Saturday, December 29, 2012

In the Pot

The thing about me and cookbooks is this:  I tend to have favourites - there are some recipes I will cook repeatedly, and others will remain uncooked forever.  I would really not be able to do a Julie/Julia thing and cook every recipe in a cookbook.  And so it is that the Pot Roast in "Robin's Eurasian Recipes" has indeed become one of my favourite recipes.  It's easy to cook, and the smell of the onion gravy filling the house in the process is absolutely heavenly.  I brought it for my extended family's annual Christmas eve dinner, and so thought it was timely to share it now.

Before I go on, a little about the book itself.  Robin is the father of Quentin Pereira, whose restaurant "Quentin's" is one of the few truly authentic Eurasian restaurants in Singapore.  Quentin's used to be on East Coast Road (see my earlier post) but has since moved to the Eurasian Association Clubhouse in Ceylon Road.  The menu is based on the recipes in this book (including this Pot Roast recipe - after eating it, had to make it!).

There's one thing about this dish though.  It is indeed heavy on onions - which means, that much time and tears are spent peeling the shallots.  Still, no pain, no gain. My mother makes it with fewer onions, but adds a mirepoix of celery, onions and carrots instead.  I prefer the oniony version (because of the wonderful aroma mentioned earlier).  But we both add cinnamon, cloves and star anise, which was not in the original recipe.  Anyway, here it is - my slightly modified version of Robin's Pot Roast recipe:

Pot Roast, covered with onions
1.5-2kg beef (I use shin)
1 medium onino, sliced
5-6 carrots, chunked
4-5 medium potatoes, quartered
2packets fresh button mushrooms 

2 beef stock cubes (I've used 1 beef and 1 mushroom instead)
2 tbsp ground pepper corns
1 litre water

1 stick cinnamon
3-4 cloves
2 star anise

(Blend together)
20 shallots (or 5 medium-sized onions)
6 tbspdark soy sauce
2 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp sugar

1.  Marinate the chunk of beef in 10 tablespoons of the blended mixture, for about an hour.
2.  Fry the marinated beef in a pot, to brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.  
3.  Fry the onions till soft.  Add the rest of the blended mixture (including any remaining marinade) till fragrant.  Add the water (should not be too much, just enough to generate steam to cook the beef), beef stock and peppercorns.  Heat till it reaches a boil.
4.  Add the beef, and cook for 1.5 hours, till soft.  (Alternatively, pressure cook for half an hour).  Add the  carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms.  Cook till the carrots/potatoes are soft.  
5.  When the beef has cooled, remove and slice thinly.  Place in serving dish,and add the vegetables and gravy.  Can serve with some nice French baguettes, but my preference is to eat with sambal belacan and rice.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Own Ellice Handy

Elsewhere in this blog, I have made reference to the excellent Mrs Handy's cookbook, "My Favourite Recipes". My grandmother has a copy of the first edition, my mother swears by her second edition. And me? I am glad to say that I got my copy of the fourth edition, as a Christmas gift. It's a beautiful hardback book, with the introduction from Mrs Handy and an additional background note about her life.

Where the original only contained the written recipes, this version includes photos, additional mouthwatering incentive to try out the recipes. The recipes include not just the imperial measurements (the complaint of an earlier post) but handy conversions to metric measurements (pun intended).

I am looking forward to trying out my first recipe from this new cookbook :-)

(Mrs Handy's "My Favourite Recipes" is available from major bookstores.  Or you can, as suggested in a comment on my blog, write to to place an order.)


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