Last night, Jette Virdi, one of the most creative girls I know, hosted Long Table Suppers in aid of Men’s Shed at The MArt in Rathmines and ah! what a spectacular gathering it was!
I went to The MArt with my hubby and our friend Peter. We were treated to beautiful wine and four seasonal courses (celeriac, smoked haddock & hazelnut, beef short rib with pumpkin, mushroom & crispy kale, donuts and my favourite: winter-spiced pannacotta) cooked for us by wonderful Hilary.
I can think of only one word to describe the Long Table Supper: magical! Just take a look below and you’ll know why!
I already look forward to the next supper! See you there? :)
Last month I went to the The Foodie Movie Club where “Julie & Julia” was privately screened in the Brooks Hotel’s cinema. In case you don’t know, it is a story of Julie Powell, a New Yorker, who decides to cook each recipe from Julia’s Child cookbook ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ and writes about it on her blog. The movie was followed by an authentic boeuf bourguignon and a glass of wine in French restaurant La Maison. I watched this movie previously but this time was different, it was special in a way, hence inspired by it, I ordered my own copy of the “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and also “As always Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto”. The sound it makes is that of two housewives, each in her 40s, becoming pen pals and then ecstatic soul mates in the dreary 1950s. They let rip about all kinds of things, from shallots, beurre blanc and the misery of dried herbs to politics, aging and sex.
The moment my books arrived I was very much looking forward to the day when I can make my own boeuf bourguignon.
It finally happened yesterday and I promise you, it was worth waiting! With Kuba, my better half, we’ve made beef, chicken or lamb stews many times before but this beef bourguignon is something different, I tell ya! It is so much more than just another beef stew. That deeply savoury aroma of onions, beef and red wine is enough to make your eyes roll skyward!
Let me quote Julia: “ As is the case with most famous dishes, there are more ways than one to arrive at a good boeuf bourguignon. Carefully done, and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner. Fortunately you can prepare it completely ahead, even a day in advance, and it only gains in flavour when reheated. “
Sauté the bacon in the oil over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon. Set casserole aside. Reheat until fat is almost smoking before you sauté the beef.
Dry the stewing beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Sauté it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil and bacon fat until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the bacon.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the sautéing fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with the salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly with the flour. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes. Toss the meat and return to oven for 4 minutes more. (This browns the flour and covers the meat with a light crust.) Remove casserole, and turn oven down to 160C.
Stir in the wine, and enough stock or bouillon so that the meat is barely covered. Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and bacon rind. Bring to simmer on top of the stove. Then cover the casserole and set in lower third of preheated oven. Regulate heat so liquid simmers very slowly for 3,5-4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily. Julia says “Boiled potatoes are traditionally served with this dish. Buttered noodles or steamed rice may be substituted. If you also wish a green vegetable, buttered peas would be your best choice. Serve with the beef a fairly full-bodied, young red wine, such as Beaujolais, Côtes du Rhône, Bordeaux-St. Émilion, or Burgundy.”
Julia finishes her Bouef Bourguignon with pearl onions and mushrooms. I think there’s quite enough going on with this dish so I skip them ;)
I’ve also found this vintage episode of Julia’s cooking show “The French Chef” where she makes her famous beef stew. Amazing how richly enjoyable a personality she was.
My favourite moment, at around 9:20: “You just put the garlic into the garlic press and kind of go, errrg!”
PS. I would love to know what’s your favourite French dish?
I believe there’s no need to introduce Irish Stew BUT for those who don’t know it;
This is an exceptionally rich dish that provides belly warmth to the highest degree. Intense, it is perfect for ladling into big bowls, for big groups with big glasses of wine :)
Quality lamb meat makes all the diffrenece and the fresh thyme brings the stew alive.
Recently, I couldn’t stop thinking about the stew. The weather has been lurching between fits of sunshine and rain clouds and seemed to be asking for something warm on the table.
To make unbelievably good Irish Stew, you need;
1 tbsp sunflower oil
900g stewing lamb, cut into large chunks
5 medium onions, sliced
5 carrots, sliced into chunks
1 leek, sliced
bunch of fresh thyme
100g pearl barley
850ml lamb stock
6 medium potatoes, cut into chunks
fresh parsley, chopped for garnish
Preheat the oven 160C. Heat the oil in a casserole. Cook the lamb for about 10 mins until brown. Remove the meats with a slotted spoon. Add the onions, leek, carrots and herbs to the pan, then cook for about 5 mins until softened. Return the meat to the pan, stir in the pearl barley, pour over the stock, then bring to a simmer.
Sit the chunks of potato on top of the stew, cover, then braise in the oven for about 2 hrs until the potatoes are soft and the meat is tender.
Remove from the oven, scatter with the parsley and serve scooped straight from the dish, simples :)
Serve with soda bread & butter, which is the perfect compliment to Irish stew.
This is one of my favourite recipes – it is healthy, delicious and within 30 minutes on the table :)
To make this easy, inexpensive and extremely tasty salad you need;
500g bag baby new potatoes, halved
225g green beans
225g chorizo ring, sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 12 mins. In the meantime cook the eggs in a different pan for 6 mins. Add the beans for the final 2 mins. Drain everything and cool the eggs under cold running water.
Now, fry chorizo slices for 2 minutes, until crispy. Then remove from the pan but leave the oil from the chorizo in the pan.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook gently for 1 min. Then remove the pan from the heat, stir in the vinegar and parsley. Toss with the potatoes, beans, chorizo and pepper.
Before serving, cut the eggs into quarters and add to the salad.
I hope you will love this salad as I do! It is fantastically tasty, healthy & filling! Simply yummy!
Ok, it’s been a while since I blogged! But it does not mean I stopped cooking or eating out in town, I just simply focused recently on developing new recipes, on mixing flavours so then I can give you a bigger selection of meal combinations to choose from.
I came back from Poland a couple of days ago where I heard from my granny “You look better” which means “You put on weight”- God bless her for that! ;) I know they say don’t trust a skinny cook but I liked my weight and want to get back to my standard 60kg.
We all know the healthiest and lightest options are salads but I like them to be healthy and tasty at the same time. Plus, we are both, me and my hubby, a big meat lovers so our salads have to be with a piece of a meat otherwise it is not a proper meal.
I created a new salad which I named Rogan Josh salad just because I used Rogan Josh paste to marinate the chicken.
Half of Rogan Josh Paste
5-6 tablespoons of natural/ greek yogurt
500g chicken tenderloins
150g baby spinach leaves
fresh cucumber, sliced thickly
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup of fresh mint leaves
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
Method; Spiced yogurt;
Prepare a small jug or a big cup. Crush one clove of garlic and add it to the yogurt. Mix it with lemon juice, ground cumin and ground coriander. Leave it to chill before serving.
Rogan Josh chicken;
Combine Rogan Josh paste with chicken and marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge. Then heat oil in frying pan and cook chicken. In the meantime microwave pappadums about 30 seconds (low fat way) or deep-fry them in oil for 5 seconds on each side- I do it this way because I like them puff up and double in size :)
Now put spinach, cucumber, tomato and mint n a bowl or on a plate, top it with chicken and drizzle with yogurt.
Serve with pappadums.