Beef Rendang – Recipe

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Inspired by my travels to Indonesia, this is a spicy, fragrant caramelised beef stew. Originating as a ceremonial dish of the Minangkabau people, rendang is now ubiquitous in the region, served at roadside stalls and padang restaurants with rice, egg and cassava leaf. Allow at least 2 hours for cooking. Serves 6.

The Galloping Gastronaut at Prambanan hindu temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The Galloping Gastronaut at Prambanan hindu temple in Yogyakarta, Indonesia


  • 2 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium red onions, quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 25g fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 75g chunk galangal , peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 red chillies, roughly chopped (do not deseed)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5kg braising beef, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves (or 8 dried)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ground black pepper


  • Blend the lemongrass, onions, garlic, ginger, galangal and chillies to a fine paste in a food processor.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan and fry the paste gently for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the cumin, coriander and turmeric and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the beef to the pan and stir to coat.
  • Cook for five minutes until the meat is very lightly browned.
  • Pour the coconut milk and 400ml water into the casserole. Add the lime leaves, cinnamon stick, sugar, tamarind paste, soy sauce and salt and bring to a simmer.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is very thick (stir occasionally throughout). The coconut milk will reduce to form an unctuous stew. Season to taste.
  • Extract the lime leaves and cinnamon stick before serving. Serve with jasmine rice (I add a little coconut milk to mine), steamed greens and sambal oelek.

Pancetta, Red Onion & Cheese Muffins – Recipe

Cheesy and smoky pancetta wholemeal muffins .. what’s not to like? Makes 12. Make sure you use really smoky bacon or pancetta and strong cheddar to make the most of the flavours.


1 tsp olive oil

120g pancetta (or smoked bacon), diced

1 red onion, finely chopped

250g wholemeal self-raising flour

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

80g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

200ml buttermilk

1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

150g extra mature cheddar

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Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.

Heat the oil over a medium heat and fry the pancetta or bacon until crispy. Set aside and drain on kitchen paper.

Using the residual fat, fry the onion until just soft (five minutes or so), then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, butter and buttermilk and stir them into the flour mixture with a spatula until just combined.

Fold in the cooled bacon, onion, chives and 100g or so of the cheese until evenly distributed.

Spoon the muffin mixture into the tin and top with the remaining grated cheese.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and baked through.

Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall