A Year of Mindful Eating: Stories from the food I eat.
On cold winter days there is nothing more comforting than a slow cooked stew.
Growing up in Kangaroo Flat in the 1960s, children spent little time indoors. Invariably the afterschool hours were filled with aimless bike riding, impromptu games, or building cubby houses in the bulrushes down by Bendigo creek. In this pre play-date epoch standing on the road outside my home let my friends know I was up for adventure. Before long a gaggle of kids would form, and off we’d go. The rules were pretty simple: don’t go down the creek (yeah, right), and be home by dark.
Lost in play, it wasn’t unusual for my friends and I to realize suddenly that it was almost dark. We’d all take off, running as fast as we could to get indoors before we were in trouble. Each home we ran past exuded the delicious smells of dinner cooking. When it was cold or rainy there was nothing like the sense of wellbeing those smells imparted. A stew of any kind was especially wonderful because it filled the house with warmth from cooking so long, and fill us children with anticipation as the smell permeated every nook.
My absolute favorite stew was one we had perhaps only once or twice a year. You’d think with all the beasts they slaughtered to satisfy carnivores like me, oxtails would be pretty common place. But it was always a cause for celebration when my mother found one at the butcher shop. She’d buy it straight away lest someone else got it.
They aren’t exactly rare now, I got this one at Fairway, but they are often available at my local Key Food. Even so, I only cook them once or twice a year myself. Making this dish is both time and labor intensive. First there’s time spent chopping vegetables, then browning the meat, sweating out the vegetables, and creating the sauce. Then the dish must simmer for many, many hours – a dish for weekends and holidays only. Oxtail is tough meat, the kind of food eaten only by the poor until the rich got a whiff of how good the flavor is. But if you do take the time to make it, it only gets better each time it’s reheated, although back in the day leftovers were rare.
I’m loving these gluten free easy Amaretti so much so there was only 5 left for a picture! I had the opportunity to go to a gluten free workshop @breadaheadbakery on Saturday which I totally loved. It was a really good to learn about gluten in baking and how to replace it so our gluten free bakes are equally as good. These amaretti biscuits were one of things we made so wanted to share the recipe with you, it’s up on my blog now so head over to whatkatycookednow.com (link in bio👆🏻) They are super easy, flourless and only take 30 mins to make! x
If you like pasta then you need to get down to Padella (@padella_pasta) in Borough Market, London Bridge. On the numerous occasions we’ve been (can’t keep away!) we have been impressed time and again - maybe the best pasta south of the river! 📸 by @jamesdimitri #EatOwt