kg gravy beef, diced
2 small or 1 large red or brown onion cut into rustic chunks.
4-6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato cut into large even cubes
4 small potatoes quartered
3 carrots sliced
1 tin tomatoes
Salt, pepper
1 tbsp dried herbs (I used sage and thyme)
3-4 tbsp flour (you can use arrow root, plain, spelt, cornflour – anything that will help it thicken)
1.5 – 2 litres beef stock

Directions
*You can throw everything in together, turn it on and walk away and you will get a great result.
But I like to do a few steps first to add a real depth of flavour.

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1. Season and brown beef in batches and add to slow cooker with carrots and potatoes.
2. Gently fry the onion and garlic in the same pan used for the beef.
3. Add flour and a pinch of salt, stir to coat and fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Gradually add about 1/2-1 cup of water to the onions to create a gravy.
5. Add onion gravy to the pot along with herbs, tomatoes and stock.
6. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8-9 hours.
7. Serve with cooked rice, crusty bread or simply as it is.

* Optional: add some leafy greens like spinach or silver beet to the surface of the casserole and let it gently steam under the lid for about 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoy the goodness 🙂

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Keeping things simple

These days, I like to have a protein packed, hearty lunch such as this which has me fully fuelled to keep up with two energetic little boys. It also leaves room for a simple dinner, something satisfying and flavoursome but also easy to digest.
This soup is so family friendly. It’s easy to make, extremely cheap, deliciously sweet and as my mum used to say about soup, “will warm the cockles of your heart…”

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CARROT, ORANGE AND GINGER SOUP

1kg (2lb) carrots
1 orange (juiced)
1 knob of ginger 2.5cm (1 inch)
1 garlic clove
1 leek
1 tbsp olive oil
4 cups good quality stock
2 tbsp coconut milk/cream to finish

Note: I would have garnished with some fresh parsley (or coriander/cilantro would be lovely too) but mine has gone to seed in my garden!

HERE’S HOW

* Slice, dice and chop all of the vegetables

* Sauté leek, ginger and garlic in a large cast iron or heavy based pot

* Add orange juice letting it heat in the vegetables

* Add carrots and stock and bring to a boil

* Cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes or until carrots are tender

* Blend (with a stick blender in the pot or transfer to a blender.)

* Finish with coconut cream and fresh herbs if you have some handy.

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Another note: I first saw this recipe (or something similar) years ago in a food magazine. At the time, I was a struggling student and this was the perfect budget meal to keep me going. It keeps well for up to 5 days in the fridge or you can share it with your family or your equally broke sister as I did back then. There are most likely many versions of this soup all over the Internet, but this is how I like it.

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Enjoy the goodness 🙂