It was a dark and stormy day. The thunder could be heard rumbling in the background. The lightening forked through the sky with a burst of white light against the grey canvass of the clouds. That was Wednesday.
Wednesday was the last day of school and school ended at 9:30. Being the fortunate mom that I am, I was able to pick up my son and come home. Although I did contemplate the thought of why should I bother as it was a day to turn over and go back to sleep cuddling up with my cat, Fin (a VERY important member of our family. He is one year old). Does he look worried as if he has places to be?
I had to go to school. My friend was at work and asked me if I could take her son home too. So I had no choice. I thought I would invite her to supper as well. I felt sorry for her having to go to work and make such an effort on a day like today. Yes. She said. She would bring a gorgeous bottle of red wine. That was motivation enough for me. I began to plan what I was going to make.
I decided on a specialty of mine which is truly a comfort food to go along with the weather and not a lot of effort. I may not have had to go in to work but I did have a lot of work to do. I can be grateful that I am mobile. This recipe is made in the slow cooker and is thrown together and left to cook. Perfect! I often use my slow cooker when I need to make meals but don’t have the time to slave over the stove. If I ever need any ideas on what to cook in the slow cooker I go to my tried and trusted recipe lion website for ideas. Check it out under the slow cooker menu. There is a website dedicated solely to slow cooker recipes too. So if you have something you want to cook but don’t have a slow cooker recipe for it, go to the All Free Slow Cooker Recipes website, search for the food you want to cook and there you have your recipe!
Author: Debbie Widdows
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 7 hours
INGREDIENTS FOR THE STEW
500 g tenderised steak cut into chunks. Any kind of beef will work as long as it’s chunky. I’ve used chuck steak before. If you can afford it, you could use rump.
3 medium sized potatoes. I like potatoes! You can use less, or none, but it is better with potatoes.
4 large carrots chopped into equal pieces. Wash them but leave the skin on. The skin contains all of the vitamins. This stew is better with the carrots in. If I have left them out I have been sorry.
1 x 410 g tin tomato and onion mix.
1 x 50 g packet of tomato paste.
1 x cup chicken stock. I use the stock blocks melted in hot water.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE GRAVY
1 x teaspoon brown onion soup mix from a packet of soup. Not the instant soup. I always keep a packet of that around and add a teaspoon to my gravy mixtures. It makes the best tasting gravy. Tomorrow I will tell you about making the perfect gravy when I make a Sunday roast for Easter Sunday.
2 x teaspoons bisto gravy mix for meat
2 x heaped teaspoons cornstarch
Keep aside until later.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE SCONE TOPPING
This is a bona fide recipe for scones, adapted by me of course, through years of experience and tweaking. You can use this recipe to make regular scones too. After the Easter weekend I will make this same recipe for you as regular scones with jam and cream.
All of my recipes on this site have been adapted for gluten-free eating so the flour I use is gluten-free flour but you can use your regular self raising flour. It has been made both ways and both ways are successful.
150 g gluten-free all purpose flour.
3 Teaspoons baking powder. This is the recipe to make your own gluten-free baking powder.
1 x 2,5 ml teaspoon salt. A little pepper. I always use black pepper, whether ground or cracked, as I prefer it.
25 g margarine
1 egg beaten
50 ml milk. Mix the egg and milk together.
FOR THE STEW
Put all of the ingredients into your slow cooker crock pot, keeping aside your gravy mix. I use a pretty standard size crock pot (about 1 litre).
With the tomato paste, tomato and onion mix and chicken stock it should look like this.
Set the slow cooker to high and leave for the next 7 hours.
When it is done and the liquid is bubbling away you need to make the gravy.
Turn on your oven now to 220C.
FOR THE GRAVY
Place your gravy mix in a cup and mix to a thick paste with some water.
Pour into the crock pot and give it a stir.
Transfer everything into an oven proof dish.
FOR THE SCONE TOPPING
Rub the margarine into the flour.
Mix to a soft dough with the egg and milk mixture a little at a time. You may use less, which is fine, but do this according to the texture of the dough. It must not be wet. Do not handle the dough too much.
Pat out on a floured surface in a round (or an oval as I can’t make freehand shapes) about 1 cm thick.
Place on top of stew in the oven proof dish. Yes, it should cover the entire dish but I’m not perfect, life is not perfect, not every dish you cook is perfect and it didn’t quite cover everything. That did not detract from the taste of the dish though. So keep cracking on!!
Place in the pre-heated oven (180⁰C) and cook for 15-20 minutes. You can open the over door after 10 minutes just to check that it is not burning on the top. After 15 minutes, if it looks ready to me, I stick in a knife to test that it comes out clean. Use a butter knife and not a toothpick as you want it to go through the whole pastry topping. I have made this dish before where the topping is too gooey and you don’t want that. If it is not quite dry then place back into the oven and keep checking it, but keep your eye on it.
By now Lorna was on her way. She was late. I was glad, as I was not quite ready. She had forgotten the wine and went all the way back home to fetch it. Wow what an effort! Thanks Lorna, it was a great bottle of wine and I’m glad we had it.
All in all it was a very successful day though as I had got all my work done. Cooked this meal, fed the boys (more than once!), washed the dishes and freshened up. Now you know why this is a successful meal! It has the least effort but is very comforting, warming and oh so delicious.
With everything that is going on when you are dishing up I forgot to take a picture as the dish came out of the oven. I had two boys hanging over my shoulder nagging me to dish it up as they were hungry. It was only 6:30! Anyway, I dished it up for them and sent them off to eat whilst Lorna and I had a glass of that wine before we ate and caught up. Then I remembered to take a picture of the food!
The sweetness of the pastry with the saltiness of the stew is heavenly. It is very filling and goes far; So a good idea if you have hungry boys around.
I made some mixed vegetables and rice to go with it and a little extra gravy as I LOVE my gravy. Recipe for gravy to follow tomorrow!
This is us! I’m on the left. Lorna is on the right. She is a runner and has always been athletic. Three of my girlfriends are all runners. I will introduce you to all of them. My son is behind me and Lorna’s son is next to him. We had a wonderful evening. I don’t like myself in photos as I’m a bit….let me see the right word to use here….curvy? Ahem…it’s all this good food.
Putting the negative comments about myself aside. As I said in my bio, I learnt recently that I am allergic to gluten. I had a roller coaster of a year last year and 2017 has been full of changes – good ones. The next change is to eat better and lose weight. I invite you to come along with me on this journey. I have already taken the first steps and my kind friend, another one, bought me a voucher for boot camp! Phew. I hope I can cope with that, it starts on 2nd May. I am also going to be following a diet from some very enterprising people who have dedicated their whole company to proving people with healthy food. They have custom made packages for you to chose from and they will even deliver the food to you. I will be keeping you updated.