My Grandad, Jack, was widowed in his forties and had to cook for himself. So, surprisingly, he became an inspiration to me whilst I was growing up, as no other male in my family cooked! We visited him every Saturday afternoon and he would always lay on a buffet spread.
When I asked him about cooking for himself, he said “Duck, eating is one of the best pleasures in life. I have to keep my strength up and I have to pass the time. So, I make sure that I have one good meal every day, even if I have to sit here and eat it alone.” That really touched my heart and it’s a lesson I take into my own life. Even if you are on your own, cook for pleasure and sustenance.
This recipe for Braised Beef in Guinness is a favourite, as it uses the cheapest cut of meat and transformed it into a culinary delight.
30g (1oz) butter * 1kg (2lb 3oz) lean beef fillet, cut into bite-size pieces * 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed * 12 shallots, peeled * 2 sticks celery, roughly sliced * 4 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces * 500ml (1 pint) Guinness * 285ml (½ pint) beef stock * 2 tbsp cornflour, mixed with 5 tbsp water * salt & freshly ground black pepper * 2 tbsp thyme leaves
Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the meat and stir-fry until brown on all sides.
Pre-heat the oven to 160°C/300°F/Gas 3. Transfer the meat to a medium oven-proof casserole dish and add the garlic, shallots, celery, carrots, Guinness, beef stock and cornflour mix. Season well and add the thyme. Cover tightly and bring to the boil. Remove from the hob and cook in the oven for 1½ hours, or until the beef is tender. Serve.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.