Peppered Steak with a Merlot Sauce

Peppered Steak with a Merlot Sauce

 

Succulent steaks coated with crushed peppercorns and served with a syrupy wine sauce.

 

Peppered Steak with a Merlot Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 15–20 minutes
  • Cooking time:: 6–18 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 good quality steaks, 3cm (1¼ inches thick)
  • 1½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 170ml (6 fl oz) Merlot wine (¾ cup)
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • To serve
  • mashed potatoes

  • You will also need a heavy based frying pan/skillet


  1. Method
  2. Warm a plate in the oven.

  3. Trim any excess fat from the steaks. Crush the peppercorns coarsely using a pestle and mortar, or with a flat-ended rolling pin, and spread them out onto a plate. Press both sides of the steaks down onto the crushed peppercorns, shaking off any loose bits as you lift them off.

  4. Heat the pan until it is really hot then add the oil. Place the steaks in the pan and cook them for 3–4 minutes on each side for rare or 8–9 for medium to well done. Transfer to the warmed plate, cover loosely with foil, and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, pour the wine into the pan and let it bubble up and reduce until it makes a thick, syrupy sauce. Add the balsamic vinegar and butter and then stir in any juices that have run off the steaks. Season to taste.

  6. Serve with the sauce poured over the steaks and the mashed potato alongside to soak up the juices.

Updated: October 3, 2018

Pasta al Forno Siciliana

Pasta al forno Siciliana Pasta al forno Siciliana

 

Layers of ragù, rigatoni, ham, mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses make pasta al forno Siciliana a truly flavourful Italian dish.

 

Pasta al Forno Siciliana
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: About 45 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour on hob, 25 minutes in oven

  • Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 900g (2 lb) minced/ground beef
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 240ml (8 fl oz)red wine (1 cup)
  • 540ml (18 fl oz) passata (2¼ cups)
  • 225g (8 oz) frozen peas (1½ cups)
  • 450g (1 lb) rigatoni pasta (7½ cups)
  • 170g (6 oz) sliced ham, cut into strips (about 6 slices)
  • 225g (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, chopped
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

  • To serve
  • A green salad or caesar salad

  • You will also need a deep ovenproof dish measuring 22cm x 30.5cm (8½ ins x 12 ins) and 6.5cm (2½ ins) deep.


  1. Method
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.

  3. Now turn up the heat to moderate, add the meat and brown, stirring often to break up any lumps, about 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in the oregano, thyme, wine, and plenty of seasoning. Continue to cook until the wine has been absorbed, about 5 minutes.

  5. Next, stir in the passata, 240ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) water, and add the bay leaf. Cover the pan and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. At the end of the cooking time the consistency should be that of a loose ragù. Add a little more water if it is getting too thick.

  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)( gas 5).

  7. minutes before the ragù has finished cooking, start cooking the pasta. Add the pasta to a large pan of boiling salted water and let it cook for 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the packet. Drain.

  8. Add the peas to the ragù and then remove the pan from the heat. Discard the bay leaf.

  9. Now to layer the dish. Spoon a thin layer of the ragù over the base of the ovenproof dish. Add half the pasta and then spoon over half the remaining ragù. Top with all the ham. Now scatter over half the mozzarella plus 2 tbsp of the Parmesan. Add the rest of the pasta then spoon over the rest of the ragù. Finally scatter over the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.

  10. Cover the dish with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes until piping hot and golden.

  11. Serve with extra Parmesan sprinkled on the top and a salad.

Updated: October 1, 2018

Steak Béarnaise

Steak Béarnaise

 

I love cooking steak in the summer and it is always good to have a selection of different sauces to choose from so the meal can be a little different each time.

This traditional French Béarnaise Sauce is so lovely and creamy and a perfect match with a simply cooked good steak.

 

Steak Béarnaise
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Standing time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: About 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the steaks
  • 14g (½ oz) butter (1 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 x 170g (6 oz) steaks (rib eye, sirloin or other good quality steak)

  • For the Béarnaise Sauce
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
  • 115g (4 oz) butter, cut into small pieces (½ cup, or 1 stick)
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon

  • Serving suggestion
  • fries and peas


  1. Method
  2. For the steaks
  3. Season the steaks.

  4. Now heat a large frying pan/skillet and add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted and is foaming, add the steaks. Fry them, over a medium heat, for 2 minutes each side for medium rare, 3 minutes for medium, 5–6 minutes for well done. Or BBQ them.

  5. Transfer to a warm plate, cover and let them rest for five minutes.

  6. For the Béarnaise Sauce
  7. While the steaks are cooking, put the vinegar and shallot in a small pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer to reduce to about 1 tablespoon. This will only take a minute or two. Strain and leave to cool a little.

  8. Now in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with some seasoning and then add the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of warm water.

  9. While the steaks are resting, place the bowl with the egg mixture over a pan of just simmering water. Add the butter, a knob at a time, stirring until each knob has melted before adding the next. Continue stirring until the sauce is shiny and thick. Once it has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tarragon.

  10. To serve
  11. Spoon the sauce alongside the steaks.

Updated: September 12, 2018

Cannelloni Al Forno

Cannelloni

 

A great recipe for a family meal.

 

Cannelloni Al Forno
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes (plus 25 minutes, if making the béchamel sauce from scratch)
  • Cooking time: 55 minutes (plus 10 minutes, if making the béchamel sauce from scratch)

  • Ingredients
  • Cannelloni ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed (minced)
  • 340g (12 oz) minced/ground beef
  • 400g can (½ × 28 oz can) chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 360ml (12 fl oz) passata (1½ cups)
  • 16 cannelloni shells
  • béchamel sauce, made with 300ml (10 fl oz) milk*
  • 115g (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded (1 cup)
  • 55g (2 oz) Parmesan, grated/ shredded (½ cup)

  • *In the UK you can buy packets of powered béchamel sauce to which you just add milk and heat. However, I can’t find this in Canada and so have to make the sauce from scratch, which is very easy. You will find the recipe below.

  • You will also need an ovenproof dish large enough to take 16 filled cannelloni shells in a single layer.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), (gas 4).

  3. If making the béchamel sauce from scratch, make it now (see below).

  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet then gently fry the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Now add the meat and brown over a medium heat for 5 minutes, breaking up any clumps as it browns.

  5. Next stir in the tomatoes along with the seasonings. Gently simmer for 10 minutes.

  6. sauce simmering
  7. If making the béchamel sauce from a packet, make it now, following the directions on the packet.

  8. Pour half the passata into the ovenproof dish.

  9. Fill the cannelloni shells with the meat mixture, placing them in the dish as you go.

  10. Pasta filled with meat sauce
  11. Now pour over the remaining passata and then top with the béchamel sauce.

  12. Passata added
  13. Adding béchamel sauce
  14. Topped with béchamel










  15. Sprinkle over the mozzarella and then the Parmesan covering the sauce completely.

  16. Topped with cheese
  17. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown.

  18. Tip
  19. In UK the packets of grated mozzarella have no additional additives. In Canada the shredded mozzarella does. To avoid the additives, shred block mozzarella, popping it in the freezer for 30 minutes first to firm up. It will make shredding easier.

Béchamel Sauce
 
  • Ingredients
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups), warmed
  • 1 shallot, skinned and sliced OR a small piece of onion skinned
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and thickly sliced
  • 1 stick celery, washed and thickly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Method
  2. Pour the milk into a small pan. Add the vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns then bring slowly to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover the pan and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the milk, discarding the vegetables and flavourings.

  3. Melt the butter in a clean pan and then, over a low heat, blend in the flour. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and then slowly add the milk, stirring continuously, until the mixture is smooth. Now return the pan to the heat and cook the sauce until it thickens, stirring continuously. Season to taste.

 

Steak aux Légumes

 

Steak aux légumes

 

A simple sauce is poured over the steaks to marinade for just 30 minutes. They are then quickly fried and served with the sauce drizzled over and accompanied with a selection of vegetables.

 

Steak aux légumes
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Marinading time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 25 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the steak
  • 4 x 170g (6 oz) good quality steak
  • ⅓ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

  • For the vegetables
  • 675g (1 lb 8 oz) baby or new potatoes (about 16)
  • 1 small broccoli head
  • 225g (8 oz) carrots (3 medium), sliced thinly into rounds
  • 2 small courgettes/zucchini, cut into 1.25cm (½ inch) rounds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For this recipe you will also need a heavy-based frying pan/skillet for the steaks, if not barbecuing, and a deep-sided frying pan/skillet with lid for the vegetables


  1. Method
  2. Lay the steaks in a single layer in a shallow dish.

  3. Then, in a small bowl, whisk together the next 5 ingredients and pour this over the steaks. Cover the dish and leave to marinade for 30 minutes, turning the steaks halfway through.

  4. Once the steaks have finished marinading, prepare the vegetables.

  5. Wash and cut the broccoli into small florets discarding any stems. Place in a bowl along with the sliced carrots and courgettes/zucchini. Pour over the olive oil and season, then toss to coat the vegetables with the oil.

  6. Now wash the potatoes, place in a pan, cover with water and add a little salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes until tender.

  7. Next put five plates in the oven to warm.

  8. Remove the steaks from the marinade and pat dry (reserve the marinade). The steaks can be barbecued or cooked in a heavy-based frying pan/skillet. If using a pan, first heat the pan until it is really hot and then brush with olive oil. Reduce the heat and add the steaks to the pan. Cook over a medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your steaks. Remove them on one of the warmed plates, cover the plate with foil and leave the steaks to rest for 5 minutes, turning halfway through.

  9. While the steaks are cooking, the vegetables can also be cooked. First, heat the deep-sided frying pan/skillet, then add the vegetables and sauté over a medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Reduce the heat, pop on the lid, and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat and sauté for a further minute to crisp them up.

  10. When the steaks are resting, stir the reserved marinade into the steak pan and, over a gentle heat, let it bubble to heat through. (If the steak was barbecued, once the vegetables have been cooked and removed from their pan, use this pan to heat through the marinade.)

  11. Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over and the vegetables alongside.

Updated: June 24, 2018

Angie’s Lasagne

Angie's Lasagna

 

This is a lasagne recipe that I stumbled across many years ago and that has always been a great family favourite. The dish has three layers of pasta, a meaty tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese, topped with Parmesan.

 

Angie's Lasagne
Prepares: 8 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Standing time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 9 lasagne sheets
  • 450g (1 lb) mince/ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tins or 1 x 796ml can Italian chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 156ml (5½ fl oz) tin tomato paste (⅔ cup)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 450g (1 lb) mozzarella cheese, grated/shredded* (4 cups)
  • 28g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated/shredded (¼ cup)

  • For this recipe you will need a deep sided frying pan/skillet or sauté pan.
  • Also a 32.5 x 22.5 x 5 cm (13 x 9 x 2 inch) ovenproof dish.

  • *In the UK the prepackaged grated mozzarella cheese contains only cheese and anti-caking ingredients. In Canada it has more additives, so I buy the block mozzarella and grate it myself. Just pop it in the freezer for ten minutes before grating to firm it up.

  • To serve
  • A Caesar salad can be served as an accompaniment.


  1. Method
  2. Brown the meat in the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat, add the onion and garlic, and cook for a further 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, ⅔ cup water, and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)

  5. Many brands of lasagne pasta require no pre-cooking but I have found they benefit from cooking for a short time anyway. A baked lasagne using uncooked pasta isn’t as moist.

  6. So, bring a large pan of water to the boil and add a glug of olive oil. Drop 5 of the lasagne sheets into the water one at a time (crossing each one over the other) and boil for 4 minutes. They need to be cooked in two batches or they will stick together while cooking. Remove the sheets with a pair of tongs and rinse under cold water, then lay the sheets separately on a clean tea-towel. Repeat with the remaining four sheets.

  7. To layer up the lasagne. First, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagne pan. Then layer 3 lasagne sheets, a third of the remaining meat sauce, and a third of the mozzarella cheese on top. Repeat layering the pasta, meat sauce, and cheese twice more. Finally sprinkle the Parmesan over the top.

  8. Bake, covered with foil, in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes.

  9. Let it stand for 10 minutes before serving into portions.

Updated: May 3, 2018

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash

Beef Goulash
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hour 55 minutes

  • Ingredient
  • 675g (1½ lb) stewing steak, cut into 2.5cm (1 inch cubes)
  • 3 tbsp seasoned flour
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée/paste
  • nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 55g (2 oz) flour (⅓ cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 600ml (20 fl oz) beef stock (2½ cups)
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned and quartered
  • bouquet garni*
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) beer (⅔ cup)

  • *In Canada these little bags of bouquet garni aren’t available so I make my own. A simple bouquet garni consists of a sprig each of parsley and thyme, a bay leaf, 2 cloves, and a few peppercorns, tied together in muslin to form a sack.

  • To serve
  • egg noodles

  • You will also need a deep sided large sauté pan. A stove-top to oven pan is ideal, otherwise you will also need a large casserole dish.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  3. Tip 3 tablespoons flour into a plastic storage bag and season. Shake bag to mix. Add the meat to the bag and shake again to coat the meat with the flour. Set aside.

  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan over a medium-low heat and gently cook the onions and pepper for 5 minutes to soften, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and keep warm.

  5. Add the remaining oil to the pan and increase the heat to medium. Add the beef cubes and lightly brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.

  6. Reduce the heat to low and stir through the paprika. Cook for a further minute.

  7. Stir in the tomato purée/paste, seasoning, flour, and a little grated nutmeg. Cook for a further 2 minutes.

  8. Gradually add the stock, stirring until well blended. Increase the heat to medium and cook the sauce until it is smooth and thick.

  9. Remove from the heat. Return the onions and peppers to the pan. Then stir through the tomatoes and add the bouquet garni.

  10. Cover and cook the goulash in the oven for 1¾ hours.

  11. Stir in the beer and return the pan to the oven, covered, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

  12. Serve over egg noodles.

Updated: April 14, 2018

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables

 

Sirloin steak cut into strips and stir fried with red pepper, broccoli and carrots, served with a sauce over a bed of rice.

 

Beef Stir Fry with Vegetables
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) water (⅔ cup)
  • 284ml (10 oz) can condensed beef broth (Campbells)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small head of broccoli
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 450g (1 lb) sirloin steak, cut into strips

  • To serve
  • rice

  • You will also need a 22.5cm (10 inch) deep frying pan/skillet.


  1. Method
  2. First, blend together the cornflour/cornstarch and water in a bowl. Stir in the beef broth and soy sauce, and then set aside.

  3. Deseed the pepper and cut into small chunks. Break the broccoli into small florets, discarding the stem. Peel and thinly slice the carrots.

  4. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the vegetables and garlic, and stir to coat. Stir-fry until tender, about 5–8 minutes. Remove and keep warm.

  5. Add the other tablespoons of oil to the pan and, when hot, add the beef. Stir-fry for 2–4 minutes according to how well-done you like your steak. Turn frequently to brown on all sides. Remove and keep warm.

  6. Add the reserved broth to the pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and stir until it thickens. Return the vegetables and meat to the pan, stirring through the sauce. Reheat for 1–2 minutes until everything is hot.

  7. Serve over a bed of rice.

Updated: April 4, 2018

Rich Beef Stew

Rich Beef Stew

This is a lovely rich beef stew with chunks of beef, baby carrots, swede/rutabaga and red onion, cooked slowly in a wine and passata enriched stock. Perfect for a cold winter’s day, served with garlic mashed potatoes.

 

Rich Beef Stew
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2 hours 30 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the stew
  • 675g (1½ lb) stewing steak, cut into 5cm (2 inch) chunks
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • knob of butter
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) red wine (½ cup)
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) passata (1¼ cups)
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) good beef stock (1¼ cups)
  • 450g (1 lb) Chantenay carrots (baby carrots*)
  • 450g (1 lb) swede/rutabaga, cut into small chunks (about half a small one)

  • Note
  • *Chantenay carrots found in the U.K. are lovely, small, sweet carrots. The baby carrots found in Canada are smaller and can be a good substitute, or just use ordinary carrots roughly chopped, small.

  • For this recipe you will need a deep sided frying pan/skillet with lid.

  • For the garlic mashed potatoes
  • 800g (1¾ lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (5 medium)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of sage
  • knob of butter


  1. Method
  2. For the stew
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the pan and brown the beef, in two batches, over a medium heat. Set to one side.

  4. Add a little more oil to the pan, if necessary, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. The onion should be just beginning to brown.

  5. Next, add the garlic, thyme, Worcestershire sauce, wine and a good knob of butter. Now return the beef to the pan with any of its juices. Give it all a good stir and then increase the heat and let it bubble for a couple of minutes to reduce.

  6. Stir in the passata and stock. Season well. Cover and let it simmer very gently for about 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

  7. Add the carrots and swede/rutabaga and cook for a further hour. The meat should be really tender and the vegetables cooked through.

  8. Remove the thyme sprigs before serving.

  9. For the garlic mashed potatoes
  10. Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces. Cook in boiling salted water for 20 minutes until tender.

  11. In a separate pan, over a low heat, add the oil, garlic, rosemary, and sage. Then simmer very gently for about 10 minutes to flavour the oil. Remove the sprigs of rosemary and sage.

  12. Drain the potatoes and mash with the oil. Add a knob of butter, season, and beat until creamy.

Updated: March 15, 2018

One-Dish Beef Casserole

One-dish Beef Casserole

 

This easy beef casserole is made from chunks of steak, braised slowly with carrots, onions and potatoes in a tomato-based beef stock. Once prepared and in the oven there is nothing more to do!

 

One-Dish Beef Casserole
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 25 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2½ hours

  • Ingredients
  • 700g (1½ lb) stewing steak
  • 28g (1 oz) flour (3 tbsp)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 450g (1 lb) carrots, sliced (6 medium)
  • 700g (1½ lb) potatoes, peeled and sliced (4½ medium)
  • ground nutmeg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 x 400g tin whole tomatoes (½ x 28 fl oz can)
  • good beef stock
  • 225g (8 oz) peas (optional) (1½ cups)

  • You will need a lidded casserole dish for this recipe


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) (gas 3)

  3. Place the flour in a medium plastic food storage bag and add salt and pepper. Shake the bag to mix. Cut the steak into 2.5cm (1 inch) cubes and add to the bag. Shake again so the flour coats the steak. Remove the steak from the bag but reserve any remaining flour.

  4. Layer steak, onions, carrots and potatoes in the casserole dish, sprinkling each layer with a pinch of nutmeg and some seasoning as you go.

  5. Sprinkle the remaining flour from the bag over the meat and vegetables and then add the tomatoes.

  6. Finally pour over enough stock to come just over halfway up the ingredients.

  7. Cover and cook for 2½ hours.

  8. Peas can be added 15 minutes before the end of cooking.

Updated: March 14, 2018

Hearty Beef Casserole with Herb Dumplings

Hearty Beef Casserole with Herb Dumplings

 

The addition of Guinness makes this a hearty beef casserole on a cold winter’s day. The beef is cooked very slowly with carrots, swede/rutabaga, and onions in the Guinness and beef stock. Soak all this up with herby dumplings.

 

Hearty Beef Casserole with Herb Dumplings
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: 40 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 hours 20 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • For the casserole
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 450g (1 lb) stewing steak, cut into 5cm (2 inch) chunks
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 225g (8 oz) swede/rutabaga, cut into small chunks (half a small rutabaga)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 150ml (5 fl oz) Guinness (⅔ cup) (optional)
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) good beef stock (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig of thyme

  • For the dumplings
  • 140g (5 oz) plain flour/cake and pastry flour (1 cup)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 40g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp)
  • 120.ml (4 fl oz) milk (½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp mixed dried herbs (parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme), or
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped and a pinch of black pepper

  • You will also need a deep sided frying pan for this recipe.


  1. Method
  2. Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2)

  3. For the casserole
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan and brown the beef over a medium heat. Set aside.

  5. Add the remaining oil to the pan, reduce the heat, and gently cook the onions and carrots for 10 minutes until softened. Then add the swede/rutabaga and cook for a further 2 minutes.

  6. Return the beef to the pan, stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Gradually add the hot stock, stirring continuously, until there is a smooth sauce. Stir in the Guinness. (If omitting the Guinness, just add extra stock.)

  7. Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Then cover and cook in the oven for 3 hours.

  8. For the dumplings
  9. Make up the dumplings 15 minutes before the casserole is ready.

  10. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in the herbs. Using a flat-bladed knife, gradually stir in enough milk to make a soft but not sticky dough (you may not need all the milk). Divide the dough into 8 balls.

  11. Drop the dumplings onto the top of the casserole, spaced evenly apart. Cover and cook the casserole for a further 20 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up.

  12. To serve
  13. Accompany with mashed potatoes and a green vegetable.

Updated: March 13, 2018

Steak in Red Wine Sauce

Steak in Red Wine Sauce

 

Tender marinated steak is served with a lovely red wine sauce. This is very easy to prepare; the sauce adding that little bit extra when enjoying a steak.

 

Steak in Red Wine Sauce
Prepares: 4 servings
 
  • Preparation time: about 20 minutes
  • Marinading time: at least 6 hours or overnight
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes

  • Ingredients
  • 4 sirloin steaks or other good quality steak
  • 300ml (10 fl oz) red wine (1¼ cups)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 28g (1 oz) butter (2 tbsp, or ¼ stick)

  • Serving suggestion
  • Thin French fries, mushrooms, tomatoes and lettuce leaves


  1. Method
  2. With tip of a knife, lightly score each steak to allow the marinade to seep into the steak.

  3. Prepare the marinade by whisking the red wine, olive oil and pepper together.

  4. Place the steaks in a single layer in a dish. Add the shallots, garlic and bay leaves. Pour the marinade over the steaks and turn them in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least six hours, or overnight if possible.

  5. Lift the steaks out of the dish and dry on kitchen paper, reserving the marinade.

  6. Brush a heavy based pan with oil. (A ridged one works well.) Heat the pan and, when it is hot, add the steaks and cook over a medium–high heat, turning once. As a rough guide, allow 1 minute per side for rare, 2 minutes per side for medium–rare, and 3 minutes for medium. Place the steaks on a warm plate and and cover with foil. Rest for 5 minutes, turning halfway through, to allow the juices to settle evenly.

  7. Meanwhile, allow the pan to cool down slightly. Add the reserved marinade to the pan with the redcurrant jelly and half a cup water. Bring the mixture to the boil. Add the butter and boil down until reduced by about half. Season. Remove bay leaves.

  8. Serve the steaks with the sauce poured over.