I don't want to jinx anything but I think I can see spring peeping its head up over the horizon! Anyone else see it?
I wake up in the mornings and it is that little bit brighter, it is still light when I leave work in the evening. The air has that freshness to it that heralds the start of a new season. I love this time of year, everything starts to change and the dreariness of winter is almost behind us.
I am struggling with food though, it is still cold so I want something hearty and warm, but I've had enough of all the heavy stodgy food of winter. It is always this time of year when I try to start eating a little healthier, a little lighter, I want to come out of hibernation and feel as fresh as the spring air.
As I have said before, I am not much of a savoury cook, my repertoire is limited at best and my specialty is definitely stodgy home cooking. I feel like it has been winter for so long that I have forgotten how to cook anything other than meat, potatoes, yorkshires, pastry...
So as of next week I shall try my utmost to start cooking lighter, springy-er and hopefully healthier meals, if you have any suggestions feel free to comment below. I could really use the help!
Now onto this Sunday's meal;
Slow Cooked Beef Stew.
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390g pack of Diced Beef
1 Pint of beef stock
3-4 carrots roughly chopped
1 medium sweet potato
diced turnip (I buy pre-diced)
1 leek finely chopped
1 tablespoon plain flour
2 tablespoons corn flour
Any herbs or spices you would like to add
salt and pepper
This is a bit of an anything goes recipe, the ingredients above are simply our preferences, you can pretty much add any veggies that you have lying around!
I start off by frying the beef gently for a couple of minutes in a tablespoon of plain flour, just to seal the outside, but not cook it all the way through. You can skip this step but I have found if slow cooking sealing the meat first stops it from just disintegrating in the stew.
I then chop all my vegetables roughly, I like a lumpy rustic style stew with big lumps of root vegetables in, but you just chop how you prefer it.
I throw all of the meat, veggies into my slow cooker.
I then make up 1 pint of beef stock using a couple of stock cubes. and pour it into the slow cooker. I then top up with water until the ingredients are fully covered.
I then turn my slow cooker onto low and go about my day.
As I am normally at work the stew cooks for around 9 hours on low, when I get home I give it a good stir and then start to add seasoning. A pinch of salt, some black pepper, maybe even some paprika! Anything goes.
Once it is seasoned I then mix my cornflour with cold water and mix into a paste, then add it to the stew and stir. The stew should thicken pretty quickly. you can add more of less flour mixture depending on how thick you would like it.
Sometimes if I am feeling a bit lazy I add a few tablespoons of beef gravy granules too, this adds a richness and beefyness which the boyfriend loves!
I serve with crusty bread. The ultimate comfort meal and so easy! As an added bonus it also makes your house smell amazing! I love coming home to the smell of freshly cooked stew bubbling away.
So, how does your cooking change in spring? Do you opt for lighter meals?