Sunday, 6 November 2011

On to Middlewich

We set off at 8.00 again this morning. It was very misty and there was frost on the roof but it was a beautiful morning and the mist had burnt off by 10.00 leaving clear blue skies and full sunshine.

7.30 this morning
mist hanging over the River Weaver valley

waiting for the tunnel passage

the colours are spectacular at the moment
We had a clear run through to Saltersford tunnel where we had a 10 minute wait. This has a timed passage as the tunnel is quite twisty and you can’t see through, but just as we were coming out of the other end a Claymore hire boat was trying to come into the tunnel. He claimed not to have seen the signs and even though we told him he needed to wait for another 10 minutes he ignored us and carried on. I just hope he met someone in the tunnel who made him reverse back out!

The Big Lock was even harder to work than ever. The Bottom gates were too stiff for me so Roger had to get off and help. I sincerely hope they manage to make them easier while BW has the lock closed for maintenance but I won’t be holding my breath. This lock has always been a swine, for as long as I can remember.

moored in Middlewich
Yesterday I took advantage of the long day’s cruising to use the slow cooker. I made an Oxtail Ragout, which is always better the second day, and that’s what we’re having for dinner tonight. This much ragout will probably do us for 3 meals so whatever is left will be bagged and put into the freezer for another day when I don’t feel like cooking.

Oxtail Ragout Recipe
1 large meaty oxtail cut into segments
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
½ glass red wine
1 beef stock cube
Large pinch Herbes de Provence

Fry onions, celery, carrots, garlic and red pepper in a little olive oil in a frying pan until just soft and starting to get a bit of colour and then transfer into the slow cooker.

Brown the oxtail all over in the frying pan and then sit on top of the veg in the slow cooker.

Pour the wine into the frying pan and bring to the boil. Scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan and reduce the wine by half before pouring into the slow cooker.

Tip the tomatoes into the slow cooker, along with the stock cube and herbs and cook for about 2 hours on Full power then reduce to Low for another 6 - 7 hours.

Skim off any fat from the top of the ragout and leave overnight if possible for the flavour to develop.

I prefer to strip the meat from the bones and add it back into the sauce, which I then serve with tagliatelle or mashed potatoes.

1 comment:

La Femme Selby said...

I think this may be my favorite post from any blog at any time: canal boating and oxtails together! Heavenly combination. Thank you so much for sharing your life, your wonderful recipe, and the photos of life along the canal. You really are living out my dream ...