Mindfulness for a Hearty Mouthful - Eats And Treats By Tania Rebello
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
As kids, my Grandma would often pamper us with her famous fudge or, as she called it ‘milk toffee’. She prepared this delicious treat when we visited her every year, especially for Christmas.
It was her way of showing us love, apart from plenty of hugs and kisses, which always worked.
Several years ago, while in college, I asked my grandma to prepare milk toffee, as she had not made any for a couple of years.
She sat by my side and explained that it took her a lot of time and effort to make it as the process involved constant stirring of milk and sugar at the stove for almost forty-five minutes to achieve the right consistency.
Her age and aching legs did not permit her to make fudge anymore. It took us absolutely no time to gobble these melt-in-your-mouth goodies, but the love that went into making them was apparent.
It was a labour of love indeed! When you spend time and effort cooking family favourites, it translates into love.
Food prepared with patience has depth in it.
The process brings joy and relaxation when done with patience and the urge to make someone or yourself happy.
If you suffer from anxiety or low mood, cooking could help increase your happiness. Spending time in the kitchen can ease stress and restlessness as well as enhance mindfulness.
The result of it all is a wholesome meal. Have you ever wondered why food prepared patiently has a lot of zest to it? Though it seems like magic, it is not.
The secret of deep flavour lies in the knowledge of cooking techniques, cooking time and the skilful pairing of ingredients.
Taking the time to cook each ingredient to its best potential is vital. For example, onions cooked low and slow until caramelised release natural sugars to lend sweetness to a recipe.
Meats simmered are fall-offthe-bone tender and immensely enjoyed. Meats that are seared first give an extra layer of deliciousness. Garlic confit is a gift to mankind.
Slow- roasted garlic and herbs create a luscious butter-like spread to be enjoyed over a piece of crusty bread.
Treating each ingredient with care imparts delectable sophistication, where every ingredient is a star creating its own beautiful flavour like each note that makes a delightful melody.
One masterpiece that involves skill and patience is Boeuf Bourguignon.
The blissful taste and medley of textures of the boeuf bourguignon lies in the genius thought process of renowned French Chef Julia Child.
This culinary mastermind knew precisely what would happen when mushrooms were sautéed in bacon fat before adding them to the dish instead of just dropping them into the sauce.
She knew that onions get softer and sweeter if you cook them longer.
She understood how red wine reduces to produce a sweet, fruity note to this dish. Every step of this recipe is intentional.
The result is a hearty and tasty dish that has received worldwide recognition.
This recipe is easier to make than pronounce, but it is worth it as the result is a restaurant-quality dish that fascinates your family and friends. With the busy lifestyle that most of us have, we often rush to prepare food.
Spend more time therapeutically enjoying cooking and building memories for generations ahead. So, next time you’re in a hurry to whip up a meal, remember, cooking with love is not just about the ingredients, it’s about adding a sprinkle of patience and a dash of laughter for a truly heartwarming recipe. Happy cooking, and may your kitchen be forever filled with the aroma of joy!
BEEF BOURGUIGNON RECIPE
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 170gms bacon, roughly chopped
• 1.5 kg beef brisket, trimmed of fat
• (chuck steak or stewing beef ) cut into 2-inch chunks
• 1 large carrot sliced 1/2-inch thick
• 1 large white onion, diced
• 6 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
• 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 12 small pearl onions
• 2 cups red wine like Merlot or Pinot Noir
• 3 cups beef stock (if using 2 cups of wine, use 3 cups beef stock)
• 2 tablespoons tomato paste
• 1 beef bouillon cube, crushed
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped.
• Reserve a little for garnish.
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 pound fresh small white or brown mushrooms, quartered
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
• Heat the oil in a large dutch oven or heavy based oven-safe pot. Sauté the bacon over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until crisp and browned. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large dish and set aside.
• Pat the beef dry with paper towel and sear in batches in the hot oil/bacon fat until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside in the dish with the bacon.
• In the remaining oil/bacon fat, sauté the carrots and diced onions until softened, (about 3 minutes), then add 4 cloves of minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Drain the excess fat (leave about 1 tablespoon in the pan) and return the bacon and beef back into the pot. Season with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Sprinkle with flour, toss well and cook for 4-5 minutes until brown.
• Add the pearl onions, wine and enough stock so that the meat is barely covered. Then add the tomato paste, bullion and herbs. Bring to a simmer on the stove.
• Cover, transfer to lower part of the oven and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fall apart tender (adjust the heat so that the liquid simmers very slowly).
• In the last 5 minutes of cooking time, prepare your mushrooms:
• Heat the butter in a medium-sized skillet/pan over heat. When the foam subsides, add the remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook until fragrant then add in the mushrooms.Cook for about 5 minutes, while shaking the pan occasionally to coat with the butter. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Once browned, set them aside.
• Place a colander over a large pot. Remove the casserole from the oven and carefully empty its contents into a colander placed over a bowl to collect the sauce. Discard the herbs.
• Return the beef mixture back into the Dutch oven or pot. Add the mushrooms over the meat.
• Simmer for a minute or two, skimming off any additional fat that rises to the surface.
• The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
• If the sauce is too thick, add a few tablespoons of stock. If the sauce is too thin, boil it over medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until reduced to the right consistency.
• Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables.
• Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes.