Beef and Guinness Irish Stew

Every picture tells a story (or so they say). Well if that’s so, this picture tells a story of Ireland …

ingredients

… and brown paper bags

collage

… in the beautiful Ring of Kerry

map

… and of succulent tenderness …

beef

… with homegrown beauties …

broad-beans

… and Irish family brewers

mcgargles

… and a hot pan of steaming Irish stew.

stew-in-pan

Beef and Guinness Irish Stew

1 kg/2 lb rump or shin beef, cubed
50 g/2 oz plain flour, seasoned
sunflower oil
2 medium onions, thickly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
300 ml/ 1/2 pint beef stock
600 ml/ 1 pint Guinness

Roll the cubes of beef in the flour to lightly coat them, then brown them quickly in hot oil in a frying pan to seal them. Transfer to a large saucepan.

Soften the onions and garlic in the meat residue left in the frying pan, then add to the beef.

Add the potatoes, carrots, thyme, bay leaf and beef stock to the saucepan.

Deglaze the frying pan with the Guinness and add to the stew.

Bring the stew to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Lift the lumpy things out of the pan with a slotted spoon, then reduce the gravy to half the original volume over a high heat.

Pour the gravy over the meat and veg and serve.

(the broad beans came with us to Ireland from our garden in Devon … we had a glut before leaving and didn’t want to waste them …!)

 

Calling Young Chefs for CiTV Cooking Show!

munchboxtitle

It only takes a quick glance through the archives to realise that A Merrier World has grown up over the last seven years alongside my three young (and now not so young) children.

(Seven years?? I mean, really? 7?? Wow! How did that happen?)

Sorry … picking myself up from the floor again …

L (now nearly 12 years old), M (now 9 years old) and T (now 7 years old) have featured in, inspired and even written many posts during that time. Just a few examples ……

Way back in October 2007, I made Gingersnaps after taking “my younger daughter (M) and baby son (T) to a local toddler group.”

Two years later in 2009, M baked Smarties Cookies after drooling over some in a bakery window while we were out shopping.

Fast forward another couple of years to 2011 and L wrote a guest blog about her Mum’s Random Bread Recipe as part of a homework assignment she was set for the weekend.

When M was set a cross curricular challenge at school a year ago in July 2013, she also wrote a guest blog to present her Sweet Salad Trifle invention.

And earlier this year in February 2014, T revealed the secret of making the best chocolate brownies in the world in the Singing Baker Brownies.

One of my own most fondly remembered cooking sessions with my ‘kids in the kitchen’ was in September 2009 (five whole years ago!!! … sorry, I’m still in shock over the timescale) when we made Look and Cook Vegetable Soup

Last month on her seventh birthday, L read proudly to us all from her new, special Aunty-Lucy present – Look and Cook, a gloriously vintage cookbook for children by Tina Davis. Not only does this superbly illustrated book provide recipes for such evocative things as popcorn balls and forgotten cookies, L was also captivated by the various sections that name each different kitchen utensil, discuss safety in the kitchen and describe how to measure, chop, dice, boil, steam and sauté with skill.

“Now I can cook dinner for all of us,” L announced, feeling sophisticated and grown-up.

She took her job very seriously. In her role as Mummy, she knew that cakes and cookies, however tempting, were not what she should be serving to her children as their main source of nourishment. I watched as she slowly thumbed her way from the delicious puddings and sweet treats at the end of the book, through the pasta and rice of the middle sections, towards the vegetables and main dishes in the opening chapters.

Then her eyes lit up as she spotted a recipe for vegetable soup.

So … are you getting the idea that I think it’s important to involve children as much as possible in kitchen adventures? Not only is it enjoyable, educational, etc for them … but also … I mean … who wouldn’t want to be friends with someone who can bake the most sinfully sinful chocolate cake? Give your children some cooking skills and you’re setting them up for life (and a great social network at University).

crackingeggs

I was therefore very interested when I received an email yesterday about the CiTV cooking show for children, The Munch Box, and I’m more than happy to pass on the call for young chefs to my readers …

Hi there,

I wondered if you might be able to help me in my quest to find children to take part in the next series of the hugely popular Saturday morning cooking show, ‘The Munch Box’ which is going to be filming in London during the Autumn. The show features a mix of cookery challenges alongside fun food-related games and the chance for the children to learn from a celebrity chef.

I’m looking for children aged 9-12 who love cooking, can do it on their own, and who have the confidence to come into a TV studio with two friends (who can help them out) to cook their favourite food in front of the cameras. In addition, I’d also like to speak to children of that age-range who are very vocal and have a great love of food to potentially be our ‘Masterchef’-style judges, telling the chefs what they think of their cooking! In both cases, we’re not looking for children who can sing, dance and have a background in TV performance, just children who can speak confidently and are able to cook or talk about amazing food.

As well as being fun, the children who took part in the filming last year benefitted hugely from the experience. Not only did it encourage their love of cooking, but one child became determined to improve his reading because he wanted to learn how to read complicated recipes. It really is a great experience for them so any help you can provide is hugely appreciated.

Many thanks, look forward to hearing from you soon.

I say, “Go for it!”

If you are aged 9-12 and are interested, ask a parent/guardian to send an email by Saturday 9th August to:

themunchbox@cactustv.co.uk

munchbox1
munchbox2

Choc Chip Cookie Brownie Cake

Five years ago today, I wrote about rainbows and unicorns. That was when M was four years old, and the Rainbow Cake that I made for her birthday soon became one of my most visited posts on A Merrier World. Now, little M has just turned nine and the rainbows and unicorns have grown up into cookies and brownies.

vslice

And M herself is not so little now, either. Her ‘good toes and naughty toes’ have transformed into Junior Associate feet of The Royal Ballet School

balletchillout

But there is still plenty of time for dreams …

inthewings

… and choc chip cookie brownie cake.

cutslice

side

top

Choc Chip Cookie Brownie Cake

Cookie base
8 oz butter
5 1/2 oz golden castor sugar
6 oz light muscovado sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
13 oz strong white flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
12 oz choc chips

Brownie top
5 oz butter
9 oz castor sugar
3 oz cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Grease and baseline a circular 9″ springform pan.

To make the cookie base, cream the butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and eggs gradually, beating to incorporate. Mix together the dry ingredients then stir into the dough. Stir in the choc chips.

Press the cookie dough into the base of the prepared pan (I filled it to about 1/3 full and used the leftover dough to make a giant cookie, about the size of my hand …)

Put the pan in the fridge while you prepare the brownie batter.

To make the brownie topping, melt the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. It will look like it’s never going to come together, but it does …

Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla.

Fold in the flour, then give the batter a good stir for about 5 seconds to strengthen it a little (there isn’t much flour in the recipe, so it’s okay to develop a bit of gluten to give the brownie some structure).

Remove the springform pan from the fridge and pour the brownie batter on top of the cookie dough. Level the top.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then loosen the sides and remove the springform ring.

Cool completely (I left the cake on the base of the pan because I didn’t want to risk losing the whole thing if it collapsed while I tried to unstick it … nobody seemed to mind and it made it easier to carry to M’s ballet class!).

Melt some white chocolate and use a fork to drizzle over the top in a pretty pattern.

Doctor Who Cupcakes

tops

Angel Bob: Doctor? Excuse me, hello, Doctor? Angel Bob here, sir.
The Doctor: Ah, there you are, Angel Bob. How’s life? Sorry, bad subject.

tardis

Angel Bob: The Angels are wondering what you hope to achieve.
The Doctor: Achieve? We’re not achieving anything. We’re just hanging, it’s nice in here: consoles; comfy chairs; a forest… how’s things with you?

montage

Angel Bob: The Angels are feasting, sir. Soon we will be able to absorb enough power to consume this vessel, this world, and all the stars and worlds beyond.
The Doctor: Yeah, but we’ve got comfy chairs. Did I mention?

daleks

Angel Bob: We have no need for comfy chairs.
The Doctor: [amused] I made him say ‘comfy chairs’.

doctor

recipe

Singing Baker Brownies

I know the secret to making the best brownies in the world.

teapot

Yes, you have to do all the usual stuff like preparing the pan and weighing the ingredients …

firststeps

… and using those fiddly little teaspoons …

teaspoons

… and cracking the eggs …

crackingeggs

… and stirring.

stirring

But should I tell you the secret?

Okay. But only if you promise not to tell anyone.

Here’s the secret …

The secret is …

You did promise not to tell, right?

Okay, here goes.

The secret is …

… finding the right song!

Which is how he made the best brownies in the world.

bestbrownies

Singing Baker Brownies

5 oz butter
9 oz castor sugar
3 oz cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 oz plain flour

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C.

Grease and line the base of an 8″ square pan with baking parchment.

Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt together in a bowl over a pan of hot water. It will look like it’s never going to come together, but it does … if you know the right song ;-)

Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla.

Fold in the flour, then give the batter a good stir for about 5 seconds to strengthen it a little (there isn’t much flour in the recipe, so it’s okay to develop a bit of gluten to give the brownies some structure).

Scrape into the prepared pan and level the top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until it’s still a bit gooey (but not sloppy).

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack. Cut into squares.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 250 other followers