Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The Weather Forecast Obsession

Do you remember when your parents watched the news and you were obliged to be silent so that they could get their fill of that days serious events and then the moment would come when you thought the coast was clear and you could safely speak without your entire body burning up with the fiery glares of anger from the his and hers armchairs in opposing corners of the room. Oh yeah you had just started to argue about looking at Today Tonight or something way more entertaining and your mother SSSHHHHHH'S everyone in the room and says I want to hear the weather forecast. I was never sure whether or not it was for planning what she would wear the next day or when she might hang the washing on the line or more importantly if it was going to SNOW. My mother was always on the alert for snow. She always figured that if there was even the slightest chance of a wintry shower that there was going to be a blizzard and we should baton down the hatches. I thought she was demented!!

But now I understand !!!! It starts on Sunday with the farming forecast on RTE 1. I just cant help myself. I seek it out. Then its every morning on the radio, every evening after the news and increasing selection of weather predicting websites until I resign myself to the fact that it makes no difference and by Saturday morning as I open my eyes the decision is always the same. I always get up, get dressed and stumble into the kitchen to make a batch of fragrant fresh basil pesto and my tomato and chilli tapenade. Once the car is packed off I go into Gorey and set up my stall and begin to welcome all our customers for the day.

The chat is always started with isn't it a ....... day substituting in the appropriate adjective for the weather of the moment and then my favourite few hours of the week begins.  In the spirit of wintry showers here's my favourite remedy to the cold that I love to thaw out with !

Beef Casserole and Oyster Mushroom Casserole

Serves 4

600 g        Round steak (thrifty) sirloin (spendthrift)
1              Onion sliced
2              Cloves garlic crushed
200 g       Oyster mushrooms
500ml      Beef Stock
30 g         Butter
2/3 tbsp   Oil
3tbsp       Plain flour
1 Gl         Red Wine
1             Splash brandy!!
1 tbsp     Chopped Fresh Thyme
1 tsp       Dijon mustard
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper

Heat Oven to 180 º C. Cube the beef and and toss in seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a heavy based oven proof casserole and seal the seasoned meat. Remove and drain off any excess fat. Saute the onions and garlic together and then add the butter. Once melted then add in the oyster mushrooms roughly chopped. Allow to soften for a couple of minutes. Then add the flour and cook off for a minute add the stock, wine brandy and a tsp of Dijon mustard. Add back in the beef and allow the sauce to come to a simmer and too thicken. Adjust the seasoning, cover and put in the oven for 30 mins the turn down the heat to 160 º C and allow to cook for approx 11/2 hours. Serve with creamy mash and I like lovely green beans with this. Pure comfort!