Sunday, May 30, 2010

The two week birthday celebration with a boeuf bourginon finale

<---- Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with marshmallow "head" (Nigella recipe)

Where to begin?  Almost two weeks ago I turned 33; since then it's been a series of highs and lows.  High:  a long anticipated night with my husband in Arthur's Seat at an amazing B&B with views over Melbourne.  Low:  aforementioned husband coming down with food-poisoning an hour after arrival at the B&B, which lasted five days.  High:  friends, food and cocktails around an outdoor fire with perfect weather on a Saturday evening.  Low:  learning about some dodgy U.S. food practices via the movie "Food Inc.", leading to general household paranoia about the food we buy, source, eat (but on further reflection, this is probably a good thing). 

Rather than post up two weeks worth of recipes, here are some highlights and pictures, let me know if you'd like any recipes and I'll post it up:

Sitting around the fire while our neighbour Greg tries to coax one of the local, very fat, possums down from a nearby tree with a banana (he was later successful, at a cost of one inadvertently gnawed finger).

A lovely Sunday evening spent with hubby and our friend K; citrus glazed poached chicken resting on a bed of steamed beans and butter-roasted fennel.

One lazy Sunday morning, I threw together a damper loaf using ginger beer - very crumbly and crunchy outside crust; lovely and soft inside.

Today started with some fresh organic leeks pulled from the garden...

...and ended with a lovely, rich, boeuf bourginon (recipe below).

I made this lovely garlic and rosemary studded foccacia to mop up the bourginon gravy, which complimented the garlic and rosemary flavours in the stew.

Boeuf bourginon using mum's relish:

1 kg diced steak (you can use a cheaper cut - the cooking time will ensure it becomes soft)

two smashed garlic gloves

three leeks, washed and sliced (white only)

four medium carrots, chopped into big chunks

7 chat potatoes, halved (unpeeled)

handful of large sized button mushrooms, quartered

olive oil

one cup red wine

a jar of random relish or chutney from your pantry - I used one of my mum's many contributions, a sweet plum relish (you could buy one from the supermarket or local farmer's market if you don't have any)

2 cups beef stock

salt and pepper

plain flour

3 tsp cornflour mixed with water to make it a paste

two stalks rosemary


Coat the beef in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, brown it in a heavy bottomed casserole dish with a splash of olive oil and set aside.  Saute leeks, then add beef and all other ingredients back into the pan.  Put the lid on and place it into a 160C oven for 1 & 1/2 hours.  Take it out and give it a stir, add the mushrooms and the cornflour mix, then put back in the oven for a further 20 mins.

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