Thursday, 8 March 2007

Feeling a little 'Peculier'

It was a lovely clear (if cold) March day in this part of the world. Thursday is playgroup day for us, so I took the boys into Aberystwyth this morning. It's always nice to see other people when you spend most of your time with pre-schoolers for company, not least because the conversation can centre around something other than the latest exploits of Peppa bloomin' Pig. I was pretty uncertain about the whole 'mother and toddler group' scenario, but I'm a total convert. The group we go to was recommended by a friend and it's great; not cliquey and not full of scary 'alpha mums' like some of these things can be.

We got home at lunchtime. After we'd eaten, I fed the baby and put him down to sleep. I faffed about in the garden and kitchen for a bit, then put the dinner in the oven. Christopher and I did a bit of baking this afternoon. More flour on the kitchen worktop and floor than actually in the bowl, but he's only two, bless him, and he loves to help!

Because we'd planned to bake this afternoon, I wanted a dinner that would look after itself. I bought a fab 1kg piece of beef shin from the butcher the other day, just perfect. I sliced it up, browned it with some onions and garlic and cooked it, with a bouquet garni, in (most of) a bottle of Theakston's 'Old Peculier' and a bit of water for 3 hours at 150°c. To make it a bit more like a French Carbonnades à la Flamande, I sliced a baguette roll and spread the pieces with a mixture of butter and Dijon mustard and popped them on top of the uncovered stew for the last half hour of cooking.

We ate it with some simple steamed broccoli. Hubby and I drank some lovely Chilean Casillero del Diablo Shiraz. To follow, I made a rhubarb crumble (knocked up from some rhubarb pulp left over from making a jelly), naturally accompanied by custard. Children sorted, I shall now sit by the fire and enjoy another glass of wine while hubby watches Lost, which we recorded last night.

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