Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Patty cake, patty cake . . .

This afternoon Mr Seb woke up from his nap early. Not good. But it gave us time to do some baking together. Good!

We made this recipe for the Canadian classic, banana chocolate chip muffins (a double batch with an extra splash of milk at the mixing stage because my spidey sense told me the batter was a bit thick.) As a longtime fan of My Daddy Cooks and pretty much everything related to Baby Led Weaning, I am delighted that Seb is now old enough to stand in his Fun Pod and cook with me! This afternoon he was really enjoying pouring in all the ingredients and stirring them together . . . AND as a bonus we didn't end up with a bag of flour dumped all over the floor! (I am thinking this is a very real possibility when baking with a toddler.) After a while admittedly my apprentice's attention wandered and he just began eating the chocolate stars I had measured out for the muffins but we got there in the end. And the muffins tasted good too!

Come to think of it, I am a fan of bananas when it comes to baking. There's banana chocolate chip bread, banana pudding and banana pancakes a la Rachel Allen and let's not forget my bro-in-law Matt's best banana cake ever (not an overstatement!) So yes, a bit of a recurring theme?? Anyhow, bananas or otherwise I am determined to do more baking this year and have even contemplated trying to bake my way through The Great British Book of Baking (kindof in the fashion of Julie and Julia) but so far I haven't really moved beyond leafing through the cookbook at bedtime . . .

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Beef Stew and Other Stories

Howdy peeps! It has been (gasp!) well over a year since I last posted and longer still since I was a true regular here at Always Paddle. Now that the dust has settled after having a baby (ahem, almost two years ago!) and Mr Seb (pictured above) is well and truly a toddler I feel like I am regaining time and space in my life for other bits and pieces. Important things . . . link t'internet! Truth be told, I have been thinking about returning to blogging for a good while but ideas for a re-design etc that I am going to get to sometime have kept me from posting and in the end I have done nada. So nevermind all that, the new plan over the coming weeks is to just start sharing some odds and ends, from our world to yours.

And tonight I bring you . . . beef stew! I made a big pot yesterday afternoon with Woman's Hour and a cup of tea as my cooking companions. The freezer is topped up (this brings me immeasurable joy) and we had some tonight with mashed potatoes and peas for dinner. It was a great winter warmer for a Sunday night in January. This recipe is from Stuart's Auntie Helen from Fermanagh who is a very talented cook and a lovely lady too.

Auntie Helen's Beef Stew
1 1/2 lb stewing steak
4 tbsp flour
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 large onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
4 carrots, sliced
handful of button mushrooms
about 250 ml beef stock (I used Marigold veggie boullion)
about 250 ml red wine (more or less depending on how you like it)
a good squeeze of tomato puree
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard

Toss the beef in flour and some salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed pot and brown beef. Remove beef from pot and set aside. Heat a bit more oil and saute onions and garlic over medium heat. Add carrots and saute for a few more minutes. Repeat with button mushrooms. Tip in beef and stir together. Add stock, wine and remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a bubble and then turn heat down low and simmer slowly for as long as possible . . . All measurements are very approximate! With the latest pot I used sundried tomato puree and grainy mustard because they were what we had and it was vay nice indeed.