What’s Cooking – The Ultimate Slow Cooked Ribs

Ultimate Slow Cooked Ribs
Ultimate Slow Cooked Ribs

So there we were the other day, pondering on life and my favourite subject, the consumption of food, in other words we were arguing over what to have for dinner. Mark was playing his ace card and mentioned that he was about to have an operation on his jaw and would not be able to eat anything except liquids for the next four weeks. I must say it really can put a kink in your counter argument when faced with that, so I relented after all I can have my beef chow mien (my preferred option) another day. Surprise, surprise Mark relented as well, principally because he didn’t really want to drive out in the cold and rain to the butcher to buy the big fat steak he was demanding. Back to square one it would seem. What we did discover rooting around the cupboards and fridge was we had a pack of 4 whole ribs; I think we have a winner!

Mark kicked me out the kitchen to go play on the computer; I feigned upset as I wanted to help, not. Escape time, so I was off.  Half an hour later, I was given an update.

Take the following:

2 large onions and peel them and chop very roughly, we want a mixture of small and large chunks, through them into a large roasting pan.

Couple of carrots, clean them up and remove any eyes, again rough chop and into the roasting pan.

A head of celery, cleaned up and rough chopped and again, into the roasting pan.

Finally A leek, trimmed and rough chopped also goes into the roasting pan.

Spread everything out in the roasting pan to make it reasonably level, now lay your ribs on top spacing them out as much as possible to reduce overlap.

Brush the ribs with some olive oil and sprinkle some salt over them. Now half fill the roasting pan with a stock of your choice. Mark just used a 1L carton of chicken stock with a heaped teaspoon of Bovril dissolved into it. I also suspect he flung about a third of a bottle of red wine in as well, it wasn’t declared as an ingredient but I couldn’t find the wine bottle later when looking for it so you do the maths.

Finally cover your roasting pan with tin foil and tightly seal it, pop it into the oven and turn the heat up to 160C and walk away for 5-6 hours and go get on with your life, for Mark it meant he could go back to saving the universe on his PS3.

4-5 hours later with the universe safe again for a moment, the roasting pan was removed from the oven and still covered left to cool for an hour or so.

Now to make a mop sauce to slaver all over the ribs. We have grown to love a sauce that we make based on the “She Devil Barbecue Sauce” from the Classic Barbecue and Grill Cookbook” by Marlena Spieler ISBN: 0-7513-0569-3. I must confess though that for me it does taste horrible on its own, but and it is a big but, when put onto some meat a magical transformation takes place and OMG it tastes divine, to the point it becomes very hard to stop having just one more bite.

So you are going to need a fairly long list of ingredients, as follows:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 gloves of garlic, chopped
  • 4tbsp of Worcester sauce
  • 300ml Ketchup
  • 1tbsp of tomato paste
  • 4tbsp of molasses
  • Dash of Maple syrup
  • 4 Chillies chopped, or a tbsp of chilli flakes
  • 1 Bottle of dark beer
  • ½ pint of stock
  • 1tsp of Bovril
  • 1tsp of English mustard powder
  • 1 heaped tsp of whole grain mustard
  • 1tsp ground Cumin
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 4tbsp of cider vinegar
She Devil Barbecue Sauce
She Devil Barbecue Sauce

Now for the hard part, put everything in a saucepan, turn on the heat to medium and walk away for an hour. Stir occasionally to ensure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan, and regulate the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. The sauce will cook down and get thicker as time passes. Mark says you cannot over cook it, but the longer you cook it the stronger the taste. After an hour or so, set up your hand blender or liquidiser and puree the sauce till it is glossy and smooth.

And now, at last, after what seems days, we can start to finish our dish.

Turn on the grill to medium – high. Take your cold ribs and lay them out on a baking tray or a grill pan, meat side up. As a warning this will not be an easy job, because we cooked them low and slow, they will want to fall apart, so handle with care, or use tongs.

Strain the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan and add them to your pureed sauce, boil the sauce rapidly now to reduce it quickly whilst the ribs finish. Stir regularly.

With a brush thickly apply a layer of the sauce to all parts of your ribs and pop them under the grill. After 15 minutes pull them out and turn them over, reapply sauce at this time. After another 15 minutes apply sauce and turn them for the final time so the meaty side is back on top. Lightly sprinkle some cane sugar over the top. Pop back under the grill for 10 minutes or so. By now the ribs should be hot all the way through and the sugars and the sauce will have caramelised forming a crisp outer skin that is both sweet and spicy. However when you bite into them the meat should be fall apart tender and very juicy due to the slow cooking, heavenly.

Time to dig in!
Time to dig in!

Mark served them with a mixed salad and dressing and some of his super crunchy chips and a gravy dish of the sauce for top ups as required. Though I think they would also go with a nice rice dish, or a jacket potato, just add whatever you fancy, personally I could just eat them on their own, they don’t need anything else but then again I am a serious carnivore 🙂

***

What’s Cooking – Peri Peri Meat and Rice Stuffed Peppers

My Peri Peri Meat and Rice Stuffed Peppers
My Peri Peri Meat and Rice Stuffed Peppers

So the other day there I was hungry and as usual with no idea what to have for dinner when a distraction occurs, my dad calls… he is all glowing (I could almost feel it over the telephone lines) but what synchronicity as he starts telling me about some fantastic stuffed peppers he just made for his dinner. To make things worse he said “Just to prove how awesome they are I am sending you pictures”… I thought to myself “Great… just what I really need at this moment – some pictures of a  yummy dinner”. He was right though his dinner did indeed look totally fantastic and what was even more impressive – they grew the peppers in their garden!

I really did envy my parents at that moment – a nice, healthy meal, which is already cooked and ready for consumption… This gave me the idea for the next day’s dinner. I really wanted to recreate my own stuffed peppers which would look at least as good as my dad’s, and with some luck even better so I could photo him back all smug.

So off shopping I went…

2. IngredientsIngredients acquired:

  • 500g of minced pork
  • 6 large nicely shaped, equal sized “fat” peppers
  • 3 onions
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • 1 egg
  • 150g rice
  • Stock pot
  • Oil for cooking
  • Cheese – optional for the cheese lovers
  • Herb and spices to taste:

Salt and Pepper
Paprika
Mixed herbs
Peri peri seasoning

Method:

3. Making peppers bowlsObviously the starting point is your peppers – Give them a wash to make sure that they are clean and then cut the top off thus making a lid, remove all the seeds and pith creating a pepper bowl and replace the lids to stop them drying out.

4. RiceBoil the rice according to the packets cooking instructions but halve the cooking time – you don’t want your rice fully cooked as it will be cooked again later and you run the risk of it going very mushy later on.

5. StockPrepare 2 cups of stock (each about 150ml) – one will go inside the final stuffing mix and the second one will go at the bottom of your cooking dish, so peppers can get extra moisture while cooking.

6. Onions and MashroomsPrepare the onions and mushrooms – cut them into small pieces and fry a bit until lightly golden.

7. Herbs and spicesMix all your herb and spices in one bowl and give them a good stir.

8. Mixing upNow it is time to combine everything together; mix your mince meat with the rice, herbs and spices and egg; add one cup of stock (I used herb stock) and finally add your fried onions and mushrooms. Mix everything well but gently so it stays light, too much pounding and you will end up with a dense heavy filling that will not be pleasant, until all ingredients are well combined.

9. Stuffing timeNext step stuffing your pepper bowls – fill your peppers with the mixture and place in your final cooking dish. Ideally you want a dish that the peppers fit snugly in so they can support their neighbours and prevent themselves from falling over whilst cooking in the oven.

10. Lids back onOnce all peppers are in place put their lids on and add the 2nd cup of stock to the bottom of your dish.

11. Oven timeCover and cook in the over for about 1.5h at 180C.

12. cheese timeAfter this time if you are a cheese lover you can remove the peppers from the oven, take their hats off and sprinkle some cheese over them. Pop them back into the oven – uncovered – for a further 10 minutes.

Now it is time to dish up!

I served our peppers with a tomato sauce (ok, almost tomato sauce, it was a tinned tomato soup from Heinz with added spices for a more “posh” flavour).

So there you have it a nice easy recipe for a colourful and funky dinner.

Enjoy! We did…..

.

I’ve received a selection of herbs and spices from QSpice so I can use them in my cooking. 

***

What’s cooking – Beef and Vegetable Noodle Soup

Beef and Vegetable Noodle Soup
Beef and Vegetable Noodle Soup

I love Chinese food. Most of the time it is my first choice for either take out or dinning in. Mark cooks a lot of different dishes from all over the world but very rarely is it Chinese. At present he is on annual leave, so I was promised more of my favourite food in days to come.

This Beef and Vegetable Noodle Soup recipe is based on Jenny Stacey idea from “What’s Cooking Chinese”. I said based, because like always Mark made his own twist on it.

 

Let’s start with an ingredients list:

Our ingredients... oh ok... most of them
Our ingredients… oh ok… most of them
  • 225g of lean beef
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 large spring onions, chopped
  • 3tbsp of light soy sauce
  • 1tsp of sesame oil
  • 225g of egg noodles
  • 850ml of beef stock
  • 1ltr of chicken stock
  • Pack of baby corn cobs, sliced
  • ½ leak, shredded
  • 1 small celery, chopped
  • Pack of baby courgettes, chopped
  • 1 small tin of bamboo shots
  • Handful of curly parsley
  • 125g of broccoli, cut into florets
  • Handful of bean sprouts
  • 3 large chillies

 

And now step by step instructions on how to turn these lovely ingredients into a delicious soup.

  1. Cut the beef into a thin strips or bite size cubes and place in a bowl
  2. Add the garlic, spring onions, soy sauce and sesame oil and mix together well, turning the beef to coat. Cover and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Put the beef stock into a large saucepan and bring it to boil
  4. Add the beef, together with the marinade, than add all other already prepared – chopped or sliced ingredients. Cover and leave to simmer over a low heat for around 10 minutes or until beef and vegetables are tender and cook through.
  5. Stir in the noodles and cook for further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Transfer to serving bowls and serve.
And to the pot they go...
And to the pot they go…
And some more...
And some more…
Don't forget about chillies
Don’t forget about chillies
Looks good, time to add some noodles
Looks good, time to add some noodles
Time to eat! Easy isn't it?
Time to eat!
Easy isn’t it?