Sweetbriar Dreams

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Monday, 5 November 2012

Rainy Sunday and Home Cooking Comforts

Sunday was so dark and dismal.  It was cold, windy and the rain felt like ice although I'm not really complaining.  It felt so cosy in this house, washing on, dryer on, lights on and to top it all good old fashioned comfort cooking that will be simmering and baking away until the evening.  I'm feeling very domesticated I can tell you!

I didn't really have the time to continue with my rainbow baby blanket until the evening...

...after I had made sure homework is done, uniforms were laid out, bags were packed and my work things were ready for the very early start in the morning.  We have been very lazy this week in the getting up malarkey  so me getting up at 6:30 in the morning was going to be a sharp wake up call!!

As I started writing this post I could smell gorgeous comforting aromas coming from the kitchen.  It was very productive in there yesterday.  I made slow cooked braised beef, dumplings and fresh vegetables, along with some home made bread.  I attempted my first 'bloomer' today using my bread maker to make the dough and then finish off in the oven.  Oooo the smell of this wafted through the house beckoning us to eat it straight away!

For the braised beef, I asked one of the caterers I use at work for his recipe as we used this for a function recently and it was delish!  I have adapted it slightly but this is what you need to do (this will serve us four - but with a second helping if needed!):

1lb Braising Steak
Black Dog Beer or other strong stout
3 Chopped onions
2 Diced carrots and 4 sticks of celery chopped
100g Mushrooms
Beef Bouillon
A few sprigs of Thyme
A couple of bay leaves
Salt and Pepper

Marinade the steak overnight in the stout.

Take the meat out of the stout, but keep the stout (don’t drink it!)

Seal the meat and then remove from the pan.

Add the onions, celery and carrots to the pan and sauté making sure you get all the colour and flavour from the meat that has been left behind on the bottom of the pan.

Add the meat, mushrooms and the stout along with the bouillion and let it come to a boil and then transfer to  a moderate oven for a couple of hours, or put in a slow cooker for the day.

If you want a thicker sauce add some flour with water and also if you want this a bit darker add gravy browning.

Now then, I also love love love dumplings, so here is my recipe for these:
100g self raising flour
A large pinch of mixed herbs
Salt and Pepper
Some water to bind.

If they become too gooey, add some plain flour.  I like mine to feel quite dry but still binded so that they become crispy on the top when they come out of the oven.

Yesterday I served this with Brussels Sprouts (or the devils grapes as my son calls them!) and mashed potatoes.  But along with this the lovely fresh bread was served as I love to soak up the juices with this.
For the bread, I used my bread maker to make the dough:

I then took this out, knocked it back and then rolled it into an oblong shape and let it prove for another hour, then made some slits in the top.

I added some poppy seeds to the top of the loaf after I had given it an egg and water wash and then cooked it for 25 minutes at 2OO oC.

Well, after all that cooking it took just 15 minutes to eat and savor.   Very warming and well worth the wait.

And how about this for an accompaniment...HP Sauce, Guiness (or as my daughter calls it Harry Potter sauce!)

I love seeing the kids after a good meal, all rosy cheeked!

So now on with the week...


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  1. Wow! Does that ever look yummy! What cozy meal for a cool November day!

  2. I love your recipe for braised beef and dumplings. Sounds delish. Hope you are having a great week. Blessings, Sue


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