It is always a good idea before making a start on a recipe not done before to read through the instructions so that when you come across the words “leave to simmer for five hours”, they do not come as too much of a surprise.
Luckily I read through the recipe sufficiently early in the day to give me the hours needed for it to simmer quietly for the requisite period of time.
It is now sat on the stove giving away the odd bubble and filling the house with its deep and serious smell.
Before I took at a look at the recipe there was a walk along Bidston Hill. In the midday sun the air was clear and fresh ad brightened the browns and otherwise subdued shades of late autumn.
The oxtail have been lurking in the bottom of the freezer for a couple of months. They came out to defrost a few weeks ago but then had to go back in when something else came along. There was a slight frustration with this as the one the cookbooks that arrived for my birthday, The Palomar Cookbook, has what looked like a particularly recipe for them.
I knew Sunday was going to be quiet so it seemed an opportune time to take the oxtail out of the freezer again, defrost it properly and give it a seeing to with some oil and spices.
Before frying it off I made a spice mix by crushing together a large amount of cardamom, roasted cumin and coriander seeds, cloves, juniper berries and turmeric. It is the smell of these spices that is filling the house and there is now only two hours to go before it will all be ready.
A vegetarian alternative was made with butternut squash.