For a good long while I have pondered on how to tackle the next blog post after the last. I didn't want to jump in to some incongruous banality after my heart felt tribute - but I've realised that it is all the "same-as-always", mundane things which row you smoothly over the murky, deeper, choppier waters of all that is different, and changed forever.To this end I decided to post photos of our family dinner.Even though we are a family of 5, with sons aged 15, 19 and 21 (and all their attendant differences, comings and goings) the main meal of the day is our shared familial lynchpin.We gather in the kitchen and talk and eat together.Maybe not a big deal? To me it is; just as my mother provided meals and love in equal measure - and demonstrably so with her effort and joy in sustaining us- so I have tried to follow her lead.
And the casserole? It was bought for me about a year ago by my mother, and I love it. This one is a Chasseur, cream cast iron oval pot; not quite so arm-breakingly heavy as the other brand; Le Creuset.An essential piece of kit for producing warming,nurturing, comforting food.To me it metaphorically encapsulates everything your mother represents.
What's on the menu then? A casserole of Beef Brisket with mini herb dumplings, and Apricot and Butterscotch Upside Down Pudding to follow:-
This piece of Brisket was only £4.56 for just under a kilo (whatever that is!) and proved to be meltingly glorious when surrounded by celery, carrots, tiny new potatoes, and some of those fancy long shaped shallots, which are well worth adding a little expense to the meal when they caramelise down so sweetly and create such a rich gravy. I also added a teaspoon of dark brown sugar. Cooked at 180 degrees for 2 and a half hours, not forgetting to add the mini dumplings around the meat for the last 25 minutes. They are always referred to as "babies heads" in this household ... not a name I particularly approve of!
After turning out of the tin, the pudding was oozing with butterscotchy scrumptiousness! I just chucked dark brown sugar, butter and maple syrup in to a saucepan, reduced it down at boiling point then threw in chopped pecans and salted almonds.Pour over previously arranged apricot halves (in natural juice) then top with a creamed sponge mixture.Yummy!
This weekend I'll be going on something of a culinary adventure with our new Princess Raclette hot stone, with dinky pans underneath.I couldn't believe my luck when they had some in stock at the huge John Lewis branch I visited on Wednesday.I love the idea of us all getting involved in the communally sharing aspect of this style of eating... plus we're all quite partial to melted cheese! If anyone has any good suggestions or tips for using it I'll be most interested!