On Saturday it was my brother-in-laws birthday, and while there will be a party in two weeks, I was part of the quieter celebration on the day
In the morning I watched my sister organise the beef for the German Sauerbraten and the gravy base it was made in. There is something lovely about leaning over someone else’s countertop and just watching while they move around in their own kitchen. A confidence in knowing where everything is, and how temperamental things are (despite not being about to find the chinois). Just before lunch we worked together to make a Cinnamon Bundt Cake, which was Lukas’ request for his birthday cake. I left not long after it went into the oven, and returned for a quiet double date dinner with a lot of excitement for the result.
Before my husband and I returned for dinner, my sister had made a cinnamon syrup to pour over the cake, and once we all had drizzled some over our slice there was a lot of giggling and tom foolery about the general mucas-like consistency.
Dinner was Bretzel, German Sauerbraten, mashed potato, sauerkraut and an impreesive gravy that took three days to make. The recipe included ginger snaps! AMAZING! My sister wanted to eat it with a spoon.
The Bundt cake was dense, and thankfully not particularly sweet, but with a wonderful almost Christmasy quality to the flavour. A scoop of vanilla ice cream was essentially to balance out the syrup. Once we’d all had a slice, the remaining syrup (mucas?) was poured over it for the greater family get together the following day.
The hero of this is the marinade. It’s:-
450ml red wine
125ml red wine vinegar
2 onions, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
8 juniper berries, slightly crushed (I ignored this quantity and put in at least double – just poured them out)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
8 black peppercorns (again, I ignored this and probably put in about twice that)
8 cloves (yep, you know what I did here)
2 bay leaves
You boil it on a high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Then you need to get it to room temperature. The meat is beef brisket, which I had to ask the butcher for (it’s not too expensive either – 1.1kg cost me $10.43). You put the meat in a non-metallic dish, pour the marinade over it, cover it and put in the fridge for up to four days, the longer the better.
You’re supposed to turn the meat twice a day, but I will admit to forgetting a couple times.
When you’re ready to cook it, you need to make sure you have LOTS OF TIME.
You take the beef out of the marinade, pat in dry,season it with salt and pepper and then rub 2 tablespoons of plain flour of it. Then brown it on all sides in a fry pan with a little oil. Take it out, and pop it in your slow cooker.
Next, fry off two sliced onions with a chopped carrot and a chopped celery stick for about five minutes, until the onions are soft. Pop those into the slow cooker. Finally, strain the marinade, discard the solids and add the liquid to the fry pan. Add 350ml of beef stock, bring it to the boil and boil until reduced by half. Add that to your slow cooker.
Now we play the waiting game! Cook on high for 2 hours, then switch to low and leave it for 8 hours (or the beef is tender). Take out the beef, and then it’s time to make some gravy.
Add two tablespoons of flour and four tablespoons of cooking liquid together in a small bowl and make a paste. Then add that back to the slow cooker with 8 crushed gingernut biscuits and stir until smooth. Slice the beef, smother with the gravy, add some mash and sauerkraut and you’re done!
Sophie’s Cinnamon Bundt Cake with Cinnamon and Vanilla Syrup Adapted from Donna Hay Issue 76 ‘Coffee, cinnamon, hazelnut and ginger bundt cakes with spiced vanilla syrup’ Ingredients for the Cinnamon Bundt Cake
- 275g unsalted butter + extra for greasing the bundt pan
- 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 250g sour cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (375g) plain flour, sifted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, sifted
- 3 tablespoons black coffee
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons milk
To make the cake Preheat the oven to 160C. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the flour, baking powder and combine with the mixture. In a small bowl, mix the coffee, cinnamon and milk into a paste. Add the paste to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Grease your bundt tin, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies of the tin. Pour the mixture into your greased tin. Tap the tin on the bench a few times to make sure the mixture is evenly distributed, and smooth the top. Bake for 40-45mins, or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Invert tin onto a wire rack without removing the tin and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Remove the tin and let the cake cool completely on the wire rack. Ingredients for the Cinnamon and Vanilla Syrup
- 3/4 cup (180ml) water
- 1 cup (220g) castor sugar
- 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bea, split and seeds scraped
To make the syrup Place the water, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, lemon juice, vanilla bean and seeds in a meduim saucepan over a medium heat. Stir until just combined. Bring to the boil and cook for 10-12 minutes, without stirring, or until thickened. Discard the vanilla bean and transfer the syrup to a bowl to cool completely. To assemble Place the cake on a pretty plate, or cake stand. Drizzle with syrup. Get in before the greedy hoards.