Slow Cooked Ragu

Rich and unctuous with pasta.

I’m not vegetarian, but I do think if you’re going to kill animal you should make use of all of it, (I still have trouble with some offal, but I try). I have used shin for this recipe. Usually I would use beef shin, but I was lucky enough to be given some venison shin by friends who hunt (just in case you think the shin the photo looks different from what you’re using). Beef shin is relatively inexpensive compared to other cuts of meat, and benefits from long slow cooking when it literally just falls of the bone.

The meat should be easy to shred with a fork

If you haven’t had it before, it reminds me of oxtail. Its unctuous and tasty and makes great stews and casseroles. This version is fantastic with pasta, but is equally great with mashed potatoes or as a pie filling.

Browned before cooking within the sauce

I’ve used red wine in this sauce because I had some left, but if you don’t have any or prefer not to use alcohol you can swap this for beef or vegetable stock.

Thick and packed full of flavour.

This is what I used to call a “weekend recipe” or slow food meaning its not a quick recipe, but it is fairly simple (since many of us are working from home at the minute, you can make recipes like this, cooking away while you work). I used an oven to cook this, but if you have a slow cooker this recipe is perfect.


1Kg Beef Shin

2 Large carrots (Cut into 1cm chunks)

2 Stalks of celery (Cut into 1cm chunks)

1 Large onion (Cut into 1cm chunks)

2 Bay leaves (Optional)

1/2 Bottle of red wine or 750 ml beef or vegetable stock

2 Tbsp Tomato puree

400ml Can of Passata or chopped tomatoes

1 Tbsp Oil

1 Large knob of butter

Salt and Pepper


  1. Heat the oil and put in a large oven proof pan (with a lid), and brown the shin on all sides, before setting to one side
  2. In the same pan, add the chopped vegetables cook until soft, add the tomato puree and bay leaves and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the wine
  3. Allow the wine to cook until the alcohol has burned off (basically so it doesn’t sting your nose when you breath it in is the best way I can describe it). Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (celsius)
  4. Add the passata, and place the meat back in the pan. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 .5 hours
  5. After 2.5 hours remove the dish from the over and lift the shin meat out. On a separate plate you should be able to shred the meat from the bone with a fork
  6. Add the shredded meat back into the sauce and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Serve with pasta, or mashed potatoes

Rendang Beef Curry

It may not be beautiful, but it tastes unbelievable

I love Indonesian food and how brilliantly spiced, fresh and fragrant everything is. Rendang can be found across Indonesia, Malaysia and as far as Singapore. According to a CNN poll it was voted one of the most delicious foods of all time, and you’ll probably agree once you try it.

Base ingredients

If you’ve been following this blog you’ll know about my love of Asian supermarkets. You can create a really good store cupboard at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a standard supermarket. So when you look at the list of ingredients and think when am I ever going to use things like tamarind paste, be brave and it will open up a whole realm of possibilities.

Galangal is a member of the ginger family but I think it has more of a citrus like flavour. Substitute this with more ginger if you can’t find it

A good store cupboard means you can experiment with new flavours and will be able to whip new and interesting dishes without any drama.

Anyway, lecture over. This takes about 10 minutes effort at the start, and after that you leave it to cook long and slow for a couple of hours while you get on with something else (ideal weekend cooking). Because of the long slow cooking, this dish can transform cheap cuts of beef into something delicious. I had this made with duck when I was in Bali and it was delicious, but I definitely think beef works better. This is quite a dry curry so don’t worry if most of the liquid evaporates. If you think it’s getting to dry for you, just add a little water.

All your base ingredients, whizzed up and smelling amazing.


500 Grams Chuck Steak (chopped into bite sized chunks)

400 ml Coconut milk

1 Tbsp Tamarind paste

1 Tsp Salt

5-6 Kaffir lime leaves

2 Tbsps Vegetable or coconut oil

1 Tsp Brown sugar (palm sugar is used traditionally, but I didn’t have this)

1 Tsp Ground Coriander

1 Tsp Cinnamon

For the curry paste base

3 Onions (peeled and quartered)

3 Chillies (roughly chopped, and seeds removed if you prefer less heat)

6 Cloves of garlic (peeled)

2 Stalks of lemon grass (outer woody stalk removed and roughly chopped)

Thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled and rough chopped)

Thumb sized piece of galangal (peeled and roughly chopped). If you can’t find this you can substitute this with extra ginger


  1. Load the ingredients for the curry paste base into a food processor and blitz until you have a reasonably smooth paste (it will smell great but your eyes might water due to the onions and chillies)
  2. In a large pan with a lid heat the oil and add your paste. Cook for 5-10 minutes over a medium heat, stirring occasionally
  3. Add the meat to the paste (you don’t need to brown it), and the rest of the ingredients. Stir to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined
  4. Reduce the heat and cover the pan. Cook for two and a half hours, stirring occasionally. About 2 hours in, you may want to uncover the pan to help the liquid evaporate to help thicken and intensify the sauce
  5. This is traditionally served with rice but it’s also great with flat breads. Like most curries I think this actually tastes better the next day.