The winds of seasonal change are a blowing
Food and wine
The winds of change are whistling though our world, light, temperature and living patterns are changing with the seasons, and likewise our food and drinking patterns will be susceptible to change. Our bodies will need more fuel for the winter months, so heavier food dishes (like the beef Bourgogne below) replace lighter summer snacks, while the lighter summer Muscatel Rosés will be replaced with heavier whites and thicker, more-bullish delicious Red wines.
Tools of the trade
As we settle into a new season, perhaps now is a good time to look at the tools of your trade and maybe have a clean out or treat yourself to new equipment – always worth it in the long run.
POTS AND PANS Basically, you need heavy bases. Lighter bases and cheaper metals get too hot and food burns and sticks on the surface. Common sense, but you would be amazed at the amount of crap pots and pans for sale.
Well worth an investment, not a whole fancy new set, just start to accumulate good stuff. One good high-sided pan is essential for boiling soups, stocks, big dishes. I get tired of low ones boiling over and ruining the cooker.
KNIVES Gotta have one or two good ones. Lot of crap out there, use you instinct. One good short one and one good long one.
Run you finger along blade and imagine how it will fair over the years, you will be right. Get a knife sharpener too.
CHOPPING BOARDS Gotta have some good boards, these are and will be your friends. Either one good wooden one you use for meats and veg, always washing in between, or maybe two different boards – one for each.
No need for a third one for fish; just wash the board properly, common sense.
I don’t like plastic boards as they scratch and scour and bad stuff can get caught in them. Natural good wood is best.
Hawkshaw’s classic beef Bourgogne stew
As you know I love my veggies. The brunette doesn’t eat meat, but luckily I am very happy with a meal of veg only. I’m not a mad meat eater, which Mrs Hawkshaw pointed out recently, as she had noted my lack of beef dishes! Her family and husband, Seamus, run a good business in Westport. They are responsible for killing much of their own sheep and lambs, which we need more of locally, and you can always ask them for a special or different cut. Proper butchers.
Beef Bourgogne is very popular in Mayo.
This recipe introduces the method of browning off meat (in a good, heavy saucepan or pan!), which one school of thought for stew preparation – the other advocates cooking the meats and stew from raw with wet liquids and juices.
Penny Cabot always cooked a lamb stew from raw with no browning, believing the flavour was to ‘cook out’ over time into the surrounding juices and veggies (unlike a steak where you ‘seal it in’ by frying over heat).
This slow-cooked dinner also includes the idea of cooking the meat with a touch of bacon for that extra fat and flavour – something to consider with all big stews, and in particular ‘dryer’ meats, turkey, game.
- 3 ½ lb stewing beef
- 6 streaky bacon
- 12 baby mushrooms
- 4 carrots into lengths
- Pinch thyme and parsley
- 10 crushed Garlic cloves
- 2 big cups wine
- 2 big cups stock
- Olive oil
Brown beef and bacon. Remove, add veggies and all flavours one at time, stirring with seasoning.
Add back the meat, then wine, simmer 1 hour.
Serve with parsley on top, with new potatoes or champ and boiled autumn cabbage in salted water, dressing with butter.
To thicken the stew, heat 2oz butter in a pan, stir in two tablespoons of flour and cook for three mins, then add that roux mix to stew and thicken out.