Thursday, 13 September 2012

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me....

Another year older! Happy birthday to me!! ½ was pretty excited, waking at 6.30am and jumping into my bed to wish me a happy birthday. I think she must have sung happy birthday to me around 15 times!

As ½ is busy settling at school all week (8.40am-11.50am) there's not loads we can do to 'celebrate' (never been a celebrator) - last year we camped in the New Forest which was fun. So instead, we met Big-Sis and Little-Em for lunch which was lovely, especially as the girls were excited to share their big school stories.

In the evening a few girl-friends came over for dinner. I nearly cancelled a few times as people were dropping out but in the end I got a reasonable turn-out for a school night (4 in total. 1 poor friend didn't make it after her car broke down with 2 kids in the back and she's 6 months pregnant!!).

To start with, I did the Sundried Tomato Pesto Camembert thing which was even better as I had kept it in the oven for a little longer.

For the main deal I started prepping the day before and made a lovely braised beef in red wine, that I found in the Good Housekeeping cookbook. Served with mash (which I am not usually a fan of) and brocolli (which ½ refuses to eat).

Pudding-less - to be honest I forgot. But I am not a massive fan and we all figured that we didn't need it anyway.

What you need (serves around 6)

  • 1.5kg topside of beef
  • 4 - all spice berries - crushed 
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 2 bushy sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 celery sticks - chopped
  • 2 carrots - chopped
  • 2 onions - chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bottle of full bodied red wine
  • 2tbsp tomato paste (I added a little bit more)
  • ½ pint of beef stock (I always use the Kallo ones, initially the low salt, not the normal)
What to do
  1. The day before put everything apart from the tomato paste and stock in a large container with the beef and leave to marinate overnight
  2. On the day, remove the beef and pat dry
  3. In a oven-proof/stove-proof dish (cast-iron thing) brown the beef
  4. Then add the veg
  5. Give a good stir
  6. Add the wine/marinade
  7. Add the tomato paste
  8. Add enough stock to just cover
  9. Cook in oven at 150 for 3 hours - try and turn the meat every 30mins
  10. Remove from oven and gently take out the beef
  11. Remove the rosemary and bay and then blizt the veg/marinade/stock - should be a reasonably thick consistency
  12. Serve with the beef sliced as thin as you can (never good at this bit)

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