Belly-warming Beef Stew

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Along with the pretty colours of Autumn, comes that turn in the weather (not this year of course, because our Summer hasn’t been its best. Boo!!).

Suddenly, our homes are a little damper, bellies so much hungrier and our bones start to feel the cold creeping in. Our bodies start to crave hot, carb-filled meals, full of yummy starch and warming goodness. And to top it off, we have to think about what to make for dinner?? Talk about a downer…

So in our house, when this does happen (although, I have been making this Stew all summer because we love it a bit too much and it’s been the coldest few months since I’ve been here) we listen to our bellies (because life’s too short not to).

From the fresh vitamin filled veggies to the garlic bursting with antioxidants and the mouth-watering gravy you can’t go wrong.

Also, you could make a batch and freeze it or making it for dinner we’ve always had leftovers for lunch the next day. and who can say no to that?!

So here it is, my –

Belly-warming Beef Stew

-Beating the cold one flavour at a time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks Celery
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 or 3 Carrots
  • 10 Baby Potatoes
  • 2 or 3 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs Tomato Purée
  • 2 tbs Worcester Sauce
  • 1 Stock Cube (optional)
  • 600 ml water
  • 400g Stewing Beef
  • 2 tbs flour
  • Herbs (See Bouquet Garni instructions below)

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How to:

  1. Dice your veggies and put them to one side (bite sized chunks are good)

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2. Crush your garlic. (We are CRAZY Garlic lovers here so you can adjust the amount you put in if you don’t like garlic That much)

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3. Toss your Beef in with the flour and brown over a medium heat. Remove from pan and set aside.

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4. Fry your onions in the oil on a low heat until translucent and yummy.

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5. I’ve added in a few tomatoes because we’ve just had SO many recently. (Eh, more Vitamin C you say? Why, thank you!!)

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6. Now, toss it ALL into the pot. Stir in tomato puree, Worcester sauce, butter, 600 ml water, stock cube (if using), and beef.  Throw in your Bouquet Garni, and just remember to fish it out before you serve (It looks a bit soggy and gross after being in the pot for so long)

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Gently simmer for 2 hours (covered) or until beef is tender. 

Serves Two Adults with yummy leftovers for the next day.

Making a Bouquet Garni –

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What is a Bouquet Garni and why the heck do I need one:

Well first off, it literally translates to ‘Garnished Bouquet’ which is really just a bundle of herbs tied together and used to flavour soups, stews or even stock and then removed before you dig in.

You need one if you’re a crazy ‘fuss-pot’ (like my husband) ha, I kid. Kinda. AND you Hate the ‘little bits’ of stem or bark or leaf. Say Hello to bit-less food, you whiner 😉

Now, I think you can just buy these but the difference in flavour and aroma is completely different with all the fragrant fresh herbs. Seriously, give it a go. (I don’t wana be the only weirdo saving all my garlic packaging)

So to make mine, I gather up all my herbs and give them a good wash to remove any grit. (I put in what ever I have that’s woody and maybe a couple whole peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, cloves).

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Then if, like me, you buy your garlic in those three packs that come packaged in net bags, and Save them. Ta-Dah a nifty use for them. Yay, Go me! (You’ve probably found a better use for them though)

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All you have to do is shove all your herbs into the net bag (tear the leaves up a bit to realease all the magical flavour), tie both ends et

Violà! 

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Yes, yes, you could just use a piece of string but then you wouldn’t be cool, like me 😀

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Pair your stew with some crusty bread and prepare yourself for a scrummy dinner.

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If you have any deliciously filling, cold-weather food, I’m all ears….

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Chicken Tikka Masala with creamy Butter Beans

I’m no expert curry-maker or anything but after I instagram’d our dinner a few nights ago I’ve gotten quite a few requests for a recipe, so here goes…
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INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Chicken breast fillets
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic (crushed)
  • Thumb sized piece of fresh ginger or 1tsp dried
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400g tin Broad beans
  • 4tbs natural yogurt or coconut milk
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • 1 red chili or chili flakes
  • Vegetable Oil
  • small bunch of fresh coriander – chopped (few sprigs to garnish)
  • Sea salt

SPICES:

  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (add more depending on preference)
  • 1 tbs smoked/sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/ ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds/ground
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric

Cut the chicken fillets into cubes. Peel garlic and ginger (Crush garlic and finely grate ginger). Peel and finely chop onion. Heat oil in a heavy based pan, add onion and fry, stiring constantly, on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic, ginger, spices and chili/ chili flakes (you may need another glug of oil, spices can burn very easily) keep stirring for a minute. Add chopped tomatoes + fill the tin with water and slosh that into the pan, cook on medium heat for 5min, don’t let it burn. Add butter beans and cook for a further 5min until some of the water evaporates. Add yogurt/coconut milk. Add the chicken, cover and cook for 15min on a gentle heat (the chicken will cook quickly). Add chopped coriander and serve.

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I’ve taken the easy option here and used tinned Broad beans but you can use dried. Just be warned you’ll have to soak them overnight.

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I served my curry with a Tumeric and Saffron infused long grain rice.

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*I’ve adapted my own way of making curry to accommodate my poor husbands taste buds (he’s not entirely used to the heat). So you can make it as spicy as you like. Also, things like butter beans and chicken are interchangeable so use what you have or change things up as you go.

Most importantly –  Have Fun with it!

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An Easy Meal

Thinking up new things to make for dinner can be so difficult especially when your goal is to eat healthy. And now that Spring has so obviously graced our shores eating al fresco is totally a thing. We don’t need to hole ourselves up in front of the fire, gorging ourselves on chocolate bunnies, Oh wait, was that just me last weekend? But seriously, all jokes aside, one of my reasons for living, is to eat, and eat well. Food should nourish you as well as taste good. Local produce and fresh healthy options are easy, you just have to look.

Here’s a little recipe for my –

Garlic & Herb infused Turkey Steak and Baby Potatoes

-with a side of Carrot Salad:

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                                                           Here we have Garlic, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

I like to grow my own herbs so these are things that are right outside the kitchen door. If you ever grow anything, grow herbs, they’re easy to maintain and you’ll save loads in the long run. 

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What you’ll need:

  • 2 tsps Sage
  • 2 tsps Rosemary
  • 3 tsps Thyme
  • 2 tbs Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves of  crushed Garlic
  • Pepper & Salt to taste
  • Preheat Oven to Gas Mark 6/170°C

Remove stalks from the herbs and chop finely. (I have this cool gizmo my brother got me for Christmas, but you can use anything really, sometimes I find using a scissor can be so much easier)

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DSC_0085Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine.

I’m using Turkey Steaks but you could use this rub for anything really, feel free to experiment.

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Quarter your Baby Potatoes (I’ve used about Eight Potatoes) and add to the meat. Mix well, making sure everything is evenly coated.

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Set your timer to around 15 minutes, at the start, so that you can keep an eye on the food, nobody likes burnt anything – believe me. You may need to toss the potatoes halfway through cooking. Then set the timer for another 15-20 minutes.

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Before & After

Now unfortunately for the world, and people who know us, we love Garlic. There’s this Carrot Salad (Otherwise known as Garlic Salad in this house) that we LOVE and it’s uber easy to make. All you need is Crème Fraîche, Mayonnaise, Crushed Garlic, Grated Carrots, Dill, Salt & Pepper.

Throw em all together and Voilà, a yummy accompaniment. (Obviously reduce or increase ingredients as you like)

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  ∗Key Note: Always taste, and taste again 😉

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♥Enjoy♥