Dear reader, another week has passed by and to be very frank I had no clue what to write about today. I did some soul (and photo) searching and I found the following set of photos, taken while still living in Guildford. And then it just clicked – I’ve moved back to Malta 3 years almost to the date.
It’s Sunday morning, almost lunchtime, and I’m in my study. It’s the room where I feel most at home in. The wall to wall bookcases which J built remind me of those beautiful English libraries you can find in some National Trust properties. I don’t like antiques but everything can be a source of inspiration. Thank goodness for this room, because after a little more than a year back in Malta, I still cannot say that this is my home.
J tells me that I tend to panic whenever I have friends over for lunch or dinner no matter how easy the meal was to prepare. This is perfectly true. (Yes..I am aware of it and I am really working on it.) So I never cook anything complicated to begin with. This is even more true when I have people over mainly because my Surrey flat is very small and the kitchen is tiny. I am not complaining because I’ve seen tinier kitchens than this! But I think I might have just picked up on something that my mother did. She too has a little kitchen but she makes these fantastic dishes and can whip up a meal in a jiffy with a small number of ingredients. (I really have a lovely mum!) She’s really keen on one pot suppers and I can understand why. They are easy to prepare, comforting, especially on a cold winter’s day and you can potter about the house doing your thing while they do their thing and cook.
So the following is my take on my mum’s recipe. It comes in handy when I want that comfy warm feeling of her cooking. This will easily serve 6.
Just a note before going ahead with the recipe. Sometimes I serve this with mashed potatoes but other times I don’t bother too much and add diced ones in the pot. J prefers the mash so I usually do what I’m told..*ehem*. I know that the list of ingredients is long but please bear with me. For this Beef Casserole you need:
- 750g diced beef (in bite-sized chunks)
- 3 tablespoons plain flour
- Pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons regular olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 1 leek, chopped
- 1 large onion, or 2 small ones, chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
- 8 large mushrooms, quartered
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 cup red wine
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 litre beef stock (or enough to cover ingredients)
- 1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste or tomato concentrate
- 1 tablespoon sugar (I prefer the dark brown kind but it’s really up to you)
- 2-3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Toss the beef in flour and season with some pepper. Then brown the beef well on all sides in an oven proof pan. Remove the meat from the pan to a separate container until needed later.
- Gently fry the chopped leek, onion, garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms in the same pan you seared the beef for around 5 mins, adding the wine slowly to scrape the meat juices from the bottom of the pan. Place the beef in the pot again.
- Add the bay leaves, thyme, tomato paste, stock and sugar and stir. Finally add the Worcestershire sauce and give everything a good mix. Cover and put the pan into the preheated oven for around 1 and a half hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes. Enjoy!