In the spirit of total honesty and full disclosure I should probably admit that I am currently procrastinating. I am only 3,000 words in the 18,000 that I need to write before the 3rd April. Having had a productive day yesterday I have now lost the element of fear and consequently so far today have only got as far as opening a word document. Why is it that the subject of oxtail pie seems so much more intrinsically important to my life the a study of Pitt the Younger in political satire?
I have spent the last four years at university bemoaning my degree. Wondering whether it has been a glorious waste of money and a huge self indulgence, putting of facing the real world. In the only state that your parents will ever be proud of you for being unemployed and simultaneously running up huge debts. But now as I am about to set out into the abyss otherwise none as adult life and rip off the plaster of denial, I am beginning to assess with a less embittered sense of academic boredom the value of my university education. I say university education as I believe I have grown as much as an individual as a result of the time spent at university as I have through academia. It has given me the space in a very unstructured environment to determine what it is that I want from life and what kind of person I want to be. I want to be an achiever not necessarily for financial gain, I don't want to look back at my life and wish what if. I would rather fail with aplomb than never to have stepped into the unknown.
My university education may not have equipped me with industrial skills with which I could instantly fall into the work place as a seasoned professional. As I very well may have been by now if four years ago I had forgone university to head straight for the work place. Four years ago despite feeling like and adult, I thought like a child and wrote like a child. I enter the work place now as an optimistic realist rather than a naive enthusiast.
I had some oxtail stew in the freezer which I thought to ring the changes I would trow together into a pie rather than leaving as stew. Having recently watched Heston make a suet pastry I was inspired to attempt to emulate him. Unfortunately as usual I was laking in equipment to was forced to make it in a cake tin rather than a pudding bowl. The structure was not a sturdy enough shape it seems to somewhat collapsed on its release from confinement. If I had had more time on my hands I would have removed the meat from the juices and reduced them down of thickened with flour. As you can see in the not very good photo the sauce was way to thin. I would also like to take this opportunity to apologise for the poor quality of photos on this blog but we live in a basement where daylight in scarce and I rarely have more than few moments to capture my creations before the boys way into attack.
couple of sticks celery
1 large onion
2.5kg oxtail, jointed
250ml red wine
200g tinned tomatoes
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
750ml chicken stock
750ml beef stock
Sweat the chopped celery, leeks, onion and carrots. Once soft, remove from the pan and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and add a bit more oil, cook the mushrooms and set aside.
Add a splash of water to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the liquid to the cooked vegetables.
Brown the oxtail over a high heat in batches, deglazed the pan in between. Put all the ingredients back in the pan and simmer for 3hrs or until the meet comes away from the bone easily.
At this point it can either be eaten as stew or thickened with flour to fill a pie. If you are making a pie this amount filled a 9inch cake tin and fed 6. I baked it at 200C for 45minutes.
300g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
250g suet vegetable or meat
Mix all the ingredients together and kneed until you have a smooth dough. Leave to cool in fridge before working.