Monday, 30 January 2012

The Meat Keeper

About The Meat Keeper

392 Remuera RoadAucklandNew Zealand

In my travels as a chef here in New Zealand as well as overseas I have always loved finding unique food related places and the other week I was out with Debbie from Tastes Divine we popped into see The Meat Keeper, a Butchery located in Remuera Road.

Walking thought the door I was very impressed with the quality of the meat on display. What attracted my eye straight away was the beef. It is some of the best looking beef I have seen in a while and I soon found why.

The Meat Keeper is New Zealand’s only retail seller of Savannah Angus Beef which was originally from Scotland. I have cooked Savannah many times with and every time that I do I am reminded why Angus is one of most famous of all beef cattle breeds for its meat. Savannah Angus Beef is renowned for its tenderness, succulence and taste and all round great eating and is served at many of the best restaurants and eateries in New Zealand and around the world. 

The meat is aged for a minimum of three weeks to one month. What this length of aging does is to increase the level of tenderness and this gives the Savannah Angus beef it's unique flavour. There are many great recipes available on the Beef & Lamb New Zealand recipe site at Here are a few of my picks from Beef & Lamb New Zealand’s beef recipes.

Festive Roast Beef   

Roast Scotch Fillet of Beef with Mushroom Sauce & Roast Potatoes
Spiced Beef Kebabs

They also carry Harmony free range pork which has the SPCA Blue Tick Certification.
There is also a great range of free range chicken, Raukumara wild venison, Waikato Lamb and their own, handmade selection of small goods.

All of their sausages are Gluten free but what struck me is that there was no signage to say this. Its just a fact, so when you go there Rob’s sausages will always be Gluten free.

For those who live in Auckland or visit Auckland The Meat Keeper is a place to go for just the best selection of meats. Like his Facebook page to keep up with whats going on.

392 Remuera Road, Auckland, New Zealand 1050 

Phone 09 5202639

Hours           Mon - Fri: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sat             8:30 am – 3:00pm

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Easy Lamb Koftas From Beef & Lamb New Zealand

This is an easy Lamb mince dish from Beef & Lamb New Zealand and is great for a Summer BBQ. I have made this recipe many times and its always great. People love the way the mince is moulded onto the skewers.

In my view New Zealand produces the best beef and lamb in the world. I prefer Lamb but I have made this recipe with Beef mince as well

500g Quality Mark lean lamb mince
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs - approx. (For Gluten free substitute with GF Crumbs)
1 slice of bread made into crumbs (For Gluten free use 1 slice of GF bread)
½ tbsp dried thyme leaves
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp each salt and chilli (chilli is optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Zest of a lemon
10 bamboo skewers soaked in water for 1 hour
Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Divide the mixture into 10 portions and shape each so it resembles a sausage. Slide the shaped koftas onto the soaked skewers and refrigerate for half an hour. When ready, grill or barbecue 8-10 minutes until cooked, turning frequently.

Thanks Beef & Lamb New Zealand for permission to post this recipe. For more great recipes visit their Facebook page or visit for more great Beef and Lamb recipes.

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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Homemade Lamb Sausages

They are very moist and have a great taste especially the garlic and rosemary. Take care not to add too much carrot as this will make them too moist and they will fall apart. 

If this happens you can add some more bread crumbs when you are mixing in the bowl. They are basic to prepare but taste so good.


600          grams lean New Zealand lamb mince
½            onion chopped finely
1              egg, lightly beaten
1/2           Gluten Free cup bread crumbs (Tastes Divine Plain Coating)
1              tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1              tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
2              tablespoons grated carrot
1              tablespoon fresh chopped basil
Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
2 -3          tablespoons olive oil
100          grams taste cheese, grated finely (optional)
                Gluten Free flour to coat for cooking
1              tablespoon finely chopped smoky bacon
                (This gives the rissoles a slightly smoky flavour) (Optional)

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the oil. Using your hands, mix throughout, but gently.  I use my thumb when I am mixing as it allows me to push the ingredients into the mix to make sure its all distributed evenly. Do not over mix.

Lightly oil the palms of your hands, and shape the mixture into one large ball. Turn out onto a chopping board and cut the ball in half. Mould the two halves into balls and halve each again twice more.

Mold each meatball into sausage shapes and wrap each in some cling film and seal. In a large deep bottomed pot bring the water to a simmer and place the wrapped sausages in the water and poach for about 5 min.

Remove from the water and let cool. This simmering has par boiled the sausages. You can now coat then as you would normally coat something and grill, BBQ or fry off to complete cooking.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Easy Gluten Free Pasta Recipe

I love my pasta and I have found that this recipe from Bakels is easy to make and allows me so many options with making different styles of pasta.

I roll the pasta out flat and make lasagna sheets

1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
3 small or 2 large eggs
3 Tbsp olive oil

Place all ingredients into a mixer fitted with dough hooks. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down. Mix for a further 4-5 minutes on medium speed until a stiff dough is formed.

Remove from the bowl and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Roll out dough and fold in half.

Place into a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight for best results. Roll out the pasta dough to 1 - 2mm or to desired thickness.

Use for noodles, ravioli and lasagna etc.


When going Gluten free one of the areas that people find difficult to change or substitute is the area of breads and things made with flour. 

Bakels New Zealand offer a great range of Gluten free products that have been endorsed by the Coeliac Society. The Bakels Gluten Free Health range can be used to create an extensive range of baked goods. It's gluten free baking without compromising the taste of traditional wheat based goods.

I use and endorse the Bakels range of Gluten free products and have them in my pantry all the time. I find that they offer me very easy options that allow me to create lots of great tasting, yummy baked treats when ever the need arises. 

This wrap recipe is one developed by Bakels and I love making them and fill them with leftover meats on a Sunday for an easy brunch or take them on a picnic. 

They are also great as a lunch box filler for kids to take to school with fillings that they like.

What you need


2        Tbsp Olive Oil

1        heaped tsp Active yeast

1        cup of warm water


Dissolve yeast in 1 cup of warm water.

Place Bakels Gluten Free Health Pastry Mix in a mixing bowl, add the oil and work into the dry mix. Add the yeast water and mix well for approx 2 minutes until a soft dough forms.
On a lightly floured surface, knead into a ball and cover with clean cloth with a to rest for 25-30 mins. Cut the dough into eight even pieces and cover.

Using a rolling pin, roll out thinly to diameter and place on a hot pan or hot plate. Cook for half a minute, then turn over and continue cooking until bubbles start to appear. Turn again and cook until brown patches develop underneath. Keep warm in foil until last piece is done. Fill wraps with your choice of fillings.

Visit for more information on their range that is available nation wide in leading supermarkets and specialise health food stores.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tastes Divine BBQ Spare Ribs with Urban Appetite Hickory Smoked BBQ Sauce

Summer is here and so is the traditional Kiwi BBQ Season. I have found over the years that when you go to someone’s place for a BBQ and there are Ribs involved everyone has their own secret recipe that they say ‘It cant be beaten’ or ‘it’s the best that there is’. To me they are usually all great but some are just overpowering in their flavour.

This recipe uses two different types of BBQ flavoring to give a multi layered taste effect that has balance and will have people asking for the recipe. With this recipe I work on 4-6 ribs per serve.

What you will need:

16-20 large pork ribs (about 1 ½ kg) or 20-25 small pork ribs per Tastes Divine BBQ Glaze Pkt
1 pkt Tastes Divine BBQ spare rib glaze
1 bottle Urban Appetite Hickory Smoked BBQ Sauce.

Place ribs in a large stock pot, cover with water and simmer over a low heat for about 1 to 1 ½ hours depending on size of ribs. Small ribs min 75mins, large min 100mins.

Drain well and let the ribs cool. Once the ribs have cooled down lay them out on a flat tray and sprinkle the Tastes Divine BBQ Glaze all over the ribs ensuring you have an even coating. Cover and rest the ribs for 1-2 hours in the fridge or over night if you can.

Preheat your oven to 175C or your BBQ to no more than a medium heat. Remove the ribs from the fridge and let them come to room temperature.

The ribs are par cooked and what we want to do is allow the heat to finish the cooking and fully infuse the BBQ flavorings into the meat and its yummy, juice fats.

While the BBQ or oven is heating up pour about 100ml of the Urban Appetite Hickory Smoked BBQ Sauce in a small bowl and using a basting brush cover all the ribs with an even coating of the sauce. Let ribs marinate for approx 20mins while the oven or BBQ are coming up to temperature.

Bake the ribs in the pre-heated oven /BBQ for about 20-30 min or until they are done to your liking. Glaze the ribs with the sauce and turn twice while cooking.

To serve plate the ribs, drizzle some sauce over the ribs and coat ribs with some toasted sesame seeds.

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Gluten Free Urban Appetite Avocado Dressing with Kumara and Potato Salad and Garlic Chives

Why garlic Chives? - Garlic chives have a delicate garlic flavuor and are used extensively in oriental dishes and are a great choice for those who shy away from full-flavored garlic but want a hint of their taste.


750g boiling potatoes
500g kumara
1/3 cup olive oil
1 small red onion, about 100g, sliced thinly
¼ cup finely chopped fresh Garlic Chives (Normal Chives are fine if you can’t get Garlic Chives)
¼ cup lemon juice
150-200ml Urban Appetite Avocado Dressing


In two separate pots filled with salted cold water place chunky diced potatoes in one and chunky diced Kumara in the other. You can peal them but I usually clean the skins and cook with skin on.

Bring the pots to a simmer and cook till they are tender but not fully cooked. The Kumara will generally cook faster than the potatoes. Drain and when cool enough pat dry on paper towels.

Preheat your grill or BBQ and place Potatoes and Kumara pieces on a single layer and brush with Olive oil and grill, in batches if required, until browned.

While they are grilling combine remaining oil, onion, chives, juice, Urban Appetite Avocado Dressing in large bowl. Then add the warm grilled potato and kumara then toss gently to combine.

Tip: I quite often add 1cm off the bone ham cubes to make this a yummy brunch on a Sunday Morning. I have also done it with chunky shredded cold roast chicken from the night before.

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Monday, 2 January 2012

Sicilian Food, its Diversity and New Zealand

In my view Sicilian/Italian food evolution provided the basis for the foundation of European cookery. Dating as far before the Roman Empire Sicily and then Italy’s achievements in creative cooking ideas existed long before that of France. I can’t take anything away from French cuisine because it is world renowned and rightly so. It has taken on its own characteristic style and did grow to some degree from Sicilian/Italian influence.

As one can point out the French style of cooking relates more to the northern part of Italy than it does to the southern peninsular. The south of Italy has for the past few hundred years been seen as the poor part of Italy. People there live on seasonal foods that are gathered fresh and are extremely natural. It was once the food garden for Italy and Europe.

Sicily is a largest island in the Mediterranean and has varied climates across it. There are subtropical areas growing prickly pears in abundance. Every form of citrus is grown in Sicily, lemons, oranges, blood oranges. And then there is the great Mount Etna, a highly active volcano that both destroys whatever is in the path of its lava eruptions and it also fertilises the soil to incomparable richness.

The crops that grow in this soil have no parallel. The quality of the vegetables gives a clue to the dishes of Sicily. Since their vegetables are of superior taste and quality, no Sicilian would defile them by creating complex dishes that mask the fresh flavour of their ingredients. Simplicity allows the pure taste of the vegetables to come through when they are eaten. This is a key attitude to cooking which is prevalent all over Sicily.

Sicily is an island that was conquered by many different civilizations for thousands of years. They came, they saw, they conquered, the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Angevins, Hapsburgs, Bourbons.

When the Greeks saw the island of Sicily, they fell in love, sent their fleets, and set up colonies.  The Romans saw what the Greeks had, fought them for it, and became the new conquerors.  The Arabs saw what the Romans had, fought them for it, and put the island under their dominion.  From the north came the Normans, the Angevins, Hapsburgs and Bourbons, and when they saw Sicily, they too, went to war, and conquered.

Every time the island was conquered the new owners brought styles and ways of cooking that have shaped the cuisine that has evolved on the Island. The Greeks were colonisers, not conquerors, and they brought with them their more developed agricultural methods, their culture, and a mythology that would tangle with and incorporate Sicily. By the fifth century, the Greek city of Siracusa on the eastern shores of Sicily, and central to the trade routes, was the richest, and most powerful of all Greek cities, including those in Greece itself.

Sicily, as an island, had seas with an abundance of fish, sardines, tuna, swordfish, many varieties of smaller fish. Tuna was of the utmost importance, so much so that a festival celebrating the unique way of netting and killing tuna evolved. Meat was less prevalent, though we assume that goats and sheep were in abundance, and some forms of crude cheeses were made, possibly an early form of ricotta.

After three centuries of Greek dominance, the Romans wanted to have Sicily as a province. Roman power was felt in North Africa and the entire Mediterranean, and after the Punic Wars they succeeded in dominating the island. Sicily was just a province, though, and the Romans plundered the island, destroying forests and planting durum wheat, a crop that prospered in Sicilian climatic conditions. The island became known as the granary of Rome; the soil was depleted from overuse. The Romans did not influence Sicilian cooking; their cooking was influenced by Sicily.

After the Romans came the Vandals, Ostrogoths and Byzantines. Following them came the Arabs  also called Saracens in the early centuries. It was the Arab influence on Sicilian cooking that became the most important, and that has endured to this day. The Greeks colonized and taught methods of farming, the Romans used Sicily as their breadbasket, but it was the Arabs, conquering in 831, who brought food traditions that affected Sicilian cooking. They introduced sophisticated methods of irrigation that made vegetable farming possible, they introduced the eggplant, oranges and lemons.

The capitol of the Arab world at the time was Palermo. The splendor of Palermo was said to rival that of ancient Baghdad. Sicily and Spain were at this time main areas of communication between east and west. Because the Jewish peoples were able to move freely between eastern and western languages and thinking, the Jewish population flourished in Sicily, side by side with the increasingly large Christian population. Christian, Arab and Jew lived in harmony.

The most important Arab import to the Island was pasta. It probably was the Arabs who invented pasta. The Arab use of spices and dried fruit, in particular raisins, left an indelible mark on Sicilian cooking. They also brought cous-cous, known in Sicily as 'cuscusu'. Couscous is made of tiny balls of flour and water which are left to dry in the sun, then steamed over a boiling pan of water. The Arabs would use lamb, possibly chicken, to accompany the couscous. With the abundance of fish, this changed, and a classic Sicilian dish is couscous cooked with the broth of the local fish to give it a seafood flavor. The Arabs also brought rice dishes, though rice was considered the food of the sick. Despite this disregard, Sicily has its one classic rice dish - arancini, little round balls of rice with meat in its center, or of rice with cheese at its center.

The Arabs also brought a sweet tooth that would lead to the development of Sicilian baked goods and cookies of every type, cakes and sherbets. During Greek and Roman reign, honey had been the sweetener, but the Arabs brought sugar cane and the first rudimentary sugar refinery was established in Trappeto. The Sicilians took to this sweet marvel, and their pastries are today famous throughout Italy and the World.

The Arabs ruled Sicily for two centuries. In that time, the church had developed into the greatest political force in Europe, wielding more power than any government. The pope in Rome, not liking the rule of infidels, encouraged French Normands to attack. Several hundred knights from Normandy, Lombardy, and southern Italy set on the Arabs in Sicily. Once again, the fortunes of the island changed. Christianity was restored; the Norman court gave birth to the Italian language; commerce flourished. The Normands added little to cooking methods, however, and their major food imprint was salt cod, called stoccafisso by the Sicilians. Not a profound legacy.

In the following centuries Sicily would be a pawn, as well as a provincial prize, and would be commanded by the Angevins, the Aragonese, the Spanish Hapsburgs, the Austrian Hapsburgs, the Bourbons, even the British Administration who sent troops to occupy Sicily in the Napoleonic wars. Spain would occupy the island, and in 1492 when Columbus was sent on a voyage of discovery, Spain expelled the Jews from both Spain and Sicily, ending the harmonious coexistence of religion on the island. Spain shifted her attention away from the Mediterranean with the discovery of the New World, leaving Sicily to her own meager devices. The Inquisition brought an end to religious tolerance. Through these centuries, Sicily would also endure earthquakes and the Black Plague, debilitating the island and its population even more.

In 1860 Giuseppe Garibaldi landed with his troops and speaking for Italian unity, drove the Spanish out of Sicily. Sicily's fortunes declined even further, and there was great unrest. After two decades of poverty, the Sicilians began to emigrate in large numbers, hoping to better their lives in America. During World War I an unfair conscription policy was set in place,more young men were drafted from Sicily than from northern Italy. The New World offered hope.

We have seen that the Arab influence on Sicilian cooking was the most profound. That legacy continues today in ways that make Sicilian cooking inimitable. Encouraged by the nomadic Arabs, as well as by the demands of the natural terrain, Sicilians raised primarily sheep and goats. The flocks provide the milk for caciocavallo, provolo and pecorino cheeses. The whey left over is used to make ricotta, and Sicilians swear that only sheep's milk ricotta gives the right flavor to their desserts.

Sicilian New Zealand Food Fusion

With the poor nature of the Island in the late 1800’s there was a huge exodus of people to America and other countries including Australia and New Zealand and with them they brought their rich history of cooking. Many of the original methods and recipes have changed over time but the passion for food and taste still exists. Much of the cooking was subsumed by Neapolitan cooking.

The Neapolitans were the first great wave of Italians who reached other shores, arriving in great numbers in the years from 1880. The first thing they did was to establish food markets which would provide for the foods they loved. Some of the more exotic Arab influences were lost. Saffron was prohibitively expensive in the west and fell away from Sicilian cooking.

Today there is renewed interest in all things Sicilian/Italian when it comes to food and wine. Their cooking style has started to flourish again all over the world. Sicilian cooking was localised on the Island, changing from village to village and with this renewed interest in things Sicilian and their way of adapting cooking to a regional basis we are seeing Sicilian style cooking growing and evolving from country to country.

New Zealand is no different. We have an abundance of high quality produce grown here, in fact some of the best in the world. The lamb, fish and other meats as well as vegetables are ideally suited to a Sicilian style of cooking. Forget about Pizza and things like that I am referring to healthy, taste-full food that abounds in flavour and quality.

My cooking style has been hugely influenced by my Sicilian heritage. Fresh seasonal foods cooked in a way that they take on added flavours but also retain their own taste and structure is the food that I eat.

Sicilian foods can be very simple to prepare and cook or you can make it where ever you want by putting a bit more time into preparation and cooking.

Cacciatore Style (Hunters Style)

Slow cookers work so well with Sicilian cooking. Hunters and Shepard’s in Sicily mastered the art of ‘One Pot Cooking’, Cacciatore Style (Hunters Style) and this can be adapted to slow cookers with easy and with very tasty results with little effort. Even if you are on the side of a hill why should your food not taste great?

Gluten Free Cheese Gnocchi

Gluten Free Cheese Gnocchi
Gnocchi dishes are usually made up of two components - the dough and the sauce. I make as a side dish in summer and serve with a sauce for a tasty Brunch. You can also make Gnocchi and freeze it to be used later. Freeze the Gnocchi just before you would have cooked it. I make double batches of Gnocchi so I have some to cook and eat as well as freeze.

Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as a side dish 

675g Floury Potatoes
Up to 2 Egg Yolks (Optional)
Salt and Pepper
75g Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
175g Plain Bakels Gluten free Flour plus a bit extra


Cook the potatoes until completely tender. This can be done by baking or boiling in their skins. Whichever method you choose, the potatoes should be as dry as possible once cooked.

Once cooked, peel the potatoes then mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth or pass through a ricer. Do not beat the mixture or add any milk or butter.

While its still warm, place the potato in a large mixing bowl season with salt and pepper then add the eggs if using, cheese and ¾ of the flour and start mixing together with a knife.

Using your fingertips, continue adding more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. You may have to add less flour or more flour, depending on the wetness of your potato mixture. Do not knead or overwork the dough.

Once you have a non-sticky dough, divide the mixture into 4 or more portions. Working 1 portion at a time, transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and roll into a sausage shape, no thicker than 2cm in diameter then cut the sausage into pieces no longer than 2.5cm.

Lightly dust all the pieces with flour then make ridges in each piece with the tines on the back of a fork. Roll the dough off, lightly fold in half of roll and set aside on a lightly floured flat tray or plate. Repeat with all the pieces before moving on to the next portion, making sure you keep the formed gnocchi separate once they have been formed.

Once all the dough has been shaped into gnocchi, cook as soon as possible. Alternatively, you can freeze the gnocchi at this stage by placing them in a single layer on a flat tray, freeze for an hour or until hardened, then transfer to polythene bags

To cook - bring a wide pan of around 10cm deep of salted water or stock to the boil. Whilst the water is still at a rolling boil, add the gnocchi stir gently a couple of times then leave to cook for a few minutes or until they rise to the surface. It’s best to cook in batches so you don’t over crowd the pan otherwise the pieces will stick together.

Once cooked, drain with a slotted spoon and transfer to a warm dish before cooking the rest of the gnocchi. Make sure you bring the cooking liquid back to a rolling boil before adding the next batch.

Serve hot with melted butter, extra grated cheese or a sauce of your choice or allow to cool at room temperature, dress with a little olive oil and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be used as cold pasta in salads etc.

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Clarified Butter

I often use Clarified butter or Ghee when I am cooking as it imparts a rich flavour into a dish. A good quality Clarified butter can add to the aroma, flavor and taste to the food. However, the texture, color and taste of ghee depends on the source of the milk from which the butter was made and the extent of boiling during the making of it.

More specifically, by melting butter, a cook can see that it separates into clear golden liquid and a thick liquid which settles to the bottom. The thick liquid is composed of milk solids, a protein rich solution that burns easily over high heat. So, once the milk solids are separated and removed, the remaining butter can be cooked on a very high heat without burning.

Smoking Point

Butter has a smoking point of between 121–149°C while Clarified butter or Ghee has a smoke point of 252°C. As you can see there is qiite a bit of difference between the two. (Source A chart that details various smoking points is available at this link.

You will see when you compare the different smoking points of various oils  Clarified butter is up there with Rice Bran Oil.

Making Clarifying Butter

Clarifying butter is very easy to make. Slice a 500g block of butter into small pieces. Heat the butter slices in a heavy saucepan over low heat until it crackles and bubbles. Remove the pan from the heat and use a spoon to carefully skim off the fat foam that has risen to the top. Pour or spoon the clear liquid into a container, leaving the thicker milky stuff at the bottom. Discard the white residue. Tightly cover the liquid and refrigerate or freeze. It can be easily be stored either way for months.

Clarified butter also tastes much richer than regular butter; you’ll notice that dishes made with ghee are often more flavorful and less greasy than those made with traditional vegetable oil or even butter. Chefs often used clarified butter instead of regular oil or butter because it does not burn during frying, and also intensifies the flavor of the dish.  Since it does not contain any hydrogenated oils and fats, Clarified may be a much healthier choice for those who don’t want to eliminate fat from their diet entirely.

Some benefits

Clarified butter is commonly preferred over processed margarine and butter because of its many health benefits.  Some of the key benefits of Clarified butter include:
·         Good for people who are lactose intolerant
·         Can help relieve ulcers
·         Can improve conditions of constipation
·         Helps promote healthy eyes and skin
·         Can be used as a topical treatment for blisters, burns and cuts
·         Reduces inflammation, internally and externally
·         Helps improve the texture of the hair
·         May help to inhibit cancerous tumors because of its anti-viral properties

Ultimately, Clarified butter is a highly concentrated form of fat that contains many important fatty acid chains.  These have several benefits for healing and tissue repair, and these fatty acids may also help with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals found in everyday foods. 

It’s important to remember that clarified butter still contains a significant amount of saturated fat.  Moderation is essential when consuming Clarified butter and other types of fats, especially if your family has a history of heart disease.

Posted by Jimmy Boswell - New Zealand Gluten Free Chef

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Lean Lamb Mince Ragù with Basil and Tomato Sauce

Lamb Mince Ragù 
by Jimmy Boswell - Gluten Free Chef

What is it about Lamb Mince that I love so much? It’s the way that it takes up the flavours of the herbs and a traditional Ragù is a great way to cook the lamb mince.

A Ragù is a traditional Italian meat sauce that is typically served with pasta. In Italy a Ragù usually contains ground beef,  tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, white wine and seasonings. Ragù sauce is typically a thicker meat sauce that is usually served over pasta.

What You Need

500 g lean minced lamb
4 tbsp olive oil
2        medium onions, diced
1        carrot, fine chopped
1        celery stalk, fine chopped
3        clove(s) garlic, minced
2        large bay leafs
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp fresh Basil rough chopped
2        large red bell peppers, washed, cored, seeded, diced
800 g canned tomatoes, peeled, crushed
250 ml           dry white wine (optional replace with stock if wine not desired)
200 ml chicken stock
            salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Bring it Together

Heat the oil in a large enough saucepan over high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add the meat and cook until it just begins to change color. Don’t play with the meat to long as you will be cooking this dish off for an hour or two.

Add the rosemary, bay leaf, basil and peppers. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally over low heat, for about 10 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes  and chicken stock and cook (simmer) sauce for about ten more minutes over a low heat. Add the wine and season with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook over low heat for about 1.5 hours, stirring frequently. Remove cover after 1.5 hours and cook to reduce the ragu until its thickened. I do not like to use thickeners as I want all the great flavours to be as natural as possible.

Just before serving, about 5-10 min check and adjust seasoning to taste.

I would serve with a wide, ribbon style Gluten free pasta.

Tip:    I quite often make the Ragù the day before and let it develop even better taste covered in the fridge overnight.

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Shared Grill/BBQ Plates – Cross Contamination Potential

The following are some points to consider that will help you have a Gluten free summer by minimizing cross contamination potential from a shared grill/BBQ plate.

What to do;

Try to grill/BBQ the gluten-free foods first, when the grates are clean, or else reserve a section of the grates just for the gluten-free food (be sure nothing with gluten drips onto it).

If these steps are not possible, grill/BBQ the gluten-free food on aluminum foil or in packets that will keep it off the grill/BBQ surface. I use a double layer of foil as a precaution.

Avoid other sources of cross-contamination.

Make sure separate sets of utensils/bowls etc are used for gluten-free food preparation and cooking. In particular, be careful that utensils used to handle gluten free food on the grill/BBQ are not also used on food that been marinated or coated with gluten containing sauces. Also, be sure the BBQ hosts understand how to protect gluten free food from cross-contamination.

Other Possible ways of Cross Contamination

When you are attending a BBQ, picnic or any other social event where there is both Gluten free and non Gluten free foods being served you have to watch out for cross contamination in communal foods such as dips, spreadable condiments, butter and anything else that could have had a Gluten contaminated utensil used in it. Never double dip! Butter dishes, jelly jars, and salsa at a BBQ are some examples of the types of places you’ll find potential gluten cross-contamination.

Gluten can often be found on cooking utensils, pots and pans, counter tops and more. Even cleaning cloths can spread gluten all over the place.

When I go to a sheared BBQ or picnic I always take my own condiments and keep then separate. I also label them in a bold colour that they are gluten free.

If possible try to have your gluten free food on a table separate from the non Gluten free food. It will protect the serving utensils and food from being cross contaminated.

If that isn’t possible, be sure to serve yourself and your family first before the other guests are served. Some people may not understand utensils used across dishes can be hazardous to anyone who is gluten-free.

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