Lemongrass Beef Rice Paper Rolls with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce

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I will not be defeated! Not by bad moods, heat, humidity, self-doubt, flies, loneliness, crap job, or, floppy, ugly un-photogenic rice paper rolls. This was my second attempt at photographing these delicious, but oh-so un-cooperative, little morsels, and I think I’ve managed to semi succeed in making them look good. Sometimes, the styling part of this blog is quite a big challenge, I never really have a plan and just look around at the last minute for something textural and interesting that suits my mood. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, I figure it’s really good practice for one day when I work in a really high end magazine and get to cook and style delicious food with an endless array of beautiful props. Haha!!

This was the first time I had cooked with red meat since baking a big ol’ ham at Christmas time and man, was it satisfying. Just this little bit of red meat, beautifully marinated and cooked perfectly, was just what I was craving. I’m definitely not one to enjoy a big thick steak but something like this is right up my ally. It’s a great way to make meat stretch between lots of people too, making it much more cost effective.

The dipping sauce that accompanies a rice paper roll is always a big factor in the end result. Classic sweet chilli is always a winner, but by adding a few little things, you can step it up a little and impress you’re guests with a ‘home-made’ dipping sauce. Cheeky.

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Recipe

Serves 4 as a starter

Ingredients

250g beef minute steaks

1 lemongrass stalk, white and pale green part, finely grated

1 tsp finely grated ginger

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs dark soy

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp pepper

peanut oil, to cook

1/4 small green papaya, grated

50g bean sprouts

1/4 red onion, finely sliced

80g vermicelli, cooked to packet instructions, rinsed under cold water

Juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup roasted, chopped peanuts

1/2 cup each of, loosely packed, mint and thai basil leaves, torn

1 tbs sesame oil

1/2 continental cucumber, thinly sliced

12 small rice paper rounds

Dipping Sauce

6 tbs sweet chilli sauce

2 tsp fish sauce

2 tbs tahini

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

Method

In a medium bowl, combine the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy, brown sugar and pepper and stir to combine. Add the beef, use your hands to really mix well and coat the meat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well to combine. Set aside.

Heat a griddle pan, frying pan or barbecue to very hot. Add the peanut oil, and cook the beef, for about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside to rest and cool. When cool, thinly slice arose the grain.

In a bowl combine the papaya, bean sprouts, red onion, noodles, lime juice, peanuts, mint, thai basil and sesame oil.

Half fill a large dish with tap water, one large enough to fit the rice papers.

Working with one at a time, put the rice paper in the water for about 20 seconds, or until slightly softened. Place on a clean work surface. In the middle place 2 pieces of cucumber, a few strips of beef, and about 2tbs of the papaya mixture. Fold the bottom end over the mixture, fold the ends in, and roll up to secure. Repeat with remaining rice papers and mixture.

Serve with the dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Tip: To make them look a little bit pretty, instead of mixing the herbs through with the papaya mixture, keep them whole and lay them out on the rice paper before filling and rolling.

 

 

Bbq Beef, Slaw and Pickle Rolls with Cruchy Onion Rings

DSC_0247DSC_0244DSC_0294I don’t have much to say about this other than it’s probably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever put in my mouth. It was Sunday, and I had a craving for something juicy and textural, full of flavour and possible to eat with one hand. My other hand seemed to be constantly occupied with something equally as delicious, but also cold and refreshing 😉

 

The slow cooked beef is the star here, and probably the easiest part. If you don’t want to eat it in a sandwich, it would be just as good on a plate with the coleslaw and some sweet potato chips.

 

These rolls are great for big groups as it allows the meat to go a long way between a lot of people, whilst still delivering maximum satisfaction. Trust me, your guests will be so impressed by this meat. To make your evening even easier, just put out all the ingredients on a table and allow your friends to assemble their own, I certainly did!

 

Oh, and make extra onion rings, they’ll disappear as fast as you can cook them.

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Recipe

Ingredients

Serves 8-10

Beef

!.5kg piece beef blade

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 long red chillies, finely chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 cups tomato sauce

4 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds, crushed

2 tablespoons tobasco sauce

Onion Rings

8 brown onions

milk

rice flour

corn flour

canola oil

To Serve

2 long baguettes or 8 to 10 bread rolls

300g maasdem, jarlseberg or cheddar cheese

A simple coleslaw

Pickles

Spicy green tomato chutney, or your favourite tomato chutney

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees celcius. (You could also do this in a slow cooker).

Combine garlic, chilli, sugar, sauces, vinegar, spices, salt and pepper and about a cup of water in a heavy based baking dish. Add the beef and turn to coat. Cover with a lid or foil and bake for about 4-5 hours, or until falling apart.

When ready, shred the meat with a fork and some tongs and toss through the sauce.

Meanwhile, make the onion rings. Peel onions and slice into rings about 1cm wide. Place in milk and allow to soak for a couple of hours. Combine rice flour and corn flour in a a bowl.

Heat oil in saucepan until hot enough for a cube of bread to turn golden in 30secs.

In batches, coat onion rings in flour mixture and carefully place in the oil. Fry until golden, drain on paper towel. Sprinkle with salt.

To serve, fill rolls with beef, coleslaw, cheese, pickles, chutney and/or whatever you would like to add. Serve with the onion rings on the side or even wedge them into your roll if you like. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

A Really Good Burger

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I know it’s Mother’s Day tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to going over to Mum’s and getting cooked for by my brother, but lately I’ve been craving a big juicy burger and was inspired by the Australian outback spices that I bought when I was buying the Lemon Myrtle for my Lemon Myrtle and Macadamia Anzac Biscuits. Along with the Lemon Myrtle I bought Bush Tomatoes, Tasmanian Pepper Leaf and Wattle Seed. This is probably a dish that would be perfect for Father’s Day!

I wanted to make a burger with the right amount of tender meat, sweet/tart relish, fresh salads, creamy mayo, tasty/melty cheese and of course the perfect bun. I also made some yummy Thyme and Lemon Myrtle Sweet Potato Chips to go with the burgers but we munched them all before I could get any photos.

With the Bush Tomatoes I made a Bush Tomato and Roasted Red Capsicum Relish, the Bush Tomatoes give a sort of caramelised/sun-dried tomato flavour (if you can’t get Bush Tomatoes you can substitute sun-dried). I used the Lemon Myrtle in the mayonnaise, which adds a mild citrus flavour. I tried to make the mayonnaise from scratch but I did something wrong and it ended up runny and tasting purely of oil, so I had a mini tantrum and used whole egg mayonnaise instead. I’ll try again when I’m not annoyed at myself, and if anyone has a fool-proof mayonnaise recipe I would love to try it!

I wanted the beef patties to be perfectly tender and juicy so i made them MASSIVE and used the best quality mince I could find. I think it’s important to sauté the onion, garlic and herbs rather than adding them raw to the mince mixture to ensure you don’t end up with a big chunk of raw onion in the middle of the patty. I have also found that not overworking the mixture stops toughness, as well as lightly packing the patties. (This also works for meatballs.) I cooked the patties as you would a good steak, turning them only once or twice and cooking them on a medium heat to ensure a yummy caramelised outside and a tender/just cooked inside.

For the bread rolls I turned back to Dan Lepards’ book ‘Short and Sweet’. I used his basic loaf recipe but turned it into 6 rolls and substituted a third of the flour for Spelt Flour to add some denseness. They were delicious! His kneading techniques are lengthy to explain in writing so if you’re interested I would recommend buying the book!

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Recipe

Bush Tomato Relish

Ingredients

2 red capsicums, roasted, skins peeled, sliced
1.5kg ripe egg tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Spanish onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
220g (1 cup) caster sugar
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
15g dried bush tomatoes
1 teaspoon ground tasmanian pepper leaf
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

Method

Cut a cross in the skin at the base of the tomatoes. Blanch in boiling water for 30secs, remove from boiling water and submerge into iced water. When cool enough to handle peel skins, remove seeds and dice.
Heat oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add capsicums, onions and 1 teaspoon salt and cook over low/medium heat for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 1 3/4 hours or until thick and reduced.Spoon immediately into sterilised jars (see note) and seal. Relish will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.
Lemon Myrtle Mayonnaise (This makes more mayonnaise than you need but you can keep it in a jar in the fridge for a week or so, it’s delicious with chips!)

Ingredients

440g whole-egg mayonnaise (or make your own)
1/2 bunch parsley
1 heaped tsp lemon myrtle

Combine ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Beef and rosemary patties (These amounts make 6 very large patties, you could make 8 or 10 smaller thinner ones if you want but I love them nice and thick so that they remain juicy on the inside.

Ingredients

1.2kg good quality beef mince
1 tbs olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 gloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
2 tbs dijon mustard
2 tbs worcestershire sauce
1 tbs dried oregano
1/2 cup breadcrunmbs
1 egg
olive oil, for grilling

Method

Heat oil over medium heat, sauté onion, garlic and rosemary until soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and use hands to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste (if unsure, roll a small amount into a patty and grill so that you can taste it).
Shape mixture into patties and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
Heat oil over medium heat on the flat plate of a bbq or in a large frying pan. Cook patties, turning only once or twice, until brown and caramalized in the outside and just cooked on the inside (you can cut one open slightly to check). Cooking times will depend on how thick you make the patties.

The Burger

Ingredients

6 burger rolls
2 fresh tomatoes, sliced
1 red onion, finely sliced (a mandolin is ideal)
1 fresh beetroot, boiled, peeled, finely sliced (a mandolin is ideal)
baby cos lettuce leaves
6 slices jarlesberg or other swiss cheese
beef and rosemary patties
bush tomato chutney
lemon myrtle mayonaise

Method

To assemble burgers cut the rolls in half horizontally. In order, on bottom half of roll, place tomato slices, beetroot, cooked beef patty, tomato relish, cheese, red onion, mayonnaise and lettuce. Top with top half of the roll and enjoy!