Simply the best.

Better than all the rest. My darlings, how was your weekend? Plenty of love one hopes?

Ours was utterly stupendous!! Not down to Mr.Lee sweeping me off my feet in a heady spin of romance but spent wonderfully with friends. Definitely the way to go. How often has one been glum and not wanted to be forced into a table pour deux and suffer a set menu? Quite often.

First there was The Lord Mayor’s Valentine Ball on Saturday. Everyone looked so glam even when making a few shapes on the dance floor. My F.F’S ( fabulous friends) were a sight to behold.

Yes darlings, a dress with sleeves. Thank goodness.

Sunday was slow and if honest a little painful. One can’t quite get used to a sore head but of course it was all worth it.

 On Monday Mr.Dish ( Lee) bought incredible pink roses ( I prefer them to red) and as I was popping them into a vase a peacock was admiring them from the trellis.

We were going to a F.F’s Valentine party later and it was our job to provide table flowers and Rossinis. ( Fizz( Prosecco) and strawberry pureé).

Nothing wrong with a bit of bling darlings.

Testing my husband’s ruby red Rossini.

Our hostess made the most incredible beef bourguignon we had ever tasted and all guests brought something to add to the evening. Friends, fabulous food, fine wine, and dancing.  We even had poetry.What more could a girl ask for?

Same time next year??

Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg/3lb5oz chuck steak, cut into 5cm/2in pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 sticks celery, rough chopped
  • 2 bottles red burgundy wine
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 50g/2oz unsalted butter
  • 225g/8oz whole piece of smoked bacon or pancetta
  • 450g/1lb shallots, peeled
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 375g/12oz chestnut mushrooms
  • 290ml/½ pint fresh beef stock
  • 5 tbsp brandy
  • freshly chopped flatleaf parsley
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the carrot, onion and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the wine, thyme, garlic and 2 bay leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
  2. Place the beef in a large bowl and pour over the wine marinade. Cover and place in the fridge overnight. This is known as a cook marinade.
  3. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas2. Drain the beef from the marinade into a colander over a glass bowl. Reserve the marinade and set aside.
  4. Heat 25g/1oz butter and 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the bacon and cook until golden and brown. Add the shallots and transfer to a large casserole dish.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan. Pat dry the cubes of beef from the marinade mixture using absorbent kitchen paper. Add half of the beef to the pan and cook until brown on all sides. Remove the beef and transfer to the casserole dish with the bacon, shallots and vegetables. Repeat with the remaining beef and add to the casserole dish.
  6. Stir in 2-3 large spoonfuls of the reserved marinade mixture to deglaze or remove any sediment from the pan. Pour into the casserole dish.
     
  7. Stir in the plain flour, the remaining marinade mixture and beef stock into the casserole dish.
  8. Bring to the boil, cover and place in the oven for 3-3½ hours or until the beef is very tender.
  9. Halfway through cooking, heat the remaining oil and butter in a large frying pan and cook the mushrooms until brown. Add the brandy and cook for a few minutes.
  10. Add the mushrooms to the casserole dish, stir and return to the oven the remaining cooking time.
  11. Serve with new potatoes, sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley and purple sprouting broccoli.

By Antony Worrall Thompson

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