Apparently after the winter solstice the mornings stay just as dark because of something to do with the sun not quite catching up with our clocks and the axis of the planet.
There is also the gravitational pull of the stars to be taken into consideration.
However, all I know is that when its cold, dark and wet outside there’s nothing like a beef stew to warm your spirits.
If I could add an open fireplace and blazing fire to your home and a dusting of snow outside to eat this British comfort food by, I would, because this is the picture that comes to mind when preparing the dish. I can’t add the fireplace, but I can add a savoury scone which will give you a beef cobbler. The light fluffy scone helps absorb the rich red wine gravy. This means getting all the sauce off of the plate doesn’t require the use of a spoon.
I have also added some fresh grated horseradish to the cobbler mix, but you could also add fresh herbs, mustard or cheese.
Traditionally the scone mix is added raw to the top of the braise and cooked in the oven.
But I like to cook them separately ensuring my cobbler isn’t soggy.
A few root vegetables in with the meat means this really is a one-pot dish.
However, I do think it’s better with some lightly-cooked and buttered cabbage sprinkled with sea salt.
To find out more about Lawrence’s restaurant Fat Olives, visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377914.
(Recipe, serves four)
For the braise
700g cubed braising steak
30g plain flour
2 carrots cut thickly
Stick chopped celery
2 onions chopped
Tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
500ml red wine
500ml beef stock
For the scones
120g plain flour
Dessertspoon baking powder
Tablespoon grated horseradish
Pinch of salt
1. Coat the beef with the flour and fry in oil until brown and caramelised.
2. Put the beef into a casserole dish with the bay leaf.
3. Fry off the onion, carrot and celery and add this to the casserole.
4. Mix in the tomato paste and add the wine and stock.
5. Gently heat until simmering and place in a pre-heated oven 160c/gas 4 for 90 minutes (the meat will be tender. If it is not, continue to cook).
6. While the beef is cooking make the scones. Add the baking powder and salt to the flour.
7. Rub in the butter. Add the grated horseradish.
8. Stir in the milk and gently combine until a soft dough is formed. Don’t over-knead as you will get tough scones.
9. Roll out the mixture on a floured board. Cut into four round scones.
10. With 20 minutes left for the beef, put the scones in the oven on a tray and bake.
11. Remove the beef casserole. Check for seasoning. Spoon into bowls and top with a horseradish scone.