Let's get cooking!

FOR Valentine’s Day my husband bought me a DVD of Julie & Julia, a gorgeous movie – adapted from two books – starring Meryl Streep as Julia Child, a well-known American cook, author and TV star.

In the movie, blogger Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) sets herself a challenge to cook and blog about every one of the recipes in Julia’s renowned cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

One of the recipes that comes up again and again in the movie is Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon – a stew so luxurious, so delicious, so decadent, so special that it brings grown men to their knees.

It’s the stuff of fairytales is this stew so when I found the recipe for it here – on cookbook publisher Knopf Doubleday’s website – I thought I’d give it a shot myself.  http://cooking.knopfdoubleday.com/2009/07/13/julia-childs-boeuf-bourguignon-recipe/

Sure why not? How hard could it be? And with the added bonus of blowing Yer Man’s knickers off, what could possibly go wrong?

Famous last words.

Ok, nothing actually went wrong, in that I didn’t burn anything or drop anything on the floor, but all knickers in this house remained very firmly on.

Boeuf Bourguignon is a lot of work. It’s not hard, but it’s a very lengthy process. There are several stages to complete and some of the stages are a little finicky.

I spent well over four hours cooking – including peeling and prepping vegetables – and I ended up with a tasty beef stew. It was rich, yes, and beefy, I could taste the wine and herbs. But frankly, I’ve had better. With much less fuss.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I am. I really had my heart set on this stew. I’ve been planning it for two weeks, researching the recipe, shopping, looking out pots and pans, setting aside a full day to make it. Giving myself a day off from Slimming World specifically for this dish. I’ve had day dreams where it became my signature dish and friends and family would clamour to come to dinner and beg me to make ‘my’ Boeuf Bourguignon. And after all that, it’s been a bit of a bust.

I could cry. But I won’t. Instead here are a few photos of how I spent my afternoon. If you’d like to try this recipe for yourself, click the link above and it explains everything.

At least the fresh herbs look pretty. They were worth the wait.

Sautee the bacon

Brown the beef

Fry off some onion and carrot, add to the beef and bacon and add some flour

Add red wine, stock, garlic, herbs, tomato puree and seasoning

Put the casserole dish into the oven for 2.5 hours. I look so hopeful there. *Bawls*

Next, brown some shallots in butter, then braise them in stock for 45 minutes

Fry some mushrooms in butter, in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan

When the 2.5 hours are up, mix through the onions and mushrooms and serve

Voila. Boeuf Bourguignon with roasties and peas. Four hours of work went into that one plate. *Bawls*