Slow Cooked Lamb Stew

Yes, the meat disintegrated when being picked up with tongs.

Welcome back hooman! Unless you’re some kind of arachnid who’s managed to learn English and basic computer interfacing… If that’s the case, well done! Now. The recipe.

The Things
1. An Oven. Fan Forced, or Conventional, it doesn’t matter for this cooking method.
2. A 5L Crock Pot. Ceramic or Cast Iron. Again, it doesn’t matter.
3. Spice Grinder or Mortal and Pestle. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, a sledge hammer and anvil. (Just make sure it’s food safe.)

NB!: If you, like me, go out and impulse buy a cast iron pot, SEASON IT FIRST. No, don’t just put some Coriander in the bottom and add your ingredients. Seasoning an iron piece of cookware means covering every square millimeter of that hardware in oil and baking it on the hottest temperature you have access to. I chose Grape Seed Oil due to the fact that it has almost no taste and an extremely high smoking point. I still managed to smoke out my house by cranking out poor little oven up to 260C/500F. Don’t leave an excess of oil. Just make sure it’s coated and then wipe off the rest.

The Ingredients
1. A giant chunk of baby sheep. Leg, shoulder, shank, as long as it’s big ‘n meaty. Try to get something with the bone in, because the marrow inside the bone is where some of of the flavour comes from. Also, as shown above, it will be able to be removed with ease by the time we’re done with it.
2. 1 bottle of Leggo’s Italian Herbs with Basil and Parsley tomato based pasta sauce. You can make a sauce if you’d like, I was completely winging this recipe while wondering the aisle’s of Woolies.
3. 1 tablespoon of salt. I activated my snooty side and use ‘Pink Himalayan Rock Salt Crystals’…. Use regular salt if you want, because I seriously can’t taste the difference between Saxa Table Salt and the PHRSC’s.
4. 1/2 a tablespoon of black pepper kernels.
5. 1 teaspoon of Thyme.
6. 1 teaspoon of Rosemary.
7. 1/2 tablespoon of gravy powder.
8. 300ml GOOD red wine. Shiraz is best for a big, punchy sauce. Merlot if you want a softer flavour. But, whichever you choose, don’t cheap out on the wine. (Life lesson: Never cheap out on the wine.)
9. 1000ml water. (Holy Water if you want to test whether that middle child of yours is actually a spawn of Satan.)
10. 1/3 cup of Grapeseed Oil.

The Rubric
1. Decide when you want to eat this meal… No really. For maximum flavour, it needs time to marinate in the marinade. If your answer is anything sooner than ‘tomorrow night’s dinner’, either change your calendar, or befriend a timelord because it’ll take that long to prep, marinate and stew.
2. Put the Rosemary, Thyme, Salt and Pepper into your Mortar and Pestle, or spice grinder, and wear the spices down until they are smaller than Vladimir Putin’s brain (maybe a bit bigger, you’ll be grinding for quite a while to get down that small.)
3. Place everything that isn’t the lamb into your pot and mix it thoroughly. You don’t want any clumps of pepper in your roast.
4. Sink your lamb inside your marinade. If the meat does not get entirely submerged, slice up some carrot and potato chunks to add to the broth. Keep going until the meat is covered.
5. Put the lid on and let it sit overnight to really infuse the meat with flavour.
6. Place the pot inside the oven and then turn it on to 100C and leave it for a while. Go for a run, a walk, do the tough mudder challenge, whatever! When I say a while, I mean like, 9+ hours a while. Long enough that you can start the cook, go to work and come home to a perfectly cooked piece of lamb.
7. When our timer has expired, 8-10 hours, gently, (GENTLY!!) lift the lamb out of the pot, onto a plate or into a bowl. There will be run-off from the marinade, so be aware of the torrential dripping. If you use tongs, it will fall apart. Try using a giant spoon or if you have no other options, a rice sifter or colander are great alternatives. Just try and save the juice.
8. Spoon some of the leftover marinade into a cup and add in a teaspoon of corn flour at a time and mix thoroughly. No clumps! Add one at a time and complete the stirring process before adding another. The amount of corn flour will depend on the amount of broth you get.
9. Pour the rest of the bottle of wine into a plastic jug and use a silly straw to enjoy your childhood grape juice ‘adultified’ and serve your lamb with whatever vegetables you’d like.
10. ENJOY! 🙂

Apple Crumble

Don’t forget to bring a towel! (For those who salivate a lot)

The Ingredients
Apples…..lots of apples (Not really. It depends on the size of your dish)
1/3 Cup of Rolled oats
1/3 Cup of Castor Sugar
1/3 Cup + 1 heaped tablespoon of Plain Flour
65g softened butter (I use regular, salted butter)
1/8 tsp Cinnamon (optional)
Some Apple Sauce (The amount depends on your dish. My Apple Sauce is here )
The dish I used was an 8x8x2.5 inch non-stick baking pan.

The Method
1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
2. Peel and core your apples. If you have an apple spiralizer, use that. If not, try playing fruit ninja. As long as you end up with 4-5mm thick slices of apples, it doesn’t really matter how you do this.
3. Line the bottom of a non stick pan in slices of apple.
4. Get a couple of ladle’s of your apple sauce and cover the layer of apples.
5. Cover the sauce in another layer of apples and then another layer of sauce.
6. Mix your flour, oats, sugar and butter together by hand. It won’t take long.
7. Once it resembles the stuff in the above photo, it’s ready to be sprinkled over your apple base.
8. Bake for 25 minutes on 180C and then put on the griller function in your oven and this will crisp up the topping so it gives you a beautiful crunch. Once the topping is golden brown, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. This just allows the edges to cool and set a little so it’s easier for you to remove in 1 piece.
9. Cut up to the desired size (or just grab a spoon and indulge yourself) and serve with either thickened cream, or some vanilla ice cream.


Apple Sauce

It’s a bowl of Apple Sauce… Cause you know, the recipe is for apple sauce.

I remember (insert 4000 word essay on irrelevant family history and self-serving nostalgia) and that’s why …. Ah forget this nonsense. Here’s the recipe.

De Stuff
3 Granny Smith Green Apples
1/4 cup water
1Tbsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

De Way
1. Peel and core your apples. I did mine with one of those mechanical device that looks like a medieval torture device which spiralizes as well. If you don’t have access to the spinny apple slicer device of doom, try using a sword or a guillotine. (Be careful with that one. It’s got some low beams, so mind your head!)
2. After peeling and coring your apple, slice it into discs that are about 4mm thick. If you prefer that your apple sauce has chunks rather than being smooth. Instead of slices, cut half your apple into larger chunks. While cooking, you will basically dissolve the smaller bits of apple.
3. Put your apple pieces, water and lemon juice into a saucepan on a medium heat. I cooked mine on a portable induction cooktop on 80 degrees Celsius, so a warm simmer, (but not boiling) would be good. Cook with the lid on and stir every few minutes to help it cook evenly.
4. When your apples are reduced to the size you are happy with, add the brown sugar and cinnamon. The brown sugar will caramelize and help bring everything together. The cinnamon will give you a more fulfilling taste. Cinnemon is very potent. Use with caution.
5. Mix everything so there are no concentrations of ingredients.
6. Once everything is combined and you are happy with your consistency, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool.
7. Once cooled, put it into a container to keep for future use, or use a ladle and drink up!

“The Mammoth” Continental Oreo Cheesecake

This was for a friend hosting a party… He’s on a diet.

Welcome back reader!

I’m glad you made it. Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, as usual, the recipe.

500g Arnott’s Choc Ripple Biscuits (Cookies for those of you in the US)
125g Regular, salted butter, melted.

The Filling
1kg of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (Let it get to room temp)
2/3 cup of white castor sugar
1 Tbsp Queen’s Vanilla Extract
1 FRESH Vanilla Bean. It should be flexible.
300ml of full fat thickened cream
1/4 cup of full cream milk
Up to 100ml Lemon juice (for tasting. Do NOT add it all at once!)
1.5Tbsp Gelatin Powder + 150ml just under boiling temp water.

A bunch of Oreos. Depending on the size of your cake tin, you’ll be able to get a whole bunch of them into this cheesecake. For my 3.5L round tin, I can manage to sneak 78 into it… I’ve practiced a few times.

1. Mixing tools. I use a Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer with a scraping attachment, but anything that can hold that much filling is fine. Use an old oil drum and a shovel if you’re feeding 400 people. Although I’d consider cleaning it out first.
2. Something to break down the biscuits for the base. I use a food processor, but a mortar and pestle works too.
3. For the measurements in this recipe, a 15L cake tin. But divide as you need.

The Method
1. Preheat your oven to 160C.
2. Take your lovely, new Choc Ripple biscuits and transcend them from regular biscuits, into their ascended form of existence. Powder for your cheesecake base.
3. Melt the butter and combine with the choc base.
4. Press this mixture into the cake base and set a timer for 8 minutes. Then, go for a run, do some weights, re-enact your favourite scene from Mission Impossible or donate blood! As long as the base bakes for 8 minutes. If you fancy a little burned chocolate taste, (lightly done, it can taste amazing) then bake the base for 10 minutes, not 8.
5. Using one of those dog-ball throwing arms, hurl your cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract and thickened cream into your mixing bowl and … well, mix them until they’re thoroughly combined. If you were naughty and didn’t take the cream cheese out of the fridge ahead of time, I am supremely disappointed. However, it just means you have to spend extra time mixing. We do NOT want any tiny chunks of un-mixed cream cheese in there, that’s just nasty to taste in the middle of a sweet dessert.
6. Cut the vanilla bean in half, and bend it open to expose the inside of the skin, with all the little vanilla specs inside it. Scrape the insides out with a knife, and add it to your mixture and mix them in thoroughly.
7. Now. This next step is very subjective. We’re going to use small, measured amounts of lemon juice to ‘activate’ the filling. Add in 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix thoroughly. This will activate your cake filling to your pallet. It will taste good, then great, then absolutely perfect. This step is all about your taste buds. Please, stop when it reaches your taste buds idea of perfection, we’re not making a lemon tart… If you want a lemon tart, wait for when I cook one and I’ll post another blog page for you.
8. Now that you have your mixture, prepare what you’re about to do because it is slightly time sensitive as it will start setting as soon as you’ve added your setting agent. (The Gelatin Powder)
a) Cut a bunch of Oreo’s in half. You’ll use the long edge to line the edge of the tin.
b) Get a little work station going, making sure there is space for the filling, the cake tin, your cut Oreo’s and your whole ones.
9. Mix your gelatin powder and water with a fork or whisk. This stuff is bitter to taste, so please strain it through a flour sifter on the way into the filling. Mix this thoroughly. (I know I’ve been using that word a lot here, but it’s the most suitable word.)
9. Pour a layer of filling over the base and use a Pallet knife or spatula to spread it out evenly.
10. Put a layer of Oreo’s on/in the filling, starting with your halved pieces to do the edge and using the whole ones to do the inner bits.
11. Repeat step 9.
12. Repeat step 10.
13. If you have the space in your tin for another layer, repeat step 9 and obviously, step 10.
14. If you do NOT have the space, eat the extra Oreo’s to drown your sorrows and move onto step 15.
15. After doing your last layer of Oreo’s, do a final layer of filling. Spread it out evenly and if you’ve got some Oreo dust left over from chopping them in half, spread it over the top so it looks pretty… Or make inappropriate shapes and really give your mother in law something to gasp over.
15b. (Optional!) Cover the top with extra, ground up bits of Choc Ripple, or Oreo. If you do this and want a nice, uniform surface, use a flour sifter and tap it against your hand, over the cake while the filling is fresh and hasn’t set yet. The dust layer will easily absorb the filling and become soft, so you won’t get any unexpected crunch.
16. Cover the mixture with cling wrap and place it into the fridge to set. Ideally, you’ll want it in there for 24-36 hours to make sure it’s uniformly set, but I’ve done this cake with 12-16 hours of setting time in the fridge, and it’s absolutely fine. A chef can tell the difference, but I can’t.

That’s it! It’s super easy.

If you’d like to do portion control, then you can easily do this recipe in cupcake patty’s and reduce the baking time of the base from 8 minutes, to 3-4 minutes. Then use a spoon to dollop (…… I LOVE that word…) some filling onto the base and place one whole Oreo onto it, before covering with more filling. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate. You now have measured portions to ensure ….. Oh who am I kidding. We both know that if it hits the spot, you’ll eat 6 of the mini version with your morning coffee. I’m not judging, I just believe in honesty.

17. (not recommended) Stay up way too late writing a blog and forget that you needed to clean up the kitchen earlier than 1am. Then go clean the kitchen while trying not to wake up your newborn child and wife… Who is exceptionally pissed off that you didn’t clean it earlier.

*Pr0metheus reads step 17 again, sweating profusely.*

Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Caution: Sarcasm and embellishment lies below.

The Cake Tin
It measures 255mm on the inside with a depth of 78mm. This gives you an available volume of just over 3.5L.
Why am I telling you this? If you’ve got a smaller cake tin, then you’ll have to use a smaller amount. Feel free to disregard this, but don’t come crying to me when you’re using a bowl to make the rest of the cake.

Here’s what to get at the shops for the:
500g Arnott’s Scotch Fingers
120g Salted Butter.

Salted Caramel Sauce
2 cups of Castor Sugar
180g Salted Butter
250ml of Double Cream
2 Teaspoons of Salt. Pick your best tasting salt.

Cheesecake Filling
1kg Philadelphia Cream Cheese
300ml Thickened Cream
75ml Full Cream Milk
1/3 of a cup of icing sugar
1.5Tbsp of Gelatin Powder
150ml of boiling water.

Now ultimately the only things that matter here, are that you:
1. Don’t mix the gelatin powder and boiling water into the mixture too soon. It’s the setting agent, so don’t do it until it’s time to pour over the base.
2. Speaking of the base, feel free to make that ahead of time. It’ll hold in the fridge over night if necessary.
3. Lastly, make the filling before the caramel sauce. The caramel sauce will need to be put into the cake filling quickly, so have it ready.

Now. What to do with all this stuff.
The Rebel Base
1. Preheat your oven to 180C. This was done in a fan-forced oven. If you’ve got a convention oven, please join us in this century.
2. Turn your Scotch Fingers into lots and lots of smaller pieces of them. A food processor will make short work of this, but if you want to work out some anger, use a sledge hammer. As long as they all end up as a powder that is hygienic, it doesn’t matter.
3. Using either a large bowl or stand mixer, put the remnants of your biscuits into it and melt the butter in the microwave, or over the stove. The Microwave means less to clean, but I’ll leave that up to you. I’m not your supervisor.
4. Mix them together thoroughly. Press it into the base of your cake tin and put it in your over for 8 minutes. Remove it and let it cool as you continue.

The Non-Dental Filling (Part 1)
1. Put your cream cheese and milk into your mixing apparatus.
2. Mix them thoroughly. (Using room temperature cream cheese helps it mix easier.)
a) If you have a stand mixer, let it mix as you continue, there’s no downfall to overmixing this. If not, mix and let it sit.
Note: Make sure you mix everything in! Scrape the sides and get the bottom.

The Caramel Source (This is not a fast process. Don’t rush it!)
1. Cut the butter into smaller, manageable pieces. 10-12 is ideal. Set it aside.
2. Crush the salt into a fine powder that is as fine as possible. If you like biting into giant chunks of sea bed, then don’t crush it.
3. Using low-medium heat (100C is perfect for this.) Melt your castor sugar. The method of melting is up to you, but I’d lean away from the illegal flame-thrower you made for your nephew. It’s too aggressive. Use an implement that will give you the best scraping power. A flat spatula is fine. But if you prefer a spoon or sword, it’s your choice. Whatever your choice may be, continuously stir this mixture as it cooks!
4. As it melts, it will start to clump up. This is normal. The clumps will get bigger and then start to turn brown. Again. Normal.
5. The mixture will start to caramelise and melt in the pan. When this occurs, this sauce is very susceptible to burning. If you start to smell burning at all, remove it from the heat source immediately. Once you do, stir swiftly until the smell stops, then return it to the heat.
6. Once it dissolves completely, begin to add the butter 1-2 pieces at a time. It will bubble so prepare yourself with whatever stress-relieving mechanisms you require.
7. When all the butter has been absorbed into your mixture, add the double cream in, one spoon at a time. It works best when room temp, but if you add it when it’s as cold as superfluid helium, then add smaller amounts.
8. Continue to mix thoroughly. The mixture will bubble slightly. Make sure you scrape all the spills that went up the side of your frying pan or saucepan into this so everything is incorporated.
9. Let it simmer and cook for a minute or two, to make sure everything is cooked together.
10. You have two choices at this point.
a) You can mix in a quarter of your salt mixture and set the mixture aside. This sauce can be used as a regular caramel sauce.
b) Mix in all the salt and continue with this recipe.
11. Assuming you’ve continued with the recipe and you’ve mixed all the salt into this mixture, take this over to your bowl of filling.

The Filling (Part 2)
3. Whip the thickened cream along with the icing sugar.
4. Fold the whipped cream into the filling. Now when I say fold, I just mean to gently mix with a spatula or spoon. Don’t put it in your stand mixer and use the ‘Create a vortex to another plane of existence’ setting.
5. Now. Using a spoon of your choice whether it be a ladle, a melon baller or…. something else, it doesn’t matter. Add about a third of your caramel sauce into the batter and stir slowly. Once it’s all been incorporated, taste it. If it is not to your liking, add more sauce in small batches until it tastes just right.
Note: Aim to keep about 70ml of your caramel sauce for drizzling over the top. If you don’t want to, it’s not my problem that you have nothing for aesthetic appeal to put on the top. So don’t come crying to me.
6. Boil the water and mix in the gelatin powder. It sounds simple, but the gelatin powder will clump together in a picosecond. Use a jug and small whisk (or fork) and stir vigorously until you create a vortex powerful enough to pull the kraken back down and add the powder a small amount at a time. This will save you a lot of hassle. (Trust me.)
8. Once this is fully mixed, add it to your filling and stir thoroughly.

Finishing the cooking bit of this recipe.
1. If you have more sauce left over, you can pour it over the base and make a nice treat for the bottom of the bite. If you don’t (or don’t want to…. {this is the weirder option}) then pour the mixture over the base until the mixture bowl is empty.
2. If you do have some caramel sauce left to drizzle, using a honey dipper, a spoon, your fingers or a stick, sway the item over the cake. It will automatically make the sweet swirls in the above photograph.
3. Cover the cake with cling wrap and put it flat in the fridge for ideally, 36 hours for a cake this big. You can do overnight, but it will not set as well.

When it comes time to eat.
1. If I need to tell you to take a cake out of its tin before attempting to cut it, then I weep for you. Take the cake out of the tin and place it on a cutting surface. Cut into the desired size and cut it however you like. I don’t care. This room is 38 degrees.

Other Portion Options
If you want to do smaller portions and make cupcake or muffin sized mini-cheesecakes, then just do exactly the same steps above, with this adjustment.
– Cook the bases for 4 minutes and check on them. There should be a golden brown edge to indicate that it’s ready.

That’s it!
I hope you were joyfully informed with this recipe.