Category Archives: Slow cooking

Indoor “Barbecued” Beef Ribs

Ribs are my favourite cut of beef, for roasting (US prime rib, UK standing rib/forerib), seared and juicy steaks (ribeye), braising (short rib/thin rib – although I’m also partial to shin and oxtail) and for low-and-slow smoked barbecue, narrowly beating brisket.

Until very recently, the best barbecue in London was available down the road for very reasonable prices at The Horatia, where Texas Joe’s had their residency. Their smoked brisket was a thing of wonder – tender and perfectly pink, with a smoky bark and a richly marbled interior. I can’t pass by the pub without thinking about it. Unfortunately, it’s on my commute, so this occurs at least twice a day.

How to cope, then, with the long winter of our barbecue withdrawal? It is still far too cold to barbecue outside and Joe’s haven’t yet announced their new location.

Like this:

 

 

Marinated ribs cooked low-and-slow, glazed and grilled to finish

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Easy Beef Pho (more “Faux” than authentic “Pho”)

This is a cheap, comforting-but-healthy bowl of tender rib meat and bone broth. And it’s super-easy to make – the passage of time does all the work for you. It’s hands-off pho, as 1. apart from roughly chopping some aromatics and slipping the tender meat off the bones at the end of cooking, you really don’t do much, and 2. it also stands for “Hands off my pho!” because once I’ve got my slurp on with a bowl of this umami sensation, I’m not prepared to share! Vietnamese Beef Pho Continue reading

Short Rib Bourguignon

As I write this, my husband and I are sharing a Fray Bentos pie, passing the tin (balanced on a plate) between us and sharing the same fork. I tell you this not because I’m proud of us – I’m really not – but just to demonstrate that I am both lazy and economical (he bought the pies upon finding them on sale at Morrison’s for a pound each, bearing them home in triumph. I let him enjoy it for approximately two seconds  before observing that they are always available at Poundland). Anyway, this meal easy, inexpensive and gloriously delicious – it’s honestly once of the nicest dishes I can make. We made it recently for dining club with my siblings and my brother has asked me for the recipe almost daily ever since.

Short Rib Bourgignon

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Malaysian Beef Rendang

Cost: £12 for 8 people as a main course, very generously

A Malay classic – nuggets of beef slow-cooked to collapsing tenderness, in a fragrant, almost caramelised curry. The shopping list of spices isn’t particularly long – we happened to have almost everything on hand, and the base of the curry is coconut milk, so it’s dairy free but still gorgeously rich. This recipe was originally from a butchery course at the Waitrose cooking school, and overall winner in a family rendang-off that my brother won against my parents.

The only changes I’ve made have been for convenience, as well as using beef shin instead of chuck – shin is my favourite cut for this kind of slow-cooked dish, where the collagen breaks down to give a silky, rich sauce and the meat breaks down without becoming tough into pink-tinged shreds.

Beef rendang on paratha

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Easy Ramen and Char Siu

Cost: about £9, serves 6 with seconds for everyone

Ramen is not just a London trend, and not just a Japanese obsession – although it is both these things, the darling of hipsters and food fans, the subject of consumer quests for the best ramen in London and scientific quests led by patient, meticulous Japanese chefs, it is a food experience that soothes and thrills at the same time, both simple in its innate comfort and complex in the depths of savoury flavour it achieves.

This recipe is a practical way of recreating that experience at home. I say recreating, not replicating, because whilst I believe it is possible to do, it’s really not practical. This recipe for the tonkotsu ramen broth delivers collagen-rich, intensely porky broth which in turn delivers sticky-lipped contentment – but it’s easy. And although it takes many hours to physically cook, the active time for the cook is well under an hour.

Homemade "Ramen"

 

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Slow Roast Turkey

Cost: Oh my. One of the cheapest meats per kilo – £4.60 for a 1.6kg thigh-and-drumstick at Morrisons. Substantially cheaper, and healthier, than red meat and easier I think to carve than chicken. Per portion – this made two helpings for a main meal (with a starch and vegetables), two pies which fed two couples for 2 meals each, and I reserved a small portion of the meat to brown in a frying pan and top the turkey soup made with the bones and served with noodles and pak choi (leftover soup became the base for a stew with butter beans and bacon…you get the idea). So average cost per meal per person would have been something like 60p for the meat, plus pennies for vegetables, pastry ingredients, noodles and so on.

It’s March, and therefore the season for turkey! By which I mean, it is not Christmas or pre-Christmas, when turkey is expensive and often out of stock at the local supermarket(s). Until this winter, I’d only ever experienced turkey in the context of institutional Christmas dinner – it’s not a feature of our festivities at home (goose and beef…I’m not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed that the “and” is not an “or”). My impression of turkey was that it was dry, pallid and (ironically) joyless, more fuel than food, for exercise-lovers rather than food-lovers. My best friend had the same idea…but after tasting this she exclaimed, “I didn’t realise turkey could be this tasty! You made turkey taste like…chicken!” I’d be lying if I claimed that had been the plan all along.

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Roast Duck stuffed with mashed potato

Cost: £9 for duck, £3 for vegetables and about £0.50 worth of butter, cream and milk. Served 4 but I think really should have been a meal for 6-8!

For the last six months or so, since my siblings have been working in London, the four of us (brother, sister, husband and I) have become more than family – we are an impromptu dining club, taking turns to treat each other to world-class steak at Hawksmoor, neighbourhood meat artistry at Smokehouse, lobster and steak at the top of Heron Tower, tonkotsu ramen at Bone Daddies on an almost-monthly basis. But having lost my job over Christmas, we at the Low Ceilinged Kitchen household are on a pretty tight budget (expect many more low-cost recipes!) and so I thought we would have to sadly withdraw from Dining Club….unless my siblings were happy for us to taken our turn with dinners at home?

Last night they came over after work for Dining At Home Club – just as we lit the fireplace and a chubby loaf of sourdough emerged from the oven. We caught up on the weekend’s episode of The Voice over mojitos, rhubarb gin and tonics and the following menu:

Sourdough with salted butter and a tin of foie gras (a gift from a friend)
Slow roast duck stuffed with mashed potato, purple sprouting broccoli and frazzled leeks
Chocolate fondants with frozen berries and sour cream

The duck recipe is a word-of-mouth method from a chef called Johnny working for Theo Randall at the Intercontinental, who put on an amazing roast duck and pork lunch at a pop up before Christmas. He was kind enough to tell me his method, which is what mine was based on, although his duck was unstuffed and garlanded with fluffier, golden fat, unlike the glazed crisp carapace of mine. This duck yielded surprisingly little fat, with no layer of squidgy stuff in between the shattering skin and melting meat; I poured off the juices from the pan into a small jug and the top layer of fat (stored in a jar for roasting future potatoes) only measured a few tablepoons. The idea of stuffing with mashed potato is from a Simon Hopkinson recipe, but the method is different.
Duck, exterior
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