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
- The day before put everything apart from the tomato paste and stock in a large container with the beef and leave to marinate overnight
- On the day, remove the beef and pat dry
- In a oven-proof/stove-proof dish (cast-iron thing) brown the beef
- Then add the veg
- Give a good stir
- Add the wine/marinade
- Add the tomato paste
- Add enough stock to just cover
- Cook in oven at 150 for 3 hours - try and turn the meat every 30mins
- Remove from oven and gently take out the beef
- Remove the rosemary and bay and then blizt the veg/marinade/stock - should be a reasonably thick consistency
- Serve with the beef sliced as thin as you can (never good at this bit)