It is wet, It is cold, It is damp and it is MISERABLE! No I'm not talking about our government. I am of course referring to the wonderful weather we are experiencing!
I don't know about you but it makes me want to eat all those things that bring back memories of comfort and being soothed when times are hard.
Of course I am on my calorie controlled diet so however much I would like to sit down with oodles of rice pudding and crisps and chocolate and spud and butter and... and
You know the routine!
BUT that doesn't mean I can't cook something wholesome, filling and weather resistant!
The Co-operative Electrical are running a rather lovely competition to get us cooking those recipes that give a glow inside and make us feel all 'homely' so I just had to have a go! You can win an amazing £750 to spend with them in their electrical shop and there is even a £250 second prize!
I started to think about what meals I have loved in my life and only one really stands out and it would have to be my Mum's Beef Stew in a Woolly Jumper! Now that doesn't mean you have to wear a jumper to eat it, no; it is a stew that is then baked with a lower fat lighter alternative to dumplings - crust on the top.
I started to think about Mum and her wonderful cookery - she was a very old fashioned country cook. Born into a time of austerity and using everything you have.
1939 she was evacuated down from East London and lived with a couple that brought her up for the rest of her life. A very Darling Buds of May existence ensued and it really was a case of lashings and lashings of ginger Beer and rice pudding.
'Nan' as my Mum referred to her adoptive Mum, baked in ENORMOUS quantities - from cook books I have of hers it is 2LBS of Butter 12 eggs etc etc half a lorry load of flour! Her recipes were incredible.
Mum had Nan's habits and made huge meals, Sunday roasts were always a mountain and scones and sponges poured out of her kitchen. Summer always made room for the amount of Jam and raw tomato chutney that filled every surface!
Mum's Stew is just bliss, I didn't eat meat for a long time and so she made a vege version and it was as good! I am so glad I found out how she got the flavour before she died as her other recipes have unfortunately, now gone with her. She cooked from memory and hardly ever wrote down methods or amounts.
I do however still have her cookery bible as you can see very well used!
So on to food....
A good pan that you can SCRUB (reasons why in a sec!)
over preheat to 150c Fan assisted or 170c conventional oven
Gas mark 3.5
500g Lean Stewing Steak / Slow Cook Beef
400g old potatoes
22g plain flour (for tossing beef)
Woolly Jumper Topping
170 ml 1% fat milk
225g plain flour
10g baking powder
Cheese if required (150g)
black / white pepper
Cut the beef into bite size chunks and remove any visible fat/tendons
peel and chop the potatoes
Toss the beef into the seasoned flour
Spray fry light into the frying pan (judge amount I used about 5-10) heat the pan and brown the beef off. Set aside.
In your saucepan add the very well rinsed potatoes (to remove as much starch as possible) and half fill the pan with cold water.
Bring to boil add the browned beef and rest of chopped veg cover bring back to boil and simmer for one hour only stirring once or twice.
The stew MUST burn on the bottom of the pan!
Add your gravy granules or stock stir well and pour the stew into the casserole dish and set aside.
In the mixing bowl add the 225g flour, baking powder, seasoning and cheese if desired (leave a little cheese for top if you decide to use it) mix in the milk until you get a runny sticky dough.
pour or spoon the dough on to the top of the stew, even out and then pop in the preheated oven for about 20 - 30 mins or until top is golden brown. It will not rise.
Serve with your favourite veg! Enjoy!
This comes in at 239.5 cals a portion and only 3g fat - this serves 8!
Of course if you are not worried about calorific content then serve a huge portion in a bowl with crusty buttered bread!!
I would freeze the stew and make the topping as and when required - using the above amounts as a guide depending on the amounts.
What are your favourite winter meals? How do you warm yourself up? Do you stay healthy or do you think what the heck and pack it full of calories?!
Have a go at the competition yourself, you can find out all the rules of entry here.