Saturday, 26 March 2016

A review and a recipe - Hill Station, Rabo De Toro (kind of)

I had my first work related freak out of the year! It had to happen sometime, and I'm glad to be over with it in Q1 (lol) - feel that this is indicative that there will be max four this year. And this one wasn't even that bad and only manifested itself as me distributing some panicked comms to ensure that I have a set of keys in London somewhere lest I get locked out while my housemates are all in different countries. A combination of factors led to this: so tired (this was when I wrote the maudlin blog) due to weeknight fun of the ilk that should be saved for the weekend, realising that some close pals were going on holiday and I had no idea so felt like a shit friend / guy who never listens and just charges around doing what I do, having a moment of 'FUCK. I'm an ADULT, this is ALL DOWN TO ME. I am playing pretend and now I have all of this responsibility aghhhh'. But some vegan food and a nap later and I was back to being vaguely highly functioning and able to do fun. But it got me to thinking (that should be read in SJP a la SATC style voice when she's reading from her shit heteronormative column) that while it's great to be able to compartmentalise successfully, actually what would be better is to not have any selves that have freak outs, and actually that might mean some more severe structural changes to the not fun bits. Not something to worry about, but maybe something to think about. So anyway, let's talk about the lovely, charmed bits of the weekend which inevitably involve food.
The Hill Station
I went for breakfast at Hill Station and it was so idyllic! It's just on the right side of ramshackle and silly furniture without being annoying about it and then an old man started playing some music and I found the perfect toothbrush holder (yes, I've been looking for a toothbrush holder to replace my broken mug with a rusty nail in it for a while) and I just thought the feeling that you feel that makes you want to inhale. It's the classic response that Kahneman warns about joining up too many dots and seeing stories when really they're just coincidences. But, the circumstance of 'I found a perfect cafe and I'm having a great time' is a perfectly fine one to feel that in rather than 'aren't I such a skilled trader and therefore totally worthy of being paid all this green' so whatever. Also - the food! I'm regretful that I say 'best thing ever' so much - but this wins the Oscar in the category of fancy 'free range' breakfast. The meat was SO meaty and man, you could really taste how happy those animals were. Eggs set on the bottom and gooey on top. Garlicky mushrooms and door stop bread which tasted like it had been drowned in butter. But really, it's the meat that made it.
Rabo de toro
And later that day, I managed to finally discharge my 'not being a shit housemate / guy' duties and cook. Sadly, as with 'bolognese that I didn't add enough onions too so wasn't quite naturally sweet enough' and 'paella that was a little bitter either from the pith of the lemon or from the skins of hte peppers', I didn't pay enough attention to the rabo so there was a little tooooo much burn. But, I think the balance of ingredients was on point. Oh, except that you would usually make this with oxtail, not just beef...
2 onions, finely chopped
4  carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
4 strands (what do you call one bit of celery?) of celery, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
600g beef, chopped into bitesized chunks

In olive oil, fry the vegetables over a medium heat until nicely browned, about 15 minutes or so. Turn up the heat, add the beef and brown. 

1 tablespoon or so (I never use spoons) smoked paprika
2 tsp or so dried thyme
1 bay leaf
A third of a bottle of red wine

Add the herbs and paprika, and the wine and let simmer on a high heat for 5 mins or so. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add a wine glass of water and cover, for about an hour and a half. I would probably stir occasionally to avoid the burny bits too at this point.

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
Half a bunch of parsley, roughly chopped

Add the pepper and tomatoes, and at this point I also added another wine glass of water to mitigate the burny bits situation, and simmer, uncovered, for a further 30 mins. When ready to serve, stir in the parsley and serve with bread.

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