Baharat Beef with olives

The house is filled with a delicious spicy aroma and dinner is simmering away.

I've just finished preparing a recipe from the Hilton Brisbane Masterclass supplied by Lyndey Milan and Ian Hemphill.

Lyndey and Ian , who are old friends, recently launched a new book 'Just Add Spice' which has '100 recipes that show the home cook how to spice up simple dishes using enticing herbs and spices.' 

Lyndey and Ian were keen to point out that spicy doesn't have to mean hot and they like to talk about spiced food rather than spicy food. As we mixed paprika, cumin, cassia and cloves amongst other spices into our Baharat Spice Mix that became very clear. Barharat is a balanced blend of spices with a woody bouquet and aromatic bay-rum notes, balanced with cinnamon and cassia sweetness. It is not hot, yet conveys all the romantic fragrances of everything that is spice. A traditional mix of baharat is added to Middle Eastern recipes in much the same way as Indians would add garam masala. The mix can be used on kebabs and any type of meat for grilling or roasting.

I picked up some interesting tips from these two

  • Ian likes to use a pinch of cloves to bring out the basil note in spaghetti Bolognese
  • Lyndey says garlic crushers bruise the garlic
  • Roasting spices changes the flavours – not brings out the flavours.
  • The shelf life of whole spice is three years and ground spice 12 – 18 months
And if you need a new knife you'd have to look at Lyndey's Brilliant Cut Knife – she's sure it's the best thing since sliced bread!

Baharat Beef with Olives

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic chopped

1kg chuck or blade steak, cubed

400g can whole peeled tomatoes

½ cup (125ml) dry red wine

12 -15 pitted black olives

½ - 1 teaspoon salt

Mashed potato, to serve

Baharat Spice Mix

2 teaspoons mild paprika

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds

½ teaspoon ground cassia

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

  • Preheat oven to 120c
  • Heat the oil in a medium-heavy based flameproof casserole dish over medium-low heat and soften the garlic – do not brown.
  • Toss the cubes of meat in the baharat spice mix.
  • Increase the heat to medium, add the beef to the casserole dish and cook briefly until sealed on all sides.
  • Add the tomatoes, wine, olives and ½ cup (125ml water)
  • Season to taste with salt but keep in mind that the olives are salty, so you may not need very much.
  • Stir frequently and bring to a gently simmer, then cover and cook in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours until the beef is very tender.
  • Serve over well mashed, buttery potatoes.
Serve with:

Try a cabernet sauvignon or a beer with a bit of body like a mid-strength ale.