Osso buco with fennel and orange

Osso buco is Italian for ‘bone with a hole’ and refers to cross cut pieces of veal shank, and also the braised veal shank. Those Italians certainly get a lot of mileage from their words. Veal has become much more readily available in Auckland with the mushrooming of gourmet food markets and specialty butchers. I purchased the osso buco from Farro Fresh (Lunn Ave, Mt Wellington), one of my favourite food stores.

I have had a copy of ‘Bones: recipes, history & lore’ by Jennifer McLagan on my shelf for several years now, and this was the perfect opportunity to try out one of the osso buco recipes, though I varied some of the ingredients with what I had on hand.

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Slow cooker lamb tagine

Winter is the perfect time to drag out the slow cooker from the recesses of your cupboard, and try out some new recipes. It is also the ideal way to fend off those I-seriously-cannot-be-a**ed-cooking-tonight sentiments as you trug home from work. I have been having several of these days (I blame it on all the cold wet weather we’re having).

I’m a morning person (no, I’m not one of those sickeningly chirpy people in the morning, I just get up early!), so doing some chopping and assembling before work is a doddle. If you are a night owl, most slow cooker recipes are forgiving enough that you can assemble your ingredients at night, and in the morning, just add the wet ingredients, stir and turn it on.

Lamb tagine is a recipe which works really well in a slow cooker, as the flavours meld together beautifully. The ingredients below can be varied to your taste, – you can add canned chickpeas, remove the kumara, add cumin or paprika (if you want a bit of heat).  Continue reading

Beef stew

Beef stew is the classic winter warmer, rich and hearty, especially pared with crusty bread or fluffy mashed potatoes.

This recipe is very forgiving, – add more of what you like, omit what you don’t, the main thing is that you have to simmer for 3 hours or more. I used a cast-iron pot to simmer, this distributes the heat evenly and I’m convinced, allows the flavours to develop better.

This recipe also reheats well in the microwave. Continue reading