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Hamburger mince gravy

13 Jun

Hamburger mince gravy

At some point in my childhood, the responsibility for cooking the family meals shifted from my mum to my dad. I don’t remember what brought on this change – I’m not sure that I ever knew.

Before that point, I can recall him making only two things – the occasional roast dinner and his delicious sourdough bread. Once he became the main cook, Dad brought a typically structured approach to feeding the family. Continue reading

Szechuan celery with beef

2 May

Szechuan celery with beef

Szechuan celery with beef has become a family standby. As a lapsed vegetarian, I’m drawn to recipes where meat plays a supporting roles, and the celery is definitely the star here.

While there’s a bit of faffing around up front – peeling and blanching the celery, mainly – it comes together very quickly after that. Continue reading

Mum’s meatloaf

4 Apr

Mum's meatloaf

Mum’s meatloaf is my dad’s favourite meal, and he’d always request it for his birthday supper. I included her recipe in Fern’s Food, but over the years I’ve made a couple of changes. I doubt my dad would approve, but this is the way we like it. Continue reading

Spaghetti bolognese

10 Jan

spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is one of those family meals I make so regularly that I no longer follow a recipe. I always start with a soffrito of onion, carrot and celery – sautéed in olive oil with a couple of cloves of  garlic.  Continue reading

Swedish meatballs (köttbullar)

11 Dec

Swedish meatballs

I’ve never eaten Swedish meatballs in the IKEA café, but I have bought bags of frozen köttbullar from their food hall once or twice. They were nice enough, but these homemade Swedish meatballs are in a different league – crispy on the outside, soft and juicy within, and coated in a velvety cream sauce. Continue reading

Lemongrass beef stirfry

29 Nov

Lemongrass beef stirfry

Stirfries are standard mid-week fare in our house, especially if I have beansprouts to use up. The vegetables vary with the contents of the fridge, but I always like to have carrot, peppers, onion and something green like mange tout, snowpeas or broccoli.

Marinating the beef before stirfrying adds a nice depth of flavour to the dish.

Continue reading

Nikujaga (Japanese simmered beef and potatoes)

19 Nov

nikujaga

Nikujaga (or simmered beef and potatoes) is no-frills, homestyle Japanese cooking – something a Japanese mum would make on a busy weeknight the way I might make macaroni cheese. The Japanese call this sort of cooking ofukuro no aji, which means “mother’s taste”.

There’s a nostalgia associated with these dishes – while others may cook them, nobody’s tastes quite like your mum’s version. That’s because hers tasted of home and childhood… and love. Continue reading