Lock-down take 2. Day 16. 14th November.

Returned to the classics today with a good old fashioned boeuf Bourgignon.

I started it mid morning. No time to marinate the beef today so straight on with sealing the meat in a hot pan. That came out, in went a finely chopped onion and 2 or 3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped, then some smoked lardons, a few sprigs of fresh thyme from the garden, a couple of bay leaves, a tablespoon of flour, half a bottle of red wine, back in went the meat plus half a stock cube, up to the boil and then in the oven at 130°C for about 2 hours.

I then added some banana shallots that I briefly fried in a little olive oil to give them some colour. They were particularly good – really beautiful long ones that came out of their skins perfectly smooth and pink. 5 of those went in and back it went in the oven for another hour.

And the lovely winey aromas of simmering beef and herbs drifted through into the tasting room as I worked on my translations.

I also brined a large turkey leg this afternoon for dinner tomorrow. I don’t often get round to brining as it involves thinking in advance and I think I maybe make it into a bigger deal than it really is. 4 cups of water and about 3 tablespoons of sea salt, some fresh rosemary sprigs, a lemon sliced and some crushed cloves of garlic. I partially boned the leg and in it went. We’ll see how that turns out tomorrow.

We enjoyed a glass of Domaine Huet’s Le Haut-Lieu 2017 sec as an aperitif. Classy wine. Nice tension. Lovely freshness.

Nigel fetched a magnum of red from the cellar. No idea what it is or when it went it there. It doesn’t have a label. Thought that was a bit ambitious for just the two of us. We can drink it over several days ( and we will). It’s very interesting to observe the changes and evolution of a wine over a few days. Wines generally open up, change character as they are exposed to oxygen, tannins soften, aromas change.

Then we remembered why it didn’t have a label. It was a present from Louisa when they bottled some magnums of the 2018 Artiste Malbec. Oh that will be perfect with the beef. A full-bodied wine from the Touraine-Amboise appellation. And it was.

The beef was as tender as anything. We favour the French cut Paleron for these kind of long slow cook casseroles. I have no idea what that might translate to in English. The shallots hadn’t disintegrated – whole morsels of sweet onion bathed in a rich red wine sauce. Lovely and comforting.