Meat lasagna

Meat lasagna

Meat lasagna

This is the classic meat lasagna recipe that you have probably had a variation of many times in your life. The meat sauce is the classic meat sauce base used in most Italian pasta recipes that can be altered for your own taste. Every Mom, Dad, or Grandmother seems to have their own perfect recipe so start here and create your perfect lasagna. I like to add a tablespoon of Chutney substituting the wine with chicken stock to my meat sauce and sometimes a few fresh herbs that happen to be around the kitchen so send it and make your own. (Good for 4-6 people) Note: the meat sauce takes a while to cook but is well worth the time but if you have your own favourite meat sauce, use that.

What you need

Dried lasagna sheets cooked for 4 or 5 minutes and dried
1 liter bechamel sauce

Meat sauce

2 tablespoons grated onion
2 tablespoons grated carrot
2 tablespoons grated celery
1 heaped tablespoon butter
500g lean beef mince
1 cup white wine or chicken stock
125ml milk (1/2 cup)
pinch nutmeg
750g peeled chopped plum tomatoes
Salt and pepper

150g grated parmesan cheese

The process

Add the butter to a pan on a medium heat and then add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until translucent and beginning to soften. Add the mince and cook until the mince has lost it’s pink color. You don’t want it to brown and in fact begins to look grey, this is good.

Now add the wine or chicken stock, stir and allow to simmer until all of the liquid has evaporated. Stir it occasionally to make sure there is little or no liquid left. Now add the milk and nutmeg and allow to simmer again until the liquid has evaporated.

Now add the tomatoes with all of their sauce, stir, reduce the heat to medium low and leave to simmer for about 3 hours stirring occasionally. If you notice the sauce sticking add a little more chicken stock. You really want to do this, it softens the meat and produces an incredible flavour.

Heat your oven to 180 Celsius and begin the assembly. Use a 33cmx23cm baking dish and place a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom, a layer of pasta sheets and then a layer of bechamel sauce. (I sometimes sprinkle a little cheddar cheese at this point). Repeat the process until you have completely finished the meat and end off with a layer of pasta sheets topped with bechamel sauce.

Sprinkle over the parmesan cheese and into the oven for 40 minutes until browned and bubbling.

That is the best Classic lasagna and meat sauce I have ever tried. You may want to try the Spinach and Ricotta lasagna recipe as well.

Bangers and mash

Bangers and mash

bangers and mash recipe

Bangers and mash

Bangers and mash with a tomato and onion gravy is the easiest and tastiest recipe thanks to tinned tomato and onion mix. You can use pork or beef sausages, tastes just as good. You really must give this a try, it will become a regular in your household, simple tasty home style food.

Lets call it African Bangers and Mash, the British bangers and mash uses a brown gravy, here we are giving it some real flavour. This, along with the Scotch egg recipe need good quality sausages and the Woolies porkers or the Escort sausages are the ones you need. Over December I got some porkers from Checkers in Seapoint and they were truly terrible. (3 or 4 people)

What you need

8 pork or beef sausages
1 tin tomato and onion mix or chopped tomatoes
6 strips bacon chopped

5 or 6 large potatoes
butter (1 or 2 tablespoons)
milk (approx 100ml)
Salt and pepper

The process

Start by peeling your potatoes and cutting them into 8ths, place them in boiling water to cook while you prepare the sausages.

Cook your sausages in a pan on a medium to high heat until nicely browned. When you are half way through cooking the sausages, add the bacon and cook through.

Turn you stove to low and add the tomato mix to the pan and allow to simmer for about 4 or 5 minutes. You want the tomato gravy to reduce a little.

Drain off the potatoes when they are nice and soft and mash very well adding about 100ml milk and a heaped tablespoon of butter and seasoning to the mash. The secret to light and fluffy mash is quite simple, mash, mash mash and stir stir stir. Get someone else involved in the mashing if need be, there is something really good about smooth light mashed potatoes.

This is a really good and economical meal that you will love. It’s weekday cooking at it’s best, easy, economical and quick.

Another great pub style recipe is the rare beef with dipping sauce, try it!

Slow cooker Oxtail stew

Slow cooker Oxtail stew

Oxtail stew

Winter just shouts Oxtail stew and this Oxtail slow cooker recipe is fantastic, it takes the better part of a day to cook so put it on to cook on Saturday for your Sunday lunch and give it a gentle heat about 2 hours before serving. The meat is incredibly tender and the combination of the coke and red wine do wonders. I found this recipe in Zhoozsh, Jeremy Mansfields recipe book, what a great buy, every recipe has a South African flavour and they are all pretty much hassle free to make, my kind of book. (Good for about 6 people)

What you need

4 medium onions chopped
1 whole Oxtail in chunks
4 tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
125ml Coke
125ml red wine
2 cubes beef stock
1 packet dry brown onion soup
1 liter water

The process

In a large pot on a medium to high heat, add the oil and onions, cook stirring every now and then for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to brown on the edges. Toss in the Oxtail, a few at a time and brown them all over. Repeat until all the Oxtail pieces are browned.

Add in the salt, pepper and paprika and any remaining oxtail, stir, now add the coke and wine and simmer for 5 minutes.

Now you are ready for the slow cooker. Toss all from the pot into the slow cooker, crumble up the beef stock, add the soup powder, and 1/2 water, put the lid on and cook on low for 10 to 12 hours. After about 4 or 5 hours check to see the liquid level and add water if necessary.

Could it be any simpler?

Once cooked, switch off your slow cooker until about 2 to 3 hours before your meal. Give the mixture a gentle stir and reheat on low with the lid off.

Thats it, the very best Oxtail stew I have ever eaten. Serve it with mashed potatoes or pap.

For an Oven version of Oxtail stew, try the Oxtail stew for Wintery days recipe.

Slow cooker beef roast

Slow cooker beef roast

Slow cooker beef

For this seriously simple crock pot beef recipe I used short ribs, they came out beautifully tender and the sauce was delicious. This is a no fuss, 5 minute preparation and then hours in the slow cooker to tenderise and create a fabulous, full of flavour dinner. Thanks to Knorr and Royco for this one, it just could not be easier. (4 people)

What you need

1.5kg short ribs or 1 kg brisket or any other beef roast
1 Royco roast gravy packet
2 dry Italian dressing mix from Knorr
1 cup water

The process

Mix together the gravy powder and the salad mix.

Place the beef into the slow cooker and sprinkle over the gravy and salad mix.

Pour in the water and set your slow cooker to low. Allow to cook for about 7 or 8 hours. No need to look in on it.

Hell could it be any easier… a weekend must do recipe for winter days.

Try the braised brisket recipe, another superb winter dish.

Winter beef stew

Winter beef stew

Easy beef stew

Beef stew

Winter and hearty beef stews are synonymous and this beef stew recipe is just perfect and very easy to make. It can be done on the stove top or in the oven. It is pretty much foolproof and takes only a few minutes to prepare, then just leave it to simmer and check on it from time to time. (4 to 5 hungry people)

What you need

60ml Oil
½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons crushed garlic (its a lot, don’t be afraid)
1 kg beef chuck cut into cubes
3 onions cut into 1/8 ths
4 large potatoes cubed (about the same size as the meat)
4 large carrots roughly chopped
4 celery stalks roughly chopped
350ml beef stock
3 tablespoons flour to thicken sauce
Water

The process

Heat the oil in your pot to medium hot.

Add your flour, salt and pepper to a plastic bag, drop in the meat and shake it about to coat the pieces in the seasoned flour.

Add the meat in 4 lots browning well all over( it does not need to cook through, you want a nice colour on the pieces) and then remove and set aside in a bowl. Don’t do it all together, they will not brown well.

Add your onions and garlic and give them about 2 minutes of cooking time stirring constantly. Then add the rest of the vegetables, the meat and the beef stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 2 hours. If you are doing it in the oven, place the pot (cast iron is best) in a 160 Celsius oven for 2 or 3 hours.

Check on it every ½ hour or so. After 2 hours, taste the sauce and season if need be.

Mix together about 3 tablespoons of water and the extra 3 tablespoons of flour and stir into the sauce to thicken it up. Then leave it for another 10 minutes or so to simmer and thicken.

It’s a winner this one, serve with mash and a few green beans. Try the beef in beer casserole for another winter treat.

This recipe works well in a slow cooker as well. Just add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.

Steak with blue cheese butter

Steak with blue cheese butter

Blue cheese steakA good steak doesn’t usually need much with it but a rich and tasty blue cheese butter gives it a hint of decadence and if you are a blue fan.. this is definitely for you. For those who prefer the herby flavour, there are these herb butter recipes which go really well with meat or fish. (for 6 people)

What you need

6 fillet steak portions (about 200g each)
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

Blue butter

125g soft butter
60g blue cheese
palm of chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika

The process

Mix the Blue butter ingredients together in a bowl until very well combined. You want it to be  smooth.

Place the mixture onto a piece of cling film and roll it into a sausage shape that is about 5cm thick. Twist the ends until the shape is well formed and pop it into the fridge for an hour to harden.

While the butter is hardening, make a mixture of the pepper and olive oil and brush it over both sides of your steaks and leave them to stand until you are ready to cook.

Grill the steaks to perfection in a grill pan and place a slice of the blue butter on top.

Thats that, a really special meal.

Beef rissoles with a fresh mushroom sauce

Beef rissoles with a fresh mushroom sauce

Beef rissoles

These were really fantastic rissoles that need to cook gently and the mushroom sauce is quite unlike any I have tried before. The mushrooms are only put in right at the end with the spring onions so you get the wonderful rissole and fresh sauce flavor that is an amazing combination. (Serves 4)

What you need

750g lean beef mince
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot grated
palm of fresh chopped thyme
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup flour

For frying

2 or 3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon oil

Sauce

4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
6 spring onions chopped
125g  button mushrooms chopped small

The process

Mix all of the ingredients for the rissoles except the flour together until well combined.

Place the flour on a plate for coating.

Divide the mixture into 8 portions and create small burger shapes.

heat the butter and oil together in a pan on a medium heat and coat each rissole in flour before frying to a golden brown on each side. This should take about 8 minutes or so on each side. Fry gently and you will get a beautiful golden brown rissole.

While you are frying the rissoles, make the mushroom sauce by melting the butter in a pot on a medium heat, add the flour and stir until the flour begins to brown slightly.

Add the wine and stock and stir constantly until the sauce is thick and begins to boil. add the spring onions and mushrooms and allow to simmer for 2 or 3 minutes.

By now your rissoles are done and ready to serve with the sauce.

Serve with a salad or some nicely roasted vegetables and boiled baby potatoes that have been tossed in butter with a little parsley.

Summer steak salad

Summer steak salad

Quick steak salad

Quick steak salad

Summer time is braai time and there is usually a leftover steak that is slowly devoured in little chunks over the afternoon or next day. Here is a great way to turn that left over steak into a complete and very delicious summer meal. It’s so simple and the dressing is fantastic.(2 people) feel free to double or triple this recipe.

What you need

300g cooked steak (barbecued is great)

1 large potato cubed into 2cm cubes
Oil for frying
1 tablespoon butter

1 small avocado sliced
Mixed greens torn, lettuce, watercress, spinach (your favorite greens)

Summer time is braai time and there is usually a leftover steak that is slowly devoured in little chunks over the afternoon or next day. Here is a great way to turn that left over steak into a complete and very delicious summer meal. It’s so simple and the dressing is fantastic.(2 people) feel free to double or triple this recipe.
What you need
300g cooked steak
1 large potato cubed into 2cm cubes
Oil for frying
1 tablespoon butter
1 small avocado sliced
Mixed greens torn, lettuce, watercress, spinach (your favorite greens)
Dressing
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon horserash sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh cream
The process
First do the potatoes, add a glug of oil and the butter to a pan on a medium heat, add the poatato cubes and fru until golden brown, tossing and separating them from time to time. (They have a tendency to stick together). Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
Slice your steak across the grain into thin slices about 1/2cm thick.
Now make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a small pot over a low heat and whisk furiously until the sugar has dissolves.
Add your greens, avocado, crunchy potato cubes and steak to a bowl, toss it and then drizzle over the dressing.
It is really good with both hot and cold steak. I have also make it with barbecue chicken breasts sliced up and it is sublime.
Here is a quick <a href=”https://cookbook.co.za/chicken-recipes/quick-chicken-pasta-salad/”>chicken pasta salad recipe</a> as well
Enjoy it folks.

Dressing

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 teaspoon horserash sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh cream

The process

First do the potatoes, add a glug of oil and the butter to a pan on a medium heat, add the poatato cubes and fru until golden brown, tossing and separating them from time to time. (They have a tendency to stick together). Remove and drain on absorbent paper.

Slice your steak across the grain into thin slices about 1/2cm thick.

Now make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a small pot over a low heat and whisk furiously until the sugar has dissolves.

Add your greens, avocado, crunchy potato cubes and steak to a bowl, toss it and then drizzle over the dressing.

It is really good with both hot and cold steak. I have also make it with barbecue chicken breasts sliced up and it is sublime.

Here is a quick chicken pasta salad recipe as well

Enjoy it folks.

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with Ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

Meatballs with ratatouille

This is budget cooking at it’s best that tastes fantastic. The meatballs recipe and the ratatouille recipe can be used together or separately and you can use whatever starch you have available. It’s a great recipe to serve with creamy mashed potato, rice, potato bake or even just some nice warm ciabatta. (4 people)

What you need

Meatballs

1/2kg beef mince
1 small onion finely chopped or grated
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
½ cup breadcrumbs

For a little something special if you have a lemon in the fridge, finely grate about ½ teaspoon of lemon rind as well.

Ratatouille

1 large onion sliced thickly and halved
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 green pepper sliced
1/2 cup chopped eggplant
1 cup roughly chopped baby marrows
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup vegetable or chicken stock

The process

Mix all of the Meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Take dessert spoons of the mixture and roll them into small balls that you could easily pop whole into your mouth.

In a pan on a medium heat, add a little oil and fry the meatballs until they are nicely browned all over. Give the pan a shake to move them around every now and then. Set aside on kitchen paper to drain.

Heat a little more oil in the pan, add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are soft.

Add the rest of the chopped vegetables and cook them all until the green pepper is quite soft. Now add the tinned tomatoes with all the liquid, the stock and tomato paste, simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens up a bit.

Place the meatballs on top of the mixture and simmer for another few minutes to heat the meatballs.

That’s that, serve straight from the pot. Try the meatballs with onion gravy or the spaghetti meatballs while you are making meatballs.

Braised brisket

Braised brisket

Braised brisket

Braised brisket

Brisket has got to be one of the most under rated cuts of meat around. the best part of it is that the cooking methods that suit it best are slow cooking like braising, so it is almost impossible to muck it up no matter how inexperienced you are in the kitchen. It will always be moist and tender… just remember one rule.. the longer it cooks the better.Braised  brisket is so great for entertaining, little effort and beautiful smells.

What you need

2 – 2.5kg brisket
6 cloves charlic roughly chopped
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
500ml apple cider
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion roughly chopped

The process

Season your brisket with salt and pepper quite well.

In a large pot that has a lid add the olive oil and sear the brisket on all sides to give it a nice brown colour all over.

Add the apple cider, garlic, onion and dried rosemary and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat to medium low, you want a slow simmer. Then place the lid on and leave it to simmer for 3 hours. This really could not be easier..

Don’t try to reduce the time, the brisket needs to braise for at least 2 1/2 hours but 3 hours is best. It will be tough unless you give it the time.

Slice with a very sharp knife, it falls to pieces very easily.. sometime those are the best little bits!

Serve with a rich gravy, your favorite roast vegetables, this Warm potato salad recipe and keep the leftovers for sandwiches. It’s truly fantastic.

If you are feeling adventurous try the roast brisket, it is unlike anything you have ever tasted.