On the slow down

CORNED BEEF IN ORANGE AND CARDAMOM

Corned beef is one of my favourite budget family meals any time of the year. But to really get the flavour right, sear the meat before you stew it - that'll give you a perfectly rich caramelised taste. Oh, and make sure the heat is nice and low. A long, slow cook is the secret to tender beef.

CAPTION

SERVES 4-6

1.4kg corned beef

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

thickly sliced zest and juice of 6 oranges

4 sprigs thyme

12 black peppercorns

6 cardamom pods

2 fresh bay leaves

1 litre beef stock

Rinse beef well, then soak in a large bowl of cold water for 2 hours. Rinse again, and pat dry.

Sear beef in olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat for 10 minutes, turning often, until well browned on all sides. Add remaining ingredients and turn heat to low. Cook gently, topping up with water as required to keep beef covered, for 4 hours or until meat is fork-tender.

GARDENER'S RATATOUILLE

There are four key elements that create brilliant food – colour, flavour, texture and shape. Ideally, you're looking for contrasts in all these areas, and this luscious vegie dish delivers all that in abundance.

CAPTION

SERVES 4

1 eggplant, diced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

125ml extra virgin olive oil

3 zucchini, diced

1 yellow capsicum, diced

1 green capsicum, diced

1 red capsicum, diced

4 ripe tomatoes, diced

4 cloves garlic, sliced

2 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp champagne vinegar

leaves from 2 sprigs rosemary

crusty bread, to serve

Toss eggplant in 2 tsp salt and set aside for 30 minutes, then transfer to a colander and rinse well. Drain and pat dry with paper towel.

Place half the olive oil in a large saucepan over moderate heat. Fry eggplant, zucchini and capsicums, one by one, until just softened. Transfer to a large bowl.

Fry tomato and garlic in remaining oil until tomato is beginning to fall apart. Season generously with salt and pepper, then mix in sugar, vinegar, rosemary and mixed vegetables. Serve with crusty bread.

MY FAMILY FAVOURITE: BREAKFAST PANCAKES

My kids started learning to cook at a young age. No surprise, really. But of all the things they like to make with me, a perfect pancake is still a Sunday-morning ritual for us. Grab yourself some Tassie leatherwood honey for the best results!

CAPTION

SERVES 4

185g self-raising flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

60g unsalted butter

2 tbsp honey, plus extra

350ml buttermilk

1 egg, lightly beaten

melted butter, for greasing

300ml thickened cream

Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. In a small saucepan, melt unsalted butter and honey, then remove from heat and set aside to cool. Whisk buttermilk and egg into cooled butter mixture. Make a well in centre of flour, add buttermilk mixture and stir to form a smooth batter.

Brush base of a heavy-based non-stick frying pan with melted butter and place over moderate heat. Pour 1/3 cup batter into pan, and cook until golden underneath and bubbles form on surface of pancake. Turn and cook until light golden. Transfer to a warm plate. Repeat with remaining melted butter and batter. Serve pancakes with cream and honey.

Photography: John Paul Urizar.
Styling: Matt Page.
Recipes from The Food Clock: A Year of Cooking Seasonally by Fast Ed Halmagyi (HarperCollins, $40).

From: Sunday Life

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