I don’t like January. What a miserable, dark dingy month!!
It requires a little help.
In the form of many outings, restaurant visits and good home cooked food. We’ve taken walks out into the country to get some fresh air and make the most of what little day light there is at this time of year. We’ve had a couple lunches and dinners out at some fantastic local places. We’ve been on a few double dates with friends. We’ve even had another visit to The Hand and Flowers in Marlow..very last minute, I just thought I’d take a look on their website to see when their next available table was, hoping that maybe we could go again for my birthday in July..but there it was, a table for lunch was free for a few days time so we had to take it. That sure perked up January!
January is in full swing.
With it has finally come some colder temperatures. We’ve been incredibly spoiled this winter and temperatures have barely dipped into single digits here in Derbyshire.
I say spoiled, however I’m sure those further north won’t agree. All this warm weather has dealt them months worth of rain and in turn flooding, driving them from their homes, when December should have offered temperatures low enough to bring snow instead. If only that had been the case.
Every year in the town centre an ice skating rink is erected. For the first time ever they were complaining that it was so warm that they were struggling to keep the rink cold enough and it was melting. Who would have ever thought we’d be spending Christmas day in 14 C temperatures?? Not in this country anyway!
It has been a busy few weeks since Christmas. And looks set to be an even busier year. We’ve had some fantastic news thrown our way over the Christmas period which has started off 2016 to the best possible of starts. I will share all in due course.
But first comes beef stew. The first snow for a year has finally fallen, which means…more stew!
The central heating has been cranked up and out comes more winter warming food.
I love slow cooked beef in a rich, flavoursome sauce. Easy as hell and tasty as ‘owt!
It doesn’t come much better than beef cooked in Guinness. Give this recipe a whirl and you’ll see for yourself.
1.5kg stewing steak
500g Chantenay carrots (Left whole)
500g baby onions (Peeled and left whole)
1 tsp sugar
500ml bottle Guinness
750ml beef stock
3 tbsp oil
sprig of thyme
3 tbsp flour
freshly ground salt & pepper
1. Chop your beef into cubes. Heat a heavy bottomed oven proof casserole dish, add the butter and oil and then add the beef and brown all over. Do this in two batches.
2. Once browned, remove to a side plate. Add the onions to the pan, sprinkle over the sugar and cook for 2-3 minutes until just starting to colour and then remove and set aside. Then add the carrots and allow these a couple of minutes in the pan before adding everything back to the dish. Sprinkle over all the flour, give a good stir and cook for another minute.
3. Add the beef stock to the pan and give it all a good stir. Then add the bottle of Guinness, season with salt and pepper and add the thyme. Give it another stir.
5. Bring to the boil on the hob then transfer to an oven set to 140 C (285 F) and leave to cook for about 4 hours. Check on it every hour and give it a stir.
Pair it with mashed swede and potato. Lush!