Wish the weather would make up its mind. Brilliant spring sunshine and birdsong one day; rain, wind and mud the next! Oh well, it's all good for the vines. They can't have it too easy, not even out here on the perfect Poverty Bay flats, and it will be bud burst and green everywhere soon enough, no matter what the weather brings.
We couldn't make up our minds either. What to cook this time around? Then, a tray of beautiful fresh oxtail at the butchers. A kilo and a bit, browned in a pan to get rid of the fat, added to a pot of sweated onions, garlic, celery, carrots and onions, with a bay leaf or two and a sprig of thyme, a cinnamon stick and star anise. Stir through a tablespoon of flour and cook for a bit, then add a tin of crushed tomatoes, a cup of beef stock and a hearty splash - oh a third of the bottle or so - of Spade Oak Syrah. Brought to a simmer, and then bunged into a hot oven, covered, for three hours. Might have been four. Maybe four and a half, makes no difference really, as long as the meat is so soft that it falls off the bone. Then here's a tip: leave it in the fridge overnight. All the fat sets on top, making it easy to scoop out. Reheat gently and serve on hot pasta with a dusting of parmigiana and the rest of the wine.
On second thoughts, this cold wet weather isn't so bad after all...
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