26 April 2013

GUEST BLOG: Beefing things up

By guest blogger TRACEY

WE had such a great session on Wednesday 17 April at the Approved Premises. With the guys raring to go prepping the beef skirt and vegetables for the day's menu and Kim keen to tell them all about the versatility of the ingredients, the session got off to a flying start. Due to the poor weather last year, the availability of locally grown crops has been limited, so vegetables such as beetroot, mushrooms and parsnips were used to add flavour, taste and nutrition to what was set to be a trio of vegetable and beef skirt dishes.

The guys began peeling, slicing and chopping the mushrooms, celery, onions, carrots, parsnips and beetroot then dicing the beef. Kim explained the beauty of the chosen cut, skirt - it's economical and cooks well, within a decent amount of time, and has very little fat. The vegetables were sautéed and the beef skirt dredged with flour to thicken the stew, then browned on a high heat. Fresh thyme was added to the meat, releasing an enticing aroma to the room. The windows were opened and many of the passing residents stopped to savour the smell and ask what was being cooked.

The guys peeled the potatoes for the mash, continually stirred and added stock to the stew to prevent it sticking, and moulded the fresh rosemary dough into golfball-sized dumplings which were to be added to the stew after the break. The guys returned and rolled the shortcrust pastry onto a dish, carefully tucking it around the dish to create a homely rustic-looking pie. Two participants set to making the mustard mash (not one of my favourites, but honesty must prevail as they got the right amount of mustard to not overpower the subtlety of the potato). The three dishes were cooked to perfection and served alongside some fresh broccoli which was treated to a splash of lemon, leaving us all feeling zesty and full after a lovely homemade meal – thanks, guys!

There are more photographs from this session on our Facebook page.

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