• 1.2kg casserole steak
  • 1 large onion
  • 6 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 whole black peppercorns
  • 18 whole cloves
  • 18 whole cardamon pods
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 whole dried red chillis
  • 3 tsp of shredded ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp garam masala

Two year old slow-cook beef with spices(it’s the chef that’s two, not the beef)

Annie, who is nearly 3 actually, has started to ask if she can do “Silly Chefs”. She’s been watching Jess (6) on Saturdays cooking and wants to be fully involved. Partial involvement is not an option.

We decided to go for a recipe that was very simple…yes, so simple a 2 year old can do it – with just a little bit of help.

We tried 3 slow-cook recipes and then force-fed them to various neighbours and relatives and then requested an “assessment”. This recipe was the clear winner.

There are lots of ingredients but it’s extremely simple to make once you’ve extracted the various spices from various jars. It will make your house smell delightful for a day as it cooks away – and if you have small children you may find that preferable to certain other odours being generated.

How we did it:

  • We have a book called “More Slow Cooker Recipes” by Katie Bishop and this recipe is on page 72. We don’t have her first book. We can only assume it is just as good as the sequel. This recipe is based on her’s with minor modifications.
  • We cut the casserole steaks in two and set them aside. Annie was not involved in this as we really like her fingers and wanted to keep them just as they are.
  • We heated the oil on a medium heat for about 2 minutes and then cooked all of the dried spices and chilli for about 90 seconds until fragrant.
  • We removed the spices with a slotted spoon and put them in to our low-quality slow cooker (it was cheap) awaiting the other ingredients.
  • We cooked the casserole beef in 3 batches – about 3 or 4 minutes for each batch until browned. We then added this to the low-quality slow cooker.
  • We diced and then added the onion. We added the ginger and seasoned with salt and stirred it all into the residue meat juices until the onion started to brown slightly. We added this, and the juices to the low-quality slow cooker as well.
  • Unlike the original recipe we added the garam masala at this point and poured over the stock. No reason, just felt right.
  • We left the low-quality slow cooker doing it’s thing for 5 hours on a medium heat.

What we thought of it:

This dish tastes amazing, makes your house smell of star anise for a day, and is easy for a 2-year old to assist with. We dressed it with coriander and served it with mini-naan breads, a basic riata and wholegrain rice. Then we ate it. Well the adults did anyway, perhaps a bit spicy for the little ones. But making it is most of the fun anyway, right?