Monday, 19 April 2010

Beef Stew and Growing Older...

I must be growing old becuase I sound like my father. Phrases like "When I was young" seem to frequently pepper my statements. "Nowadays things are so..." is salt added to my sentences. "Remember when..." is the garlic that seasons many of my questions and "Those days things were..." is the spice that is added to many conversations. My father often starts sentences with those phrases and I guess I am becoming just like my father when I say similar things to my children. You know, like, "When Daddy was young, he didnt have a pair of football boots." Or how about, "Those days the only mushrooms we had came out of a can." And of course the proverbial "You dont know how lucky you children are, Daddy and Mummy didn't have {this, that and the other}. You get the picture! So I guess we all become our parents after a while!

One good thing about growing older is that you have a lot of memories - until your memory starts to fail that is. One fond memory I have is the Beef Stew that my mother used to make for all of us. Her stew was comfort food for us and was always looked forward to.

Like so many of the dishes I make today, the inspiration comes from the good food that my Mother would make for us. Although my mom's food was really good, I think that my own versions are better than my mother's! Then again, I had a good role model so improving on something that was already good is not too hard to do.

Mom's stew often had loads of potatoes in it but when I made this, I decided to do something a little different. I made mashed potatoes and served the stew atop a bed
of it. My little princess, who loves her mashed potatoes, loved how I served this!

This is how I make my stew.

1 tsp Oregano
1 tsb basil
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic -chopped
1 onion - chopped
800g Beef - sliced into squares
Plain flour
3 carrots -sliced
2 green capsicum - cut into large cubes
300g button mushroom - sliced
2 tomatoes - quartered

Coat the beef in some flour and then quickly brown on a hot skillet to seal the meat. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, Sautee the oregano, basil, bay leaves, onion and garlic till soft. Add in the mushrooms and cook till juices come out. Add in the beef and mix well. Add in the carrots and tomatoes and cook till carrots are soft. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in the capsicum. Add in some water and allow mixture to simmer and infuse all the flavours. If required, add in some corn flour to thicken the stew.

The beauty of a stew is that you can add almost any vegetables in to make the stew more hearty. Celery is always a good choice as is leek. As mentioned above, potatoes are always a good addition too.

I also served the stew with a dollop of mashed potatoes and some sliced bread. The bread is great to mop up all the juices. The stew goes really well with rice and even better with lightly buttered rice!

The true test of my age though is that I remember songs from a long time ago. Remember Supertramps The Logical Song?
When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,
oh joyfully, oh playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
logical, oh responsible, practical.
And then they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
oh clinical, oh intellectual, cynical.
There are times when all the world's asleep,
the questions run too deep
for such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am...


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

ha, I'm with the daughter ... love the mashed potatoes!

Bellini Valli said...

I love how you have served it on top of the mashed potatoes for your "little princess" to collect all the juices.

Foodycat said...

Beautiful stew! I seem to be going grey quite quickly at the moment, and all sorts of things that I thought were quite recent were 15 or 20 years ago!

David T. Macknet said...

Sounds yummy (even to a vegetarian!). I think that, aside from the capsicum, you could be anywhere in the UK, or even somewhere in the middle of America, with this recipe. Strange, how foods migrate even faster than people.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I also love the versatility of stews. They're so comforting too especially when you serve them with mashed potato as you did :)

Tina said...

Thanks for sharing. you can also use beer or guinness instead of water. Makes the stew richer and more flavoursome, don't worry the alcohol would have been cooked out of it.


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