Beef in Guinness

As we all know, summer is about eating light, fresh food like my Caprese salad. However, I really like to continue devouring slow cooked wintry meals during the summer. Having said that, this dish isn’t as wintery or as rich as a steak and ale pie and I personally think it worked rather well considering the time of year – especially on a Sunday, in lieu of a roast. This is so delicious I’ve had it a couple of times in the past few weeks; it has such a good depth of flavour and is incredibly satisfying to eat when it has been cooked for at least 3 hours. Indeed, the most important thing to remember when preparing this casserole, or any meal that includes the cheaper cuts of meat, is to cook it for a long time. After 3 hours the fat should have melted away from the meat, enriching the dish, and the meat will have become incredibly tender. This casserole would also work very well with on-the-bone cuts such as oxtail – meat on the bone is incredibly sweet and when cooked the marrow in the bones will melt into the gravy, enriching it further.

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Insalata Caprese

Some of the best things to eat during the summer are simple pasta salads. They are so light, healthy and delicious in an almost subtle manner – as such Insalata Caprese epitomises the summer pasta salad. I realise this dish doesn’t usually include pasta, but I thought rather than having it as a starter it would be better to bulk it out and really enjoy its deliciousness as a lunch, or indeed as a light dinner. This was my exact thought process as over the past few days I’ve had rather meaty meals like cawl and fragrant chicken curry – a dish which I’m considering “re-mastering”. As such I wanted a meal that was light, tasty and vegetarian – this seemed the ideal candidate.

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Plum Muffins

I thought I’d continue in the same vein as my last post and bring you yet another delicious recipe with which to use your lovely juicy plums. This will be the last of the plum themed posts for now though, as although we had a very large amount of plums we only actually made muffins and chutney – 11 jars of the stuff. I think the next summer fruit recipe I’ll tackle will be Blackberry jam, but I need to find time to go out and pick them first.

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Plum Chutney

Alright, alright, these aren’t wild plums, but they were picked out in the open as I mentioned in my last post, from plum trees hanging over the walls of other people’s gardens. At the weekend my girlfriend and I saw two such trees, one just around the corner from her house and another on a walk we went on which took us past Chequers – a residence of the Prime Minister. From two small branches of each tree we managed to alight more than 4 kilograms of plums, this seems quite a lot to pick from someone else’s tree, but they were already slightly over-ripe and there was no sign of them getting picked. The fact that they were slightly over-ripe made them even more alluring, especially for chutney making. Continue reading

Banana and Chocolate Bread

I am back from my sojourn at the house of my girlfriend laden with frugal recipes cheap enough to make one’s mind boggle. Seriously, this is the only place where describing something as ‘cheap’ would go down well, and I like that. I really have been a busy-bee for the past few days – I’ve been walking, cycling, cooking and snaffling free plums from trees overhanging their owner’s garden walls. As a result you can expect recipes for plum chutney and plum muffins to appear over the coming days – they are seriously good.

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