Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Cooking is a wonderful creative process for me. I love spending time in the kitchen creating something out of raw ingredients. Imagining something in my mind and bringing it to life to share with family and friends. Food can be symbolic of ones past, a favourite dish from childhood or a memory of a country once visited. Food brings people together around a table, thoughts are shared, arguments are had, ideas are exchanged and maybe even secrets shared. There is much more to food than simply eating and feeding hunger. It is a central source of my inspiration, I love recipes from faraway places. I enjoy using different ingredients and experiencing flavour. I'm always searching through books or magazines for my next food adventure. With that in mind, Gary and I decided to combine our passions and here is the result, braised oxtail with orecchiette pasta. 

Serves 6 

100ml olive oil 
2kg oxtail pieces 
100g unsalted butter 
300g mirepoix (1 each celery stalk, carrot and onion finely chopped) 
1/2 bunch thyme 
2 fresh bay leaves 
1 tsp white peppercorns 
2 roma tomatoes, quartered
2L(8 cups)red wine 
4 carrots, thinly sliced
500g orecchiette
Freshly ground white pepper(I finely grated)
Flat-leaf parsley, leaves very thinly sliced to garnish 

Heat 75ml oil over high heat and add oxtail in batches cooking 
until browned on all sides. 
Melt butter, in the same pan, add the mirepoix and cook, 
stirring, until golden. 
Return oxtail to pan with thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, 
tomato and wine. Bring to the boil and then reduce 
to barely simmering. 
Cover and continue to cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until 
meat is falling from the bones.
Allow to cool then remove meat from bones and keep separate 
to stock.
Cover and refrigerate stock overnight. 
Place sliced carrots into a saucepan and cover with cold water 
and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil 
and then simmer for 20 minutes or until quite soft. 
Drain carrots then puree in a food processor and pass through 
a fine sieve. Refrigerate until required.
Remove as much fat as possible from the top of the stock and 
then heat until just liquid enough to 
pass through a sieve into a clean pan. Draining as well 
as possible.
Bring to the boil and reduce to about 1 cup. Reduce heat to 
low and add oxtail meat and carrot puree 
and warm through.
Meanwhile cook pasta in a large pot of water with the 
remaining oil and some salt. Drain well.
Add the sauce to the pasta, season with salt and white pepper, 
and stir gently to coat the pasta with 
the sauce. 

Garnish with cheese and parsley just before serving. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

good bye

I have been thinking a lot about people from past decades who lost babies and were never given the opportunity to meet them. Thankfully it has now been recognised that seeing your baby, naming them, holding their precious body and photographing them is an essential part of the healing process and letting go. I am so grateful to the midwives who led us through this most difficult time and treated us with the utmost respect. We spent time together as a family for a brief moment, we watched the sun go down and quietly held Sunday.

'One can only say good bye once one has been able to say hello.' 

I respectfully take this moment to contemplate all those who have suffered silently with the loss of a child. My heart goes out to people who have not been given an opportunity to say good bye. There is a great need in our society to open up dialogue in these circumstances and support each other in difficult and often misunderstood situations. People tend to shy away from discussions about death and grief but it is human connection and shared grief that can help mend a tear in the heart.

Saturday, June 4, 2011


I have created a safe space for myself over the past months in order to mend a broken heart. I have given myself much needed time to contemplate the deep wound that was left gaping when Sunday slipped away from our grasp. I have surrounded myself with people and elements I know are good and positive in my life. Filled my home with wonderful cooking aromas and treated family and friends to intimate dinners. I slowly emerge from my self imposed cocoon, returning to everyday routines and work life. Things have changed dramatically and inner strength tested, but here I am to face another brilliant autumn day, with the ability to find a smile.