Monday, 13 March 2017

Balsamic beef in an Instant pot

Now and again I will come back to this recipe and tweak it to cook in a different way or tweak the flavours.  Over the years I have cooked it in slow cookers, In the oven and even on the stove top. I have never had anyone eat this and not say good things about it.  Definite family favourite.  All starts with a humble piece of beef brisket.  I stabbed it a few times and inserted lots of cloves of garlic into the beef. Seasoned it well and seared it off in the Instant pot.  Any pressure cooker could be used, or even start it in a pot then cook on low for 8 hours in a slow cooker.

Remove the beef and start to cook a few big onions and a bulb of garlic peeled. Keep stirring and when they start to go brown at the edges pour in 2-4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.  It will sizzle lots and will lift off the brown bits on the bottom of the pot if you keep stirring.  When the vinegar has almost evaporated add in a cup or so of beef stock, how much depends on how much gravy you want.

Put the beef back in and set the pot up to pressure cook for 45 minutes. This piece wasn't quite tender enough on one side after that time so I turned it over and gave it another 15 minutes while I cooked the vegetables. 

Came out so lovely, tender and juicy.  The onions , garlic and stock left in the pot were just blitzed with a hand blender and they create a fantastic gravy.  The amount of onions and garlic are what naturally thicken it.

So it may look very rustic and not to appetising but this is one o my favourite meals of all time.
What's yours?

Take care

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Sticky stuff and me

Popped into our local fabric shop one day last week for bias binding and saw these kits in the window and in the shop.  Something I have been thinking about doing for a while has been covering or recovering lampshades. These kits seemed a fun idea. Everything you need to complete a lampshade once you add your fabric. With a new sewing/craft desk I decided to also replace the football themed lampshade in that room to.

What's in the box? you might wonder, been a theme for the week here that question, Looks pretty basic and instructions are easy to follow. But then I realised there was a great long sheet of sticky backed PVC to be stuck onto the fabric.

This is the fabric I chose. It was this or pale pink with kitty faces on it. But I was eventually drawn to the butterflies.

And back to the sticky stuff.  Sorry for lack of working photos.  It was after 10 pm at night and had no one else to help take a photo or two. Sticky stuff and I don't tend to play together well.  I have a condition referred to as kack handedness according to adults when I was a child,  So when I realised I had to evenly stick a LONG piece of sticky backed PVC lining onto my fabric I almost tossed the box out the window after getting myself, fabric and cat almost permanently welded to this stuff.  Luckily a deep breath was just needed and told myself to pull myself together.  After all what did I expect after reading the box.

Then came the fun of covering the metal rings with double sided tape, more icky stickiness, these went a lot more smoothly luckily.  Then I got to evenly roll the sticky rings onto the prepared PVC backed fabric evenly.  The instructions say another person would be helpful here.  My view is it's the kind of joint activity that could end in divorce if the coordination together didn't go well. However I managed it on my own,  If I can do it I think most people can.

This bit of cardboard amused me, it's not exactly sturdy and I did wonder if it was a random offcut.  Turns out it was a great tool that saved me having to utilise my nails to much. the curved edges are used to help smooth and push the fabric around and under the sticky covered rings.  Took a few minutes to work out the most effective way of doing this but it went well, well kind of.

By this point it's almost 11 pm, In between the stages of making this I have sung to music I got distracted by and chatted and did a few bits online.  Was a lovely project to make. I am proud of my creation and will definitely be shopping to see if i can get some more PVC backing for light shades and renovate a few in our home.   

So for now I need to decide what else I can get up to, Possibilities are endless. 

Take care 
Jules x