This slow-cooked stew is easy to throw together and great for lunchtime or for tea. Add a jacket potato, your fresh part-baked bread rolls or vegetable to up your 5-a-day.
3–4 tbsp groundnut or any flavourless oil
(2 onions, finely chopped, 2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced, 2 celery sticks, trimmed and cut into large pieces or pack of frozen stew vegetables)
400g tin plum tomatoes
2 dashes of worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
2 fresh bay leaves
1 x green oxo cube
1 tbsp flour mixed with 1 tbl onion powder
1lb 2oz diced steak
Dried herbs: 1tbl thyme, 1tbl parsley / 1tsp cumin
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based casserole over a medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and fry for 4–5 minutes, or until softened but not browned.
Add the tomatoes, black pepper, bay leaves and thyme and cook, stirring regularly, for 3–4 minutes.
Stir in the seasoned flour and cook for 2–3 minutes.
Add the beef and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours, stirring every 20–30 minutes, add optional extras and continue to simmer for an additional hour until the beef is tender enough to be cut with a spoon.
Serve in bowls with thick slices of your fresh baked bread (from part-baked stock), or on plates with mashed potato and green vegetables from your freezer.
Yorkshire Puddings: water down with 1/4 pint of water and you have pancakes too
This is a foolproof recipe and works everytime, just remember to put your oven on and your tray with oil in before you start.
200g /8oz flour
1 pint milk, full fat
8 tsp dripping or oil
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
How to make:
Whisk all the ingredients for the Yorkshire puddings together in a bowl.
Cover and allow to rest in the fridge overnight.
Put the dripping/oil into tin of choice and put in the oven until smoking hot.
Ladle the mix into the tin or pour from a jug and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes open the oven door for a couple of seconds to allow the steam in the oven to escape. Reduce the oven temperature to 200ºC and continue cooking for 5–10 minutes more until the puddings are crisp and golden.
You can make these into your favourite pancakes by adding 1/4 pint of water, stir well. Heat a non-stick frying pan, pour a light covering of mixture in, fry until set, turn over and fry for a second longer, tip into a plate and add sugar and lemon juice to your taste. Or even chocolate spread yummy.
Brioch Bread and Butter Pudding:
Made with store bought brioche rolls or sliced bread (Aldi) rather than a standard loaf, this is a lovely light pudding.
1 pack of eight brioche rolls - chocolate or plain sliced into rounds
50g (2oz) butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
100g (4oz) (choose 1 or a mixture of: sultanas/currants/chopped dates/cherries)
3 tbsp demerara sugar
50g flaked almonds to sprinkle on top
FOR THE CUSTARD
3 large eggs
75g (3oz) caster sugar
150ml (5fl oz) double cream
600ml (1pt) full-fat milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
How to make:
You will need a 28cm (11in) wide-based round ovenproof dish, and a roasting tin large enough to place it in.
Cut the brioche rolls into 1.5cm (⅝ in) slices and brush each slice with melted butter on both sides. Arrange the slices in a spiral in the buttered dish and scatter over the sultanas or fruit of choice.
To make the custard, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together by hand until well mixed. Pour the custard over the brioche slices in the dish and gently press the exposed bread crusts down into the liquid. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar and leave to stand for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease the dish with a little butter.
Half fill the roasting tin with boiling water, and place the ovenproof dish into it. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden on top and puffed up, take out and sprinkle with the almonds and put back in for last ten minutes. The layers will shrink down a little on cooling. Serve warm with cream.
The brioche and sultanas can be assembled in the buttered dish up to 6 hours ahead. Pour over the custard 30 minutes before baking. Leftovers will keep for a day in the fridge or freeze for later.
General stir fry recipe:
A general stir fry sauce, just add 100g of beef strips, chicken strips, pork chop cut into strips or prawns. Make sure all your veg is the same size as your meet strips for speed of cooking.
3 tblsp of oil,
6 garlic cloves, mashed
1 chilli seeded or deseeded to your taste, can add more is you wanted more spice
3 tbl spoon of soy sauce
2 tsp of onion powder
2 tsp of celery powder
2 tsp of ginger powder unless you have fresh
2 tsp of parsley / or fresh if available
2 red peppers cut into strips
2 yellow peppers cut into strips
2 white onions cut into strips
5 cooked carrots cut into strips
3tbl spoons of cornflower mixed with 2tbl spoons of water and a good dash of oyster sauce or sweet chilli sauce, or both
3 x packs of egg noodles warmed in water and spices
4 pork chops/4 chicken breasts cut into strips / or 500g prawns
How to make:
Place meat in a bowl with 1 mashed clove of garlic, 1 tbl spoon of oil, 1 tsp of ginger, 1 tsp of soy sauce, mix well and save.
Heat wok until very very hot.
Warm a pan with 3 cups of water with 1 tblsp of soy sauce, 1 tsp of celery powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 garlic clove, heat water and add noodles.
Add 1 tsp of oil and 3 cloves of garlic, chilli, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp of celery powder, 2 tsp ginger powder, stir fry for a few
Add all veg, stir continuously until softened (2-3 minutes), remove and add meat of choice and stir-fry for 3 minutes until cooked through.
Add vegetables back to pan with 2 tbl spoons of parsley and cornflower mix, fry for several seconds.
Add noodles with water and stir-fry for another 2 minutes until sauce has thickened. Serve immediately.
You can swap the noodles for packets of rice, add the rice and the spices to a bowl and warm in the microwave.
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