Today is my birthday and I am having some friends over to help ease the pain of becoming even more knackered and crapulent. I don’t want to spend the evening tied to the cooker so I have made something where all the preparation can be done in advance: a daube. This is beef and bacon stewed up in white wine and beef stock with a few vegetables added for extra flavour. I started cooking it this morning, as stews are often better if they are cooked a long time. All it needs now is to be warmed up when my guests arrive and served with some pasta. The recipe I used comes from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s excellent River Cottage Meat book. I highly recommend this book as a great source of recipes and philosophy on cooking meat.