Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Slow Cooked Chilli Con Carne

The use of shin of beef instead of beef mince along with a few extra, well chosen, spices really transforms this old favourite. Some chorizo also adds more depth of flavour. I've loosely followed the recipe from 'Mexican Food Made Simple' by Thomasina Miers.
The beef I used is from Rossiter's organic butchers in Bournville.


(Serves 4-5)

300g beef shin, cubed
50g chorizo cut into chunks
1 medium onion, sliced
1 stick of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 red chillies of medium heat, sliced
1 red pepper, roughly chopped
1 small tin kidney/borlotti beans
1 400g tin chopped tomtoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp dark brown sugar
a 'slosh' of red wine (around half a small glass)
1.5 heaped tbsp whole coriander seeds, ground
2 heaped tbsp whole cumin seeds, ground
1 star anise (optional, helps boost meaty flavours)
half a cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf, torn in half
1 tbsp fresh/dried oregano
fresh coriander and sour cream to serve

Start by toasting your cumin and coriander seeds in a large casserole dish. Grind into a fine powder using a pestle and mortar.

On a high heat with a little oil, brown the beef in small batches and set to one side. Add your chorizo and star anise to the pan and turn down the heat to medium. Once the chorizo has taken on some colour add the onion, garlic, celery, red pepper and chillies.

After 10 minutes or so, remove the star anise, add the ground spices and cook for another 5 minutes roughly. Add the tomato puree, cook for another 5 minutes then add the sherry vinegar. After another few minutes, add the red wine and cook for another 10 minutes or until the volume of wine has decreased by around half.

Return the beef to the pan along with the beans, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, oregano and dark brown sugar.

Season if required, cover the pan and place in a preheated oven at around 150C°/Gas Mark 2 for approximately 3 hrs until the meat is very tender and falling apart. Stir the pot occasionally during the cooking time.

Serve with fresh coriander and some sour cream.

Carrot and Coriander Soup

If it's possible for a soup to underachieve in life then carrot and coriander may need to pull its socks up. On paper the combination of sweet, earthy carrot and the buttery citrus spice of coriander is an absolute winner. In reality, many examples simply lack enough of this wonderful spice. In this recipe, I'm using both whole coriander seed and the fresh leaf form to bring it up to scratch.


(Serves 4)

3 large carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large stick of celery, chopped
1 heaped tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1 heaped tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp ground whole coriander seed
1 tbsp ground whole cumin seed
1 tsp turmeric powder
750ml veg stock
fresh coriander and creme fraiche to serve


In a large, dry pan on a medium heat toast the the cumin and coriander seeds for around 10 minutes taking care not to burn them. Once toasted, grind to a fine powder in a pestle and mortar.

Melt a generous knob of butter over a medium heat and sweat the chopped carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and ginger for aproximately 10 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar, ground spices and chilli and sweat for another 5-10 minutes.

Add the stock and simmer until the carrots are tender. Blend to a smooth consistency and serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche or yoghurt along with some fresh coriander.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Meatshack

I and many others were eagerly awaiting the debut of the latest addition to the street food scene in Birmingham. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that our curiosities were in part motivated by a desire to see an improvement in the street food scene (and to try what was promised to be a fine burger!)

I try to attend the Stirchley Community Market at each of its monthly dates. Once word got out that The Meatshack would be there, the date was sealed.
I walked to the market from work at a brisk pace. Once closing in on the market, catching the odd waft of grilled beef, I homed in on my destination.

Having ordered, I was pleased to find that the burgers are made from 28 day aged beef from a farm a few miles from Redditch. I ordered the 'Hellshack' which came with pickles, ketchup, american mustard, shredded iceberg lettuce, onion , cheese and a few slices of fresh Jalapeno chilli.

This was the best burger I've had in a long time (despite them being let down by their bread supplier). The beef was full of flavour and well seasoned, all the accompaniments (including the chillies) added to the whole without overwhelming.

I hope they'll be making many more appearences about town and that this convinces certain people that there is a demand for high quality street food in Birmingham.

You can follow The Meatshack on Twitter: @themeatshack

Market Meals. Rabbit, Cider and Mustard

Every once in a while I hope to promote the wonderful resource that is the Birmingham indoor food market.
I'll do this by cooking a dish with as many ingredients bought from the market as possible. Look out for the 'Market Meals' title in any future posts.

You can find more information about the markets here: http://www.indoorbullringmarket.co.uk/index.html

I thought about giving the details of the stalls that I bought the ingredients from, but I thought it best to let you explore for yourselves.

By Kate Hindley.


(Serves 2)

1 Rabbit (jointed, innards removed).
100g smoked pancetta/smoked streaky bacon, cubed.
1 medium onion, roughly chopped.
1 large carrot, roughly chopped.
1 large celery stick.
2 cloves garlic, chopped.
2 large sprigs of thyme.
250ml medium dry cider.
250ml stock (chicken or veg.)
1 heaped tsp grain mustard.
2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche.


Prep. your rabbit pieces by making sure no fragments of bone remain around the jointed ends, and wash off any remaining bits of fur under the tap.

Dust the rabbit pieces in seasoned flour and brown in a heavy casserole dish with a little oil on a high heat. Once done set the rabbit aside.

Reduce the heat to a medium setting, add the pancetta and cook until browned. Add the diced veg, garlic and thyme. Sweat for aprox. 10 minutes.

Return the rabbit pieces to the pan, add the cider, simmer for 5 minutes then add the stock.

Reduce the heat to a low setting, cover the pan and simmer for aprox one and a half hours or when the meat begins to come away from the bone easily.

Once cooked, remove the rabbit from the pan, add the mustard and creme fraiche (season if required). Increase the heat and thicken the sauce for aprox. 5-10 minutes.

Plate up the rabbit and spoon over the sauce.

Have a butchers, you never know what you might find.