"All the Best Bits" Winter Stew

A gorgeous winter stew recipe by our dear friends Tom and Lucy at Sageori, in collaboration with  one of our wonderful sponsors, Bahen & Co.

This is an unbelievably rich and decadent rib-sticking stew, which is basically made from all of our favourite things. The Bahen & Co. 70% cacao bar from Papua New Guinea has a beautiful raspberry sweetness that balances really nicely with the bitterness of coffee and Guinness beer.

Because this is such a rich dish, we would recommend keeping sides pretty light - some boiled potatoes and charred leeks with a good squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil, or roasted brussels sprouts drizzled with sesame oil would complement beautifully.  

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1kg beef short ribs
  • 2 large onions
  • 750m Guinness beer
  • 1 block of Bahen & Co.'s 70% PNG cacao bar
  • 250ml strong black coffee (filter or plunger)
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 3-4 star anise pods
  • 50g prunes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chilli powder (optional) - I recommend something aromatic like Korean Gochugaru or Mexican style ancho chile 

METHOD:

  1. Slice the short ribs between bones so you end up with roughly 1-inch cubes. Heat a large frying pan to medium-hugh and season the ribs to brown on all sides.
  2. While the ribs are browning, get a large/heavy stockpot going on a low heat. Roughly dice the onions and add them to the stockpot with oil. Sauté over low heat until the onion starts to colour.
  3. With the onions at the bottom of the pot, start layering ribs with prunes and star anise. Bury the cinnamon somewhere around the middle of the pot and once everything is in, add the coffee and beer until the meat is covered. Simmer, covered for about 90 minutes however make sure to check occasionally. If the top layer is starting to dry out, add a splash of beer on top.
  4. After 90 minutes, the meat should be fairly tender and richly flavoured with just a slight bitterness from the coffee. Take the lid off and allow to simmer uncovered while you melt the chocolate in a clean and dry bowl sitting over boiling water. Once that's done, pour the chocolate in with the beef to mix thoroughly, ensuring to scrape all the onion off the bottom of pan to get chocolate right through the whole pot. You can add your chilli powder here too if you are choosing to use some.
  5. Simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes until the gravy is thick and glossy, and the meat is meltingly tender. At this last stage, check the seasoning - if it's too sweet, add a splash more coffee, or a splash more beer if it's too rich.
  6. Serve and enjoy with a tall glass of Guinness!

A Winter Gathering / Dryridge Estate

It was really good to be back into all things gatherings after Johan and I took a good 6 months off to finish renovations in our unit.  This was the first one for 2016 - a winter gathering at Dryridge Estate.

As luck would have it, we picked the coldest Saturday to host this outdoor get together — so cold that it snowed overnight in Blue Mountains & surroundings!  Despite the weather forecast (and we were prepared for the worst!), we were relieved to be greeted by clear blue skies and dry conditions in the Megalong.  And even though the wind got a little too chilly at some points of the day, it was quickly forgiven by the picturesque backdrop of the Megalong that enveloped us.

Guests arrived to an array of Australian cheeses to enjoy over the short wine tastings run by Emma from Dryridge Estate.  

We were well fed by our friends Tom and Lucy from Sageori, who cooked up a warm, hearty stew which they named "All the Best Bits" — beef short ribs cooked in Bahen & Co. 70% cacao PNG bars, beer and coffee.  Yep, definitely all our favourite things!  There were also chicken & leek and roasted winter vegetable pies which warmed our bellies, made by our local pastry chef at Bruni Patisserie (you'll find them at The Beaches Markets every Friday).  Oh let's not forget a side of roasted winter vegetables and a lot of gravy to wash it down with!  And wine — oh, the wine! 

The dessert table was mostly prepared by our good friend Amy Nhieu, who baked a naked layer cinnamon and spiced apple cake and warm berry tarts, along with vanilla speckled biscuits and a delectable jar of warm gooey caramel sauce!  There was also a chocolate and raspberry tart which incorporated more of Bahen & Co.'s wonderful cacao bars, all served with tea from our wonderful friends at Endeavour Tea.

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It was a perfect winter's day together with old and new friends.  Johan and I are pretty stoked to see that even after 4 gatherings, people are still sharing our continued love for food and community.  One of the most important things that we've learnt through our gatherings is despite the fact that much of world functions through social media, there is still that ever present need for people to congregate; to meet face to face, to converse and to laugh together.  Perhaps the most important realisation however, is that the act of sharing a meal together is still (and will always be) paramount to our everyday lives. 

A huge thank you to all our event partners:

Dryridge Estate // Sageori // Bahen & Co. // Bruni Patisserie // Amy Nhieu // Thankyou // Endeavour Tea // Harris Farm Markets

Photos by Montana Wilson