A visit to the Asian grocery store in Milnerton’s China Town inspired me to try and cook an authentic Chinese Red Cooked Beef dish for date night. We do not eat Chinese food that often – the American Chinese versions of chow mein and chop suey that you get in most Chinese restaurants here does not appeal to us. As is often the case, if you want to get close to any authentic ethnic cuisine you have to cook it yourself.
We recently had the in-laws over for an 8 course Italian style dinner to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. I originally wanted to cook Braciole (a type of roulade) as a main course. I made Braciole 3 Ways (with 3 different fillings) last year and it was delicious. Adrienne really wanted to braai. We compromised and went for a South African/Italian style fusion dish by cooking a rump steak with a braciole style filling over the coals.
We have not had proper Mexican food in ages. Most “Mexican” restaurants around here is decidedly more Tex Mex – load of tacos and chilli poppers but sadly not a Mole or Recado Rojo sauce in sight. Not that we don’t enjoy Tex Mex occasionally but it doesn’t come close to the real deal. I made Chicken Mole Poblano and Adrienne made Achiote Chicken and Ancho Pork a while back. Since then our Ancho (dried Poblano) and Guajillo (dried MIrasol) chillies have been sitting in the back of the food cupboard. To make up for this travesty I decided to make 3 main dishes for our Mexican date night.
Heritage Day on 24 September is a day where South Africans are encouraged to celebrate their culture. Having a braai (barbeque) is very much part of the South African culture so this day is also known as National Braai Day. Boerewors is probably the most “South African” meat that you can braai so we decided to make our own for the occasion.
I got the original recipe from Jess Pryles for this twice cooked drunken beef short ribs from here, but I altered it quite a bit for our taste. Although this recipe is quite straight forward it does take some time to prepare. This dish is perfect for those cold winter evenings when you crave “comfort food”.
I re-watched the movie “Julie and Julia” on Netflix the other day and it inspired me to finally try a Julia Child recipe. Julia Child is famous for bringing French cuisine to America with her cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. As her famous Beef Bourguignon features in the movie I decided to try out this recipe.
Braciole (or involtini as it is known in Italy) are meat bundles with all kinds of delicious fillings.
Braciole is a beloved Sunday lunch in Italian American households. It is simmered for hours (often with meatballs and/or sausage) in a tomato sauce (called Sunday gravy).
All the recipes for fillings looked so delicious I could not pick just one. I decided to use 3 very different fillings – Braciole 3 Ways!
I have not made nearly enough curries or South East Asian food lately, so Beef Rendang was a good choice for this week’s date night.
Rendang originated in Indonesia and spread to Malaysia and Singapore when the Minangkabau settlers migrated to those countries. This is a slow cooked dry curry, rich with spices and full of flavour.
Avgolemono is an egg lemon sauce that I have wanted to make for ages. As this week was Greek date night, it was the perfect occasion to make a traditional Greek meatball soup that incorporates this sauce.
“Rabo Encendido” roughly translates to “Tail on Fire”. This is a bit deceiving as there are no chillies or even pepper in this Cuban oxtail stew ( traditional Cuban dishes aren’t hot). Feel free to add hot sauce if you want a bit of a kick.