Category Archives: Beef Recipes

Chili Con Carne Mac and Cheese

Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

One of my dreams is to one day own a mac and cheese food truck!

You can just about make any flavour and then toss it through macaroni and bake it.  Imagine all the things you like, then mix it in with macaroni.  For example, I love chili and chili con carne, mix it in with macaroni, put cheese on top and and bake it in the oven and you have chili mac and cheese.  You can also have it cold like a salad like they do in the Philippines.  There they have a salad with macaroni, its usually with pineapple, ham, palm seeds, cheddar cheese and coconut dressed with mayonnaise or sour cream, sounds weird but bloody tasty stuff.

Flavours are endless really, vego’s can have Napolitana sauce and cheese or use three types of cheeses and mix it with some mustard and a little cream and bake it with some nice cheddar on top.  My favourite flavour that I’ve come up with is roasted, crispy pork belly all chopped up and tossed in a dry pan to crispen up a little more, finish it some strips smokey roasted capsicums (peppers for non Aussies), roasted red onions and chipotle sauce, toss through macaroni and bake in the oven with some stinky cheese like an Epoisses or Taleggio.  Decadence with all the good things in one plate!  Served with crushed avocado on top and sour cream and boy, you’ve got a dish no one will turn their backs on.

Try this out for starters and see what the fuss is all about.  I am using the chili recipe from the a previous blog to make things a little easier or if you make that chili recipe and wonder what you can do with any left overs.

If you cook up a braise dish like osso bucco or lamb shank or even a curry, try cutting the meaty bits down a little more and toss it through macaroni, add cheese that closely fits its flavour profile on top and bake it and who knows, maybe you can come up with your original mac and cheese!

Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 8


700gr Raw Macaroni

100gr Salt

500gr Alexandrina Cheddar Cheese – grated

1 Recipe of Chili Con Carne Recipe – previous articles



For the Macaroni

  1. Place ten litres of water to boil with the salt
  2. Once boiling, add the macaroni and cook until al dente.  This is when you bite into a pasta, it has some resistance to the teeth but no crunch
  3. Staring in a colander and run cold water through, set aside until needed


To Finish:

  1. Pre Heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Using a large pot, place the chili con carne sauce and heat up until simmering
  3. Add the blanched pasta and stir through for about 5 minutes
  4. Place into a baking dish
  5. Sprinkle the cheese on top until “all” the surface area is covered, this will inhibit the pasta from getting dry
  6. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven or until the cheese is golden brown
Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang


Chili Con Carne, Tortilla, Salsa, Guacamole

Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

One of my favourite things to eat is chili!

I have grown up eating chili since I can remember.  As a kid, I remember eating our meals around a huge table which my grandmother would cook for.  I had aunts, uncles, cousins and sisters around that table, including my grandmother, who would share a chair with me.  As I ate, I remember the many condiments that accompanied every meal.  These included things like, finely chopped garlic and crushed white pepper in cane vinegar, fish sauce and chopped chili and garlic in a mixture of soy and cane vinegar all in little separate dishes for every one to share.  Amongst that were little, bright, shiny red chilies left whole.  These were for the “game” people, the slightly more chili crazy members of the family.  They would take one of these deadly, birdseye chillies and place it on the side of their plates.  They would break off a tiny bit of this deadly hot chili and add to their next mouthful of food.  I always cringed at the pain they put themselves through as they breathed in through their tightly gritted teeth then puckering their lips as they suck in air to cool their lips.  It was a slightly amusing ritual, mouthful of food followed by chili followed by their attempts to cool their lips and then a sip of ice cold water then back to the start.  They would do this over and over again with sweat beading off their foreheads and as soon as the last mouthful of food is consumed, they rush off away from the table and walk around to try and cool down.

I began eating chili by eating slightly tamer chillies than the deadly birdseye chili.  I slowly climbed up the “chili” scale, attempting the hotter chillies as time went on and my palate got used to flavour and the heat.  Now, I can eat chili just like the aunts and aunties I once watched in amazement as a child.  I love chillies in just about everything like pastas.  Some red sauces in pastas just need that heat especially in alioli sauces.  Curries must have chillies, and some refreshing tropical Asian salads must have chillies in them like a Thai Larb or Vietnamese salad with Nuoc Nam dressing.

In the Philippines, chili is a huge part of our cuisine but more as a condiment.  Mixed generally in soy and cane vinegar along with chopped garlic.  In dishes like sinigang, chillies are sometimes added half way through their cooking to impart flavours and once cooked the chillies suck in the flavours of the broth and become plump and flavoursome themselves.  The chillies are then fished out and added to fish sauce where the chillies are crushed and then used as a condiment for sinigang.  Usually we would add a few to stat with because it is a prized surprise for most Filipinos!

I love this recipe because you can control the amount of heat.  I love to use as many different chillies as I possibly can, the hotter the better.  The secret here is to make sure you saute the vegetables off well to get the natural sugars to come out.  Secondly, seal the meat “hard” on a really hot pan and thirdly, cook the chili for as long as you can, adding water to the pot if it gets too dry.  The longer you cook it the better.  And no secrets here when I say it, but make it two or three days in advance.  The longer you allow it to sit, the better the flavours get, allowing it time to develope just like you do with curries, casseroles and other braised dishes.

Enjoy this recipe and in following recipes, I will show you how to use the chili in other ways!

Photo by Jun Pang

Photo by Jun Pang

Chili Con Carne, Tortilla, Salsa, Guacamole

Serves 8

For the Con Carne

2kg Lean Beef Mince

100ml Vegetable Oil

2 Brown Onions – finely diced

1 bulb Garlic – finely chopped

5 Large Red Chillies – finely sliced

3 tblsp Ground Cumin

4 tblsp Chili Flakes

2 tblsp Chili Powder

1 tblsp Smoked Paprika

2x140gr Tomato Puree

2x800gr Tin Chopped Tomatoes

Sea Salt – to taste

Ground White Pepper – to taste

For the Salsa

4 Large Ripe Tomatoes – diced 1cm cubes

½ Red Onion – peeled & diced ½ cm cubed

1 Bunch Coriander – finely chopped

2 tblsp EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Sea Salt – to taste

Ground White Pepper – to taste


4 Avocados – peeled, slightly mashed with a fork

½ Red Onion – peeled & diced ½ cm cubed

1 Lemon – juiced

1 tsp Tabasco Sauce

Sea Salt – to taste

Ground White Pepper – to taste


For the Tortilla

16 Tortilla Wrappers

1 Cup Grated Cheddar

½ Iceberg Lettuce – finely sliced

1 Cup Sour Cream


For the Con Carne

  1. Heat up a large pot on high heat for one minute, then add a third of the vegetable oil
  2. Place half the minced meat into the pot, seal and lightly brown the meat, set aside.  Repeat with the remaining meat
  3. Heat the pot once again on high for thrity seconds and add the remaining vegetable oil
  4. Add the onions and sauté, continuously stirring for one minute then add garlic and sauté for another minute
  5. Add the chopped fresh red chillies and sauté for another minute
  6. Add the cumin and stir through then chilli flakes, chili powder and smoked paprika and stir through
  7. Add the tomato paste and cook whilst stirring for another minute, cook out the puree
  8. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil then once at simmer, add the sealed meat and stir through
  9. Cook for one hour on really low, making sure to stir it every 5 minutes or so

10. Season to taste

For the Salsa

  1. Place tomatoes, red onions and coriander in a bowl and mix thoroughly
  2. Add EVOO and season to taste



  1. Place the avocados, lemon juice and red onion a bowl and mix through
  2. Season to taste then add the Tabasco sauce

For the Tortilla

  1. Toast the tortilla on a dry pan.  If you are doing large batches, toast then place it on plate then cover it with a towel moistened with warm towel
  2. Place con carne on the tortilla, cheese, salsa, lettuce and sour cream

Make cooking easy but tasty.  Use this recipe and I’ll show you what you can do with the let overs in the coming editions.

Photo by Jn Pang

Photo by Jn Pang

Baked Chili Beef Ribs



Photo by Jun Pang

Secondary cuts of meat are trendy these days.  Whether it be lamb, pork or beef, secondaries have come around from the past to be trendy once again.  In the past, it was almost a necessity to use secondary cuts of meat  and offal for survival.  The harsh financial times of the past forced a lot of people to be creative with cheaper cuts of meat.  Stories told by grandmothers, telling us about cooking pigs head, ox tails and trotters; ribs, shins and belly seemed so unreal when we were younger.  We could never imagine eating such things because our generation is so used to juicy, primal cuts of meat.  These days, chefs have trended towards creating dishes with secondaries more and more not to make more money (because they are cheaper) but because punters are taking to liking the wonderful creations that chefs come up with using bits of meat that would other wise be used for mince perhaps.  The cooking methods for these secondary cuts is usually long, this is to extract as much flavour from the cut and to break down the tougher muscles.  Cooking methods like braising, slow roasting, confit and these days, sous vide (where it is becoming a regular cooking method for chefs).  As a result of slow cooking, I believe that it produces a tender, tastier, juicier end product.

In America, beef short ribs have been around for years and in my eyes, they are the best at creating some pretty tasty BBQ dishes.  A dream of mine is to one day visit America’s South where barbecuing or “cook outs” (as they would call it) is an art.  So much to learn because barbecuing is not a one day, last minute event in America.  Barbecuing is whole day process, with a couple of days worth of preparation before hand.  Most BBQ enthusiast prepare their own meat, rubs and even wood chips and some even come up with their own contraption for a BBQ, now thats dedication!

As a result of their dedication to the BBQ culture, they have come up with some sensational wet and dry rubs, basting liquids, sauces and glazes.  The art of barbecuing is almost a life long passion or in some cases an obsession. If you think about it, to be really good at some thing, you have to spend a hell of a lot of time trialing, practicing and testing flavours and techniques.  The ingredients are important but also their equipment and “fuel” adds to the final product.  Gallon tanks cut in half using Argentinean wood coal chips or hickory adds smokiness and the gallon tank acts much like an oversized Webber BBQ – brilliant really!

I love using beef short ribs mainly for their flavour.  I have talked so much about them in past blogs so I won’t harp on at why I love them so much but in short they are  tasty, versatile and if prepared correctly, coupled with Australia’s love of the great outdoors and the trusty BBQ grill, I think more and more as time goes by, we will start to see more short ribs been “chucked” on the barbie – hopefully!

This recipe instructs you to bake the ribs once it has been braised but try finishing it on a charcoal BBQ or a Webber to intensify the glaze a bit more and to also get that smokey flavour.  You end up with the meat slightly crispy on some edges with intense flavours of sweet, spicy and tangy and at the “meaty” bits of the ribs, you get a super juicy, tender cut of meat with sticky, sweet, smoky, chili flavour that people will just devour, leaving them sucking the bone clean.

This will not go down as a normal backyard BBQ, it will become legendary with your mates.  Stories will be told about your BBQ’s!


Baked Chilli Beef Ribs

Serves 8


3 ½ Kg Beef Ribs – meat & rib bone weight

½ Cup Siracha Chili Sauce

½ Cup Korean Chili Paste

½ Cup Light Soy

¼ Cup Honey

½ Cup Ketcup Manis

½ Cup Shaoxing – Chinese cooking wine

1 Cup Apple Cider

¾ Cup Brown Sugar

4 tblsp Garlic – peeled & pureed

1 Onion – peeled & finely chopped

2 Litres Chicken Stock



  1. Make a marinade of Siracha chili sauce, Korean chilli paste, light soy, honey, ketcup manis, Shoaxing, apple cider, brown sugar and garlic then marinate the beef ribs over night
  2. The next day, pre heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius
  3. Place the ribs along with the marinade into a baking tray
  4. In a pot, place onions and chicken stock into a large pot and bring to boil
  5. Cover the ribs with boiled chicken stock, then cover the baking tray with tin foil
  6. Bake at pre heated oven for 1 hour or until the meat falls off the bone
  7. Carefully place the liquid in a pot and bring it to boil then to a simmer, reduce until the consistency of warm honey
  8. Baste the ribs with reduced liquid and bake for another 5 minutes to finish

Richard Gunner Fine Meats Beef Ribs w Chipotle Sauce

Picture by Martine Robert of

Well, here it is guys, the recipe for the tender RGFM beef rib with chipotle sauce.

One of the other dishes that went down well for the 2012 Eat.Drink.Blog dinner were these awesomely tender beef ribs with chipotle sauce.  I have a deep fascination with secondary cuts of meat, I love them.  Growing up, I hardly saw primary cuts being served on our dining table at home.  My mum or my grandmother would cook with predominantly secondary cuts like ox tail, ribs, beef tendons etc.  Beef ribs was used in a Filipino dish called sinigang; my mum would use either pork ribs or beef ribs, either way, it was braised in a stock flavoured with tamarind for hours until the meat is so tender it almost falls apart especially when you try to sneak one out of the pot, which was often for me because I would always try and pinch one out of the pot before they were served.

These ribs were cooked much the same, just finished differently.  The thing with secondary cuts is that it is packed full of flavour, intense flavours actually.  The draw back is that, to extract these flavours you have to slow cook them at low temperatures for hours to infuse flavours, develope flavours and tenderize the cut of meat.  Secondary cuts are working muscles so it’s tougher if you don’t treat it right.  Tenderizing can be done in several ways, slow cooked on a BBQ, braised, oven braised, slow roasted and the list goes on, it just depends on the final outcome you want.  In this case, I have slow braised it in a beef stock for a few hours on low temperature making sure I develope flavours and also tenderise the meat by cooking it for a long period of time breaking down tendons and connective tissues into gelatinous goodness.

Chipotle sauce is something else!  I love chillies and I fell in love with chipotle sauce because of its smokey flavour.  It’s different, it’s earthy and smokey.  I  came across it when I was trying out a recipe for a mole sauce, a spicy Mexican chocolate sauce.  I accidentally picked up the wrong chilli and from there, I was hooked.

Chipotle is a smoked jalepeno.   Jalepeno chillies come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and simply smoked until it becomes this dark, almost blackened chili.  It comes in several ways but the most common is dried or in adobo sauce.  Like Filipino adobo, made with vinegar and soy, Mexican adobo (adobo means sauce) is similar but with out the soy sauce and the Mexican version is  made with a few more spices.

This is my interpretation of the chipotle sauce.  I added a little smoked capsicum in the recipe to boost the smokey flavours and roasted tomatoes to make it more dense.  I sometimes add butter to finish to give it the richness and nice glossy finish to the dish.  The honey is there to give it the “sticky” texture and helps make it really caramelized when roasting.  Try it as a glaze for the beef ribs but if you cool it down, you can add it to mayonaisse and use it as a condiment to say, slow roasted pulled beef rib slider with slaw or pulled pork with crackling slider and avocado.  Mate, if that doesn’t get the juices flowing, I don’t know what will??

I also have to mention how lucky we were to have Richard Gunner supply all of our meats for this event.  We use RGFM meats in the restaurant because one, they’re from our great state of South Australia and secondly, Richard Gunner meats are definitely one of the best going around.  Full traceability and we love that he is so passionate about all his product that he can back it up.  If you have some one with the type of passion and commitment to their product like Richard has, go with them, because chances are they’ll never let you down and boy did that man deliver on the night or what; with both the beef and the lamb that we cooked on the spit.  I’ll take some credit for the cooking but some would have to go to Richard for supplying an awesome product.

Picture by Martine Robert of

Roasted Beef Ribs with Chipotle Sauce

Serves 8

For the Ribs

2.5kg RGFM Beef Ribs – leave as whole racks on the bone

8litres Water or Beef Stock if Available

1tspn Black Pepper Corns

1 Onion – peeled and quartered

1 Garlic Bulb – halved

1 Bay Leaf

For the Chipotle Sauce

300ml Vegetable Oil

4 Brown Onions – peeled and chopped into small cubes

2 Garlic Bulbs – peeled

1tsp Cumin Powder

1tsp Dried Thyme

5 Tomatoes – roasted whole until slightly coloured and soft

5 Red Capsicum – blackened on open flame, peeled & deseeded

1 x 420gr Tin of Chipotle in Adobo

¼ Cup Honey

Sea Salt –  season to taste

White Pepper – season to taste

(200gr Butter – optional)

250ml Mayonnaise – if using as a mayo


For the Ribs

  1. Pre Heat oven at 180Degrees Celsius
  2. Place 8 liters of water (or stock) in a large pot along with the black pepper corns, chopped brown onions, garlic and bay leaf to make a cooking stock
  3. Take the stock up to boiling point then down to simmer for about 20 minutes
  4. Add the beef ribs into the stock and simmer in the stock for 45 minutes to one and a half hours or until the meat starts to gently fall off the bone
  5. Strain the beef ribs and allow to drain in a colander.  Reserve the stock for later use
  6. Place the ribs on paper towel and dab them dry, place on a wire rack, meat side up with roasting pan underneath ready for roasting

For the Chipotle Sauce

  1. Heat up a large deep pan and add the vegetable oil on high
  2. Add the onions and garlic in the pan straight away
  3. Take up the heat and stir as the oil gets hotter.  You want to cook it so as that the oil heats up slowly, slowly browning the onions an garlic evenly.  Do not leave the pot and continuous stirring at all times until golden brown
  4. Once browned, add the cumin and thyme and stir in
  5. Then add the roasted tomatoes and roasted, peeled red capsicums and stir in.  Cook until the both the ingredients break down
  6. Add the tinned chipotle and the juice from the tin then bring to simmer and continue to simmer for about another 15 minutes
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  8. Blitz the sauce to a smooth paste using a hand blender
  9. Add the honey and continue to blitz until smooth (add optional butter)

To finish

  1. Brush the ribs lavishly with the chipotle sauce
  2. Roast at pre heated oven for 15 minutes basting every 5-8 minutes with remaining sauce.  You can achieve a smokier flavour if cooked in a Webber at the same temp and timings
  3. Before serving, finish on charcoal grill for extra smokey flavour (normal BBQ grill would be fine).  If cooked in a Webber, omit this stage
  4. Serve with chipotle mayonnaise and simple garden salad

For the chipotle mayonnaise

  1. Place ¼ of the chipotle sauce in a mixing bowl and cool right down the fridge for about 30 minutes
  2. Mix this with the mayonnaise until evenly mix thorough

Pho – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

I started working as a chef in a hotel that is right next door to the Adelaide Central Markets and China Town.

As a young chef learning their trade, I could not have asked for anything more.  Imagine seeing your states best produce on the walk to work.  Can’t get any more inspiring and educational than that really.  You see the freshest ingredients and also learn about the seasonality of many fresh produce.  You get to talk to vendors and build that ever so important relationship between producers and cooks.

The other thing I loved was being next door to China Town.  Many types of Asian cuisine at its best here and a few of the restaurants in this area are iconic to the locals and well known to a lot of visitors.  One place I loved to hang out before work to eat was at the food hall.

In the early days of my career I was obsessed with laksa.  I went to the Laksa House in the food hall and there wasn’t a day that I missed out on a good bowl of laksa.  I love the Asian soups especially ones with so many complex and rich flavours.  I also like the heat that comes from the chillies and creaminess of the coconut broth.  I remember leaving the food hall with sweat beading off my forehead.  I thoroughly enjoyed those meals but none more than the day after a hard night of pub crawls with the boys, it just cleans you out, sweats out the prior nights damage.

On one occasion the Laksa House was closed and I was forced to find another “hang over cure”.  Desperate, I ordered a soup from the Vietnamese stall.  It was called Bon Bo Huy.  A spicy clear beef broth with rice noodles, beef and a chilli, lemon grass paste that you stir through.  What a find.  I enjoyed the clear, clean flavours of the broth and heat that came with chilli paste.  The broth didn’t leave you feeling heavy, in fact it left me feeling refreshed and not so bloated.  I loved the spice of the chillie paste and freshness that the lemon grass imparts into the broth.  I knew I had found a new love, a new cure for “the day after’ a pub crawl.

As I progressed with my new found love of Bon Bo Huy, I was excited to let one of my Vietnamese chefs know about my love of Vietnamese soups.  She then went on to tell me about Pho, the soup that most Vietnamese people have.  It was more traditional and she told me of a place in Adelaide called Pho 75, a restaurant that only sell several flavours of Pho.  Again, I fell in love with yet another Asian soup.  Pho is again cleaner on flavours, the broth even clearer and lighter yet the flavours of beef very distinct.  The broth is garnished with much of the same such as rice noodles, thinly sliced raw beef, tripe and beef gravy, a cut of beef full of gelatine which once slowly cooked, becomes like soft jelly, much loved and prized by many Asian cuisines.

I now see Pho coming up in a lot of cooking magazines like laksas in it’s hay day.  It seems that a lot of people are now on the Pho bandwagon.    It is good that people are getting out there and getting to know food, but it kind of feels sad because it takes that exclusivity away in a selfish way.  I did really feel the connection with this food and a deeper understanding of it when I went to Vietnam and ate Pho at the very iconic Pho shop, Pho 2000.  On that trip, I fell in love with Vietnamese food in general and especially Pho.

The Iconic Pho 2000 in Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City

I make this recipe in large batches, pack into a take away container with the meat already sliced into it.  When it is time for me to eat it, I just buy the noodles and other bits.  Great way to have home cooked meals with out the fuss, perfect for those times when I just don’t have enough hours in the day.


Pho – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

2 Lemons

1kg Beef Bones – ask butcher to cut it into smaller pieces

2 Gravy Beef

3 Brown Cardamoms

3 Cassia Bark

8 Star Anise

200 gr Ginger – Sliced into smaller pieces

4 Large Brown Onions – peeled and large dice

1 pkt of Beef Tendon Balls (available at any Asian Grocer)

1 Red Onion – Finely sliced (paper thin, preferably on a mandolin if possible)

1 pkt Pho Noodles (fresh)

1 pkt Bean Sprouts

1 Bunch Thai Basil


  1. Pre heat oven at 180C.
  2. Soak beef bones and gravy beef in cold water, lemon juice and lemons for ½ an hour.
  3. In a large pot, bring water to boil.
  4. Drain bones and gravy beef from the lemon juice and blanch in boiling water until impurities come out, about 15 minutes.  Drain the bones and beef and wash in cold water.
  5. Roast cardamom, cassia bark, star anise, ginger and onions for 30 minutes at 180C.
  6. Place the blanched bones and beef and all the roasted spices in a 10 litre  pot and fill the pot with cold water and bring to boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and skim all the scum that floats to the top, simmer for 2-3 hours
  7.   In the mean time blanch the noodles similarly to pasta, in salted water and cook until al dente.  Refresh in cold water and set aside.
  8. Slice the tendon balls into 4 pieces.
  9. After 2-3 hours of simmering (or until the gravy beef is tender), strain the stock.  Remove the gravy beef and discard the rest.
  10. Slice the gravy beef into even, thin slices, like discs
  11. It is important to keep this beef submerge in a little stock so as it does not discolour.  Season strain beef stock with salt and white pepper.
  12. In a deep soup bowl, place a small hand full of noodles followed by some sliced tendon balls, a couple of slices of beef gravy and some red onion.
  13. Pour piping hot stock over the ingredients in the bowl and serve with fresh ground white pepper floating on top.
  14. As an accompaniment, serve with Hoi sin and Sriracha chilli sauce (Vietnamese chilli sauce, available in most Asian Grocers) along with Thai basil and bean sprouts.
  15. This dish may also be served with thin sliced raw, lean beef and blanched tripe.

Red Braise Beef

Just about every Asian country has a version of this dish.  Most use the same spices to flavour the braising liquid and the end result is subsequently similar in taste and appearance.

This is a Chinese version, using many and very different spices.  It is a very simple dish, simply place all ingredients in a pot and let it braise away for a period of time, perfect for those people who love on pot wonders.

This recipe calls for beef, I have used the strap off of a sirloin, the bit that most people throw away.  This bit of the muscle has lots of connective tissues, full of gelatin and as it cooks down, that gelatin adds flavour and gives the stock a little body, giving it that, sticky, wonderful gelatinous texture to the sauce.

Pork is absolutely perfect for this recipe, especially pork hocks and knuckles.  This piece of meat has double the gelatin and flavour is superb.  You can really use just about any cut of meat, just stay away from primal cuts, secondary cuts are the best and doesn’t dry out in the long, slow cooking process.

Photo by Jun Pang

Red Braise Beef with Red Dates

Served 2

For the Braised Beef:

1.5 Kg Beef Sirloin Strap – cut into 3cm cubes

6 Star Anise

4 Cinnamon Sticks

5 Pieces of Liquorice Root

¼ Cup Dried Mandarin Peel

400 Gr Rock Sugar

½ Bunch Spring Onion – cut into 5cm long batons

¼ Cup Ginger – roughly sliced into thin pieces

2 Cups Water

1 Cup Shaoxing (Chinese Cooking Wine)

1 Cup Light Soy

½ Cup Dark Soy

1 Cup Chinese Red Dates (jujubes)

For the Jasmine Rice:

2 Cups Jasmine Rice

2 Cups Boiling Water

For the Spring Onion Curls:

!/2 Bunch Spring Onion Greens –  slice into long strips, in ice water


For the braised beef

  1. Place about 2 liters of water on to boil.
  2. Once the water is boiled, blanch the beef in boiling water for about 5 minutes to get rid of impurities then drain in a chinois
  3. In a 5 liter pot, place the star anise, cinnamon sticks, liquorice root, dried mandarin, rock sugar, spring onion, ginger, water, shaoxing, light soy and dark soy in the pot and bring to boil then simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Add the blanched beef to the pot and cook for a further hour on really low.
  5. Add the red dates and cook for a further half hour
  6. Taste for balance (not too salty) if it is a little strong in flavour, add a little water
  7. Serve in a pot and garnish with spring onion curls

For the Jasmine Rice

  1. Place the rice into a 2 liter pot and wash several times with cold until the water is remains clear as opposed to “milky” appearance
  2. Totally strain the  rice with the rice still in the pot
  3. Add the boiling water, cover with alfoil (tin foil) sealing the edges so no heat escapes
  4. Turn on the lowest heat and cook for exactly 12 minutes with out “peeking” into the pot

Photo by Jun Pang

Shaoxing Wine – Fermented from rice.  Originated from Shoaxing, in Eastern China.  Used mainly in cooking.

Liquorice Root – is the root of a herbaceous perennial plant known it’s botanic name Glycyrrhiza glbra.  It’s not from the aniseed family how ever it does impart a flavour similar to aniseed and is used in perfect combination with star anise.  Regarded by the Chinese as one of the healing herbs which provide energy.

Red Dates – commonly used in Chinese cooking and other Asian cuisines.  Also known in the Western world as Jujubes, it comes from the Ziziphus plant.  Also regarded by the Chinese as part of the healing herbs which is good for blood and a muscle relaxant.

Rock Sugar – are large sugar crystals made form a saturated solution, heated and allowed  allowed to crystallize, forming these crystals.  Usually amber in colour and it is also known as Rock Candy

Cafe de Paris Butter

Compound butters are probably one of the first things we learn at trade school. Simply put, it is butter with flavourings.  It’s used much like a sauce for many dishes like on roasted vegetables or to toss through freshly blanched beans, on roasted fish, cut into small discs and stuffed in between the skin and flesh of chickens ready for roasting for moisture and flavour and traditionally,it is used on grilled meats, mainly as a sauce or in corporation with a jus to monte the jus with more flavour.

There are then obviously heaps of different types of compound butters.  For example, truffle butter.  Grated truffle folded into whipped butter with some chopped herbs, usually used to go in between the skin and flesh of poultry such as a poussin.  Roasted beetroot, pureed then folded into butter for roasted vegetables and the list goes on. Other types include anchovy butter, red wine butter, port and muscatel butter, ground almond butter and so on.  The list is virtually endless, it all depends on what dish you want to use it in.

So this is the time to be a little creative.  Use your initiative, for example, herbs would go great with blanched vegetables so use herb butter.

Cafe de Paris butter was not invented in cafe in Paris as the name would suggest but rather by a chef named Freddy Dumont in 1941 in a restaurant called “Cafe de Paris” – funnily enough!  It was used predominantly on grilled sirloins and made this restaurant in it’s time very popular.  It still operates today and still makes the famed butter which ships to other restaurants all over the world trade marked as being the original version.  Today, there are many recipes of this butter out there but I have been using this very same recipe since I started cooking a long time ago and I’m still convinced that if made properly, it’s still the best!

Photo by Jun Pang

Café de Paris Butter

1kg Butter

1 cup Tomato Ketchup

4 tsp Dijon Mustard

2 tsp Capers

½ Cup Parsley                                   Finely chopped

½ Cup Chives                                   Finely Chopped

¼ Cup Marjoram                               Finely Chopped

¼ Cup Dill                                         Finely Chopped

¼ Cup Tarragon                                Finely Chopped

2 Cloves Garlic                                  Finely Chopped

10 Anchovy Fillets                            Finely Chopped

2 Tblspn Brandy

1 Tblspn Worcestershire Sauce

½ Tspn Curry Powder

Pinch Cayenne

Juice of 1 Lemon

Juice of 2 Oranges and Zest


  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl except for the butter.  Allow it to sit over night at room temperature
  2. Place the softened butter in a kitchen aid or a mixer with a paddle attachment
  3. Whip on high speeds until it starts to change colour sightly, lighter yellow colour
  4. Place the herb mix into the mixer and mix on slow speed
  5. Mix well then place into jars or roll it into logs by using kitchen paper then in foil, then use the foil to roll it in tight log
  6. Make small batches and you can freeze it so it can be more user friendly

Truffle – is a subterranean funghi (mushroom that grows under ground).  Very pungent, unique aroma that is so strong it can flavour porous ingredients, for example if stored with arborio rice for a period of time you can make truffled risotto, it will take on the flavours of the truffle, same with eggs for truffled eggs.  Highly priced in French, Spanish and Italian cuisine, truffles have hundreds of varieties with the most prized being the white truffle or Alba madonna found in the country side of Alba, Italy.  Truffles are highly regarded in kitchens and can fetch hundreds of dollars per kilo

Poussin – is a young or juvenile chicken weighing in at 400-550gr, no older than 28 days old.  In Australia, it is also known as spatchcock

Muscatel – is from the grapes called muscats. It is left on the vine to ripen until it resembles raisins.  It is very intense in sweetness and has a beautiful pruney, sweet flavour.  Used a lot as dried fruit condiment or on cheese plates

Monte – in cooking terms it suggests to mount, meaning to mount with butter for example.  Monte au beurre means to mount with butter or finish with butter.  Usually referring to jus mounted with butter to flavour extension, body and silky, shiny finish to a jus