Long before cooking became a passionate hobby and was more of a matter of survival for me, I heavily relied on cookbooks to put together really basic and simple meals like … vegetable soups. Yes, for something which merely required a few ingredients to be cooked together with some stock and then thrown in the blender, I needed careful instruction on how to do exactly that. And who else to turn to for motherly advice in the kitchen, when my own mother was absent, than Elizabeth David.
Pot-au-feu literally translates into English as “pot on the fire”. It is a classic French beef stew, a peasant dish at heart. Traditionally made from beef bones and stewing beef, the broth is typically served as a clear soup, preceding the main dish of sliced beef with vegetables which have been cooked in the broth. It is honest and hearty French fare. Although the dish may take several hours to cook, you are not required to do much during this time, other than to skim the surface of the soup and to check that the meat is continually submerged. This makes it an ideal dish to make when you have time to potter about the kitchen and can look forward to a simple, yet satisfying, supper.
Recipes abound for pot-au-feu and they are all variations of the same blue-print. The beef bones are necessary to add richness and depth to the soup, and oxtails are perfect for this type of cooking, in part because you can also eat the tender and sweet meat later. But the stewing beef is what is traditionally served at the table, so you should find a cut which needs a few hours of cooking time, such as beef brisket or beef shank. In Switzerland, the beef is often labelled “Pot-au-feu”, making it clear what the cut is intended for. But “Bouilli de boeuf maigre” is also a good choice. In Australia, I recall buying cuts of meat simply labelled “soup beef” which would be perfect here. You could also use beef cheeks, which are wonderfully tender and flavoursome upon cooking, though they take longer to cook and you might need to order these from your butcher.
These Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes are fragrant with Asian flavours, including coriander (cilantro), ginger and chillies. Easy to make and a great way of using up leftover mashed potatoes.
Further to my previous post, we still had another 1 kg of potatoes to get through, and as we are going away next week, I had to come up with a way to use those potatoes. And then, by chance, Carrie from The Patterned Plate posted her delicious recipe for Spicy Tuna Fish Cakes (or, as they are called in her Indian culture, cutlets). I was instantly sold!
A comforting and nourishing Braised Chicken with Mushrooms, Potatoes & Thyme. The chicken is succulent and tender, and the sauce is delicious served with fresh crusty bread.
When hubby is on his own, he tends to cook really simple food like pasta. Just pasta. Oh and maybe a grating of parmesan cheese if there happens to be some in the fridge. Or he might just boil potatoes. Or he goes all out and raids my cookbook collection to produce something really elaborate and exquisite, and will then cheekily send me a photo to show me what I’m missing out on.