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Braised Topside of Beef

Premier Scottish folk duo Gaberlunzie helped to kick-off the week-long Crieff and Strathearn Drovers' Tryst last Saturday with a sell-out concert in the Crieff British Legion.  The annual event, including daily guided walks, celebrates the story of Scotland's cattle drovers and recalls the time when Crieff was the heart of the Scottish cattle trade.  The wealth generated by that trade ensured that by the second quarter of the 18th century Crieff was regarded as one of the main financial centres of Scotland.  Cattle came from the North, East and West to the Perthshire town and the buyers came from the South for the cattle market held in the second week of October.  The 21st century Drovers' Tryst is designed to attract tourists to this picturesque area of Scotland.  Visit for full details of the rest of this week's activity as well as other surrounding attractions. 

This Saturday (15 October 2005) you can catch the Drovers' Tryst Farmers' Market in James Square, Crieff, and also enjoy live music played by Tarneybackle and spot drovers mingling in the crowd and listen to their stories.  The market runs from 11am to 4pm.

Our recipe this week has to be based on quality Scottish beef and Braised Topside of Beef is just the ticket.

Braised Topside of Beef

Ingredients:  100g (4oz) fat bacon;  1kg (2lb) topside of beef;  salt and black pepper to taste;  100g (4oz) diced swede or turnip;  3 young carrots;  2 small onions;  1 stick celery;  bay leaf;  sprig of thyme;  sprig of parsley;  500ml (1 pint) rich beef stock

Method:  remove and discard any rind from bacon.  Chop and fry bacon till the fat is extracted.  Season beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Remove bacon.  Place topside in pan.  Fry in the bacon dripping, turning occasionally, until evenly browned all over.  (Use steak tongs when turning to avoid piercing the meat.)  Place swede or turnips, carrots cut in slices, onions and sliced celery in the bottom of a casserole.  Lay the meat on top.  Add bay leaf, thyme, parsley and stock.  Take a piece of kitchen paper and cut a cover from it the shape and size of the casserole, then butter it and place, buttered side downwards, over the beef.  Cover casserole.  Cook in a slow over, 150C, 300F, Gas Mark 2 for about 4 hours, turning every hour.  Serve from the casserole with mashed potatoes and spinach.  Serves 4-5.

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