26 September 2023

Slow-cooked ribs

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By Christine Salins.


Sydney couple Bryony and Harry Lancaster believe healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. Nor should it involve self-denial, they say. Inspired by the wholefoods movement and drawing on culinary influences from around the world, their Egg of the Universe cafés in Rozelle and Eveleigh are a natural fit for their state-of-the-art yoga studios. The café/studios are fully integrated, creating a sanctuary for both body and mind.

Situated around an elm tree providing dappled sunlight throughout the day, the Rozelle café is a beautiful oasis in which to enjoy a meal, a tea or coffee, or a kombucha and light snack. With Covid making it impossible for us to experience it first-hand, we can at least dip into the Lancasters’ new book, Egg of the Universe (Murdoch Books, $49.99) to recreate some of the most popular dishes at home.

With more than 100 recipes, the book is a joyful celebration of seasonal eating and wellbeing, embracing the philosophy of better living through nutritious wholefoods and mindful movement.

From light and energising breakfasts to salads bursting with colour and crunch, restorative broths and wholesome slow-cooked braises and curries, there’s something for everyone. The rich, slow-cooked BBQ short ribs here are best served with a raw salad, and/or simple steamed greens such as bok choy.

In addition, there are recipes for the pickles, ferments, tonics, homemade breads and healthy sweet treats for which the cafe is renowned. A seasonal program of yoga, meditation and wellness practices is also included, making the book a great tool for anyone itching to embrace these techniques in these difficult times.

Slow-cooked BBQ short ribs

Serves 6 to 8

2.5 kg beef shortribs, on the bone

2 tablespoons lard, ghee or olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 onions, sliced

6 garlic cloves, crushed

75 g ginger, grated

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

1 leek (white part only), finely chopped

2 lemongrass stalks (white part only), bruised

2 tablespoons chopped rosemary leaves

2 oranges, peeled and roughly chopped, seeds removed

2 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons rapadura sugar

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

700 ml tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)

Steamed greens, to serve

Freshly grated horseradish (optional), to serve

Preheat oven to 90°C. Season short-ribs liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat lard in a large, ovenproof, heavy-based saucepan (cast-iron is ideal) over medium–high heat until melted and shimmering. Add short-ribs in batches and fry, turning, for 3 to 5 minutes until browned all over. Remove from heat.

Heat oil in a separate large saucepan over medium heat.

Add onion, garlic and ginger, stir for 5 minutes, then add celery, carrot, leek, lemongrass and rosemary and fry gently, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant and soft. Add orange, molasses, sugar and mustard and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Stir in tomato passata and 1 teaspoon salt, then pour into the other saucepan to just cover the beef (top it up with water if necessary).

Cover with a lid, transfer to oven and cook for 6 to 8 hours (or overnight) until the meat is falling off the bone at a touch and the sauce is thick and dark (if the sauce hasn’t thickened, you can always remove the meat and gently reduce the sauce on the stove).

Serve beef and reduced sauce in a bowl with steamed greens and top with horseradish.

Images and text from Egg of the Universe by Bryony and Harry Lancaster, photography by Alan Benson. Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.

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