Winter, slow cooking and a favourite Osso Bucco recipe …

It had to come eventually.

Winter that is.

gremolata for the osso bucco

We’ve been enjoying the mildest autumn and first month of winter. Many plants in the garden are yet to be cut by frost but all that changed in the last 24 hours. Yesterday afternoon the clouds rolled in with winds that had the gum trees rocking and last night the hills surrounding Bathurst have been covered in snow. The Bathurst valley and Bathurst itself rarely get snow but as I look out the window it’s teetering. It’s bleak and bitingly cold. Steve has been in Sydney for a couple of days couch surfing his way around the city catching up with friends and our daughter, Maddy. Darce is making the most of school holidays and has run away disappeared out west with friends. So I’ve been lying around reading in bed, being really lazy, letting the house turn to rack and ruin, enjoying a television free zone, listening to music and doing a bit of slow cooking.

We’re in one pot territory, my favourite place to be in the kitchen, especially when winter hits.

And this is the recipe I always turn to. Osso Bucco. I’ve been cooking this for nearly 20 years. It’s a beauty. Easy too.

raw vegies for osso bucco

chopped vegies


I didn’t have any dried basil so I just used some fresh but I don’t think it works nearly as well as the dried for this dish.

in the pot

osso bucco finished dish

Osso Bucco

3-4 veal shanks sawn in half (I generally get the butcher to slice these for me about an inch thick)
1/4 cup oil (I use olive oil)
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups stock (I use chicken)
salt and pepper
plain flour
3 onions sliced
2 carrots sliced (I used 6 small ones)
3 sticks of celery diced
1 bay leaf
2 cloves of garlic
a pinch of basil and thyme (dried is best)
a big piece of lemon rind
155g tomato paste

penne pasta

To serve:
2 tablespoons finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1. Heat some of the oil in a wide frying pan and fry sliced onions gently until soft and turning golden. Place in the base of a large saucepan.

2. Gently sauté sliced carrots and chopped celery. Add to onions.

3. Roll veal in seasoned flour (plain flour with salt and pepper). Dust off and brown in oil.

4. Arrange browned shanks on top of veggies. Add bay leaf, crushed garlic, thyme, basil, lemon rind.

5. Mix tomato paste with white wine and stock. Add to saucepan.

6. Add more stock if necessary.

7. Bring to boil. Cover. Reduce heat and simmer for approximately 4 hours or till meat is almost falling off the bones. Skim the fat. Remove the bones and tap the marrow out into the sauce. Test for seasoning. Add pepper and salt to taste.

8. Cook penne till al dente. Plate up and sprinkle with finely chopped celery and lemon rind.

(The original recipe which came from Maddy’s babysitter Jo – if you happen upon this Jo I hope you don’t mind me sharing it – says adds the celery and lemon rind ten minutes before serving but I like the freshness of the lemon and the crunch of the celery so I add it to the plate. Jo’s recipe also calls for risotto but I cheat and just serve it with a little pasta.)

As with most things like this, it’s always better the next day, or the next.

Speaking of meat and lemons these older posts might give you a smile …

Is it wrong to have two butchers? The confession.

… a tale of a little lemon tree and has my husband been taking the piss?

During the week I went to a lecture up at the uni and heard Australian social researcher, Hugh Mackay, speak about his new book The Good Life. It was an interesting and confronting assessment of the west’s pursuit of happiness and excellence and perfection, a pursuit that is unsurprisingly bringing neither lasting happiness nor any genuine meaning to people’s lives. At the tail end of question time the issue of social media started to raise its head and later in the evening I sowed the seeds with Hugh to do an interview here on the blog – to tease it out a bit more – to discuss how things like blogs and social media might be fuelling unrealistic benchmarks and setting people up for disappointments. Anyway he’s on the road for a couple of weeks but I’ll keep you posted. I’m about half way through the book and am really enjoying his insightful observations of what, he believes, makes a life worth living. He is a writer I admire very much.

Stay warm Aussie friends. Northerners, enjoy that sunshine :)

And I hope you enjoy the Osso Bucco.



    Let’s create the ultimate children’s book library … what would be in yours?

    Last night I read Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince for the first time.

    Some of my friends are in shock that I hadn’t read it before.

    I have to say, today, my world feels a little different. A little gentler. A little more peaceful. A little more focused on what really is important. What a gift Saint-Exupery left for the world to enjoy.


    It got me thinking. If I was to compile a list of my favourite all time must read children’s books, that is, if I was to create the perfect children’s book library – for my future grandchildren or for those adults who would like to think that if the little prince showed us his Drawing Number One, we would instantly see that it was a boa constrictor digesting an elephant and not a hat – what gems would have to be included.

    The Little Prince boa constrictor drawings

    From our little family’s experience I would include these …

    Madeline. This was my big sister’s copy. I think it dates back to about 1957 and when we had our own Madeleine, Jude sent it our way and it became an obvious favourite. As a child I loved the visuals as much as the story.


    A little group of us in 5th class (we would have been about 9 or 10) fell upon Tove Jansson’s series of Moomin books in the school library. Her drawings and stories are pure whimsy at their best. Moomin Summer Madness is still one of my all time favourites.

    Moomin Summer Madness

    Anything by Alison Lester. Her illustrations and imagination and memories of her own childhood growing up near the beach are gorgeous. I’m thinking Magic Beach, Imagine and The Journey Home in particular.

    Alison Lester

    Having grown up on the coast and having lived inland for years I can taste the salt water when I read Tim Winton’s Blueback. It’s everything I love about Tim Winton … utterly evocative of the wild Western Australian coastline. A beautiful wordsmith.

    “Abel Jackson was ten years old and could never remember a time when found not dive. His mother said he was a diver before he was born; he floated and swam in the warm ocean inside her for nine months so maybe it came naturally.

    He had lived by the sea in Longboat Bay his whole life.

    Every day was special.

    But it all became much more precious the day he first shook hands with old Blueback.” 

    Tim Winton's Blueback

    And for a little hilarity if you have someone in the family who loves to read out loud with funny voices try Beware of the Storybook Wolves and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? from awarding winning children’s author, Lauren Child. We’ve had lots of fun with these over the years. Littlies love them.

    Lauren Child

    They’re the ones that stick in my mind.

    Please, add your own to the list. I’d love to know why they’re special to you too.

    In the meantime I’m off to tend to my little planet :)



      A tale of Bathurst and her big, white, fluffy doona.

      We are trying to walk Mount Panorama every Saturday morning, a friend and I.

      Sometimes when the town is cloaked in fog and bed feels especially snuggly it’s hard to make the effort.

      fog and bird mount panorama

      But last Saturday we were well rewarded for our efforts.

      fog lifting and kangaroos mount panorama

      Most people walk the track itself, but as we are uninclined to get wiped out on one of its sweeping corners by a passing car (and mark my words it will happen one day), well we take a fenced off, gated, padlocked hidden path.

      Just don’t tell anyone please because it’s one of Bathurst’s best kept secrets.

      the back road up mount panorama

      It was the weekend of the winter solstice, that delicious annual turning point when one moment we’re staring down the barrel at the shortest, darkest day of the year then overnight the odds have turned in our favour and suddenly longer days and warm summer nights appear on our winter horizon.

      mount panorama above the fog

      The Bathurst valley was a sea of fog – the town is down there somewhere, keeping her toes warm under her big, white, fluffy doona.

      pathway and telegraph poles overlooking bathurst in fog

      But up above it was crystal blue and white and warm. So unseasonably warm.

      fog blue sky and mountains

      This is the highest point of the track, Brock’s Skyline. It’s named after Australian motor racing legend Peter Brock who won the Bathurst 1000 nine times. At the end of this straight the track takes a sudden exhilarating drop into the Esses.

      track mount panorama

      mount panorama

      But we, well we quietly make our way up and down and down and up our secret path.

      polly on the track behind mount panorama

      And no-one is any the wiser. Are they Pol?



      If you enjoyed this I’ve handpicked a couple more for you …

      In which her shadow rolls over and says go on without me …

      While you were sleeping …