Sunday, 21 February 2016

It was 40 years ago today...

No, not Sgt.Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band! 40 years ago today Jane and I got engaged to be married. At the time we were both undergraduates at Oxford University. I was already in the Army, and just about to head off to the Far East to join my regiment. It was a make-or-break moment. Would we part company and never see each other again, or were we already inseparable? We decided that it was definitely the latter, and I'm sure it was the right decision, because here were are 40 years on and still together! By the way, we also made a conscious decision NOT to become engaged on Valentine's Day because we thought that would be far too cheesy. So, 21st February is our day....

One of the things that keeps us together is a shared love of food and cooking, so it's hardly a surprise that we chose to celebrate by cooperating on the production of a special meal.

Here's the menu:-

Starter
Salade aux lardons. Mixed salad of lettuce, endive, watercress and radishes, served with a hot dressing of bacon lardons.
Wine: Jackson's Estate Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)


Salade aux Lardons

Main
Roast Fore-rib of Beef, served with roast potatoes, roast parsnips, Spring Cabbage, and Purple Sprouting Broccoli - and of course Yorkshire Puddings with gravy!
Wine: Hacienda Los Haroldos Malbec Roble (i.e. oaked) (Mendoza, Argentina)

The Beef was well marbled and had a layer of hard fat round the edge. Perfect!

Dessert
Pears in Brandy, with Rodda's Cornish Clotted Cream

Pears in Brandy, with Cornish Clotted Cream

Since it was a special occasion we splashed out a bit and bought some ingredients that were more expensive than we would normally buy. That piece of meat, for instance, cost us about £20! But then it was just over a kilogram in weight. Yes, I know.... We were counting on having some leftovers. And anyway, if a piece of beef is too small it can easily go dry during cooking.

The Malbec was a bit special too. We bought it from a proper wine-merchant, not a supermarket. The chap who served us evidently knew his stuff. We were umming and aahing over which particular one to buy and he came over and advised us to get the Los Haroldos one, despite our initial preference being for a slightly more expensive one. Most salespeople would have tried to flog us the most expensive one, I'm sure.


We have been reckoning up how much we spent on the ingredients for this meal, and it comes to about £50, including the wines. That might sound a lot for one meal, but just think how much you would spend on a meal in a posh restaurant! The other day we had a £200 meal in a so-called Michelin-starred restaurant (which shall remain nameless because it fell well below our expectations) and it was nowhere near as good as the meal we cooked last night. [I hasten to add that the £200 meal was a prize that Jane had won.] You also have to consider the fact that for a couple of Foodies like us, the shopping for, the preparation of, and the cooking of the meal is nearly as much enjoyment as the eating of it!


Yorkshire Puddings


We don't claim to produce fancy "Michelin Star / Masterchef" dishes, but our style is good wholesome not-messed-about-with food, made with love and care, from real raw ingredients not processed gunk.




18 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story. Congratulations.
    I always wanted to make the Yorkshire pudding, but I am not sure if I have the right recipe. Please, write it down in one of your posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vesna; I use a recipe that is originally from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's book "Meat", but scaled down (his version serves 10). You can find all the details in a post I wrote in March 2012 - http://marksvegplot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/roast-beef-and-yorkshire-pudding.html

      Delete
  2. Congratulatons! This means your 40th wedding anniversary can not be far away. Any special plans for that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Marcia; We were married in Sept 1977, so our 40th anniversary is next year. I expect we will have a family gathering of some sort, hopefully including all the grandchildren.

      Delete
  3. Congratulations to you and Jane.

    I did wonder when you said that you had a £200 meal and I bet the portions were small. They must make an enormous profit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I'm sure you are right about the level of profit. he portions were OK, but the worst aspect of our meal was the very slapdash service, and staff attitudes verging on the surly. They didn't even offer to take our coats! The chef got his star for a completely different restaurant, which I don't think is fair - it's very misleading.

      Delete
  4. The meal looks fantastic! And congratulations!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well congratulations to you and Jane - 40 years is quite a milestone, especially these days! And that meal looks delicious - I'm with you, I would much rather spend the money on quality, high end ingredients and prepare a wonderful meal myself than go to a fancy restaurant. Now if only I could get my husband to enjoy spending time in the kitchen as well :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, you'll have to get your husband to read my blog sometimes! A few years ago, Jane did almost all the cooking but in the past 5 years or so it has developed into the state where Jane can hardly keep me OUT of the kitchen!

      Delete
  6. Congratulations to you both! That meal looks wonderful, and a bargain as well.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations to you both, the meal looks great. I was surprised at the cost of the meat, everyone thinks Ireland is expensive but I would pay less than that for Organic rib of beef here.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Mmmmmm......smells so good ! ( my computer has smellovision app ) and we do like a good scoop of Cornish clotted cream ! Congratulations to you both .

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congratulations to you both. Looks a fine meal, and I tend to agree. It is a rare meal out that compares to a home cooked meal, whole ingredients, prepared with loving care.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations to you and Jane! The meal looks perfect and I find myself nodding in agreement about the shopping/preparing/cooking. It's a joy really. Love the food on your plate in the last picture!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations! I am sure the meal was wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations.
    Spending a little more on a meal at home isn't a bad thing if you can get enjoyment out of cooking it as well it is a good investment. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking time to leave me a comment! Please note that Comment Moderation is enabled for older posts.