Best-recipes-2

The Ultimate Cooking Tips For Roasting Any Type Of Meat

Do you steer clear of roasting certain types of meat out of fear your roast will be dry and inedible? Well, fear not! Regardless of what type of meat you’re roasting these simple tips will have your entire crew salivating at the mere mention of a roast dinner.

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Once you’ve perfected the humble roast, it really is incredible just how many extra mouths find their way to your table. Luckily, some roasts are big enough to feed a small army and the same principles apply regardless of the size of the meat you’re roasting.

The secrets to cooking a superb tender roast depend largely on the oven temperature, roasting time, whether to cover it or not and the amount of moisture you add to the dish while cooking. Also, while lamb, beef, chicken and turkey are all roasted in a similar fashion, you will need to adjust the way you cook pork. I’ll provide specific guidelines especially for pork at the end if you want to produce a killer crackling.

Oven temperature

So let’s talk temperature. If you roast meat at a higher temperature you’re far more likely to produce a tough, dry roast. That’s not exactly appetising and this is primarily why many people avoid roasting meats like turkey or beef. The secret is to cook the meat at a lower temperature when it first goes in the oven. By low I mean around 150-160 degrees Celsius.

Roast the meat at this temperature for the primary cooking period – so about three quarters of the time. Towards the end you can raise the temperature to over 200 degrees Celsius. This will enable the meat to brown or crisp any skin.

Roasting time

Now, let me just say that you CAN’T overcook a roast in the right conditions. In fact, the longer you cook the meat the more tender and delicious it will become. So if you do have a few hours up your sleeve, put your roast on early.

Obviously, smaller roasts will cook quicker than larger ones. So if you have a large roast for multiple guests (say 3 plus kilos), don’t be afraid to put your roast on for around 5 hours. Trust me, this will make it super tender and the meat will literally fall off the bone.

Covering the roast

There’s been times when I’ve roasted meat which has been too large to cover and have had similar results to roasts that I have covered. The primary difference is how brown and crispy the skin has become. The meat still remains tender once you bypass the outer layer. So ideally, if you want a crispy skinned chicken, it’s probably better to cook it uncovered. If you want a nice tender piece of beef, then try covering it.

Moisture

Some people can produce amazing roasts using oven bags, but you don’t really need one. What they do is trap the meat’s juices in a small area around the roast and make it tender by producing steam. However, if you add at least a cup of water per kilo of meat to the bottom of the roasting dish, this will have the same effect.

If you find the water evaporates during cooking, don’t be afraid to add more. This will depend largely on whether the meat is covered or not, but the key thing to remember is that it’s far better to add too much water than not enough.

Ideally, you want to provide the perfect conditions for the meat to roast. This is done by combining ample moisture with a low temperature over a long cooking time. This will produce meat that is succulent and tender regardless of the type of meat you roast.

The perfect pork

With pork, it’s best cooked uncovered and the temperature should be adjusted like the other meats. This is done a little differently, however. The initial and final cooking periods should be done on high (over 200 degrees Celsius). This enables the crackling to cook to perfection. The remainder of the cooking time should be done on low (150-160 degrees Celsius).

Additionally, you need to concentrate on providing enough moisture. Don’t be afraid to give the pork plenty of water inside the base of the dish. Avoid tipping it over the cracking as it’s preferable to keep this dry. You shouldn’t need to add oil, but a decent amount of salt will help to perfect it.

That’s it! The secrets to cooking the perfect roast have been revealed. If you follow these simple guidelines you will never cook a tough, dry roast ever again!

Image via lomokev.com

July 24, 2015

Best-Ever Pasta Bolognese Recipe

Elevate your midweek pasta dinner with our best-ever Bolognese recipe – a great way to hide vegetables from the kids. Instead of serving over spaghetti, we like to dollop the ragu into pasta shells, then grill for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the edges of the pasta shells.

Cooking time: 40 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

400g button mushrooms
1 zucchini, roughly chopped
1 brown onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
2 tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g beef mince
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ cup tomato sauce
800g can chopped tomatoes
400g large pasta shells
Finely grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Method
1. Place mushrooms and zucchini in a food processor, use pulse button to finely chop. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with onion, carrot and celery.

2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, mushroom mixture, and garlic. Cook, stirring 5-8 minutes or until soft.

3. Add mince, increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until browned all over. Add oregano and cook a further 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season to taste. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

4. Cook pasta shells in a saucepan of boiling salted water following packet instructions. Drain and set aside.

5. Combine pasta and sauce, mix well. Scatter with cheese and serve. For an interesting touch, place in an oven-proof dish and heat under a hot grill for 5 minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the pasta shells slightly.

What’s your favourite midweek pasta recipe?

September 3, 2013

Easy Rice Pudding Recipe

What’s more comforting on a cold winter’s day than a bowl of creamy homemade rice pudding? We like to leave the vanilla bean in the milk to infuse for even more luscious vanilla flavour.

Ingredients
4 cups whole milk
1/2 cup medium-grain white rice or arborio rice
Pinch salt
1 vanilla bean, split, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

Method
1. Add the milk, rice and salt a large, heavy saucepan. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds to the rice mixture, and drop the split bean into the pan.

2. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Uncover and continue simmering, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender, about 8 minutes. It’s important to let the pudding simmer slowly and not boil, as the liquid will evaporate before the rice finishes cooking.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Slowly add the cooked rice mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Set the pan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture has thickened and coats the back of the spoon, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Discard the vanilla bean.

5. Serve warm, at room temperature or cold. We like to top rice pudding with a shake of cinnamon and a drizzle of cold cream, maple syrup and berries, or for even more decadence, swirl a spoonful of Nutella through hot rice pudding for a chocolate-hazelnut twist.

What are your favourite rice pudding toppings?

July 19, 2013