Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Midweek Musings

Here it is, wednesday again.

We have had so much snow today and yesterday. No photos of the snow as I have not perfected the art of photographing it yet. But I have certainly had a lot of practice today!

I love it when it snows. The whole world goes quiet and seems to hold its breath, as if waiting for something. Everything looks beautiful, gilded with a lacy trim of fresh snow, like icing sugar dusted over a cake. It blurs the edges and brings a new perspective to the world.

It was snowing so heavily this morning that I could not see the park across the road. Guy was fascinated. He sat on the dining table (yes, I know - cat bum on dining table - but let's not get into his bad habits today. sigh) and gazed at the flakes drifting past the window. Some of them were as big as a 2 euro piece!!

I waited till after lunch to head out to the shops thinking the snow may ease up or stop. Which it did.... till I set foot outside the door when it came down heavily again.....

Even though being hit in the eyeballs by snowflakes is right down near the bottom of my "list of things I enjoy", it was magical to walk through the snow and watch my jacket turn from black to white.

A father and teenage son started an impromptu snowball fight, which soon had everybody taking sides and commenting. A lot of fun. Amazing how that white stuff turns even grown ups into giggling children. Everyone walked off with smiles on their faces, something you don't see often in Paris.

Arriving home very chilled, with numb fingers and toes I craved something hearty and hot for dinner tonight. So we are having boeuf au carrottes with pomme de terre ratte. (beef and carrots with "ratte" variety potatoes). Being me, it is not the authentic version that takes all day to make. I always "adjust" recipes. There is no salt in this recipe. This is deliberate. If you add salt it will make the meat tough. There is also so much flavour that you will not miss the salt. If you must have it, add a sprinkle of fleur de sel when serving.

Enjoy your casserole and I will be back on monday. I am now off to England for a few days of fun with friends and family. Can't wait!

Boeuf au Carrottes a la Debbie
1kg good stewing steak, trimmed and cut into chunks
approx half bottle nice red wine (I am using a bourdeaux tonight)
good sprinkle of parsley, pepper, any other herbs you feel like 1bunch of thyme chopped
1 small onion chopped very fine
1 clove garlic chopped very fine
2 stalks of celery chopped finely
1 teaspoon of grainy mustard
1 tablespoon of redcurrant jelly
1/2 teaspoon vegemite

Put everything in a large casserole dish and stir to combine. Cover and place in slow oven.

After 30 mins add 1kg carrots chopped into rough chunks. Stir and cover again.

Now and then check that it is cooking well and stir. You may like to add stock or gravy granules for a richer or thicker gravy, or to leave the lid off for half an hour to reduce the gravy. Each batch is different and may need "tweaking" in a different way.

Cook in a slow oven for as many hours as you can leave it before being driven insane by the aroma

Steam/boil/microwave the potatoes till cooked. Drain any liquid and add fresh butter and fresh parsley.

Serve generous portions of the casserole in a shallow bowl. Don't forget to add potatoes to the bowl! Sprinkle fresh chopped parsley and/or thyme over everything. Dunk pieces of crusty bread into the juices and enjoy it all with a glass of whatever wine you used in the dish.... or a lovely bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape..... even better!

I do not use measurements very often... sorry. After checking my oven temp it is on 180C and I will turn it down to about 165C after the carrots go in.
I think dumplings would go fabulously in this. You may need to add some stock or water to the casserole though so it isn't too dry after the dumplings cook.
If you can't get fresh herbs, dried is ok. I tend to beg or buy fresh herbs when in season and freeze them for later use when they are not available.
The vegemite can be replaced with any flavourful stock cube/powder/liquid. It really just gives it a lovely colour and boosts the flavour.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds absolutely delicious. Have a good and relaxing mini vacation in England--you deserve it!