Peace, Joy & Good . . . food!

RED WINE BEEF SHOULDER STEW – Main Course (Serves 6)

This is an amazing festive dish! You can serve it with mash potatoes or soft polenta. There are two secrets to get the best out of this dish! The first one is the marinade. The second secret is the wine. We should make a small investment in the wine, you can’t use any cheap cooking red wine. It has to be a good full body red. I usually use a nice Chateauneuf du Pape or a Barolo from Italy. Feel free to use any other red wine like cabernet sauvignon or Shiraz, but they have to be good quality wines. This investment will pay back when you eat your delicious stew, I promise!

1.6kg Beef shoulder
2 onions
4 Celery sticks
2 Bay leaf
2 Carrots
2 Glass of red wine
2 Glass of vegetable stock
50g butter
Olive oil
Salt and Black pepper
1/2 Bottle of Red wine
1 Bay leaf
3 Sage leaf
1 Sprig of rosemary
4 black pepper peppercorns
2 clove

1. Start by cutting the shoulder of beef. Remove any excess fat and we will cut it into regular cubes, but don’t cut them too small.
2. Prepare the marinade. It will tenderize the meat and add all the other flavours from the spices. In a large mixing bowl, place all our marinade ingredients (roughly break with your hands the sage leafs and the bay leaf), the wine and the chopped shoulder of beef. Cover the mixing bowl with a clean kitchen towel or cling film and leave it to marinade in the fridge for at least 10 hours.
3. Once the 10 hours have passed, you’re ready to start cooking the stew. Get one large frying pan and one large stewing pot. Remove the beef shoulder from the marinade and let it dry for 5 minutes. Pour 3 table-spoons of olive oil in the frying pan and place it on a medium heat until the oil is hot. Once the oil is hot start adding your pieces of beef shoulder and searing them for 4-5 minutes, then remove the meat and place it on a resting dish.
4. You can now prepare the base for the stew. Finely chop the onions, the carrots and the four sticks of celery. Place the butter in the stock pot and put it on a medium heat until all our vegetables are starting to get soft. Then add the bay leaf and the cloves. Now it is time to add the previously seared beef shoulder, stir it well and add the flour. Keep stirring it until the flour is absorbed, now add the two glasses of wine. NB: It will be even better if the wine is warm. After the wine add the salt and cook it for 25 minutes then cover with a lid. Now the stew has to cook for 1 hour,every 20 minutes add a bit of the vegetable stock. Always keep the lid on and stir it regularly!
5. The stew is ready. Remove it from the heat and add the black pepper. Put the lid back on and let it rest for 30 minutes. Once ready just reheat it and serve it with your favourite side. I’m sure the all family will love it!

Recommended Wine: Malbec Mendoza (Argentina)


This is a very easy recipe and it’s perfect for the Christmas period. It can be a starter or an apéritif before dinner, with a nice bottle of sparkling.

600g fresh salmon
100g soft white bread
100ml Milk
200g Breadcrumbs
Fresh herbs (I usually use oregano and parsley but feel free to add any herb you like)
1 egg yolk
2 eggs
Frying oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Begin by cutting the fresh salmon with a sharp knife. Cut it really fine like doing a tartar. It’s very important to use a knife in this process and not a food processor. You’ll want to keep a nice texture and can only achieve that with a knife.
2. In a large mixing bowl, place the soft white bread and the milk, then start to mix it together until all the milk has been absorbed. Then add the finely cut fresh salmon, the egg yolk, salt, black pepper and the herbs. NB: Regarding the herbs always try to break it with your hands and don’t use a knife, I know it is a little bit time consuming but believe me, you will get a much more intense flavour out of your chosen herbs.
3. Now mix with your hands all the ingredients together until the mixture is smooth. Let’s start preparing the salmon ‘meatballs’! NB: From this mix you should obtain 18 balls the size of a Clementine. As you would do with meat, put a bit of mix in the palm of your hand and shape it.
4. Once all the balls are ready, prepare 2 small mixing bowls. One bowl with the 2 beaten eggs. The other with the breadcrumbs. NB: I usually grate the zest of one lemon and add it to the breadcrumbs to add that nice citrusy zing. Pass the salmon meatballs first in the beaten eggs bowl and then in the breadcrumbs. Repeat this process two times to make sure that the Salmon meatballs will stay crispy once they’re fried.
5. Once all the meatballs are ready, place a frying pan on a medium heat enough frying oil to cover the salmon meatballs. Make sure that the oil is hot before starting to add the meatballs. Once they are fried place them in some grease paper to get rid of the excess oil. You are now ready to serve but before you do add some dipping. I usually use tartar sauce or hollandaise sauce.

Recommended Wine: Prosecco (Italy)

NUTELLA CRUMBLE – Dessert (Serves 8-10)

This is a really easy and delicious dessert to realize. Comfort food at its best!

400g 00 flour
2 Eggs
150g Cold Butter
140g Brown sugar
2tbs yeast
300g Nutella or any spreadable hazelnut chocolate

1. Start by preparing the base of our crumble, in a large mixing bowl, start by adding the butter, cut in small cubes and the flour. Use your hand to mix it and the heat of your hands will help to soften the butter and achieve a better mix. Now add the sugar, the eggs and the yeast and keep mixing with your fingers until you obtain a crumble texture.
2. Get a 10 inch wide cake tin and butter it, so our crumble will not stick to it. Place half of the mix in the tin and spread it evenly. Add the Nutella in the middle and spread it BUT not too close to the boarder of the tin.
3. On top of the Nutella pour the other half of the mix and again spread it well. The crumble is now ready for the oven. Preheat the oven at 180 or mark 7 and cook for 30/40 minutes.
4. Our Nutella crumble is now ready to be served nice and hot. I personally love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Perfect!

Recommended Wine: Port Wine (Portugal)

“To the team at Cranleigh Magazine and all its readers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” ― Lots of love and peace, Simone Conti and Family


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