Beef Brisket with Carrot and Peanut Sauce

Slow cooked beef brisket with carrot and peanut sauce

Two years ago some new things came into my life. A slow cooker ,  a pressure cooker and a baby. The first two have definitely made it easier coping with the latter.

A pressure cooker cooks things very fast when you have forgotten to do anything , the slow cooker does what it says on the box and cooks things very slow , so when you have a millisecond in the morning before running off to work  you can throw ingredients into the slow cooker.  I have learnt it’s best to keep ingredients large if you want to leave them all day, particularly with joints of meat cooked whole they are  easier to use  as leftovers  in another dish.

This dish is sweet and rich but the shredded veg gives spikey crunch, it would work with pork shoulder or chicken joints.

Beef Brisket with Spicy Carrot and Peanut Sauce

750g roll of brisket
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp of chilli paste
4 whole carrots
1 clove of garlic.
1 spring onion

  1. Place in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours
  2. Mash the carrots and onions to make a sauce
  3. Slice the brisket to serve.
  4. Pour over the sauce and sprinkle with chopped spring onion.

If you don’t have a slow cooler , chop the carrots and place everything in the oven  at 180degC for 2 hours.

Serve with shredded cabbage , carrot and sliced cucumber dressed with rice wine vinegar and fish sauce.

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Mutton Tagine

Mutton Tagine

More magic from the slow-cooker, so easy  I don’t even sear the meat, never needed to, all the ingredients  thrown in  first thing in the morning  and after even the worst day a delicious meal.

I really love Lamb but mutton really has that denseness to it, perfect with some sweetness and spice

Mutton Tagine

Mutton Tagine

1kg of mutton shoulder or leg in a whole piece.
Handful of dried apricots
1 tbsp of ras Al hanout
1 tbsp of dried red chillis
1 large onion roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic
1 handful of black olives
1 lemon chopped into quartets
2 tbsp of dried mint

Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker , leave on low for 6 hours.
To serve pull the mutton into chunks and mix together .

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Red Thai Curry Spiced Beef Ribs


It’s got very cold, so the slow cooker is on overdrive. No soggy brown stews here, I need stickiness and spice. Beef ribs are something you never see in supermarkets so you need to visit a butcher. I hit the market on Friday morning, a very welcome day off and these sat in the cooker from lunchtime to the evening.

I get the ribs cut into three it’s easier to serve portions, the meat after slow cooking is super-tender and they have a layer of fat that makes amazing sweet gravy.

You could serve this with some rice but I like the contrast of some crunchy shredded raw savoy cabbage (in season now) dressed with a little rice wine vinegar.

Red Thai Spiced Beef Short Ribs

Red Thai Curry Spiced Beef Ribs

Enough for 4 hungry people

3 beef ribs cut into three
3 large handfuls of chestnut mushrooms
3 tbsp of dried coconut powder or coconut cream.
2 tbsp of soy sauce

Red Thai Curry Paste

2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander seeds
4 red bird’s eye chillies,
1 tbsp paprika
3 tbsp of lemongrass stalks
4cm piece ginger, chopped
zest of 1 lime
1 large onion chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
Handful of coriander stalks
2 tbsp each fish sauce

1.Process together the ingredients for the paste
2.Add the paste and the ribs to the slow cooker, no need to sear.
3.Leave in low for 6 hours.
4. An hour before the 6 hours is up, add the mushrooms , coconut powder and a dash of soy.

If you don’t have a slow cooker then 150deg in the oven for 3 hours should do it but you may need to a add a dash of water.

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A dirty kebab


I managed to write two blog posts last year. Truly pathetic and when I look at what other people have accomplished pretty shaming.

But work has been busy, so busy I have failed to take even half my annual leave allowance. So I am going to manage some days off in the Spring, spend some time with Em and cook a new dish every week.

I started on New Years’ Eve, Nick was keen to have kebabs and I happily obliged , this was my version though a very long and slow cooked spiced lamb shoulder, crunchy kebab salad you can’t really mess with a classic and creamy crunchy mint yogurt.

Spice Mix

1 tbsp of whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp of garlic powder
1 tbsp of chilli flakes
1 tbsp of paprika
1 tbsp of sumac
1/2 preserved lemon finely chopped
2 tbsp of pomegranate molasses


1 large lamb shoulder
2 large onions roughly chopped


1. Toast all the dry spices
2. Mix with the preserved lemon and pomegranate molasses
3. Rub all over the lamb shoulder
4. Leave in the fridge overnight

Place in slow cooker on low for 8 hours you can leave it as long as 12 hours
Turn the lamb over halfway through.


You can pull the lamb apart with a fork, the onions will have practically dissolved into the juices.

Perfect for filling a warmed pitta bread, stuffed with kebab salad ( Shredded white cabbage mixed with shredded white onion, chopped tomato and dressed with lemon juice.) , topped with yogurt mixed with mint sauce and finely chopped cucumber.

Slow Cooked Spiced Lamb Shoulder

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Slow cooker Fennel Roasted Pork Ribs & a vote for Green Spaces.


Poor neglected blog. The truth is working full time and trying to cram in time with Toddler Em, cook food to eat and try to say more than 3 words a day to Nick, something had to give.

But I really do miss having a blog and a couple of things have conspired this week to make me want to blog again.

Firstly I work at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, and this week Michelin starred chef Sat Bains observed a surgical op at the invitation of the surgeon who had previously visited his kitchen to . Both aimed to learn lessons about team working Obviously I was nowhere near the theatre at the time – operating theatres being even harder to get close to than Michelin starred restaurants.

Reading about the visit reminded me how writing the blog so different from my work I had always found writing the blog somehow helped to round me out.

In the Community Gardens

Then desperate to escape the heat this weekend. Toddler Em and I hit our local community gardens, just a few minutes walk from the house. Arkwright Community Gardens is a gorgeous space perfect for the urban toddler to get in touch with a greener world. Chickens, a greenhouse with peaches and bananas, the tandoor oven is lit once a week with cookery and gardening clubs in an area. The volunteers there are always helpful and smiling. It was heaven when Em was really tiny letting her crawl in the mud.

The Meadows is Nottingham that does not enjoy the best reputation plagued by dodgy 70s planning decisions .The gardens are just over a decade old , they sell affordable organic produce in season and a steady stream of locals drop by for bags of salad and veg. No soft fruit this week as someone had jumped the fence and helped themselves – probably just as well as Em can make short work of a patch of strawberries.


Last weekend during our visit we bought some massive bulbs of fennel,bulbs were larger than Em’s head and the fronds towered over her. It got me enthusiastic about cooking as only fresh food can do.

I cooked the fennel bulbs in the slow cooker along with with a rack of pork ribs, they meant for the BBQ but your just cannot get the weather , just lightly seasoned with salt and pepper cooked as a rack in the slow-cooker on low for 4 hours til the bones lift out of the meat. Served with a fresh fennel and carrot salad , fennel finely sliced and carrot grated with just a dash of white wine vinegar.

I am still working through the fennel leaves so far in a fish stew and bean salads.


If you could spare a vote for the Community Gardens they have put themselves for a Lottery Good Causes Award. It will only take a quick click here

Em in the Community Gardens

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Beef and Beetroot Curry


We are back to using a vegebox,this time from local Eden Farms, now a vegebox this time of year is pretty root-based the odd leafy cabbage. Beetroot feature heavily but once you have shredded them for salad , made some borscht even stuck them in the brownies you start to wonder, what else can I do with these things.

I was searching around and found a recipe for a beef and beetroot curry sounded a bit odd but we need to do something with them. I could’t find the recipe again but it had stuck in my head so this is a bit of a throw together

I used beef ribs but any slow cook stewing joint cut into cubes would work well , the cooked beetroot is nice and earthy and goes particularly with with a ind of mint-yogurt which I totally cheat when making and mix mint sauce with yogurt.

You could up the chilli contents but for me this was perfect meaning I could taste the beef and the beetroot , it didn’t not go any kind of scary luminous purple either

Beef and Beetroot Curry

Serves 2

200g of stewing beef 2cm cubes
100g of beetroot, scrubbed I dind’t bother peeking it cos the slow
cook should take care of any tough skin , these we quite small cut
into quarters but should be about the same size as the beef.
1 large onion peeled and cut quarters
2 garlic cloves peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp of garam masala
1 tsp of turmeric
1 green chilli roughly chopped
1 tsp of mustard seeds.

Mix all the ingredients and place in the slow cooker on LOW for six hours

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Spiced Beef Brisket – Slow Cooker


Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Made easy contains a recipe for a Sri Lankan Beef Smore , a spiced brasied beef dish,  she suggests using a beef shoulder meat tied, chuck or brisket.

I am always looking for new recipes for brisket definitely one of my favourite cuts of beef.  Curried brisket sounded to great to pass up, as usual I messed with the recipe, the original spices were coriander cumin, fennel , fenugreek and cinamon)

This is not a hot curry , mildly spiced tender meat, with just enough slightly chewy crusty bits.  Since I first made it , I have probably cooked it three or four times.

Spiced Braised Beef Brisket

1kg of rolled beef brisket
2 tbsp of garam masala (mine is a mixture of black peppercorns, fennel seeds, cinamon, cloves green cardamon )
2 tbsp of coconut milk powder if using slow cooker, if not 250ml of coconut milk + 200ml of chicken stock)
1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
1 thumb of ginger finely grated
1 stick of cinammon
1 tsp of tumeric
1 tsp of black mustard seeds
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium onions rouhgly chopped
1 tsp of sunflower oil

In a frying pan, toast the spices in the sunflower oil
Roll the brisket in the hot pan with the spices to sear. Do not worry about browning too much
Place everything except the coconut powder into the slow cooker
Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 1 hour then low for 3 hours.
Add the coconut powder at the end .

Without a slow cooker , after searing the meat put everything in a lidded cassrole dish and place in a medium over 160deg for 2hrs, basting turning halfway through.

To serve slice the brisket and serve on top of steamed white rice, with a little of the sauce poured over.

Beef Brisket with vegetables


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Sustainable Sushi – Mackerel Sashimi and Smoked Mackerel Sushi Rolls


This week Nick was sitting his first exam in more than 20 years. When I asked what he wanted to eat to celebrate the end he said sushi. Visits to conveyor belt restaurants are definitely out with Em – pretty certain moving food would be way too exciting a challenge. But we have often made sushi at home.

Fresh fish sushi and sashimi tend towards the un-sustainable end of the fishmarket and I wanted to try to find something a bit more sustainable without missing the protein hit. The fishmongers had some spankingly fresh mackerel and some quick research showed Mackerel sashimi to be favourite dish.  Rather than simply cutting the fresh mackerel recipes ( as Hugh F-W suggests) most included a cure

Methods varied in the amount of cure , and wether it was salt sugar or vinegar but this method worked well to produce something where there was still a good taste of fresh mackerel.

We also made a few rolls with smoked mackerel, cucumber and spring onion, which Em happily tucked into the next day fun to see a toddler decimate a sushi roll.



Mackerel Sashimi

200g of salt
200g of caster sugar
100ml of rice wine vinegar

  1. Remove the head from the mackerel.
  2. Remove fillets from each side of the fish to the tail, leaving the skin on
  3. Remove all the pin-bones, I use tweezers
  4. Place the mackerel flesh side into a layer of sugar for an hour
  5. Then brush off the sugar and replace with salt and leave for at least 4 hours
  6. To make the marinade warm the rice vinegar with half the sugar (the rest can be disgarded), leave to cool.
  7. Once the mackerel has cured pull off the skin, this should leave some of the blue/silver pattern on the flesh.
  8. Put the fillets into the marinade for 30 minutes, slice into pieces.
  9. Serve with soy sauce and wasabi.
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Chicken and Barberry Rice


Whenever I see a bag of strange ingredients I am compelled to buy them , this time barberries, small sour berries a traditional Iranian ingredient for a classic dish Zereshk Polow (Barberry Rice with Chicken)  I was dubious that a dish with so few ingredients would taste very good.

Original recipes involve cooking the chicken and rice seperately then combining them for a one hour bake, the closest I could think a biryani. But obsessed as I am with the pressure cooker I thought I would make up my own method

It worked perfectly the chicken juices absorbed and coating with the rice. Slightly caramalised barberries adding a sweet sour taste. These are definitely going to become one of my favourite ingredients.

Chicken and Barberry Rice

Serves 4

8 pieces of chicken (legs and drumsticks)skin removed
250g of basmatic rice
1 large onion peeled and finely sliced
1 clove of garlic peeled

1/2 pint of hot (just boiled)water
8 strands of saffron
1 large handful of dried barberries

  1. Soak the saffron and the barberries in the water for 5 minutes
  2. Place the chicken in the pressure cooker with the onions and garlic
  3. Pour over the water
  4. Bring the pressure cooker up steam on the highest setting
  5. Turn the heat down and cook for 10 minutes
  6. Release the pressure, add the rice
  7. Bring back up the steam , turn down the heat, cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat, release the pressure
  9. Serve
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Fish Tagine (Pressure Cooker)


Tagine are traditionally slow-braised at low temperature, ate mounds of them during a holiday in Marrakech , usually I will cook a tagine in the slow cooker, usually using something that favours a long cook, mutton or rabbit.

But this was a change cooked in just 20 mins in the pressure cooker but the spices combined with pressure cooking give a depth of flavour that suggests a lot longer cooking.  I used some not very special fish from the freezer , but the whole dish was filling , felt light and fragrant

Em certainly liked it the next day but then she licked a slug the other day so probably not the best indicator.

Preserved Lemons

But for this I was late getting ingredients together
Fish Tagine

3 pieces of white fish ( pollock , cod etc) cut into large pieces
100g of fresh tomatoes ( tinned would be fine) roughly chopped
2 sticks of celery finely diced
2 carrots finely diced
1 clove of garlic
1 large onion finely sliced
200g of waxy potatoes cut into inch cubed pieces
2 tbsp of ras al hanout ( a spice blend of cardamon , cloves , cinammon , chilli peppers coriander cumin pepercorn tumeric)
1/2 a preserved lemon finely chopped
1/2 tbsp of fresh mint
1/4 pint of water
1 handful of green olives

  1. Place all the ingredients except the fish and mint in the pressure cooker on the highest pressure.
  2. Once it is up to heat turn it down , cook for 20 minutes
  3. Release the pressure and add the fish
  4. Stir in the fish, it should cook in the heat of the pan, turning opaque but you could just bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer
  5. Serve scattering over the fresh mint

Jerk Mutton StewMutton Tagine

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