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November 28, 2021
Food & Drink

Enticing Winter Meals, Something To Impress Her

winter meals

As a guy, it’s important to be able to cook enough to look after yourself.  But If you are dating it’s even better if you can cook well enough to impress your day.  When its wintertime, there is nothing better than cooking nice winter meals for you and your partner then curling up in front of a fire, on a cold winters night.

All things beef this winter

There’s no better way to warm up your winter and keep the cold weather at bay, than with some hearty, wholesome beef dishes, with that in mind we’d like to share with you, our go-to winter meals.

Below is the answer to those craving for classic comfort food, the simmering beef stews, the hearty beef curries, the tasty beef stir-fries and more.

For some tasty ideas and beef recipes,  After all, nothing warms like beef in winter.

Our guide to cooking the perfect beef roast

  1. Preheat the oven, use our guide below
  2. Brush your beef roast lightly with oil and season. Please the roast on a rack in the roasting dish.
  3. Check if its ready just before the estimated time is up (so it doesn’t overcook). Use tongs to test the roast’s done-ness.  Gently prod or squeeze it, rare is soft when pressed, then medium is springy and well done is very firm.
  4. Allow your roast to rest before serving (this is as important as the cooking itself). Cover it loosely with foil and stand it in a warm place for 15 minutes before carving.

Ribeye Eye/Scotch Fillet     Standing Rib Roast       Rump          Bolar Blade        Fillet/Tenderloin

Temp – 200oC                                                                                         Temp – 160oC

Rare:     20 mins                                                                                        Rare: 25mins

Medium: 25mins                                                                                       Medium: 30 mins

Well Done: 30 Mins                                                                                   Well Done: 35 Mins

Now our mouth-watering slow-cooked beef dishes

winter meals

TUSCAN BEEF STEW

 Serves – 4 to 6  / Prep time : 20 mins  /  Cooking time: 2 – 2.5 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Chuck Beef
  • 2-3 Tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Large Onion Diced
  • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Flour
  • 3 Gloves Garlic, Thinly Sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Cup Red wine
  • 1.5 cups beef stock
  • 2-3 Medium Sized sized sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup  black or green olives
  • 2 small zucchini, cut into 1.5cm thick slices
  • Salt and Pepper, to season
  • Creamy Polenta & Braised baby carrots to serve.

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC, Cut beef into 3cm cubes, season with salt and pepper, add 2 tbsp oil, and mix well. Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat, brown the beef in 2 or 3 batches, Remove each batch and place in a casserole dish.
  2. Reduce heat, add a little oil, and the onion to the frypan. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the garlic and stir for 1 more minute, Add the vinegar, stir to scrape up any browned bits from the base of the pan.
  3. Add the flour and tomato paste, stir until the onion is coated. Gradually pour in the wine and stock, stirring until the mixture boils.  Pour over the beef in the casserole dish and add the rosemary.  Stir to combine.
  4. Cover the casserole dish, place in the oven, and cook until the beef is just tender. Add the tomatoes, olives and zucchini, cook 20 minutes more, Stir casserole every 40 minutes or so, adding water if needed to keep the ingredients, just covered.  Serve with creamy polenta and braised baby carrots.

Switch to Make

A mild spice beef curry

Omit the wine vinegar, wine, olives, and rosemary

Add 2 tsp each of ground cumin, garam masala, turmeric and cinnamon t the garlic as it cooks.

Increase the beef stock to 2.5 cups

Serve with rice, Indian pickles and warm naan bread.

A chilli beef & bean stew

Omit the wine vinegar, wine, olives and rosemary.

Add 2 tsp each of sweet paprika and ground cumin

And 1 tbsp dried oregano to the garlic as it cooks.

Add 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno chilli as well if you like it spicy.

Increase the beef stock to 2.5 Cups

Add a 400g can of drained and rinsed red kidney beans with the tomatoes.

Serve with herb-flecked rice or warm tortillas, shredded lettuce and sour cream.

Tips for the best winter meals

Brown the meat

Browning is crucial.  Don’t rush the initial stage of browning the beef.  It’s important to brown in small batches to maximise colour and taste.  The better the meat browns, the better the flavour.

Veggies Next

Saute the vegetable, after the beef has been browned.  Adding the veggies to the pan after the meat makes good use of all the rich, meaty flavours.

Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the frypan to ensure they blend with the stock, wine or tomatoes.

Nice & slow

Let the dish cook slowly.  Slow cooking draws out the flavour and produces the most succulent, tender meat. The dish is simmering gently when small clusters of tiny bubbles ripple across the surface as it cooks.

If you really want to impress when you cook, you can always try something a little different Greek Comfort Food.

One of the easiest crowd-pleasing dishes you can prepare for your next family gathering is Pastitsio.  Similar to lasagne, but made with macaroni or other tubular pasta instead of pasta sheets, this is greek comfort food at its best.

PASTITSIO

Serves – 6 to 8

Prep time: 1 hour 45 mins

Baking time: 50 mins

Beef sauce

Ingredients

  • 700G Beef Mince
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • ½ Cup red wine
  • 700G bottle tomato Passata
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano leaves
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • Pinch of sugar

Cheese Sauce

  • 90g Butter
  • ½ Cup Plain Flour
  • 3 cups Milk
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated  kefalotyri cheese (or Pecorino)
  • 2 Eggs yolks lightly beaten

To assemble

  • 400g Long tubular macaroni cooked
  • 2/3 Cup grated Kefaloytyri cheese (or pecorino)
  • 2 eggs whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fresh  breadcrumbs
  • 30 g butter melted

Method

1. For the beef sauce, heat a large, deep-sided non-stick frypan over medium-high heat, crumble in 1/3 of the mince, cook until browned, letting the liquid evaporate.  Remove, reheat pan and repeat with remaining two batched, then set aside.

  1. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil, onion and celery, and cook until onion is soft. Return the mince, add the wine and stir occasionally until the mince has absorbed the wine.
  2. Add tomato, pasta, stock, cinnamon, oregano and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low, partly cover and simmer for 40-45 minutes. Add a little water if needed. The completed sauce should be slightly runny. Remove bay leaf.
  3. For the cheese sauce, heat butter in a saucepan, medium heat. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook for 30 seconds. Add milk gradually, stir until smooth. Add nutmeg and season. Stir constantly until mixture boils and thickens.  Cool slightly, then stir in cheese and egg yolk..
  4. To assemble, preheat oven to 180oc. Grease a deep, rectangular ovenproof dish with a little melted butter. Mix cooked macaroni with egg white and grated cheese. Add half macaroni to a baking dish and top with meat sauce.  Repeat with macaroni, then cheese sauce.  Cooked covered for 20 minutes.  Uncover and sprinkle breadcrumbs and butter.  Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until thoroughly hot and golden.  Remove from oven and stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Some tips

For a great beef mince sauce try not to hurry the process.  Reducing the sauce gives it more flavour.  The mixture should simmer uncovered between 30 to 45 minutes.

If you speed up the process and the sauce reduces too much add ½ to 1 cup of water.  The completed sauce shouldn’t be too runny.

Beef & pumpkin Curry

Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cooking time – 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 500g Beef stir fry heart smart
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 – 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1.2 cup beef stock
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 400g butternut pumpkin peeled, cut into small cubes.
  • 1.2 cup small fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 tbsp Thai fried shallots (optional )

Steamed rice to serve.

  1. Add half the oil to the beef and mix well. Heat the wok, ensure it is hot.  Stir fry the beef in three batches, and set aside.  Reheat wok between each batch.
  2. Add remaining oil and the curry paste, stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the cream, stock, sugar and pumpkin.  Stir to combine. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until pumpkin is tender.
  3. Return the beef to the wok and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Sprinkle with basil leaves and fried shallots to serve.  Accompany with rice.

Switches to make

Replace the pumpkin with sweet potato or potato.  Add green beans towards the end of the cooking time.

Handy Tips

  • Always coat the meat in oil instead of adding oil to the wok.
  • Ensure the wok is hot before you begin to cook meat or veggies., it should be hot enough to evaporate a bead of water on contact.
  • Cook the beef in small batches (about 250g) When you add it to the wok, work from the outer side tot eh centre, where it will be hottest.

Asian Inspirations for winter meals

Here’s the perfect way to add some fire to your belly this winter – with a taste of Asia.  The secret to a great stir fry is to prepare everything you need before you start cooking.

Slice the beef, cut the veggies and have sauces at the ready.  If your serving with rice or noodles you can cook them in advance as well.

Beef & Lemongrass stir-fry

Serves 4

Prep time – 10 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins

Ingredients

  • 500g beef stir fry heart smart
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large red capsicum, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp finely chopped lemongrass (white part only)
  • 3 spring onions, cut into 3 cm lengths
  • 200 g green beans, diagonally sliced
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup sherry or rice wine
  • ¼ cup recap mains or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Rice noodles or steamed rice, to serve.

  1. Slice beef into thin strips and drizzle with a little oil. Heat the wok and stir-fry the beef in two batches.
  2. Reheat wok, add 1 tbsp oil, 2 tsp each grated ginger and chopped lemongrass and 3 sprint onions cut into 3 cm pieces, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add 1 thickly sliced red capsicum and 1 chopped red chilli, if your like, stir-fry for 1 minute more.
  3. Return beef to wok, add ¼ cup each of sherry and kecap manis, and 1 tbsp fish sauce. Toss to warm through.
  4. Serve tossed with fresh rice noodles or steam rice.

Switches to make

For variation, add different veggies with the capsicum.  Suggestions include shredded carrot, snow peas, Chinese broccoli or baby bok-choy.  Or add baby spinach leaves to the stir-fry when you add the sauces.  Stir-fry for 1 minute and serve.

So even slow cookers can be rocked for beef dishes for even more flavour.

Here are three easy steps to a  great dinner.

  • The night before, brown the beef, assemble the mix and refrigerate.
  • Before work, place beef in the slow cooker, choose the timing and flick the switch
  • Come home to a delicious dinner.

Slow Cooked Beef Ragu

Serves: 6

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 4-5 hours or 6- 8 hours

Ingredients

  • 1.2 kgs chuck beef
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 2/2 cups beef stock
  • 400g punnet cherry tomatoes
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 small char-grilled capsicums, thinly sliced (optional)
  • ½ cup small fresh basil leaves

Pasta and grated Parmesan to serve

Method

  1. Cut beef into four or five large pieces. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Heat a large frypan over medium-high heat.  Brown the pieces of the beef well on all sides.  Remove and place in slow cooker bowl.
  2. Reduce heat, add a little oil to the frypan and onion and garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and stir to scrape up residue from the flour. Gradually pour in the stock and stir until the mixture boils.  Pour over the beef n slow cooker dish.  Add the tomatoes and thyme and a small pinch of sugar.
  3. Cover the slow-cooked with its lid, cook on low setting for 6-8 hours and then 1 hour of high setting (if you have time) alternatively, cook on the high setting for 4-5 hours. To serve, shred the beef with two forks, stir in the roasted capsicum and basil leaves.  Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan.

Some slow cooker tips

Using a slow cooker

  • Always brown the meat well – It adds colour and extra flavour.
  • Saute any onion and garlic so their flavour develops
  • Ensure the ingredients only fill the slow cooker to half or three-quarters full to ensure even cooking.
  • Little or no stirring is needed when using the low setting, Stir the beef occasionally when using the high setting for good flavour distribution.
  • Keep the lid on during cooking to maintain the cooking temperature
  • If you have time, turn the slow cooker to high for the last hour to intensify the flavour and thicken the sauce a little.

No slow cooker

No problems, simply cook in a casserole dish in a moderate oven for 21/1 – 3 hours stir from time to time and add a little beef stock if needed to keep the beef just covered.

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