Essential Autumnal Fare – Beef Braised in Red Wine

This week we have seen snow storms in the Mid West United States. Seems as though they have hit Winter head on and not bothered with the Fall. One of my previous managers at work hailed from North Dakota and liked to explain how in those parts Spring and Fall could last about 5 minutes – it seemed to go from sweltering heat to freezing blizzards overnight.

Well over here in good ol’ Britain we like to make a major palava out of our weather. In fact this year we are still waiting for Autumn to arrive. It’s T-shirt weather still. But we are gearing up for a good hard blast of Mr Freezy. It’s the way it works. You have to pay the (weather) piper at some point.

So this creation doesn’t really feel right for an evening where it’s still 17 Centigrade. But who cares. Maybe I can package it up and ship it off to those poor folks in South Dakota…

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The Perils of Slow Cooking

It’s easy right? Slow cooking I mean; Stick a load of stuff in a pot and set the switch to low. Walk away and come back 8 hours later to a delicious creation of tender meat and juicy loveliness.

Well no, not really. We acquired a genuine slow cooker recently. And I have never used a slow cooker. Its got a ceramic bowl that sits in an aluminium shell that warms up. There are three settings – low, high and auto.

How difficult can it be? Difficult. Painfully so. You see there are, I learned later on, some rules to cooking with a Slow Cooker. We’ll get to those later on. For now lets take a look at the cooker:

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Skirt Beef, Jack Daniels and Dumplings

Sometimes I feel my culinary repertoire is a bit limited. Every other dish I blog about is a lump of red meat, cooked for hours, in a thick sauce on a bed of mashed spuds. This creation is no exception, however along the way I learnt how to produce a clear stock (wow, gasp!).

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The Vegetarian and the Carnivore

My culinary adventures (for they are many and varied) twist and turn between the needs of me (a complete meat freak) and my wife (a vegetarian with pescatarian tendancies). What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, no?

Anyway, where possible I try to recreate vegetarian versions of meaty creations. Here I tried a Vegetarian Cobbler. I thought I had already done a beef version on this blog but I can’t find it so I guess that will be a follow up. This veggie version is so wholesome and nutritious its like Mother Teresa got together with the Virgin Mary, invited Florence Nightingale round and they decided this was the best thing to bring to a Pot Luck Party.

The red wine has no place in the ingredients and yet its essential to the creation process

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Cheeky Cow

So I’m always up for eating new things (except eyeballs). I’ve also been looking for a cut of meat that will slow cook without drying out and a lot of posts on WordPress mention beef cheeks. Cheeks? Eating something’s cheeks. Just doesn’t sound quite right.

However I spotted some at Tesco of all places so I went for it. And its so cheap – this lot cost £3!

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