Beef Pho (my version)

September 4, 2015 Leave a comment

I’ve made a few types of beef pho, and the key seems to be heaps of cheap beef cuts with lots of marrow and other bits and pieces for flavour. This recipe may not be traditional, but it was good to eat. And there was extra to spare and freeze for another time. Before the photos, the basics:

The broth

1.5 kg (3 lb) ox tail

1.5 kg (3 lb) osso bucco (sliced beef shank)

2 brown onions, roughly chopped

1 head of garlic, roughly chopped

1 large piece of ginger, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

2 large carrots, roughly chopped

2 oranges, roughly chopped

12 whole star anise

1 whole cinnamon stick or medium piece of cassia bark

2 Tb whole coriander seed

2 Tb whole black pepper

To serve

The reserved beef (half was used, the other half frozen for later)

4 cups green beans, topped

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 sweet red pepper and green pepper, thinly sliced

mung bean sprouts

mint leaves

red thai chilis, thinly sliced

flat rice noodles (250 g, 1 lb)

Brown off the the ox tail and osso bucco, set aside,  then saute the onion, garlic, ginger, celery, carrots, orange and spices. Place all into a large stock pot (10 litre, 2.5 gal minimum), top up with enough water to  just below the 10 litre / 2.5 gal mark. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 6-8 h. Let cool to room temperature and then pass the broth through a fine sieve, retaining the broth and meat. Pick out the meat from the bone and vegetable mass, and set aside.




To serve, heat up about 3 litres (3 quarts) of broth in a soup pot. Add the vegetables and the beef, and let simmer until vegetables are done to your liking. Pre-cook the rice noodles as per the packet instructions and set aside. Using a large, deep and wide-mouthed bowl, place a generous amount of noodles in the bottom, and top up with the heated pho containing the beef and vegetables. Top with a handful of sprouts, mint leaves, and chilis.


Smoked pork hock soup with black eyed beans, kale and peas


This soup was a two-stage process using a pressure cooker. I can’t give exact measurements for the soup, but you probably won’t need it. The first part involves pressure cooking a pork hock in about 3 litres (3 quarts) of water containing 2 onions, 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery, half a head of garlic, all roughly chopped, 2 bay leaves, 1 Tb cumin ground, 1 tsp cinnamon ground, and 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Once up to pressure, I cooked it for 3 h, then left it to cool overnight. I then sieved out the meat, retaining the liquid. I picked out the best parts of the hock and kept aside. I then re-used the liquid to pressure cook the beans (2 cups dry) with 1 large bunch kale minced, 1 minced onion, 3-4 minced garlic cloves, 1 large can diced tomatoes, 1 Tb coriander ground, 1 Tb oregano dried, and 1 tsp black pepper ground. I topped up the liquid to about the 3 litre mark.  Once up to pressure, the beans cooked for about 30 minutes with a quick pressure release. Keeping the burner on low, I added 2 cups of frozen peas and the meat, cooked another 10 minutes, and then salted to taste. I served it with toasted bread and butter. 

Categories: Uncategorized

Roast sumac chicken and martini


This is an easy one pan dish for the oven. 1 whole chicken, 1 onion, 1 stalk celery, 4 carrots, 12 mushrooms, 12 small chat potatoes, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper, 4 cloves garlic, handful of parsley, 2 Tb sumac, 1 Tb oregano, 1 tsp thyme, 1 Tb coriander seed, salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 bottle white wine. Cut vegetables roughly, except keep potatoes and mushrooms whole. Sauté vegetables in oil using an oven proof dish for about 5-10 min. Add the chicken, then the herbs and spices, salt and pepper (about 1 Tb salt is enough), then pour in the wine. Place the dish in the oven, 180 C (350 F) for 1 h, turning the chicken at the 30 min mark.

The martini has nothing to do with the dish, rather I just like martinis, but it did go very well with the dinner. I bought a Spanish gin that was distilled with olives, rosemary, and juniper, and mixed 2 oz with 2 oz dry vermouth, and 1/2 oz triple sec, grated lemon rind, and green olives. It all went down very well!

Categories: dinner

Raw food diet for dogs

March 14, 2015 Leave a comment

I’ve adopted two dogs recently, and I made my first attempt at a raw food diet for Max and Rosella. Max especially likes it, while Rosella still prefers her dry food. It’s easy to make, but you need a food processor or grinder. Essentially, mince and grind all the ingredients until relatively smooth, and then portion into 1 lb (500 g) portions and freeze until the day before needed. The recipe is after the photos (not pretty but the dogs love it!)

6 lb (3 kg) meat, minced or mince quality (I used a mixture of beef and kangaroo)

2 lb (1kg) lamb kidney

2 lb (1 kg) lamb liver

1 apple, cored

1 large stalk celery

1 large carrot

1 bunch parsley

4 eggs, shells included

2 Tb natural digestive mix, which contains psyllium husk, carob, linseed, and slippery elm bark

Braised chicken with mixed vegetables

January 5, 2015 Leave a comment



Simple and effective. Roasted Maryland chicken cuts (leg and extended thigh, with skin) in a mixture of great vegetables, served with mashed potatoes. In an oven proof deep dish on the stove, brown the chicken, set aside, and then sauté the vegetables accordingly. Add the wine, reduce the liquid by half, then add the tomatoes and the herbs and spices. Add the chicken, lightly cover with foil, and cook in the oven at 180 C (350F) for 1 to 1.5 h. Serve with mashed potatoes made only with butter, whole milk, salt and black pepper.

Here are the details!

Chicken pieces for 3 to 4 people
1 brown onion, minced
2-3 small eggplant, minced
1 red bell pepper and 1 yellow bell pepper, minced
4 small carrots, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
500 ml (2 cups) white wine
1 can diced tomatoes 12 oz (350 g)
1 Tb fennel seeds
1 Tb oregano dried
1/2 Tb thyme dried
Salt and black pepper to taste

Smokin’ turkey

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

I’ve posted this photo before, but no detail on the recipe. For Thanksgiving, I based the marinade for the turkey on a recipe from the NY Times, out of Florida. I marinated turkey legs, wings, and breast overnight, and then smoked the legs and wings for 7 h, and the breast for 3 h.


The recipe for the brine can be made smaller or larger, depending on the amount of meat. Ultimately, the meat just needs to be, for the most part, soaking in the marinade. If you use a zip-bag, the amount of marinade can be reduced. For this recipe, I spread the marinade around on 6 legs, 6 wings, and 2 breasts.

The marinade

1 L (4 cups) fresh orange juice

juice from 12 limes

2 Tb salt

2 Tb ground cumin

2 Tb ground coriander

1 tsp ground allspice

1 head garlic, thoroughly smashed

Marinate the meat overnight. I then cooked the meat in a Texas (off-set) smoker for about 7 hours (breast for 3 h), heated by red gum coal at about 120 C (250 F), supplemented by pre-soaked hickory wood at regular intervals (about every 2 h) for smoke. I also basted the meat in the leftover marinade at about the same interval. The result was great.

November 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Each go at the smoker is slowly getting better. This time it is pork ribs (american style) and beef brisket. Each meat had their own marinade, smoked with a mixture of hickory and apple wood, and basted with a home-made BBQ sauce in the final hours. The final cooking time was about 8+ hours. Details below.


For the pork ribs, I marinated 8 racks for 24 h in:

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tb salt

2 Tb ground cumin

2 Tb ground coriander

2 Tb ground paprika

1 Tb ground allspice

1 Tb ground cinnamon

2 Tb oregano

Half a dozen fresh coriander roots, minced


For the beef brisket, I marinated two slabs weighing in total 2 kg (4 lb) for 24 h in:

2 Tb salt

1/4 cup of my corned beef spice mix (below, and details here)

6 cloves garlic, minced


Pickling spice (master mix)

2 Tb black peppercorns

2 Tb mustard seeds

2 Tb coriander seeds

2 Tb hot red pepper flakes

2 Tb allspice berries

1 Tb ground cardamom

2 cinnamon sticks, crushed into small pieces

24 bay leaves, crushed into small pieces

2 Tb whole cloves

1 Tb ground ginger


For the BBQ sauce, sauté  the following in 1/2 cup butter:

1 red onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Then add:

1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar

1 can diced tomatoes (12 oz, 330 g, approx.)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 Tb oregano

1 Tb ground cumin

1 Tb ground coriander

1 tsp allspice

small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), ripped apart

Cook for about 60 minutes on low heat, then strain through a fine sieve.


For the smoked meat, I heated the offset (Texas) smoker using natural red gum charcoal, and added a mixture of hickory and apple wood chips (pre-soaked in water) at regular intervals. I maintained the temperature between 80 – 90 C (175-195 F), rotating and moving the meat at regular intervals, and basting the meat two times in the last 2 hours. Total cooking time was 8+ hours.



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