Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Beef and Beer Stew with Herb Dumplings

No matter how many times I try I still can't quite make beef stew the way my mum makes it. I really wasn't expecting this stew to taste like hers, because there was certainly no beer in hers and no herbs in the suet dumplings. However, I was totally surprised that this stew turned out to taste almost the same as my mum's.

1 lb stewing beef, cubed
1 onion
3 carrots, sliced
3 parsnips, sliced
1 swede, cubed
5 red potatoes, cut in half
1 bottle of beer
1 small can tomato puree
4 cups beef stock
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp sage

Suet Dumplings:
1/2 cup self raising flour
1/4 cup suet
3 fl ox water
pinch of salt
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary

To make the stew, in a large pan heat the oil over high heat.  Brown the meat in small batches and set aside.  Cook the sliced onion in the same pot for a few minutes, then add the garlic, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and swede and fry for 5 minutes.  Add the beef back to the pan along with the flour.  Add the beer, beef stock, tomato paste and paprika, marjoram and sage.  Stir together, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 1 to 2 hours.

To make the dumplings, combine the flour with the suet, salt, rosemary, thyme and water.  Mix to form a dough and divide into 8 balls.  Drop the dumplings on top of the stew, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

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Coconut Snowballs

We have a neighbour who whenever he sees me and the daycare kids outside will always give the girls a popsicle, so for Christmas I made Ernie a treat basket of cookies, fugde and these snowballs and had the girls give it to him as a thank you for all those popsicles and of course Ernie being Ernie we left there with giant chocolate Santas for the kids. This recipe came from Glorious Treats.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 cup finely chopped dates
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups rice krispies

In a medium pan, combine the milk, dates, butter and salt.  Cook for 5 minutes, mashing the dates as it cooks.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and add a small amount of the date mixture to warm the eggs.  Add the eggs to the pan stirring constantly and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and rice krispies, mix together well and let cool for a few minutes.

Pour the coconut into a large bowl and using a small cookie scoop, make balls of the date mixture and roll them in the coconut.

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Beer Battered Onion Rings

Randal absolutely loves onion rings, and most of the time when we go out for a burger he will get those instead of fries and we hardly ever have them at home mostly because I don't really like them. So the last time Randal made fish and chips (he's in charge of anything fried at our house!) he made some beert battered onion rings to go with them. I have to admit that for onion rings they were quite good. Randal just used one onion, but you can easily adapt this recipe to make as many or as few as you need.

1 large sweet onion
1 cup all purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper
Heat oil to 375
Slice the onions into 1/2 inch slices and separate the rings.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper.  Adding enough of the beer to make the consistency of pancake batter.

Drop the onion rings into the batter and fry a few at a time for around 5 minutes, until golden brown.  Season with salt and serve immediately.

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Bombay Potatoes

One of the things I miss the most about England is all the great Indian food that is available. Here in Houston there just isn't the variety that there is back home, so if I want to eat it I have to find good recipes to make at Home.  These Bombay potatoes are a Jamie Oliver recipe and they are so, so good.

3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Pinch ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
4 knobs butter
6 potatoes, peeled, parboiled and cut into cubes
4 tomatoes, cores removed and flesh diced
Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the spices for a few minutes. Add the butter, then the potatoes making sure they are completely coated in the spicy mixture. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, then stir in the tomatoes and the coriander.

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Menu Plan Monday

I know it is Tuesday not Monday, but we spent all day in the car yesterday driving back to Houston from Tulsa

Monday: We stopped at chick fil a in Dallas on the way home

Tuesday: My father in law sent us home with steak fingers, so we are cooking those with garlic fries and cream gravy

Wednesday: We are having a fondue day.  Starting off with cheese, then an oil fondue with various meats and vegetables and finally a chocolate fondue

Thursday: First day back at work for both of us, so just a quick and easy spag bol

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Banana Bavarian Cake

I made this cake quite a while ago but I am trying to catch up on posts before the new year. I found this recipe over at Pastry Girl Without Borders and as soon as I saw it I knew I had to try it. I ended up using a cake round that was too large, so my cake wasn't as tall as the original so I should have used a 6 inch round not an 8 inch.  There are quite a few steps to this cake, but the end result is well worth it as it looks very impressive and who doesn't love the idea of piping banana puree in any pattern you want on cake batter before it's baked!

Banana Puree
2 large bananas, sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp rum
pinch of nutmeg

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add in the sliced bananas, sugar and nutmeg.  Heat until the bananas start to break down, add in the rum and let cook for a few minutes.  In a food processor blend until smooth and set aside to cool.

3 eggs
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325

Melt the butter in a small pan and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the eggs for three minutes.  Add in the honey, followed by the dry ingredients, mix until combined.  Add in the melted butter.

Spread the mixture onto a parchment paper lined half sheet pan until it is about half a centimeter thick.  Place the banana puree into a piping bag and pipe whatever design you like over the cake batter, making sure to leave half of the puree for the cake filling.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Bavarian Cream:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp gelatin
1 vanilla bean
1 tbsp water
1 cup heavy cream

Whisk the 1 cup of heavy cream until the soft peak stage and set aside.

Place the water and gelatin in a small bowl and set aside.

Add the half cup of milk and the half cup of cream to a medium pan along with the vanilla bean and half of the sugar, heat until the sugar has dissolved.

In a small bowl mix the other half of the sugar and the egg yolks together.  While whisking constantly, add around a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, then return the warmed egg yolks to the pan with the milk mixture.  Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened.  Strain into a large bowl and while it is still hot mix in the gelatin mixture, set aside to cool.

Once cool fold in the whipped cream.

To assemble the cake, cut out two 6 inch rounds (or 8 inch in my case) from the baked cake and one 4 inch (or 6 inch in my case) round for the middle of the cake.

Place one of the larger rounds into the bottom of the cake ring used to cut it out, and seal it by piping a ring of the banana puree around the edge of the ring.  Fill 3/4 of the ring with the cream mixture, place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Spread the remaining banana puree onto the smaller cake round, and place in the middle of the cake.  Top with the remaining cream and finally the last cake layer.  Place in the fridge for 3 hours before serving.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chili

Tuesday: Eating out

Wednesday: Christmas dinner

Thursday: Boxing day dinner - bubble and squeak

Friday: Eating out with Randal's family in Tulsa

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Monday, December 16, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Cottage pie

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Chicken pot pie

Thursday: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas

Friday: Mango chicken curry, jasmine rice

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gingerbread Cookies

Time for another Secret recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned the blog Secrets from the Cookie Princess  and with a blog name like that of course I had to make a cookie recipe, especially at this time of the year, although I have to admit that I do not make cookies very often as I am just not that good at it.  However, with a recipe from the cookie princess I hoped to have a better result than normal.

As it is almost Christmas I decided to make Colleen's Gingerbread Cookies and as I couldn't find my cookie cutters anywhere I just made round cookies sprinkled with sugar.  I have to say that my kitchen smelled so good while these were baking and they are quite honestly the most delicious gingerbread cookies I have ever had.

6 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 tsp ground ginger
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp finely ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups molasses

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pepper.  Mix in the eggs and molasses.  Slowly add in the flour and mix until the combined.

If you want to make cut out cookies, divide the dough into thirds and wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least an hour before rolling the dough 1/4 inch thick.  I just broke off small pieces of the dough, rolled into balls that I flattened slightly, placed on a baking sheet and sprinkled with sugar.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Chicken pot pie

Tuesday: Chicken tikka, jasmine rice and naan bread

Wednesday: Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Thursday: Pepper steak and jasmine rice

Friday: Eating out

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie