Last November Kristen and I made it to the outside of Barrafina but no further. There was a wait to be able to get in and we had a train to catch and we had already eaten so to go in for more food might have been greedy.
It has been cold and grey all day and the snow is still lying thick on the ground so supper is going to have to be very warm and sustaining. I was tempted by a recipe for lamb stew with honey – even writing it down now the juices are going – but I knew there would be those who would like it. Galen is quite happy to eat lamb but the girls would kick up a fuss and it wasn’t a recipe that would easily translate into a vegetarian option.
I then came across a beef stew in the Barrafina cookbook made with a bottle and a half of red wine, chicken stock and a good mix of root vegetables. The girls are happier eating beef and the root vegetables would only need a tin of chickpeas or white beans to be added to them to be turned into a vegetarian stew. Do I plumped for that.
Cooking meat is an excuse to go to Edge’s in New Ferry and stock up on bacon for Sunday morning. First I had to go the grocers. There I bought some parsnips, onions, leeks, garlic and the great heft of celeriac. It was then onto Edge’s.
If it is possible New Ferry looks even more run down and forgotten than Birkenhead. Rows of shops forgotten and abandoned the names in the signs just visible and hinting a time when there was some glimmer of optimism for the place. In Edge’s I bought two punds of braising steak, some chicken wings for stock and a dozen rashers of oak smoked bacon for breakfast. There was a small packet of ox-tail on the counter and I got that as well to add a bit of weight to the stew.
I have cooking the stew over the afternoon so the house is filled with the smell. Chopping the steak into bite sized chunks and then browning the steak and ox-tail in oil. Removing that with a slotted spoon and then cooking the vegetables, starting with onion and garlic, then carrots, parsnips and celeriac, leaving all that to cook for a while and then adding the leak, some bay leaves and thyme. All the veg were chopped about half an inch square.
Once all the vegetables were cooking a bottle of red wine went in and all was brought to a boil for ten minutes to allow the wine to reduce. The meat was put back in and then all was left to cook on a very low oven for a few hours.
It is almost done and we will eat it with roasted potatoes and greens.
Listening to the new John Grant album and admiring his ability to swear.