Archive for November, 2010

Traditional Beef and Guinness Stew

Beef in Stout

This dish is great for Sunday lunch, you have to try it. I use a full litre of stout and gently simmer on the hob for around two and a half hours. The sauce reduces and meat becomes really tender. No stock cubes needed here! Eat with plenty of floury spuds, a cut of bread, or a pint of the black stuff.


  • 125g streaky bacon, cubed
  • 1kg stewing beef (such as round steak), cubed
  • 2 tbsp flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 litre stout
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 3 celery sticks, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, washed but unpeeled, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato pureé (optional)
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the streaky bacon until golden. Transfer to a large cast-iron casserole or heavy stewpot.
  2. Brown the beef. Toss the beef in the seasoned flour. Add a little more oil to the frying pan and fry the beef in batches until caramelised. Make sure you do this  in batches so as not to overload your pan. Transfer the browned beef to the casserole.
  3. Add a little more oil and fry the onions until caramelised. Add to the casserole.
  4. Pour some stout into the hot frying pan to de-glaze it. As the stout bubbles, scrape at the bottom of the pan to remove any caramelised juices from the bacon and the beef. Add the rest of the stout and de-glazed juices to the casserole.
  5. Now, assemble the rest of the dish. To the casserole, add the celery, carrot, tomato pureé, Worcestershire sauce, stock, herbs, salt and the rest of the stout. Season with  plenty of freshly ground pepper. Stir well and place a lid on the casserole but leave a large crack to allow the sauce to reduce. Bring up to a gentle simmer and leave for about 2½ hours (check after 2 hours). Give the casserole a stir every so often to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the casserole. Taste for seasoning and add a little extra salt if you need.


  • You could use shin beef for this. Just trim a little of the fat from the meat and add at least an hour to the cooking time to allow this tough meat to tenderise. The extra fat in the meat will melt out, giving a rich and unctuous sauce.

Serves 4.

New Page for Indian Recipes

Indian Collage

I’ve just added a new page which lists all of the Indian dishes on this site. Just click  the “Indian Recipes” button at the top of this screen.

Lamb Saag

Indian Spices

This recipe is more or less Rick Stein’s Lamb & Spinach Karahi recipe, but I’ve simplified the recipe slightly and radically adjusted the amount of ghee/oil required. There is absolutely no sense in using 250g pure fat simply to fry half a kilo of onions. It’s crazy!

I’ve also added some dried fenugreek – it gives a great background flavour and is so typical of Indian curries.

As well as having a great flavour, this curry has a vivid green colour and makes a great visual contrast to “red” curries such as Kashmiri Lamb Rogan Josh or Butter Chicken.


  • 1.2kg diced lamb
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower/groundnut oil
  • 500g onions, chopped (about 3 large onions)
  • 12 cloves  garlic, peeled
  • 50g root ginger, peeled and chopped roughly (about the size of a golf ball)
  • 400g canned tomatoes
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp each of the following: red chilli powder, sweet paprika, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
  • 300g spinach leaves
  • 4 medium-sized green chillies, stalks removed & roughly chopped


  1. Place a cast-iron casserole on the hob and heat the oil. Add the onions and cook the onions gently for around 30 minutes until soft and light brown in colour.
  2. Blitz the garlic, root ginger, tomatoes and water in a blender until smooth. Remove the browned onions from the casserole using a slotted spoon and add to the blender. Blend again until very smooth.
  3. Put the casserole back on the heat. Add the onion/tomato mixture to the casserole, then add the diced lamb, chicken stock and the ground spices. Stir to combine. Transfer to the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours until the meat is very tender.
  4. Just before the lamb is finished cooking, make the spinach puree. Put 200g of the spinach leaves in a large saucepan along with a splash of water. Place a lid on the saucepan and cook for about 2 minutes or until the spinach has wilted down. Transfer the spinach to a liquidizer along with another splash of water and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Make the green chilli pureé. Blend the green chillies with some water until smooth and add to the curry. Set aside.
  6. Check the lamb is cooked to your satisfaction. At this point, you can spoon off the fat which has risen to the top of the sauce (see below). Stir through the spinach puree and the rest of the spinach leaves. Add the green chilli puree and simmer and heat through for another 5 minutes.
  7. Stir through the garam masala and fresh coriander. Taste for seasoning, adding plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Serve with rice and naan bread with some cooling yoghurt on the side, if you wish.

Serves 6.

Pomegranate Raita

Pomegranate Raita

If you like dipping poppadoms, this makes a nice alternative to mint raita. Remove the seeds from ½ pomegranate by bashing with a wooden spoon. Drain the seeds of juice and set aside. Take a 1½ cups of greek/natural yoghurt and mix in the pomegranate seeds, a handful of chopped fresh coriander, pinch of garam masala and a little sea salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with a few more pomegranate seeds and serve.