I know I haven’t updated my blog for a while. After finishing college for the summer break I really wanted to finish off my first fully illustrated alphabet and what I thought would be quite a quick project turned out not to be. In total I had to do 26 individual illustrations and that combined with looking after Amelia has really taken up all of my time. Amelia is an absolutely amazing daughter but just like all babies she’s really demanding. She constantly wants attention and while she can now entertain herself by playing with toys (she loves her rabbit rattle) she still wants face to face playtime the most.
So with completing this alphabet and looking after Amelia I’ve had absolutely no time to update this blog (this will hopefully change soon). Now I’ve finished my alphabet I’m really happy with it. This follows on from a “Rocket Man” project I started a few months ago and I’d only recommend you give a project like this a go if you have a lot of time to spare.
But back to food, I’m going to share my Beef Ragu recipe. I first tried ragu around the beginning of this year when I visited Jamie Oliver’s restaurant in Glasgow “Jamie’s Italian”. We read some reviews of Jamie’s Italian before deciding to go there and it’s now my favourite restaurant. The restaurant isn’t too fancy or fine dining, the staff are really attentive but the restaurant has a really nice ambience to it. Most important though is the food is really delicious. The first time I visited I had a venison ragu and it was utterly delicious. I must also mention the restaurant is really baby friendly and of course with Amelia we can only go to restaurants that have baby changing rooms, easy access etc.
Amelia also absolutely loves Jamie’s Italian (actually she loves all restaurants). There are so many things for her to look at, hear and smell. Think of it as a “baby senses paradise”.
I would have quite liked to have made a venison ragu but here in Edinburgh venison is really difficult to get hold of so I used beef shin instead. Beef shin is one of my favourite parts of beef as it can be really delicious but it needs to cook for a while to really tenderise it. Cooked properly it’s really delicious (I use beef shin now for beef noodle soup) and it’s also a lot cheaper than regular cuts of beef like sirloin or rib eye.
3 medium sized carrots, chop finely
3 stalks of celery, chop finely
1 large onion, chop finley
4 cloves garlic, chop finley
100g bacon lardon
1.5kg of beef shin, dice it
1 cup of red wine
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tin chopped tomato
Beef stock or water to cover the ingredients
- Heat the oil in a stockpot with the strongest heat and add bacon first until the bacon oil starts to run. Then add carrots, garlic, celery, onion and tomato paste. Cook until all the vegetables start to caramelise. Stir occasionally.
- Add beef and keep cook until beef is cooked on the outside. Add wine, stock, tinned tomato, rosemary and thyme and bring it to boil. Once the ingredients have started to boil, turn down the heat and simmer for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally while simmering and after 2 hours it’s ready.
Note: Ragu is best eaten with a really nice pasta or bread. We usually buy our pasta from Valvona & Crolla which is an Italian delicatessen here in Edinburgh but the point is use a good quality pasta and for bread something like a focaccia is amazing with ragu.
Below is the Space Alphabet I talked about above. Make sure you click on the image for a much larger version.