Go on, have a knees up
Get the beef and carrots at the ready to make a traditional mouthwatering and economical meal
I’ m reading a thoroughly good book at the moment: Roger Osborne’s Iron, Steam and Money – The making of the Industrial Revolution. It has some very interesting information within the pages about the era of ‘ Canal Mania’ and especially interesting when, like us, you are walking and cruising in the shadows of a boating population that helped put the ‘ great’ in Great Britain.
The canals today are the same watery highways that enabled the transport of goods, nothing much has
‘ Certainly boaters would have cooked boiled beef and carrots in bygone times, maybe using a rabbit rather than beef’
changed to the clay lined ditch and the lock technology. But sadly, apart from in just a few places, a lot of the warehouses, loading bays, wharves, cranes and sidings have often gone.
We were in Shardlow a while back on the Trent & Mersey. Once the wharves there bustled with business, warehouses loading and unloading goods from the granaries, cranes creaking and groaning under loads, everywhere a bustle of activity. Every street still boasts a grand mansion but now the un- needed canal port is slowly slipping into dereliction.
The lockside warehouse boasts the most ornate windows but this fine building is now a picture of total neglect. The road signs welcome careful drivers to Shardlow ‘ A Inland Port’. It was certainly that once but now it is nothing more than a collection of once beautiful buildings that echo our pioneering past but that within the next few decades could sadly be gone.
But enough doom and gloom. More recently we were in another canal port – Stourport where the old basins and buildings have been found new lives.
This month’s recipe is boiled beef and carrots, a traditional mouthwatering meal which harks back to the era of my book and is immortalised in the cheery Cockney ‘ knees up’ song. Certainly boaters would have cooked it in bygone times, maybe using a fresh rabbit rather than beef.
It used to use the cheapest, toughest cuts of beef – hence the slow cooking – and was the dish most commonly eaten by poorer families. Today most beef joints are sold for roasting but any joint will be fine as long as it’s around one kilo in weight. If it’s bigger, no problem; the middle will have a pinkish glow to embellish each slice.