Popular French Dish with Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts


1/2 lb chestnuts
1/2 cup milk
1-1/4 lb small tender Brussels sprouts
2 tbsp butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
2-3 tbsp dry white wine


  1. Using a small knife, score a cross in the base of each chestnut. Over a medium-high heat, bring a saucepan of water to the boil, drop in the chestnuts and boil for 6-8 minutes. Remove the pan from heat.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, remove a few chestnuts, leaving the others immersed in water until ready to peel. Holding them in a tea towel, remove the outer shell with a knife and then peel off the inner skin.
  3. Rinse the pan, return the peeled chestnuts to it and add the milk. Top up with enough water to completely cover the chestnuts. Simmer over a medium heat for 12-15 minutes until the chestnuts are just tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. Remove any wilted or yellow leaves from the Brussels sprouts. Trim the root end but leave intact or the leaves will separate. Using a small knife, score a cross in the base of each sprout so they cook evenly.
  5. In a large heavy frying pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Stir in the chopped shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes until just softened, then add the Brussels sprouts and wine. Cook, covered, over a medium heat for 6-8 minutes, shaking the pan and stirring occasionally, adding a little more water if necessary.
  6. Add the poached chestnuts and toss gently to combine, then cover and cook for 3-5 minutes more until the chestnuts and Brussels sprouts are tender.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: French Cuisine Made Easy


North African-style Braised Lamb in Pomegranate Sauce


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2-1/4 lb lean lamb such as shoulder or leg, cubed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
juice of 2 pomegranates, about 1-1/4 cups
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
cooked rice to serve
pomegranate seeds and chopped fresh mint, to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, brown the lamb, in batches, and set aside.
  3. Return the onion, garlic, ginger and lamb to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Gradually stir in the pomegranate juice, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding more. There should be very little liquid left.
  4. Add the cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom to the pan and stir for 1 minute.
  5. Stir in the yogurt. Cover the pan tightly and cook very gently, preferably on a heat diffuser, for 30-40 minutes until the lamb is tender. Check from time to time that the meat is not sticking and drying out too much. Add a little water, if necessary.
  6. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped mint, and serve with rice.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Source: North African Cooking

Oven-cooked Beef Pot Roast


one 4-pound boneless beef chuck roast
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
12 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups reduced-sodium beef broth, or as needed
4 large sprigs of fresh thyme
1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1-1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
12 ounces cherry tomatoes (preferably assorted colors)
3/4 cup pitted green olives


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Pat the beef dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a large Dutch oven (at least 6 quarts) over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the beef and cook, turning occasionally, for about 12 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer the beef to a bowl.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions to the pot, and cook, stirring occasionally and scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon,for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant.
  6. Stir in the wine, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute.
  7. Stir in the broth, thyme, and rosemary.
  8. Return the beef to the pot and scatter the potatoes, tomatoes, and olives around it. You should have enough liquid to cover all but about the top 1 inch of the beef. Add broth or water if needed. Bring to a simmer over high heat, cover tightly. T
  9. Move the pot to the oven. Bake for about 2 hours and 30 minutes, turning the beef over after the first 1-1/2 hours, or until it is just tender. Uncover and continue baking for about 30 minutes, or until the beef is fork-tender.
  10. Remove from oven and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.
  11. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beef, vegetables, and olives to a platter. Gently pull the beef into large chunks along its natural separations. Cover the beef, vegetables, and olives with aluminum foil to keep warm.
  12. Skim off the fat that has risen to the surface of the cooking liquid and remove and discard the herb stems. Bring the liquid to a boil and boil for about 20 minutes, or until slightly reduced.
  13. Return the beef, vegetables, and olives to the pot and simmer for about 5 minutes, or just until reheated.
  14. Divide the beef, vegetables, and olives among six dinner plates. Spoon a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid over each serving. Pour the remaining cooking liquid into a sauceboat. Serve hot, with the cooking liquid on the side.

Makes 6 servings.

Source: Curtis Stone What’s for Dinner?

Roasted Pork Belly Braised in Rum Broth


350g pork belly
300 ml rum
1 apple, cut into wedges
1 stick cinnamon
2 dates, roughly chopped

Caramel Sauce

300 ml rum
1 tbsp condensed milk
1 tbsp butter
30 ml cream
1 date, finely chopped

Pickled Apple

1 apple, half diced and half julienned
1/3 cup vinegar

Poached Apple

1 apple, cut into wedges

Smoked Corn and Onion Sauce

1 tbsp butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cobs corn
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp smoking chips
salt and pepper, to season


  1. Preheat oven to 230ºC. Turn on pressure cooker to high.
  2. Score the skin of pork belly and place into the pressure cooker along with rum, 300 ml water, apple wedges and cinnamon stick. Seal and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove pork, place onto a tray and roast until golden, about 20-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to rest.
  4. To make the caramel sauce, place remaining 300 ml rum into a small pan and reduce over medium heat to a thick syrup. Add condensed milk, butter, cream and chopped date. Reduce until thickened then pass through a sieve and set aside.
  5. For the pickled apple, place julienned and diced apple into a bowl with vinegar and set aside for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  6. To poached the apple, bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer over low heat. Add apple wedges and cook until soft, but still holding shape, about 10-15 minutes.
  7. To make the corn and onion Sauce, heat butter in a fry pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring until softened but not browned. Set aside in a medium bowl.
  8. Place corn cobs onto a plate and cook in the microwave until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Slice 2 strips of the kernels off the cobs and set aside for plating. Slice the remaining kernels off the cobs and place into the bowl of softened onions. Cover bowl with cling film and insert the hose of a smoking gun. Light smoking gun chips and allow the bowl to fill with smoke. Remove smoking gun hose and seal the bowl tightly. Set aside to smoke for 15 minutes.
  9. Uncover the bowl and transfer corn and onion into a food processor. Blend until smooth then pass through a fine sieve, season and set aside.
  10. To serve, cut pork belly into 4 pieces. Spread some corn and onion sauce onto each plate and top with a portion of the pork. Add some reserved slices of corn kernels and top with pickled apple. Serve caramel sauce on the side.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Australian MasterChef

Chinese-style Braised Tofu with Shredded Daikon


2 packs nedium firm tofu
300 g daikon
50 g Chinese black mushroom, soaked in watr until softened
10 g dried goji berries (杞子)
5 g daikon sprout (kaiware)
5 g ginger


1 cup vegetable broth
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar


  1. Cut mushroom, daikon, tofu and ginger into strips.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Stir-fry ginger, mushroom and daikon.
  3. Add sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add tofu and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Mix in goji berries and daikon sprout. Cook 1 minute. Remove and serve hot.

Source: Vegetarian Tofu