One of my favourite things in my kitchen is a wedding present I got from my Aunty. It's an orange Le Creuset casserole dish. Whenever I want to make something special and hearty for dinner, I take out this little beauty for the occasion. From pot-roasts to meaty stews, it always delivers amazing results and brings that WOW-factor to the table. I find that it really comes into it's own this time of the year, when the long and cold evenings lend itself perfectly to big, warming, slow-cooked meals.
That is why, yesterday for dinner I thought that I would use this old favourite of mine to try out a new recipe I had thought-up, borrowing a few ideas from the new WFI magazine. A fragrantly spiced beef and tomato stew, beautifully flecked with seasonal root vegetables and a good glug of red wine. As is best with these kinds of stews, I left it simmering away for well over 2 hours on the hob to develop the flavours and for the meat to go deliciously tender. The aromatic steam rising from the dish soon filled my kitchen, bringing to mind wonderful images of Italian country kitchens, intensely burning log fires and heavily laden tables surrounded by family and friends. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to tuck into a plateful of this gorgeous stew and neither could anyone else who saw the bright orange casserole pot sitting on the stove.