The ultimate gesture of affection – or seduction – 
is the home-cooked meal. Skip the so-called aphrodisiacs (oysters, chocolate-dipped strawberries); 
in other words, don’t serve her a plate of clichés. 
Opt for a dish you know she likes (you’ll show you’ve 
been listening), or woo her with this oxtail risotto 
recipe from celebrated local chef Jackie Cameron’s new book Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home. “Take this heart-warming, home-cooked oxtail, shred it and add to a luscious risotto – rich, robust flavours that excite all palates,” she says.

THE OXTAIL:

  • 60g butter
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1kg oxtail
  • 110g cake flour
  • 1 med onion
  • 3 med carrots
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 stick celery
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 med tomatoes
  • 500ml red wine
  • 2l beef stock
  • salt and pepper

MAKE IT: Heat a heavy-based pot. Add butter and oil. Dust the oxtail with the flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Sear the pieces, remove from the pot and set aside. In the same pot, sauté the roughly chopped onion. When caramelised, add chopped 
carrots, leeks, celery, garlic and rosemary. Cook veggies through. Add tomatoes, 400ml red wine, 2 cups of stock and the oxtail pieces. Simmer gently at a low heat. Add more stock when this amount has reduced to just covering the meat, and continue simmering for eight hours, 
stirring occasionally. You may need to use more stock. Add 
the remaining 100ml red wine and allow to cool slightly, before removing meat from the bone, shredding it and setting it aside with the sauce ready for the risotto.

THE RISOTTO:

  • 60g butter
  • ¼ cup sunflower oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 240g risotto rice
  • 300ml red wine, heated
  • 1.5l high-quality stock, simmering
  • 500g flaked oxtail

MAKE IT: Heat a heavy-based pot. Add butter and oil, then sauté onions and garlic. Add rice and stir to allow each grain to be coated with the oil. Add the heated wine and stir. Once the wine has been completely absorbed, start adding the simmering stock. Add one ladle at a time, stirring continuously so the grains are evenly cooked. You may not use all the liquid, or your might need more. Three quarters of the way through cooking the rice, add the shredded oxtail. At this stage you can choose to cook the dish fully, or wait and complete the cooking process just before serving, reheating and adding the last of the hot liquid. The end result should be a slightly textured, creamy risotto, not stodgy or dense. Serve with a tomato and onion relish, and pecorino or Parmesan shavings.