You may have already gathered from my last two recipes that I am a big fan of soup. Yes, I admit it, I love soup. When you can pressure cook your own Chicken broth or stock at home in no time and without filling the house with its smell, it becomes a weekly staple and, once you have that stock or broth (whatever you prefer to call it) in the fridge, it’s so versatile!…
I love meat loaf and it turns out that so does the little Tapita! It’s delicious hot or cold so really convenient. Perfect for picnics for that imminent spring weather that is round the corner. This Instant Pot Meat Loaf is delicious!…
Ox cheeks are a cut best braised (first fried and then slow cooked for hours) or fantastic pressure cooked, so easy in the Instant Pot. The meat becomes melt-in-the-mouth tender.
You will find ox cheeks in your local good butcher, Waitrose also has them.
This was my first try with ox cheeks and I have to say: do not try to slice or dice them (it’s mission impossible). Leave them whole. They are very sinewy raw but that all disintegrates when pressure cooking, leaving you with fork-tender meat.
A tip: porcini and, in general, dried mushrooms can be quite expensive. I got mine from Grape Tree in town. I think a 40 g bag was £1. If you have one nearby it’s worth going in for the raw cashews and the big buckets of herbs and spices, which tend to be 3 for 2.
Don’t forget you can find all my Instant Pot recipes here.
You know those days when you’re feeling organised and you’re going to cook a particular recipe and then realise you’re missing key ingredients and in fact you have certain other ingredients that could do with using up… Add to that an inability to follow recipes to the letter and you end up with something like these pressure cooked All-in-One Lamb Shanks with New Potatoes and Chantenay Carrots, made simple by my Instant Pot….
Did you know there’s such a thing as a National Chocolate Week? There is, and it’s right now. Not that I need an excuse to celebrate or eat chocolate any day of the year! In this household the chocolate we buy regularly is Lind’ts 85%. That’s dark, very dark. But the little Tapita absolutely loves it. The other day I had the chocolate next to the beef I was buying in my basket at the supermarket and I thought to myself: “well, husband does add cocoa to his chilli, doesn’t he?”.
This Chocolatey Beef Stew makes a luscious sauce, enjoy with a nice glass of red wine if you can. Or a beer. Can you tell I am still off the alcohol due to my meds? At least I can eat chocolate, in everything it would appear.
I made this in my Instant Pot, you can make it in your stove-top pressure cooker if you have one. I like the Instant Pot because I don’t have to babysit it, I just leave it to it and I get on with life (or with putting my feet up). You will find all my Instant Pot recipes here and, if you’re a newbie, you will find my guide to get started here.
Ready to give it a go?
– 1 onion, large, chopped
– 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 stalk of celery, chopped
– Extra virgin olive oil or oil of your choice
– 1 tin of plum tomatoes
– 150 ml vegetable stock
– 100 ml red wine
– 600 g beef, diced (I used braising steak)
– 7 g porcini, a handful, add more if you have more (I was down to my last 7 g)
– 280 g mushrooms, quartered
– 220 g carrots, sliced in half cm coins
– 40g Lindt 85% chocolate (4 squares)
Note: if you have a Thermomix just stick in the bowl the onion, garlic and celery and chop on speed 5 for 5 seconds.
1. Press Sauté, add a dash of the oil of your choice, and fry the chopped onion, garlic and celery.
2. Add the beef and, if you have time, brown it using the Sauté button (if you do brown it, make sure you deglaze by adding a bit of red wine or stock and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon at the end). Add the rest of the ingredients, stir. Lock the lid in. Steam release handle pointing to Sealing. Press Manual and programme 25 minutes, do a natural release at the end (the natural release is important).
3. If you would like to thicken the sauce, press Keep Warm/Cancel then press Sauté, then Adjust to set it to More and let it bubble with the lid off so that it reduces, stay near your pot as it happens quickly.
Tip: really nice served with mashed potatoes.
I am absolutely loving my Instant Pot, being able to make this kind of meal mid-week with the pressure cooker function is quite a luxury (and not at all as scary as you remember pressure cookers to be!). This Pressure Cooked Whole Soy chicken is my first Instant Pot recipe on the blog. Exciting times….
Hello! I haven’t forgotten that I have a blog, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram accounts I promise but life dealt us a hard blow on Monday and it has taken me a little while to shake the deep sadness of having lost a beautiful, caring friend. Anything I wrote seemed too sad or too cheerful and I so want to remember her as the young, bright, caring,
intelligent person she was. I don’t want this to be a sad post but I just couldn’t bring myself to
publish a post without mentioning her; after all, she very much led to the creation of this blog.
So today, as I was trying to remember how on earth I managed to make such good boeuf bourguignon in the Thermomix last time (and before the beef that had been delivered on Monday morning went off), I realised that perhaps I should write about the perfect food to have with friends, family, your partner… when the weather is cold.
My friend’s sudden death has brought along many regrets and one of them has been not having seen her or spoken to her more often in the last few months. Mr Tapas and I have decided that life is too short to put things off.
Her business name included the words Life Circle and indeed it has begun: three pregnancies announced since Monday. No, not mine!
One day I will tell you everything about one of the most beautiful souls ever to walk planet Earth but, for now, I shall give you a little taste of heaven instead. Don’t let this story make you sad, try it!
This one is for you Shelley, I do so hope you’re enjoying having a good catch-up with your dad. I bet he is telling you just how proud he has been of you all these years. I promise you to try to do it with gluten-free flour one day too, you know why. I miss you my dear friend and will never forget you.
Boeuf bourguignon in the Thermomix a la Feisty Tapas
It should serve 4 people
- 120 g shallots
- 130 g onion
- 3 carrots, sliced (I have to ask you to do this by hand, sorry!)
- 40 g butter
- 10 g olive oil
- 450 g cubed beef (I cut mine so that the cubes would be bite sized)
- 60 g plain flour
- 200 g red wine
- 200 g beef stock OR 200 g hot water + a beef stock cube
- Salt and pepper
- Approx. 5 mushrooms, sliced
Thermomix TM31, chopping board and knife for vegetables, chopping board and knife for meat (unless you already have it cubed), a table, good friends, no TV just the noise of conversation.
- Chop onion and shallots 5 seconds, speed 5.
- Add the carrots, butter and olive oil: 100º, 5 minutes, speed 1.
- Add the cubed beef and the plain flour: 100º, 10 minutes, speed 1.
- Add the wine, the stock (or the hot water and stock cube): 100º, 50 minutes, reverse, spoon speed.
- Fifteen minutes into it (i.e. when there are 35 minutes left on the screen), lift the measuring cup and add the mushrooms.
- When it finishes, check the meat, it should be melt in the mouth soft but mine was still hard so I programmed 100º, 30 minutes, reverse, spoon speed. It was just perfect.
Tip: Serve with lovely crusty bread and a glass of red wine, enjoy with friends and good conversation. Take it from me, invite your friends now, don’t delay!
Hint: You could of course also serve it with potatoes, rice, pasta, a mixed salad… I like it on its own with good bread.
I have been meaning to write this post for a while as I would like to start a surreptitious campaign to bring fideos to the UK. Fideos can be defined as extremely short and thin spaghetti (well, the ones I like are thin). You can make lovely soups with them and one hugely popular soup is the Spanish recipe this post is for: sopa de fideos (pasta soup).
This is a really simple recipe, in fact if you have good homemade chicken or vegetable stock at home you can just add the fideos and, within five minutes, you could be ready to sit down to steaming hot comforting soup, spoon in hand. My mother always has stock in the fridge or in the freezer precisely for this purpose.
It should always be cooked the moment you want to eat, that’s when it tastes best and it takes so little time to prepare that it is totally feasible. This is the soup you eat when you’re cold and need warming up, when you don’t feel so well, when you need cheering up… Ok, by you I mean me but let me tell you, that cup of tea that the British fix everything with…this is my Spanish-style cup of tea. And, yes, being me it includes chorizo (you didn’t expect anything else, did you?).
Now, I like my pasta soups to be very thick, without too much liquid
(otherwise I call them consommés and I’m done with it), so make sure you adapt it to
your taste (don’t panic, it’s easy to do). Fideos are designed for soups so they get soak in the stock in a delicious way.
|What I like to see in my cupboard|
Fideos are not easy to find in the UK. In Tesco you can find Lubella Filini no. 2 (a Polish brand), but they’re number 2 (hence much thicker and they don’t soak in the lovely flavours like my absolute favourite: Gallo no. 0 (it has to be, it’s the only fideo brand I’ve been able to find in the UK, there are other brands in Spain of course). You can find the Gallo brand in the Spanish London supermarket R Garcia and Sons (you can order online or pop in for a visit). I’m pretty sure my husband has bought them from the La Plaza Deli in Portobello too. Of course, try any local Spanish shops or market stalls you may pass on your travels and, should you see a Portuguese shop, ask for their pasta soup range, even if they don’t have fideos, you will find tiny pasta dots, stars or teardrops that tend to be really good and work rather well.
Substitutes: De Cecco Stellette nº75 (I’ve seen them in Waitrose), Orzo pasta (I get it from Waitrose and I have seen it in selected Tescos), Tesco’s Farfalline, Lubella’s Filini. You could also break vermicelli into short length cut-at-home fideos.
Sopa de fideos a la Feisty Tapas
- 1 litre of stock or however much you fancy having (I have to warn you that it is addictive so you will be going back for more).
- 1 chicken stock cube if using water (I use Kallo), depending on the amount of water you may need more or less stock.
- 250 g approx of fideos or substitute pasta (how I calculate is by checking the resistance of the pasta against the wooden spoon when stirring straight after adding them, if there’s a bit of resistance, that’s about right, if it stirs too easily, it needs more).
- 1 carrot (quartered lengthways and then sliced not too finely and not too thickly so that it cooks quickly).
- 25-50 g chorizo, peeled and “pierced” a couple of times with a fork (I tend to use either half a sausage or a whole one) peeled and (as you may know from previous posts I tend to use Tesco’s Cooking Chorizo nowadays, I should tell them that, shouldn’t I? That failing, get the Revilla’s Chorizo de Pueblo. If you’re really lucky ask your local Spanish shop/stockist/market stall).
1 medium pan, 1 chopping board for vegetables, one chopping board for hot food
- Place the water in a medium pan, when it’s boiling add the chicken stock and carrots. Let it bubble away.
- After a couple of minutes add the chorizo.
- When the carrots start feeling tender (it will only take a few minutes), add the fideos or pasta soup. Follow the pack instructions. If using number 0 fideos, try not to let them overcook, they are best al dente. Make sure you stir once in a while.
- If using fideos remove the chorizo and, with the help of a fork and a knife so not to burn your fingers, chop it (you know my method, cut lengthways first and then slice away) before you put them in, if using pasta that takes a bit longer to cook, you can leave the chorizo a bit longer.
HINT: Should it be too thick, add more stock. Should it be too watery, just make sure you make it thicker when serving it by removing some of the extra liquid. See? I told you it was easy. If you don’t eat it all straight away, make sure you remove it from the heat and leave the lid either off or only half covering the pan so that the pasta doesn’t go too soft.
TIP: When immediate comfort is required, skip the carrots, add the chorizo and stock cube (if not using your own stock) when the water starts to boil and add the fideos or similar pasta for soup. In 5-10 minutes, depending on the type of pasta you could have a fantastic warming and comforting soup.
EXTRA TIP: You can also make a sopicaldo by chopping any leftover chicken and vegetables you may have.
YET ANOTHER TIP: Try making it with quinoa for a gluten free version, in that case make sure the chorizo is gluten free too (many tend to be but I am of the “you never know” persuasion).
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