Warming and comforting, you just can't beat a meaty stew on a cold winters day and oxtail is a tasty alternative to the regular beef steak.
The great thing about stews and casseroles is that you can make them the night before to warm through the next day or even pop in the slow cooker before work for a welcome return in the evening.
Oxtail Stew (Serves 8)
20 small onions or 4 large cut into quarters
3/4 bay leaves
1/4 dried red chilli, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bottle of red wine
Season to taste
Brown off the oxtail in a large frying pan. Transfer into a large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven. Brown off the onions with the bay leaves, garlic and chilli, take off heat and stir in the flour before putting in the pot with the oxtail.
Deglaze the frying pan with the wine (scrape off all the crispy meaty bits with a spoon whilst warming the wine through) and then pour into the pot with the oxtail and onions. Cook for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is still attached but coming away from the bone. If your having dumplings, place on the top of the stew 35 minutes before the end, ducking under the surface a little.
Use the basic dumpling mix of fat to flour but substitute fat for stilton. We used 200g self raising four, 100g stilton, pinch of salt
Crumble the stilton and add to a bowl with the flour in. Mix together with enough cold water to bind together. Refrigerate until required. Split into six individual dumplings, rolling into a rough ball and place on top of the stew 35 minutes before it's ready.
Serve with vegetables of your choice - bon appetit
Saturday nights are a firm favourite in our house for homemade pizza. Thin and crispy with whatever topping takes our fancy (or what the contents of the fridge allows!) In this case, tomato, ham and mozzarella.
I've been rough shooting since I was 13 and every now and again I beat for a local pheasant shoot. It's just a small affair on a farm nearby with a great bunch of guys and their dogs! There's a bag limit of 50 birds, so just enough for a brace each and most of the guns do their share of working. This week was the last in the season and fortunately the the rain held off for the day.
No specially laid on lunch supplied with this one, just our own pack up (extra large!) plus a taster of the homemade wine and cakes Mr G our Italian gun brings from his bakery.
I've got my brace hanging and will be cooking them up this weekend.
My son, Will, is a keen baker, in more ways than one and today made this Rustic Plum Tart from Isidora Popovic, Popina book of baking. It was delightful, was being the operative word as it didn't last long!
Really quick and easy to make and great as a sweet snack with coffee or a warm dessert with a dollop of double cream.
90g golden caster sugar Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4 1 Egg Put the sugar and egg in a mixing bowl and mix with an
40ml groundnut oil (or any other veg oil) electric whisk. Add the oil, milk, flour, baking powder and
55ml whole milk (we only had semi skim) vanilla and mix again until combined. Transfer to the
140g plain flour prepared baking tin and spread evenly. Sit the plums, cut
1 teaspoon baking powder side up, over the mixture.
A few drops of vanilla oil Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until
6 large plums, stoned and halved deep golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for
2 tablespoons apricot jam for a few minutes.
to glaze (optional) In the meantime put the apricot jam, if using, in a small
A 20cm springform tin, lined saucepan and heat gently until melted and runny. Brush the
with greaseproof paper jam all over the tart with a pastry brush and leave for a few more minutes before serving. Makes about six (generous) slices
This book is brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone - I got this for my birthday and have already made lots of tasty treats from it. With this plum tart I used basic caster sugar as an alternative to golden, the only difference is that the cake will be slightly paler in colour after being baked but hardly notices and is easily covered by the apricot jam glaze anyway. No greaseproof paper so buttered around the tin sides instead.
The apricot Jam is optional but I think essential to the presentation and taste of the tart. The plums become slightly wrinkled by the bake and the jam will make the top layer of both the sponge and the apricots moist; also it gives the cake a nice sweet taste - Will
New years' day with the family and Heston Blumenthals slow roast beef was on the menu. I read somewhere that he recommends beef be cooked for twenty hours at 55°C. I've cooked beef for six hours before now but never for almost a day! Still, my brother was as keen as I and so with a rather large rib from the local butcher, we all drove down to Worcester with it in the boot.
Whilst the oven was hotting up (or gently warming should I say), we flamed the whole of the outside of the meat with a gas torch to seal and colour.
Unsure of how accurate the oven was we checked inside the oven with a thermometer. Good job too as it was out by 10°C. Anyway once we adjusted the controls and were happy with the core temperature, the beef went in and we waited......
Twenty LONG hours later, out it came. We all admired it for a good 5 minutes before wrapping it up in tin foil and leaving it to rest for a further 45.
Because it's cooked at such a low heat, the meat doesn't shrink and barely loses any of it's juices. It was absolutely beautiful, I can't tell you how tender and succulent it was...you'll just have to try it for yourselves!