My Mum's Beef Stew - The Best - Good and Filling

My Mum's Beef Stew is the best.  What with the cold weather and the way things are with money everywhere these days, this stew can feed up to eight people served with bread and potatoes. Apart from giving it a stir now and then it can look after itself most of the time too.  So please don't be put off by the long list of ingredients.

This amount will serve 4 very hungry people easily, but served with bread or boiled potatoes you could easily serve eight.
You can also freeze it in portions if you wanted to and all it would require once defrosted is reheating!
**It is cooked on the oven top over a really low heat.

**Important - Some pulses need to be soaked overnight, see the packet instructions. You can speed this up by boiling rapidly in plenty of water for ten minutes and then leave to soak for just a couple of hours.
If you do not soak them they could end up hard and inedible wasting the whole stew.

Print Recipe

You will need: 
1 tablespoon pearl barley - soaked and drained beforehand
2 tbsp of dried mixed pulses - soaked and drained beforehand
600g braising steak
Approx 800ml water
4 carrots - sliced
2 onions - sliced
2 stalks celery - sliced into chunks
400g can of
Heinz classic vegetable soup
400g can of Oxtail soup
1/2 a 62g packet of
Knorr minestrone soup mix - needed towards the end for thickening
1x 62g pack Knorr oxtail soup mix - also needed for thickening

1 small handful of macaroni or pasta shapes
Oxo beef cubes
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce

How to do it:
Get a very large saucepan with a lid or a large casserole with a lid.
Trim the braising steak if you need to of any fat and cut into bite size pieces and put into the casserole along with approx. 800ml of water. Just see how far up your saucepan this water goes to. You may want a little more.

Remember, you will add flavour and thicken the stew more towards the end when you add the packet soup mixes.
Bring to the boil and remove any scum that might have formed from the meat with a spoon and discard.
Add the cans of vegetable and oxtail soup along with the carrots, celery, onions, pearly barley and mixed pulses.

Bring back to the boil then turn down to a simmer. Add the Oxo cubes, macaroni/pasta and stir.
Partly cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 3 hours stirring occasionally.

** DO not mix the packet soups as per their instructions. You want them only to thicken and flavour the stew. Instead - Mix them in a cup with little more than half a cup of cold water to form a thick paste - gradually add to the simmering pan stirring all the time to avoid any lumps.

Simmer for a further hour. There is no need to be exact with the cooking times - all you need to do is make sure the meat is cooked and tender.

Braising/Casserole steak should be cooked an at least 3 hours - the longer the better or it will be tough.
You shouldn't need to thicken any more.

Add another Oxo or a little more Worcestershire sauce if you need more flavour, which it really shouldn't do if you used all the soups mentioned.
Add a little more water if you need to (if it looks too thick).

Finally make the dumplings following the instructions on the pack. 'Atora' shredded suet mix is the best. When the dumpling mix is ready put the dumplings on top of the simmering stew to cook for about 25 minutes.

You don't need to serve with anything else apart from nice fresh bread, but if you want it to stretch further just serve with boiled potatoes.
This stew can be kept in a fridge and re-heated the next day if you want to, or it can even frozen. 


Sausage and Bean Stew

I've found the recipe I was looking for yesterday!

I saw a recipe for sausage and bean stew in a magazine a while back. I made it over a week ago and have been looking for that magazine ever since. It turns out I must have missed it while flicking though my magazine mountain.

The Autumn issue of the magazine Woman and Home 'Feel Good Food' called this 'Spanish-style sausage and bean stew'.

I altered a few things from the original recipe. Having made it, when I make this again I will crisp the chorizo but put it aside and add it at the end. I think it looses it's crispness in the cooking.
But that said, all in all the end result was an easy peasey very tasty stew indeedy!

Here's what you need to serve 4:

1 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers of bacon - chopped
8 chunky pork sausages
1 chorizo sausage - sliced
1 large onion - peeled and sliced
3 garlic cloves - peeled and crushed
3 tbsp tomato puree
1tbsp paprika
1 x 400g can of cannellini beans - drained and rinsed
1 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
a small handful of fresh parsley - chopped
salt and pepper for seasoning

How to do it:

In a large flameproof casserole dish, cook the bacon for about 10 minutes until golden. Remove and set aside. Now add the oil to the same pan and cook the sausages until they too are nice a brown. Remove those and set aside with the cooked bacon.

Still using the same unwashed pan, cook the chorizo for a few minutes and then add the onions and garlic. Cook for a further 7 minutes or so. Don't let the onion brown too much.

Return the bacon and sausages to the pan along with the tomato puree, paprika and the tin of tomatoes. Leave to simmer uncovered for about 40 minutes. You want the mixture to reduce and thicken a little.

When it's all looking lovely, season with a little salt and pepper to your taste and stir in the beans. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with the chopped parsley. I served mine with mashed potato with sliced, cooked greens stirred though them.


Bread and Butter Pudding

Well, I got up early today to post a rather nice sausage and bean recipe on here that I made the other day - all set with pictures but can't find the recipe! It's in one of these hundreds of magazines I have here. Anyway, I've spent way too long looking for it, so will leave that for another day as I have to go to work!

Bread and Butter Pudding

So, instead of sausages you have bread and butter pudding instead!

I have slightly altered one from Delia Smith. She used currents and I don't like them! Her recipe can be found here.

My only concern is that hers says it serves 4-6 people. I say it serves 2-4 but we eat a lot I suppose!

You will need:
8 slices of bread
Approximately 50g butter
55g sultanas
275ml milk
60ml double cream
50g caster sugar
3 eggs
freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F Gas 4
**You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) enamel or stoneware baking dish, well buttered.

Butter the bread and cut each slice of buttered bread in half – leaving the crusts on. Now arrange one layer of buttered bread over the base of the baking dish, sprinkle some of the sultanas, then cover with another layer of the bread slices and the remainder of the sultanas.

Bread and Butter Pudding in a bowl

Now, in a jug or bowl, add the milk and the cream. Stir in the caster sugar. Now whisk the eggs in a small basin and then pour into the milk mixture.

Pour the whole lot over the bread, sprinkle over some freshly grated nutmeg, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.

Stuffed Peppers - Piperies Gemistes

I think I will have to change the name of my blog to something like - 'Jan wants to Eat and Cook All of Peter's'
Yes I HAD to make these stuffed peppers that Peter over at Kalofagas had made a while back.

Now, this time he'll be pleased to hear I did not alter one thing from his recipe apart from the quantities.
However, due to the shops around here once again, not having anything exciting in them, I had to use dried dill and dried mint.
The only so called 'fresh' mint they had was almost, very nearly dead and as for fresh dill, they had none. So, not wanting to be traveling here there and everywhere I used dried herbs apart from the parsley.
The result was really yummy sweet peppers that I could eat all day.

I served them with a big bowl of Greek salad and some nice freshly baked bread......Deee-lish!

Preheat your oven to 190C/375F Gas 5

To serve 2 you will need:
350g ground beef
4 red pointed peppers - washed, tops cut and inside cored
1 medium onion - diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
a small handful of fresh parsley - finely chopped
1 tbsp dried dill
1/2 tsp dried mint
100ml of good tomato sauce (Pomodoro)
40g Arborio rice
salt and pepper to taste

How to do it:
Wash then cut the tops off your peppers. Hollow out the peppers to rid them of any ribs or seeds.

You will need a large skillet for this, heat under medium high heat.
Pour in the olive oil then add the onions and garlic and lower to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes to soften the onions.

Add the parsley, dill, mint and and tomato sauce and simmer until most of the liquid is gone and you have a thick mixture. Now take off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Add the rice and beef to the onion and herb mixture. Mix all the ingredients well using a wooden spoon.

Add about 1/2 a tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper and give it a good mix.
**To taste for seasoning, take a spoonful of the mixture and fry it. Adjust the seasoning in the mixture to your liking.

Using a spoon, stuff your peppers and place in line the bottom of an oven proof roasting dish. Pour 1/2 a cup of water over the peppers and place them in a preheated 375F oven for 1 to 1.5 hours.
**After one hour my rice wasn't quite cooked, so in the end mine took 1 hour and 20 minutes precisely, until perfection was reached!

How to Make Authentic Kung Pao Chicken

Far easier to make than you'd perhaps think, anyone can cook Kung Pao Chicken.  Tender chicken in a tasty sauce that makes your lips tingle mixed with peppers and onions that are still slightly crunchy.

Far better than anything you'll find from a Chinese takeaway.

This might look a bit of a performance to make, but once you have all the ingredients ready it's cooked in no time and is well worth the effort.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Harissa and Chilli

Preheat your oven to 200C/400F or Gas 6

Get yourself a nice big butternut squash. Wash it, dry it and then carefully cut in in half.

Remove and discard the seeds with a spoon.

Score it with a sharp knife in a criss cross pattern.

Pour a little olive oil onto each half and rub all over both sides (skin side too) of the two halves.

Now add 1 teaspoon of Rose Harissa (I always use the brand Belazu) to each half and rub it into the cut marks - you don't want to put it on the skin side - though as it would be way to mucky and messy.

Now sprinkle over some dried crushed chillies.

Put on a shallow sided baking tray and roast for about 45-50 minutes of until nicely cooked through. You should be able to insert a knife very easily.

**After aboout 30 minutes use a spoon to baste the butternut with the nice juices that will have collected in the part where the seeds once were.

The flesh will be nice and spicy, scrummy and most of all, delicious.

**I have made this before but added some crumbled feta cheese a few minutes before it's ready to come out of the oven, which makes a real nice lunch.

PS: My plate is white - but seems to have come out green!

PPS: I really need a new camera for Christmas
Mr Bennett!!!!


Sausage and Guinness Casserole with Mustard Mash

Nothing like a good sausage casserole - delicious and filling, perfect for cold winter days.


I really must make this again to get a better picture.  I'm in the middle of updating this blog 9 years on from when I started it and the pictures I took in those days are just awful!


Blackberry and Apple Crumble

Okay, nothing too amazing
about blackberry and apple crumble - but I took pictures so now you just have to see the finished result!

In any case, you have GOT to like 'anything' crumble.
Even me, who would rather eat two dinners than a dessert likes crumble!
I was in Tesco's (big supermarket chain in the UK) when I saw this BARGAIN in their freezer section - 500g of blackberries and apples for £1.00 pound!!
Crumble came to mind.
But not being a desert kind of person - I couldn't remember exactly how to make it.
So, on the phone to mother, this as was me (live from Tesco supermarket).......Mother - how do you make crumble??!
Can't remember exactly what she said but it was something like this - and whatever, it turned out rather nice indeedy.

To serve 2 Greedy people (or 4 not so greedy people)

You will need:

500g mixture of apples and blackberries (defrosted if frozen)
2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar

For the crumble:
200g plain flour
50g soft brown sugar
50g sugar
100g margarine
sprinkle of nutmeg

How to do it:
Preheat your oven to 200c/400F

Lightly butter a oven proof dish

Put all the crumble ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Rub the mixture between your fingers (like your counting bank notes).....Oooh - what's that like - I've never got any lol.
Until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs. When it does - your done! Dont fuss if there are a few bigger breadcrumb like bits in the mixture - it'll still be fine.

Put the fruit in the buttered dish and sprinkle over about 2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar. Now pour all of the crumble mixture on top of the fruit.

Add another sprinkle of soft brown sugar and a little grated nutmeg to the top.
Put it into your preheated oven for about 40 minutes - or until the fruit is cooked through and the top is nice and golden.
I served mine with ice cream.

Mustardy Tomatoes and Colcannon Mash

The other night I had no idea what to cook - so looking at what I had that needed to be used up, I decided on colcannon mash.
I also had some tomatoes that were in need of having 'something' done to them!

For the Mustardy Tomatoes:

½ a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 tsp English mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
a small knob of softened butter
3 or 4 vine-ripened tomatoes - sliced in half
a little oil for brushing
Mix together the above ingredients. Brush your tomatoes with a little oil and season with some pepper. Grill for about 4 minutes until they begin to soften. Now, spread the mustardy mixture over the top of them and return to the grill for another few minutes until nicely cooked. Baste with the pan juices and serve immediately.

For the Colcannon
I used 5 medium sized potatoes - peeled and cut into chunks
120g of cabbage, thinly sliced
1 leek - sliced and chopped
A good amount of butter and some full-cream milk
White pepper to taste

How to do it:
You will first need to cook your cabbage and leeks. Put a small amount of water into a frying pan and bring to the boil. Add half a teaspoon of salt and the thinly sliced cabbage. Cook over a high heat for 4-5 minutes, until just tender, but not mushy. Adjust the salt adding a teeny bit more if needed. Drain the cabbage and set to one side.
Using the same frying pan as you did for the cabbage. Season the leeks with salt and pepper and fry them gently in a small amount of butter for about 10 minutes. You don't want them to brown, just to be cooked through and very soft.
Once the leeks are cooked, turn off the heat and add the cabbage to the pan - ready to heat up again a bit later on.
Put the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water. Partly cover with a lid and simmer for about 12-15 minutes (the time will depend on the variety of potato used and the size you cut them). Once you can insert a sharp knife into them and the potato falls off the knife easily - they are done.
Drain the potatoes and add two large knobs of butter and a little milk. Mash with a potato masher adding more milk and butter if you need to. Season well with pepper.
Put a lid on to keep warm whilst you turn the heat back on under the pan with the leeks and cabbage in. Once they are heated through, stir them into your mashed potato. Serve immediately.

Cajun Spiced Chicken with Bacon and Cheese

Okay there are probably a good few calories in this meal - but hey.
Now and then it doesn't matter - you'll be fine!
Now this is a 'Jan' recipe!


Cajun chicken on crusty baguette - sound good?

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