Thursday, 27 October 2016

Beef Stew with Dumplings

We had guests over last week
and I thought 
what would be better than a hearty stew made with
 the abundance of the autumnal harvest
to warm the cockles of ones' heart

Beef Stew with Dumplings

for the stew:
1 kg stewing steak, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cubed
2 large parsnips, cubed
400g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
6 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups tomato juice 
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 can stewed tomatoes
brown sugar
1 tsp smoked peprika
Worcestershire sauce 
1 bay leaf
a sprig of thyme
2 tbsp plain flour
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 150ÂșC. 
Coat the beef with flour.
Heat 1tbsp oil in a casserole dish and brown the beef in batches. 
Set aside. 
Add a little more oil to the pan and gently fry the onions and carrots for 10 minutes until softened. 
Add the other vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. 
Return beef to pan. 
Gradually stir in the juices, stewed tomatoes and stock. 
Add sugar, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, bay leaf and thyme; bring to the boil. 
Cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

to make the Dumplings:
140g cold butter
250g sef-raising flour
1 tsp of a mixture of thyme, dill and marjoram
salt and black pepper

Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips until it feels like fine breadcrumbs. 
Stir in the herbs with salt and pepper. 
Drizzle over 150ml water, and stir in quickly to form a light dough. 
Use floured hands to shape into balls.

To serve:
Place the dumplings on top of the stew
and bake for 20 minutes more until the dumplings are cooked through.
Sprinkle a little grated cheese, if you so wishes

Monday, 24 October 2016

Chicken Soup

It was a quiet weekend
I lost my voice

It sucks being sick at this time of year
when there's still lots to do in the garden.
In the meantime, I just need to focus on getting better.
Hopefully there would still be enough good weather
to last for me to do what I need to do around the garden.

I find that the best thing to eat
whilst my taste buds are shot
is a simple, comforting, no-frills Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small knob ginger , sliced
2 large carrots, diced
chestnut mushrooms, sliced
a couple of sprigs of coriander 
enough chicken broth to cover
(failing that, a good quality chicken stock cube + hot water will do the job nicely!)
light soy sauce
salt and black pepper, to taste

 Put the chicken in the pot with garlic, ginger, carrots and broth covering the chicken. 
Simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked. 
Add mushrooms and coriander sprigs.
Season the soup with soy sauce, salt and pepper.
Let the pot come back up to boiling point and let it cook for a minute or so.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Autumn Colours

cough, sniffle, sore-throat
seems to be the order of the day
throw in a dash of chest cold too
and you know you are in keeping with the season!

But in the meantime,
the garden is looking pretty spectacular...

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Garden Updates - Autumn

Always a busy time for me in the garden.
It is the best time for planting trees and shrubs
when growth comes to a standstill