Mon mari is getting dead tired of me wandering and wondering what to take photos of for the update.
I keep telling him no one will believe that he has spent all this time touching up the walls before he can get the insulation up.
I keep telling him that I, and the rest of the world, believe that he bought an iPad while I was gone and is up there playing computer games.
He asked if I wouldn’t be so kind as to attempt to portray the problem a wee bit more accurately.
This is my attempt:
This is a wall.
There had been a finishing coat of plaster / cement (or whatever it is) applied at one time but it’s gone in a lot of places and lose and flaking in others. All the loose stuff has to be chipped out and replaced with new stuff (please bear with the technical description).
There is also the minor detail of the walls not going all the way to the top in all the places. In order to put up the ceiling and have it meet the walls neatly, the walls have to be, well, neat. In the above photo the left side is almost done, the right side patiently waiting.
There, now you know what he says he’s been doing.
Oh yes, he said to mention that he has to mix the stuff by hand because it’s too hard to get out of the cement mixer and he can’t mix big quantities anyway because it dries too fast. And then he has to carry it up the wobbly barn stairs.
Here’s a close up the actual steps…. They kind of bounce when you walk on them….
If you want to know more than that come on over and lend a hand – he’ll be happy to teach all he knows about re-pointing stone walls.
Now can we get to the food?
I got some venison a few weeks back. Our neighbor knows someone who raises it.
As is fairly typical when buying from a farm, it was prepackaged (not professionally, just wrapped in freezer paper) and frozen. All I knew is I had 2 packs of ‘meat’ and one leg roast, bone-in (or, as the neighbor said, ‘a Christmas joint’.
I decided to make a stew. The meat was the strangest assortment of sizes and shapes I have ever seen. I’m guessing that it was the trimmings left from more precise ‘cuts’.
Just fine for stew….
16oz (500gr) venison, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup beef stock
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 tbs juniper berries
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbs tomato paste
2 tbs cornstarch dissolved in 4 tbs water
6 shallots, whole
6oz brown mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 tbs olive oil, divided
To marinate: Put venison into a small, deep bowl. Add the carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaves, juniper berries and peppercorns. Pour the red wine over, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To cook: Take the meat out of the marinade and let it drain, reserving all of the marinade. Heat 1 tbs oil in small stock pot or Dutch Oven. Add venison and brown well. Pour the reserved marinade over, along with the drained vegetables, herbs and spices. Stir in the beef stock, tomato paste, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 hours.
30 minutes before it’s done: Heat remaining 1 tbs oil in a medium skillet. Add shallots and sauté over medium heat until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Add to venison, reserving oil in skillet.
Return the skillet to heat and add mushrooms. Sauté until well browned. Set aside.
To finish: Remove the venison and shallot to a bowl, cover to keep warm. Drain the win sauce, discarding solids. Return sauce to heat and boil briskly for 5 minutes, allowing to reduce slightly. Reduce heat and slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture to thicken. You probably won’t need all of it so stop periodically and let it cook to test consistency. It clears as it cooks and thickens.
Add the venison, shallots, mushrooms to the sauce and heat through. Spoon into a bowl and serve.
Don’t forget to sign up for Season’s Eatings, the international holiday gift exchange… It’s fun!