I could not cook many years ago…but now I can – simply by watching programmes on cookery, reading cook books, trying things out and by having had the good fortune to eat some very good meals in different parts of the world. I am not a foodie. I just enjoy cooking and eating the results. I also like cooking for friends. It has to be said that I have had to go out to dinner after cooking – simply because what I tried was, shall we say, not too good.
There is a fantastic range of information on the net and on television for those of us who enjoy cooking.
Tonight… a recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon done in a slow cooker or ‘crockpot’
1. Buy a slow cooker (£20 – or use a hob and cook gently for about 2 hours and then transfer to a hot oven 180C to thicken the gravy for about 15 minutes.)
Using the slow cooker on a high setting for 5-6 hours:
2. Chop topside, sirloin, rump or even cheaper cuts of beef into chunks. Coat with flour (I prefer cornflour) and season with salt and pepper. Brown in frying pan using groundnut or sunflower oil until the meat has a good colour on the outside
3. Chop carrots, onion, mushroom, onion/challots and small potatoes (keep the skin on) garlic – some mixed herbs and anything else you fancy by way of veg.
4. Add about 1/4 pint of beef stock available from supermarkets. Put in a small amount of fat from the beef to render down and provide depth to the gravy.
5. Add a full bottle of decent burgundy. The burgundy will cost about £6-10 depending on your budget. It is worth using good wine. Frankly any heavy bodied wine will give good flavour
6. Cook for 5-6 hours with the slow cooker on high or 9-10 hours with the slow cooker on low.
Garlic and chive mash
It will take about 20 minutes or so to cook some small potatoes with or without skins (I like skins on for this dish)
1. Cook potatoes until you can put a fork into the heart of the cut potatoes. Drain water, mash, add garlic puree or chopped garlic, chopped chives and butter. Mash until you have the mash the way you like it.
Quantities are irrelevant with slow cooking. Some people are greedy. Work out how much you like, add for friends. Make enough for some the next day – because it does taste better the next day and you can heat it up fairly quickly on a stove. Best to make a new batch of mash, though.
Rioja, Burgundy, Barolo, Cotes du Rhone… in fact.. most reds go well with this.
I have just had a boeuf bourguignon prepared in this way … and I am feeling no pain at all.. and I am never, knowingly, under refreshed… at night.