To make your own balsamic syrup bring the contents of a bottle to the boil and simmer until reduced by half, then leave to cool. We store ours in small squeezy bottles for convenience. I love to use it as it intensifies the flavour of the vinegar, making it thick and syrupy so it looks great when drizzled onto a plate.
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."