Posts Tagged ‘local food’

Maybe you always had tendencies but no space or money before. Now, you’re growing a garden!

There are vegetables galore, everything your ignorant mind could throw at a 4×10′ plot! 6 pea plants, all put in at the same time. 6 sprouting broccoli plants. Three corn plants (one died), a row of onions, a row of beets, three courgette plants, 7 pepper plants (none thrived, four eventually moved to pots, one of which has flowered), 4 tomato plants in two varieties, lettuce.

Who knew courgettes grew 3′ wide? Surely it would have said that on the back of the packet! (Wait, men don’t read the backs of packets)

And to top it all off, your old “poor food” meal, rice & veggies (no meat) has gone from taking about 20 minutes to make, to 45 minutes, has red camargue rice and brown rice, courgettes, carrots and peas from your garden, and duck breasts (because they were on sale).

But damn, is it good to eat yummy food that you’ve grown yourself!

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I have been really interested in trying out British recipes, stuff like cottage pie (it’s not shepherd’s pie unless you use lamb [Gordon Ramsay’s is the best ever]), bread pudding, yorkshire puddings, beef wellington, meat pies, finally getting a pork roast down well, and various offal and “unusual” cuts of meat, like oxtail. After watching some cooking shows and hearing about how good and cheap oxtail is I decided to search for some recipes and make braised oxtail. I don’t remember how I found this recipe. I also don’t know how much one oxtail weighs but I’m going with the 1 kilo I purchased at the butcher’s shop earlier tonight.

Braised Oxtail in Tomato and Red Wine

Take one oxtail, jointed. Brown the pieces well in hot olive oil – remove to an oven-proof casserole. Soften a mirepoix of carrot, celery, onion and garlic in the oil.

De-glaze the pan with a large glass of gutsy red wine (I suggest a decent Rioja), then add to the caserole. Add two tins of chopped tomatoes, bayleaf, thyme and season.

Bring to a gentle simmer, put on the lid and place in a low oven for appx 3 – 4 hours. N.B. It must cook very slowly and gently – I run my electric oven at just over 100C degrees to achieve a tremulous simmer.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then flake the meat from the bones and pop back into the sauce. Place in the fridge overnight, which will ripen the flavour, and allow you to skim off hardened fat as you feel necessary the next day.

Warm through when required and dress cooked linguine with the sauce. What’s left of the bottle of Rioja will be a perfect accompaniment.

I’ve also become interested in cooking seasonally, and inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, I kind of like the idea of finding a cookbook of British recipes that will take me through one year’s worth of seasonal cooking. I suspect River Cottage will be my best bet, but my roommate has also mentioned Nigel Slater and I also ran across the magazine Taste Britain, that looks amazing.

It also seems to be quite easy to shop locally here in Britain, there’s a big push to Buy British, and when we’re flipping out about how disgusting the beef industry’s destruction of the Brazilian rain forest is, the fact that you can know that you are buying beef that isn’t shipped overseas, that makes me feel better. G is trying to turn her household slow food/whole food but might not get very far with three young children’s picky appetites to assuage. I fare better with a much more adventurous adult male appetite to deal with.

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