And now for something completely different! One of the necessary skills that I have to exercise daily is cooking, and I tend to focus very much on traditional English food. A few days ago I made some macaroni cheese, and last night I cooked some boiled beef and carrots. In August last year on the bank holiday I made my first appearance on blogosphere when I cooked this dish for Jackie Parkes, and she made a blog post on it (I received some embarrassing feedback from the USA!). I shall now give you the full recipe right here.
2 - 3 lb rolled brisket of beef (or other tough cut)
6 - 8 large carrots, peeled and cut in half
4 - 6 peeled whole onions
4 sticks celery, chopped into large chunks
2 leeks, chopped into large chunks
half a pint of boiling water
3 beef stock cubes
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Put the brisket in a large saucepan with a snug lid, and arrange the carrots on the bottom around it. Then put the celery, leeks and onions on top, with the cloves and parsley. Dissolve the 3 stock cubes in the hot water, and add this. Bring all this to the boil for half an hour with the lid on, so all the contents are thoroughly steamed through. Then leave this to very gently simmer for another two and a half to three hours, with the lid firmly on, turning the meat over halfway through. Serve with boiled potatoes.
You will find that there is not to be enough water to cover the mixture, but what will happen is that the juices will run out and the vegetables shrink for everything to be covered, and the steam will cook the rest. The proportions of the other ingredients do not matter too much, and if you wish to scale up, that is no problem. However it is most important that you do not add too much water, otherwise it will turn out bland and watery!
Some people may ask me for metric quantities. Sorry, folks: I am a native of the British Isles and do not use French measurements. This dish is traditionally served with parsley sauce (I haven't time to tell you the recipe), and it is very good for cooking notoriously tough cuts of beef. However you must give it the full time allocated. Patience is a virtue!