Well I’m home after a week at the Theatre Royal in Bath performing with the Carl Rosa Opera Company. I’ve had a fantastic time with the most talented and supportive cast and crew that I’ve ever worked with. It does seem that my first return to opera after quite some time has been met with huge success on many levels. Even more importantly (I think) I enjoyed it too.
I was so touched by the huge support of both family and friends that came to see the show. I was especially moved last Wednesday when I was greeted with hosts of wonderful gifts and cards arriving at the stage door to celebrate my birthday.
When I left the theatre after the Wednesday matinee a dozen or so “DEVILS” (the name that my friends/fans call themselves – it’s a long story) I was truly overwhelmed by their love and support. The huge efforts that so many had made to get to Bath from around the country including as far afield as Blackpool, London, Newport, Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Kent, Cardiff, Malvern, etc.. Just incredible and the best happy birthday I have ever heard resonating outside the stage door and around the majestic Bath. You really do raise me up – thank you!!
A few days later, my manager took me for a belated birthday lunch to the Victorian boating station ‘The Bathwick Boatman’. The family run restaurant has wonderful food and in a stunning location. As I have mentioned in the past I love my food and I love to cook. I always try to grab a few tips from the experts so I managed to twist the Head Chef, Ben Paul to give me his Beef Bourguignon recipe which was soooo gooood. Ben served it with horseradish mashed potatoes and greens for health and colour.
For 4/6 people you will need:
1½ kilos stewing beef
Bottle of good red wine
1/2 litre of homemade stock
½ kilo smoked pancetta
2 serving spoons of Dijon mustard
1lb shallots cut in half
1lb button mushrooms
Herbs of Provence
Season with salt & pepper
A good Squeeze of Tomato puree
Firstly fry the beef off in a little olive oil. Once the meat starts to brown add the pancetta. After that add the stock and red wine and simmer the meat for around 40 mins. Once the meat begins to tender you can add the rest of the sexy ingredients and cook until the vegetables are soft and tender and tipsy from the sauce.
Boil your potatoes and mash with warm milk, butter, an egg yolk and as much horseradish as you may fancy. I’m thinking probably start with a teaspoon and taste.
Yesterday was another belated lunch with Myfi and her mum, then ice cream in the Mumbles. You know what? Life can really be perfect at times.
This article was originally published in the Carmarthen Journal in Mark’s weekly column for the paper.