Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

We have just celebrated Harvest in our village and Monday night saw our Harvest Supper and Auction of Produce - with marrows, pumpkins and apple pies being auctioned off to raise money for the village church! It still surprises me how much people will pay for a marrow in a charity auction!
Derek did a wonderful job as auctioneer and everyone left with a box or two of veggies and fruit!

Supper was a simple casserole and jacket potatoes. Preparing casserole for 80 people was a daunting task and I will certainly not be peeling another carrot for a while - it took me hours! I thought that I would post the recipe, just in case you ever need to mass cater for a simple event!

Beef in Red Wine (Serves 80 - 90 people)
Preparation time 3 hours, cooking time 3 hours (or longer if you have it)
7.5 kilos stewing beef
plain flour, salt and pepper for dusting the beef
300ml vegetable oil
2 kilos bacon, fat removed and chopped
3 kilos red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
2 kilos leeks, roughly chopped and thoroughly washed
7 kilos carrots, peeled and chopped
5 kilos parsnips, peeled and chopped
3 kilos mushrooms, roughly chopped
9 tins chopped tomatoes
6 litres of cheap red wine
6 litres of beef stock
3 large tubes tomato puree
3 kilos frozen peas
Dust the beef with the flour and seasoning and brown in small batches to seal, adding a small amount of oil to the pan with each batch of meat. This took approximately 1 1/2 hours. Set aside. Fry the bacon in batches and set aside. Whilst the meat and bacon are browning, add the chopped onions to a large saucepan with 4 tbsp of the oil and stir until soften. Add the leeks and cook down for a further 10 minutes.
Take three large pans (and I mean large - my jam pan was the smallest!). Divide the onion and leek mixture, meat and bacon between the three pans. Divide the carrots, parsnips and mushrooms between the three pans and add two litres of wine and two litres of beef stock to each pan together with 3 tins of tomatoes and 1 tube of tomato puree. Top up with a little boiling water if the vegetables are not covered. Bring the pans to the boil and then cover and simmer over a gentle heat for 3 hours until the vegetables are cooked and the meat is tender. Season to taste. 20 minutes before serving add the frozen peas so that they keep their colour. Each pot will feed approximately 25 - 30 people.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I always make more casserole than I need so I can freeze some but I don't think I have a freezer big enough for 78 spare portions!

vida said...

What a fabulous sense of community. I miss that with the girls primary school, it was so small that we all pulled together and helped each other, nothing like your massive effort though. I think a few casseroles for families in hard times and of course fundraising for the school. You are wonderful... Vida x

Figs Olives Wine said...

Hannah, what a beautiful stew! Your community sounds like so much fun. I really miss that in the States so much. I'm so glad the auction and dinner were a success - happy Harvest!

Vicbic said...

Wow! That stew sounds amazing.

Well done for managing to get it all done! I am so impressed.

Any left over?? :)


Marie said...

That looks a tasty casserole and wouldn't be too hard to scale down and make for a few with some leftovers to freeze. I love the sense of community that I get when I read your blog. Can you believe we have lived where we live for five years now and still do not know anyone in the village? Sad, very sad.

Rita said...

Wonderful how you continue to build community especially around the church. Thanks for the recipe... I will keep it and also pass it on for others to use as I am working for an organisation that often have BIG get togethers. :) Blessings!

Joanna said...

Last weekend we had our cricket dinner for 80. In the absence of someone like you in the village, four of us make the main courses, four simple casseroles (I did a beef provencale, similar to yours, there was chilli con carne, chicken stew, and vegetable curry), and almost ever family brings a pudding. So I know how much work went into that ... well done!

Love that pale pale squash ... did you buy it? Did it taste good? What colour was the flesh?


Hannah said...

Thank you all for your lovely comments! I know we are lucky to live in a village with such a good community - I think it stems from not having a pub as if we didn't do these sorts of things we would never see anyone. Marie - I think you should bake some of you lovely cakes and take them round your village in a basket - you will be welcomed with open arms, I'm sure.

There was about 2/3 of a pot of casserole left so this has been frozen and we all decided that it would be blitz down to make soup for bonfire night!

Joanne the little squash was from asda - it is so cute that I don't want to use it. I think I will save it to decorate the table for halloween. Have you seen the flying pumpkins place name cards on Martha Stewarts website - we made them for our halloween party last year using small pumpkins like this one and they looked fabulous!