April 3, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 1:09 pm

Unfortunately things haven’t eased off on the work front quite yet. My impending deadline was revoked when, in a fit of utter frustration, I visited my supervisor to inform him that I was getting nowhere with the proof he asked me to complete. It turned out there was a good reason for this. There had been a slight discrepancy between what he had ASKED me to do and what he actually MEANT,  which meant that I’d spent the last two weeks trying to do something that was probably impossible.

Such is the world of academia I suppose. At least I’m now on the right track and, since Goon has exams in a few weeks, he is spending most of his time at home revising learning the material. I thought that meant that I could indulge in some slow-cooked food as Goon was there to put things in the oven and keep an eye on them.

I first took advantage of this by trying to make a simple but rich dish of beef stewed in red wine - a bourguignon type thing adapted to include whatever vegetables and wine I had in the kitchen. I left the beef marinating in a rich, mellow red with the partially cooked veg and gave Goon the instructions to brown the beef, return it to the casserole with the wine and put it in the oven at 150C, adding a little stock if it looked like it would dry out.

You’d think that with such a simple dish nothing could go wrong. You’d be mistaken. I arrived home at about 9:30pm after failing yet again to finish my Chapter 4. Goon wasn’t around. I tutted, thinking he should have stuck around to check on the food, especially since it turned out that he’d left the dish in the oven uncovered. Closer inspection revelaed that things were much worse than I thought.

The extremely large casserole dish was full, and I mean FULL of liquid. I had intended to cook the beef in almost pure red wine but it looked like Goon had added a couple of litres of something to it. I removed dish from oven and tasted. Something inside me died. My beef was cooking two litres of plain water!

I panicked. There was far too much water to boil away. My best option would be to drain the beef as soon as possible, replace the cooking liquid with something appropriate and give it some extra cooking time so it developed a flavour. That is exactly what I tried to do, grabbing the nearest bottle of red from the worksurface. I relaxed slightly and tasted again.

Who’d have thought we’d have a bottle of red wine out that was OFF!?

It was at this point that Goon walked into the flat and immediately had to duck as every kitchen implement I could lay me hands on went flying at high speed towards his head. Once he’d taken cover in his room I drained the casserole again and found an unopened bottle of red, tasted that and added it to the dish. 

I was seriously worried that the food was going to be inedible. The casserole had retained some of the flavour of the slightly vinegared wine.  Goon, who’d stopped hiding in his room, wandered into the kitchen, picked up a spoon and tasted the casserole.

“What have you done to this? It tastes very tart to me!”

I very nearly killed him.

At this point the casserole turned into a stew and I did everything I could to save it. In went extra tomato and garlic plus a couple more bay leaves. I put it on the lowest heat possible and gave it another hour to see if it recovered.

Suprisingly, the tartness did start to soften. I added extra herbs and black pepper and a little bit of lamb stock, which really helped to alleviate the sharpness of the dish. In the end we actually had an edible and actively pleasant meal, although not nearly as good as I had wanted it to be. It took AGES for the flavour to recover and we ate at about 11:30pm, but still, it was better than beef cooked in water or off wine. 

Beef and red wine stew

So the lesson for today was, if the wine for your bourguignon is a bit tart, lamb stock, winter herbs, bay leaves and garlic seem to really help. Also, even the most simple instructions can be misinterpreted by a Goon.


  1. Oh Ros, Goon sounds like my grandad. Best left out of the kitchen! It is really frustrating when you come home and expect supper to be just as you left it, only COOKED, and then it’s not. And then to have to wait another two hours! I could weep for you! Still, at least you managed to salvage it!

    Comment by Freya — April 4, 2007 @ 5:54 pm

  2. Yeah, Goon is a real kitchen hazard. He is very good at making mashed potato though.

    Comment by ros — April 11, 2007 @ 1:28 pm

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