Wine + Dine at home | Rob Dolan Wines x Mad Ram Cafe

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It doesn’t get much better than beef cheek and cabernet as far as food and wine pairings go. As the days get colder we thought the time was ripe to enlist Mark from Mad Ram Café to bring you the ultimate winter dish, a perfect pairing for our White Label Cabernet.

After 20 years in the kitchen, the team behind Mad Ram Café decided to take the plunge and make their dream a reality by opening their own business. In only a matter of months they a made a splash as one of the top new cafés in the Croydon Mooroolbark area.

As well as great coffee and produce, they’re known for their innovative menu that will make you a fan for life. They have something for everyone and we’re pretty excited to drop back in for a coffee and bite to eat now that restrictions have lifted. You can find more details about Mad Ram Café here.

Mark has created the ultimate slow-cooked beef cheek recipe for us; rich, tender and packed with flavour. The smooth and creamy cauliflower puree cuts through the richness of the beef, which easily falls apart on the plate.

Our award-winning 2016 White Label Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Dark red fruits are balanced with a subtle tannin that leaves you wanting more from every sip. You can purchase here.

Without further ado – let’s get into it!



1.5 kg Beef Cheeks (or 4 large cheeks)

125 ml (½ cup) olive oil

4 carrots, roughly chopped

1 garlic bulb, halved

2 leeks cleaned and sliced

1/4 celery chopped (stems only)

2 brown onions, sliced

500 ml Pedro Ximenez sherry

500 ml Shiraz

3 bay leaves

8 stems of thyme leaves

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets

185 ml cream

40g butter


1. Pre-heat oven to 150º.

2. Clean up the beef cheeks to neaten them, and remove any sinew and silver skin. Season well with salt.

3. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large heavy-based, oven-proof casserole dish over high heat. Brown the beef cheeks on each side until golden, then remove from the pan, set aside to rest.

4. Add the remaining olive oil, then add the carrot, garlic, leeks, celery and onion and sauté over medium heat until well browned.

5. De-glaze the pan with the sherry and wine, making sure to lift all the caramelised yumminess off the bottom of the pan (I recommenced a spatula to help lift the caramelised pieces.) Stir until all lumps have dissolved. Add bay leaves, thyme and sea salt then add 2 cups water and bring to the boil.

6. Add the beef cheeks back into the dish, cover and cook in the oven for 4-6 hours, or until beginning to fall apart.

7. Meanwhile, put the cauliflower, cream and butter in a saucepan, season with salt, then cover and cook over low heat until very tender. Place the cauliflower mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Keep the puree warm.

8. The sauce from the beef cheeks should by now be reduced and glaze-like. If it needs further reducing, remove the cheeks from the pan, cover with foil to keep them warm and simmer the sauce over high heat until nicely reduced.

9. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and return to the pan; gently reheat the cheeks in the sauce if necessary.

10. Serve the cheeks and their sauce on warm plates on top of the cauliflower puree.

We would love to see what Masterchefs are sitting at home thinking they could give this one a crack! If you decide to give it a go yourself, be sure to tag us @robdolanwine and @madramcafe and share with the hashtag #rdwwineanddine

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