Short Beef Ribs with Red Cabbage and Fondant Potatoes

You’ve got to love Twitter. This week I ordered a “selection box” of cheaper cuts of meat from James Whelan Butchers to practice what I learned from Paul Flynn at the Tannery Cookery School last week and by attending the Butchery Demonstration at Avoca, Monkstown. So I had ordered a ham hock to make terrine, bavette of beef for stir fries, pork cheeks to try replicate a dish of Paul’s that I love and a Jacobs Ladder – short beef ribs.
Now I’ve only used short beef ribs once before to make the stock for my Wagyu hotpot using a recipe from Audrea of Tastefully Yours but I was curious to see if there was another way of using the cut that would get even more value from this tasty meat. So I put out a Friday afternoon appeal on Twitter and several of my friends came back with suggestions  – Aoife, Imen, Helena  – all with interesting recipes.
One  suggestion caught my eye. It was from Tom Walsh the Head Chef at the Samphire Restaurant at the Waterside, Donobate. I haven’t met Tom and I haven’t yet visited his restaurant but I love his philosophy  – classical French cuisine with a modern twist, supporting businesses in the community and sourcing all ingredients locally including meat, vegetables and fish and preparing seasonal menus, making the most of what is available at different times of the year. Samphire, a wild shoreline, vegetable growing on the doorstep of the restaurant perched on the beautiful coastline of north Dublin, provided a name that resonates with the place and the approach he adopts. It’s also one of my favourite ingredients and sums up the search for the authentic and the local which influences my own amateur approach to cooking.
Anyway Tom’s suggestion for  the Jacob’s Ladder went something like this:
“Get it into a nice marinade of hoisin with chilli added and some stock. Bed of veg. Nice bit of garlic.”
“Slowly cooked at 120 – 140, covered so it’s basted for a long period until tender.”
“After cooking, can be roasted up to give a lovely robust and meaty flavour, texture. Some fondant potatoes and red cabbage #goforit.”
So go for it I did and, in the process,  I came across a recipe for DongPo Pork in Exploring China a Culinary Adventure and I tweaked the braising liquid in that recipe for my Jacobs Ladder.
According to legend, Su DongPo was an important official from Hangzhou who was sent pork by his grateful people. Hangzhou is a city on the Yangtze River Delta about 180 km southwest of Shanghai. It is located in an area of great natural beauty and has been one of the most prosperous cities of China for over a 1,000 years. Being a nice guy,  DongPo instructed his cooks to prepare the pork, share it with his workers and serve it with rice wine. Somewhere along the way the message got garbled and the cooks added the wine to the dish. And so this classic dish was born, of which there are almost as many variations as there are Chinese cooks. My version below uses beef instead of pork and  a higher concentration of hoisin sauce. It is delicious.
Twice-cooked Short Beef Ribs (Jacob’s Ladder), DongPo Style

Jacobs Ladder resting before carving

Continue reading Short Beef Ribs with Red Cabbage and Fondant Potatoes

Wagyu beef Shananigans style – to be created by Twitter

Pat Whelan (@pat_whelan) of James Whelan Butchers set me a challenge on Twitter awhile ago – to come up with a Shananigans Recipe that uses his wonderful wagyu striploin steaks. Now bear in mind what I said when I started this blog. I’m not a trained cook. I can follow a recipe with very specific instructions but creating a recipe? Well I’ve only started that very recently as I grow in confidence to vary the suggestions I get from Shan and others. And as for wagyu beef – it’s like giving a pure gold to a jeweller who has only ever worked with scrap metal.
But one third of the Shananigans crew – my darling daughter @ClaireB_Oz – is home from Sydney for 5 days and wants to taste her mammy’s cooking (“remember when you used to bake us cookies” she is wont to say) and it was too good an opportunity to miss to try and produce something special for her.
Thus began a weekend of somewhat frantic on-line and twitter research – I mean what’s all this fuss about wagyu anyway? I couldn’t even spell it last Friday! – and an increasing sense of panic, as I realised how special it is. I felt that I had bitten off more than I can chew (boom, boom) – the foie gras of beef and I’m trying to give it a Chinese makeover without ever having cooked it as a simple steak.
Twitter friends far and wide were roped in for suggestions, the internet was trawled to produce much conflicting advice and I finally settled on a Sichuan take on a Shabu Shabu style hotpot, for no other reason than I loved the name which is onomatopoeic for the “swish swish” of the meat gently cooked in the hotpot broth.
Well I almost settled, because no sooner had I got a recipe for the broth from Twitter friend and Good Food Ireland member, Audrea of  Tastefully Yours (@ArtisanChutney) and spent nearly a day tracking down a table top hotpot from Table Top Cookware in the UK, (from where the lovely Sophie phoned me on a Sunday morning to say that yes, of course, they could fast deliver it to Ireland), when the other third of Shananigans – Shane, Shan and their foodie friend Carl Hayward in Beijing informed me that their consensus was that hotpot was not a good idea…

Now that’s a serious hotpot!

Carl had a different suggestion – a way of cooking wagyu he learned when he attended a cooking class with, and subsequently interviewed, a Japanese chef, Naoki Okumura, who is the executive chef at the Aman resort by the Summer Palace in Beijing, Naoki practices a fusion style of cooking he calls French Kaiseiki, an approach that combines French techniques with Japanese artistry.
Interestingly enough another Twitter friend @paulshoebox had recommended I visit that restaurant while in Beijing. So I will save some of the wagyu steaks and use them in Carl’s recipe.
Meanwhile I am psychologically committed to the hotpot, if for no other reason than the effort I’ve put into tracking one down. Besides I already have one vital ingredient thanks to Twitter friend @BumblesofRice – muslin squares to strain @ArtisanChutney stock. I’d never have thought of the baby isle in Tesco!
Muslin squares

The stock is simmering away for tomorrow. I only have to stay up until 1 am to mind it.
Tastefully Yours Sichuan Stock Base (courtesy of @artisanchutney)

  • About I kg of short beef ribs/Jacobs’s ladder (available from James Whelan Butchers)
  • 2 red onions peeled and halved
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 large carrot, unpeeled
  • A handful of fresh thyme
  • 10 – 15 sichuan peppercorns
  • About 100 ml of shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp of light soy sauce


  1. Take off the outer layer of fat on the beef because fat boiling in a stock will emulsify and lead to a cloudy texture and an unpleasant taste.
  2. Brown off the ribs in a little vegetable oiI.
  3. Add the onion, celery,carrot, thyme, Sichuan pepper corns, shaoxing wine. honey and soy sauce.
  4.  Mix together and continue to brown all the ingredients.


  1. Fill the pot with just enough cold water to cover all the ingredients – about 3 litres.
  2. Give it a vigorous stir and bring to a gentle boil.
  3. Reduce heat, loosely cover with a lid and simmer for 5-6 hours.
  4. Don’t be tempted to stir the stock as this will only cloud it.
  5. Skim the fat off every hour.
  6. Once cooked strain it through muslin – I found the easiest way to do this was to use a sieve first to discard all the bones and vegetables and then to re-sieve the stock through the muslin.
  7. Refrigerate it overnight and remove the layer of fat that forms. You’ll be left with a gelatinous stock.

Simmering Sichuan stock

@ArtisanChutney says: “This is your base for noodle soup or sauces. This is just a building block so have fun with it. Make it your own. Cooking is all about experimenting.” I’m trying Audrea, I’m trying,,,

I make a special effort to ensure that as many as possible of the vegetable that I use are Irish produce. All the vegetables used over the next few days were sourced with the assistance of Donnelly Fruit & Vegetables and, except where otherwise stated, are supplied by them to Donnybrook Fair, Dublin.