Darina says: "Although spiced beef is traditionally associated with Christmas, in Cork it’s available all year round in the English Market. It may be served hot or cold and is a marvellous standby, because if it is properly spiced and cooked it will keep for 3–4 weeks in the fridge. Butchers often have their own secret recipe. This delicious recipe for spiced beef has been handed down in Myrtle Allen’s family and is the best I know. It includes saltpetre, nowadays regarded as a health hazard, so perhaps you should not live exclusively on it! Certainly people have lived on occasional meals of meats preserved in this way for generations. This recipe makes enough spice to cure five flanks of beef, each 1.8kg (4lb) approx. in size, and can also be used to spice beef tongues."
Darina says: "Jerusalem artichokes are a sadly neglected winter vegetable. They look like knobbly potatoes and are a nuisance to peel, but if they are very fresh you can sometimes get away with just giving them a good scrub. Not only are they a smashing vegetable, but they are also delicious in soups and gratins. They are a real gem from the gardener’s point of view because the foliage grows into a hedge and provides shelter and cover for both compost heaps and pheasants!"
If you've never had beef short ribs before, you're missing out on one of life's great pleasures. Beef short ribs should be so tender that the meat almost falls off the bone with a fork. Serve them with soft Parmesan polenta as suggested here, or they are also delicious with creamy mashed potatoes.