Two Yummy Dinners

Wednesday night saw our favourite boy about town (I like to give the impression there are many), The Marvellous A, come for dinner. We love The Marvellous A. Love love love – I can’t at this moment recall exactly why we love him, perhaps just because he is generally marvellous. His presence (and what are, I flatter myself, becoming high expectations fine when dining at our places) was cause to ensure we had a yummy healthy dinner dishes in our restaurant.

I had been eyeing off the easy Chinese braised oxtail that Hollow Legs made recently and so decided to try and replicate it for myself (plus The Marvellous A is intrigued by the food blogging world [i.e. he acts fairly interested when in my company], so I thought it fitting the ideas to serve the recipes of another blogger). I quick followed the list of ingredients, but deviated from Hollow Legs’ instructions, only because I wanted to slow cook the oxtail in Isaac the Slow Cooker. Into Isaac went the seasoned oxtail (I had about 8 chunks of beef – enough to feed 4) and all the remaining ingredients except for the shallots (I used fresh shitake mushrooms). Isaac slowly cooked the oxtail for 9 hours.

About an hour before we were ready to eat, I plucked out the oxtail and strained the liquid into a saucepan. I returned the oxtail and shitake mushrooms to the slow cooker to keep warm, whilst I rapidly simmered the liquid on the stove top. After approximately 30 minutes the liquid had reduced to quite a sticky consistency and it smelt AMAZING. I cooked Basmati rice and steamed some broccolini which I drizzled with sesame oil. I added the oxtail and mushrooms to the sticky sauce, with a little water and heated through, making sure to coat the oxtail in the sauce. To serve I simply spooned rice onto a platter and heaped the oxtail and broccolini on top, covering with the delicious sauce of course and a sprinkling of sliced shallots.

The oxtail was extremely yummy. The Marvellous A seemed rather impressed and wanted to know exact details so that he could go home and describe it to his flat mate, whilst Y declared it one of the best meals Isaac has produced (a compliment which, although given almost every time Isaac is used, was nevertheless much appreciated).Dessert was leftover apple, honey & rosemary pudding.

The following night we were guests at my sister & brother-in-law’s place. My sister (who converted me to the world of slow cookers) had been slow cooking a half leg of lamb in her slow cooker all day, with some stock, dried herbs and lots of garlic. The delicious lamb could be smelt before you even walked in their front door – the neighbours must have been salivating with jealousy.Dinner was best (but modestly) described as kebabs. We had pita, the lamb, feta cheese, great hummus, green leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and the most amazing, smoky baba ghanoush which had little specks of the char grilled aubergine skin in it (much to the disgust of my brother-in-law, my sister and I later unsuccessfully rooted through the bin to find the brand of the baba ghanoush). I would have been happy simply inhaling the lamb and baba ghanoush, it was that good. I had promised to bake a dessert but instead picked up pastel de nata at our local French cafe, Le Peche Mignon, which we enjoyed with beautiful Mariage Freres Marco Polo tea.

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