slow-cooked, italian beef cheek ragu on soft pappardelle

serves 8

Well hello there from the other side of the world! Before I tell you what I’ve been up to, let me just quickly introduce you to the most meltingly tender, slow-cooked beef cheeks, shredded in their luscious winey tomato sauce, spooned over just-cooked pappardelle (or soft polenta if you fancy), and sprinkled with lashings of Parmesan. This is not what I feel like eating right in this minute in the summer heat of Florence, but if I were here in winter (or at home in New Zealand) it would be just perfect! As in the old cooking TV shows – “this is one (a post) I prepared earlier” and it is my latest collab with the fabulous Smith & Caughey’s, featuring one of my all-time favourite brands, Le Creuset. I really am so lucky to be able to work with such great products, especially given they are ones I have used and loved for many years myself. I was gifted my first Le Creuset frying pan as a wedding present many moons ago, and over the years have managed to add a few more gems, like this gorgeous 26cm signature round casserole in the original ‘volcano’ colour, to my collection. (To check out one for yourself just pop to the website here ). For over 90 years Le Creuset have been creating stunning enameled cast iron cookware and stoneware, and more recently, stainless, silicone and more. As I was rummaging around the second floor at Smith & Caughey’s Queen St before I left, I seriously could have picked just about anything from the range – they are investment pieces that last beautifully for a lifetime.

Aaaaand what else can I tell you….as it happens I am finishing this post off sitting in the most magical spot in the world – in a roof-top cafe, over-looking the Ponte Vecchio spanning the Arno River in the heart of Florence. I have been so incredibly lucky to spend the last 10 days with Pog and Hoob, swimming in the crystal, deep azure sea in Hvar, eating outrgaeously delicious seafood and roaming the Old City walls in Dubrovnik, and now just with Hoob having an unscheduled, yet still somehow fun night in Munich (delayed flight=missed flight), followed by a day of shopping and sightseeing in beautiful Florence. It is impossible to believe that the time has gone so quickly that tomorrow we take the train to Rome for two more days before flying home. I have loads to share about our adventures, but will save that for a post where I have more time (and my office at home!), but in the meantime, I can say it has been one of the best experiences of my life to hang out with my men/boys, travel and meet so many wonderfully kind people along the way. Definitely have a bit of a glow on…see you when I get home!

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