The Ram, Strada, Waggon and Horses and back to The Ram.
Add the April sunshine, your favourite tipple and the gatherings of wonderful friends.
Lots of hugs and kisses, good crack of old jokes and make sure to laugh out loud with joy.
Possible teardrops can be added to support the waves of emotion if required and leaving the night in high, is must.
The night shall be celebrated.
This was our weekend.
Toby's dad, I and his step mum, P were visiting.
It is always so nice to see them with their old crowd.
They are happy people through good times and bad times, you know.
B&T traveled miles just so they can share the real good squeeze of hugs for I and P.
G was there like many other good old days with a big smile on her face and smashing new hair cut.
So many familiar faces welcomed I and P with love.
Those wonderful friends of I and P's have never had changes of their hearts.
'The Waggon' has changed over the years but people there has never changed.
One day, I hope we will be in our own Waggon... with much loved old faces and stories.
In good company...
Slow cooked OX cheeks
2 OX cheeks
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
2-3 mixtures of peppers, sliced
3tbsp tomato puree
2 bay leaves
1/2tsp fennel seed, toasted and ground
1/2tsp smoked paprika
pinch of cinnamon
250ml dry white wine
handful of fresh thyme
some plain flour for coating the meat
salt and pepper
some water or your choice of stock
good handful of parsley, chopped
1 fresh lemon juice to taste
First of all, season and coat your meat lightly in flour. Brown the meat for few minutes on each side over medium to high heat in little butter and olive oil. Butter gives nice colour and flavour while oil stops them from burning.
When ready, put them aside.
Using the same pan, saute onion, celery and garlic with little salt over low heat for good 10mins. Add mixed peppers, fennel seeds, thyme and bay leaves to the pan.
When peppers are softened a little, stir in paprika, tomato puree and cinnamon alongside with browned meat with a good crack of black pepper followed by wine.
Let them bubble away then add plenty of water/stock to the pan enough to cover the meat.
Stick it in the oven (165º-170º) for 3-4 hours with the lid on.
Check your meat and give it a good stir every now and then, just to make sure they are not drying out.
Plenty of liquid is the key to keep them lovely and moist.
When the meat starts to fall apart effortlessly, get the meats out and shredded them with two forks. This will allow you to get rid of greasy fatty parts and collect only tasty juicy meats.
Put the shredded meat back in the pot and dress them with good helpings of parsley and lemon juice to taste.
If you like it a little sweeter, you can always stir in a spoonful of runny honey.
Serve them casually with a good bunch of people you enjoy sharing a glass of wine with.
''I didn't come here for bags of shopping. I came for bags of people.'' P said.
And sure, it was very well said.
It was so lovely to see you, Scott's.
(And it would have been lovely to see you, boys left in France; Rudy, Buster, Dylan, the lodger that we cannot remember the name and finally Bob, who's gone missing since last October.)