I got to know Miss Chiarezza and Miss Rui at my previous workplace and we became fast friends. Even though Miss Chiarezza and I have both moved on to other organisations, we still make it a point to meet up regularly to catch up
and rant. Last night was another similar catch-up session. It’s always nice to see them again because it also gives me an opportunity to try out new recipes that I’ve never attempted. I guess you can say that they are brave souls with strong stomachs 😀
The last time they came over, I made a full-on Japanese meal. Phew, that was pretty tiring. For the record, I haven’t made a Japanese meal since. Tee hee hee. Last night, I decided to make a stew from the cookbook I talked about previously. It was time to be adventurous and try something new from it, I decided. I chose to make a basic stew from the ‘basic stew recipe’ with ‘Beef and Ale’. What’s there not to like about beef and alcohol?!
As I had the day off, I had the luxury to get fresh ingredients from the supermarket (Cold Storage rocks) and the time to prepare the stew. My Christmas present from last year also came in handy and did I mention that it’s awesome?
Preparation was pretty easy (chop up everything, throw everything into the casserole, fry, stir it around for a bit, stew) and I thought I’d up it a little by adding potatoes as a topping (again, recipe from the same book). As a side, I made what Jamie called the ‘Best Ever French Beans’ which is basically dwarf green beans stir-fried with garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese.
The verdict? The roast potatoes were awesome – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. However, the stew was a tad…bitter! Thanks to friends who are awesome chefs, they shared that it was probably burnt which explains the bitterness. I think they’re right because the bottom of the pan was slightly charred. I guess the recipe forgot to tell me to STIR! Alamak. Also, I was a little heavy-handed with the sea salt so stew turned out a tad salty. Pffffft. Silly me was trying to ‘tame’ the bitterness with salt and obviously it didn’t work…
The dwarf beans didn’t quite turn out right as well. Somehow, it tasted a tad ‘green’. The boy suggested that I should have added some salt so might do that the next time IF I attempt this recipe again.
It does look good in the picture, doesn’t it? Oh, the beef cubes turned out really nicely though. Flavourful and tender without falling to bits. I think it was the Le Creuset at work and not my cooking skills (or the lack of).
I might attempt the basic stew again but with chicken and white wine the next time round.
Food aside, it was a lovely Friday evening with the lovelies as usual. Oh and I have to add that Miss Rui brought over some homemade chocolate cookies and they were to. die. for. I couldn’t help myself and ate quite a few (my poor throat). She also gave me the recipe and I can’t wait to try it out. They were crunchy with a velvety-dark chocolate taste and a hint of saltiness. Soooooooo delish! Well, she did say that she used Valrhona cocoa powder so I guess that made a (big) difference!