Flemish Beef and Beer Stew

It’s amazing how the places you visit just once, leave an indelible mark on you. From my last trip to Belgium, I packed a little bit of Bruges back home. Did you know Bruges is the chocolate capital of the world? Beer, comic books and fries are the first loves of a true-bred Belgian. And they go crazy over Mussels and…fries.
But, what you must try out as a first timer, is their Beef and Beer Stew. Accompanied with of course…the F R I E S 🙂
I was itching to try it out at home, and so I did. This of course, is a Googled recipe, but with a little twist of my own.
It poured last evening…thunderstorms, lightning and all. There couldn’t be a better way to keep warm and cooped up at home.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Around 3 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 kg stew beef (shoulder meat preferable)
2 large onions, roughly sliced
500 ml of dark beer
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 cloves
1 clove of garlic, minced
The recipe said 2 laurel leaves. I couldn’t find them in the supermarket. So I added 2 bay leaves.
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp of flour to thicken the gravy
A splash of balsamic vinegar
3 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps butter
Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method:
1. Take a small piece of cheese cloth and tie the rosemary, thyme & cloves in it. You’ll want to be able to remove it from the stew easily later on. If you don’t have one, that’s okay too. Picking out the sprigs later, isn’t that big of a deal.

2. Cut the meat in roughly 1-inch or bite-size cubes. Season with salt and pepper and leave aside.

3. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meat over medium heat. It’s best to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the meat. Overcrowding means the meat won’t brown, it’ll rather steam and you don’t want this. You want a nice crispy brown edge on each piece of meat. Set each batch of meat aside. Don’t be alarmed by the brownish ‘crud’ that forms on the bottom of your pan, and definitely don’t try to get rid of it… This is where a lot of the flavor forms.

4. When all meat is browned, turn up the heat a bit and pour a splash or two of the beer in the pan. Save the rest for later. Scrape the bottom of your pan to loosen the browned bits the meat formed.

5. When most of the bits are loosened and starting to dissolve in the beer, add butter, sliced onions and minced garlic, and continue to cook on medium until the onions are translucent.

6. Add the remainder of the beer, browned beef, cheese cloth with herbs and the sugar, and cook over low heat for 2-3 hours until the beef is fork-tender. Add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the gravy.

7. Keep the lid off of your pot. Once you have reached the desired thickness of the sauce, only then place the lid on the pot.

8. When the stew is ready, remove the cheese cloth wrapped herbs and bay leaves, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and stir.

9. Serve hot with sides of hash browns, french fries, buttery potato mash or baked potato wedges. Potato is such a versatile veggie, no.

Advertisements

Munnar Is Blue!

The beautiful Neelakurinji flower has bloomed again. After twelve long, much awaited years. Munnar and it’s mystical mountains are strutting their stuff and how. Dressed head to toe in the purple-blue blossoms of this exquisite flower, Munnar is a sight to behold. Go now to witness this spectacle that’ll last only until October.

Chettinad Prawn Curry

Chettinad, a region in Tamil Nadu state of South India, is synonymous with hyper-spicy and aromatic food laced with well-balanced flavors. If there’s any cuisine that celebrates spices with utmost devotion, it’s this cuisine. The fiery flavors come largely from the use of red chilies and black peppers. Variety of spices are roasted and freshly ground, which adds to the sharpness of any dish.
Chettinad cuisine isn’t for the faint-hearted or rather, faint-gutted. You either have a really strong gut or a really close loo. Because the flavors are so lip-smacking, you are bound to keep going for seconds.

Preparation time:15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
A. For marinating prawns:
Prawns, cleaned and deveined – 500 gms (It’s always good to stock your refrigerator with a packet of frozen prawns. Saves a great deal of time.)
Kashmiri chili powder – 2 tsps
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp

B. Ground spice mix:
Dry red chilies – 3
Black pepper corns – 7
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cloves – 4
Cardamom – 4
Cinnamon – small piece
Mace – small piece
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Poppy seeds – 1 tsp

C. For the curry:
2 medium size onions – thinly sliced
2 green chilies – slit
2 medium size tomatoes – finely chopped
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Ginger-garlic paste – 11/2 tsp
Kashmiri chili powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Ground spice powder – 2 tsp
Tamarind pulp – 1 tbsp
Oil for frying
Salt as per taste
Water as per desired consistency

Method:
1. Marinate the prawns in chili powder, turmeric powder and salt and let it sit aside.
2. Dry roast all the spices on low flame till aromatic. Be careful not to burn.
3. Set aside to cool and then grind to fine powder.
4.  Heat oil in a heavy bottom. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
5. Add curry leaves and fry a bit.
6. Toss in the onions and green chilies and fry till the onions are soft and translucent.
7. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute or until the raw smell of ginger goes away.
8. Now add the spice powders – kashmiri chili, turmeric, coriander and the ground spice mix. Fry on medium till aromatic.
9. Now add the chopped tomatoes and tamarind pulp and saute till oil starts separating at the sides.
10. Tumble in the prawns and mix well.
11. Lastly, add water as per your desired consistency and check for the seasoning. Add more salt if required.
12. Bring it to boil. Then let it simmer on low for around 5 minutes or until the gravy becomes thick.
13. Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot with steamed rice, appams or neer dosa.

Gordon Ramsay’s Cooking On Budget Recipes

Human Population Through Time

Human population has indeed travelled a great deal.

Someone just forwarded this video that gives a jaw-dropping lowdown on the globe it was, it is and hopefully will be…

Top 10 Remote Travel Destinations – Russia’s Hidden Gems

Top 10 Remote Travel Destinations – Russia’s Hidden Gems

Hidden Gems Of Russia

Life in Russia

taimenye lake

 Taimenye Lake – A Turquoise Gem

Taimenye Lake is situated at an altitude of .95 miles above sea level, but the waters still warm up in the summer – up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Frequent, strong disturbances cause layers of water to mix right down to the bottom, producing limited visibility in the water. The water in Taimenye Lake, whose basin was formed by the movement of an ancient glacier, has a bright turquoise gleam. The lake is 3.4 miles long and surrounded by more than 250 small lakes.

Since 1991, Taimenye Lake has been part of the Katun biosphere nature preserve and 15 types of plants listed in the Red Book grow in the vicinity.

Where: In the Altai Mountains – the nearest populated area is Multa village.

Uzon Volcano

 Kronotsky nature preserve

The Uzon volcano is situated in the Kronotsky nature preserve, to the south of the lake of the same…

View original post 1,924 more words

Shakshouka

A staple in the Middle East, Shakshouka is a one-pan wonder of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. The traditional recipe calls for eggs along with the other spices. However, you can create your own versions by adding sausages, meat balls, boiled potatoes or even cheese for that matter.
It is usually on the breakfast menus, but can make a wholesome meal as well.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
6 eggs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green or red peppers, diced
4 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsps chili powder. Add more if you like it hot.
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar. Just enough to lift the flavors
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Finely chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:
1. Heat oil in a wide-bottomed pan. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent.
2. Add minced garlic and saute till fragrant.
3. Add diced peppers and cook on medium till soft.
4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and let it simmer so the tomatoes are soft enough to blend well into rest of the mixture.
5. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Stir and let it simmer till the sauce starts to thicken.
6. Break the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, spacing evenly.
7. Cook till done to your liking, garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.