dimanche, octobre 10, 2010

Roast Beef with Porcini in Red Wine Sauce


Roast Beef with Porcini in Red Wine

Everyone would have experienced at some point envy or jealousy. Though as a general rule, I look upon envy as admiring and/or wanting something better that someone else has, whereas jalousy means that you think that that person doesn't deserve it (and may or may not be incited to do something to sabotage it).

How each of us cope with feelings of envy or jealousy is different, though I try, really I do, not to be jealous of anybody because I am old enough to know how it could poison one's life. And over the years, I have indeed seen and experienced how other people's jealousy has poisoned their lives and those around them.

Envy, on the other hand, I still sometimes indulge in. Like when I see someone with a smarter child, a cleaner or more obedient one, someone with a bigger diamond, a more expensive bag, a more compliant husband, a slimmer figure, the list goes on...

My mum however has done her duty when we were children, telling us all the time never to be envious of others who have more. Because there are many more people who have less, so naturally we should just be happy with our lot in life. Then she'll tell us her sob story about her very poor childhood, or that of her even poorer mother's - bref, you get the picture, we weren't born with a silver spoon in the mouth.

We were not born with a silver spoon in the mouth, but went to school with others who were in our meritocratic country. So I often found myself the poorest kid among my friends. I didn't live in a big house like most of my girlfriends, have a father who owned big cars and fat bank accounts, we never had maids or branded shoes (till I could afford to buy them myself). If I didn't do well at school, my dad wouldn't be able to send me overseas for my education either. I felt disadvantaged, and I was.

When I was a kid, I've therefore felt that life had been unfair to me. I wasn't born pretty, and have always been fat. And to rub it in, my parents weren't rich or important. The reality was that we actually lived quite well, always had more than enough to eat, only dad didn't save or invest so the good conditions were not meant to be permanent. We took note of that and promised that it wouldn't happen to us.

Once older however, I realised that sometimes it helped not to have been born too advantaged. Just like if you had never tasted bitter you wouldn't appreciate sweet, having suffered a little in life allows you to appreciate the days when things are easier - and learn not to take them for granted. You also learn to work for what you need/want.

As such, I sometimes wonder if my children are having things too easy. Though we do try not to spoil them and are quite strict on things that matter. We rejected one private school in Bologna because we felt that both the clients and the principals looked too rich - and we have no desire to have our children grow up amongst people like that.

But my sons play golf at the golf club. And it is filled with the children of some of the richest Italians in Modena. I noticed lately that the Teenager has become quite materialistic, and is always envying his peers for what they had (that he hadn't) - when he is already in a pretty good situation himself. What will that lead to? I will need to have a good talk with my child soon.

I am a chaser of many material objects myself. Though I like to think that I've not lost track of what really matters in life nor have I forgotten that we were born naked and will return to the earth more or less the same way. I know that I can live without many many things if I had to - and that I wouldn't be any less happy because of that.

Before the porcini run out and I start envying those who had a forest full of them, I am trying to eat my fill of the delicious mushroom. Prepared Roast Beef with Porcini cooked in Red Wine. Hub licked his plate and started reminiscing about the year his late father found 2 baskets full of porcini in the forest. What his dad cooked with them...



Roast Beef with Porcini cooked in Red Wine :

1 kg beef for roasting
fresh rosemary
olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 garlic clove (chopped)
300g fresh porcini (cleaned and cubed largely)
2 bay leaves (torn)
120ml red wine
2 tsp beef stock granules
pepper and salt to taste
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
corn starch for thickening the sauce (optional)

Using a roasting pan (or Le Creuset pot), heat up some olive oil and brown the roast beef on all sides.

Add the onions and garlic to be browned, followed by the bay leaves and the porcini. Mix the mushrooms well in the fragrant oil. Then pour in the red wine.

Starting here, watch the timing for the beef. If you like it rare like we do, it'll be 20 minutes on medium-low heat pot covered. At the end of this period, remove the beef from the pot, cover it in foil and set aside.

Add the beef stock granules and the balsamic vinegar (just use the normal one) to the red wine porcini sauce in the pot, plus the salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for another 15-20 minutes. If you like a thicker sauce, stir in some corn starch solution. I didn't use any this time.

Return the roast beef to the sauce in the pot for 5-10 minutes just to warm it up. Remove, slice and serve with the sauce.

3 commentaires:

Pris a dit…

Well said dear.

Comparing ourselves to others is something that either just leads to pride (if we're better-off or to envy / jealousy if others are better than us).

I think you're doing a great job at raising your kids up to not be spoilt. Never easy especially since you are pretty well-to-do and are surrounded by equally or even more well-to-do families too.

Ultimately I believe that children will copy their parents. There's nothing wrong with indulging in material goods as long as one doesn't take this ability to indulge for granted.

An a dit…

I worry about the same with my kids. Like you, we grew up in modest surroundings. My brother and I made much use of our imaginations, because we didn't have many toys. My husband's family was even poorer than we were.

But now we are doing really well, compared to our parents at this age, and sometimes we look at how much our kids have and worry that they will be too spoiled or take money for granted. It's a fine balance - we want to give them what we couldn't have, yet we don't want them to think life is always easy.

Beau Lotus a dit…

I have the same dilemma - about giving them what I can and then fearing that I'm not helping them much by doing that.

Then I tell myself that there is no guarantee anyway that they are meant to have a good life in the future. If for some reason they do not succeed, then at least they've had a good childhood.