I was lucky enough to receive a subscription to the Donna Hay magazine at Christmas, and I have wasted no time in flagging a multitude of recipes from the latest edition to try. Then, the weather started to turn chilly and the daylight began to disappear a little earlier each day, meaning that my cravings for hearty, slow cooked meals have returned. And so this dish graced our dinner table the other night. Lamb and sherry ragu with pearl barley. Lamb shoulder, cooked with onions, herbs, sherry, tomatoes and stock, finished with a cup of belly-filling pearl barley towards the end of cooking time. The recipe called for a 3 hour cooking time, although I opted to put this on at lunchtime and left it to slowly simmer throughout the entire afternoon. The result being melt in your mouth lamb, and a rich flavoured broth. The recipe also suggested serving the dish with some fresh bread. Remembering I had a bread-maker in the cupboard, I dusted it off and decided to make a wholemeal loaf. A little rustic no? But with a chewy crust, soft insides and a house that now smelled like a bakery……well it doesn’t get much better than that! All together now! My oh my. It is dishes like THIS that makes the imminence of Winter just that little bit more bearable. A gorgeous hearty stew, and chewy bread for dipping. A word of warning though…. Be careful if you have little ones in the house. For not only will they gobble up a big bowlful of the ragu themselves, they may also get into a little mischief while you take it off the stove. Case in point. What about you? How are you feeling about the fact ‘Winter is coming’?