This recipe originated from the BBC Good Food 101 Slow cooker favourites but I didn’t have any sloe gin and my neighbour kindly offered me some Damson Gin. I’ve never seen a Sloe berry or Damson, but according to Google ‘Damsons are about twice the size of sloes and usually sweet enough to eat, like a plum, sloes are very sour and dry and if you eat them the inside of your mouth will shrivel up and fall out.’
2 bottles of red wine
2 large cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
4 strips lemon zest, use a potato peeler
6 tbsp caster sugar
200 ml of Damson Gin (could easily substitute slow gin)
Pour all the ingredients in the slow cooker, mix and cook on High for 2 hours or 4 hours on Low. Perfect for this time of year.
It’s taken me ages to work out a recipe for Beef Stew. I like my stew thick and gloopy. This one was gorgeous and hubby gave it an A ++. I put it on a bit late so cooked it at high throughout but sure you could adjust the timings and cook it on low for 8-10 hours, just remember to put the leeks, carrots and dumplings 90 minutes before it finishes and turn to high.
Beef Stew with Dumplings, Red Wine and Leeks
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Slow Cooking
Author: Mediocre Mum
2 TBSP of oil (whatever you have at hand)
500 g of stewing beef
Salt and pepper
1 large onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves
2 TBSP of flour
300ml of red wine
300 ml of vegetable stock (would have used beef stock if I had any)
I TBSP of tomato puree
2 bay leaves
150 g of baby carrots trimmed, cut large ones in half
1 large leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
If you’re so inclined you could make your own but I cheat and use Aunt Bessie’s which you will find in the freezer aisle near the chips!
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper and brown on all sides (approx 5 minutes). Add the onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for a minute or two. Sprinkle with the flour. Mix well for about a minute. Then gradually add the wine and stock. Simmer until it thickens. Then add the tomato puree and bay leaves.
Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high for 5 hours.
minutes before it is finishes add the carrots and leaks and stir and place the dumplings on top. After about 45 minutes turn the dumplings.
Being Canadian I am fairly resourceful, in spite of this I can’t wrestle a bear, start a fire by rubbing sticks together or read a compass, but I can get a cork out of a wine bottle without a corkscrew. I’m sure this doesn’t surprise any of you. So, if you ever find yourself in this situation try one of these.
1.) Don’t be such a snob in the first place and buy screw top wine and you won’t find yourself in this predicament.
2.) Remove the plastic bit that covers the cork, wrap the end of the bottle in a towel and bang it ‘gently’ against a tree, fence or something similar (avoid concrete for obvious reasons). It will gradually make its way out. When enough is protruding grab the cork with your fingers and gently twist and pull.
3.) Push the cork into the bottle. You can use just about any kitchen utensil. My favourites are butter knives or the handle of a wooden spoon. Be careful as some may spray out but this is better than no wine at all.
4.) If you’re a bit of a DIYer you can drive a screw into the top of it and use a pair of pliers to pull it out.