The weather was perfect last week. Not perfect for March. Perfect for March would just mean a few days of cool clear sunshine, daffodils blooming and no rain. This was perfect for June.
Sitting on the grass, the smell of barbecues in the air, the start of a tan. We don't get that many 20-something degree days in July let alone March. The forecast for the weekend was, not bad, but grey, rainy, a little colder. It was a joy when we were still sitting outside eating an ice-cream on Sunday.
It's snowing today, I'm wearing thick tights and socks and my warm waterproof boots. Last week I was digging out summer clothes, today I'm all wrapped up in wool. Last week we were making salads for dinner, last night I went to yoga, came home and made a bit pot of mince. The same big pot of mince that I have made countless times in the last year, the big pot of mince I meant to tell you about, the big pot of mince that is comforting, hearty, easy.
I make about half of the recipe for the 2 of us, 500g of steak mince, 1 litre of chicken stock (because I always have chicken stock and never have beef), about 10 or 12 small mushrooms, an onion, a few carrots and parsnips, I'm heavy handed with the mustard powder and the Worcestershire sauce. On the first night we eat the mince ladled over basmati rice, on the second the leftovers are warmed up to have with pasta and a hefty grating of parmesan. That second day's pasta is one of my favourite meals. I look forward to it all day. I've been looking forward to it all day.
Mince with hidden roots
From Kitchenella by Rose Prince
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped or grated
900g/2lb fresh minced beef or lamb (or minced leftover meat)
20 button mushrooms, grated
2 carrots, grated
about 4 heaped tablespoons grated root vegetables - parsnip, turnip, swede, celeriac (or a mixture)
1 heaped teapoon English mustard powder
1 litre/1 ¾ pints beef stock
sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Heat the oil in a large casserole, add the onions and cook for at least 5 minutes over a low heat until lightly browned. Add the minced meat, the mushrooms and all the vegetables and cook, stirring, over a medium heat for 1 minute. Add the mustard, stir a few times and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for about 40 minutes to 1 hour, until the beef is tender. Add more stock or water if the braise is becoming dry. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the Worcestershire sauce if using.