Simple Beef Casserole

Simple Beef Casserole

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

If you’ve never made a casserole before, this is the place to start.  This one couldn’t be simpler, as most of the cooking takes place slowly in the oven.  It has a lovely flavour and plenty of juice – don’t leave out the orange zest as it really lifts the flavour of the meat.

Serves:  6-8      Prep time: 35 mins      Cook time:  3 hours    Cals per serving: 619    Fat: 28g

Ingredients:  2 tblsp olive oil; 4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped; 6 small brown onions or shallots, peeled and quartered; 2 cloves garlic, crushed; 3 carrots, sliced; 1 ½ kg (3 lb) chuck steak or braising / stewing beef, cut into 3 cm (1 ¼ in) cubes; 2 tblsp plain flour; 500ml (16fl oz) beef stock; 250ml (8 fl oz) red wine; grated zest of ½ an orange; 4 sprigs thyme; 2 bay leaves; 2 tblsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Step One: Heat the oven to 160oC (gas mark 2-3).  Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and cook the bacon for 2 minutes.  Add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion is tender.  Transfer to the casserole dish.  Add the beef to the casserole dish and sprinkle with the flour.  Mix well.

Step Two: Stir the stock, wine, orange zest, thyme and bay leaves into the casserole and bring to the boil over the medium heat.  Cover, transfer to the oven and cook for 3 hours. Stir the meat occasionally as it cooks.

Step Three: Remove from the oven.  Stir in the parsley and season to taste. Serve with mashed potatoes or buttered noodles and plenty of crusty bread.

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Banana Bread

This recipe courtesy of Easy Living Magazine

Banana BreadThis cake needs no more than a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon.  If you’re unable to find buttermilk, you can replace it with a combination of half yoghurt and half skimmed milk.  Day-old banana bread is delicious cut into slices and toasted.

Prep time : 15 mins  –  Cook time : 55-60 mins

Ingredients:  210g (7oz) plain flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda; ¼ tsp salt; 125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened (take out of fridge a few hours before you start); 250g (8oz) granulated sugar; 2 eggs, lightly beaten; 3 large, very ripe bananas; 120ml (3 ½ fl oz) buttermilk; icing sugar, to serve

  1. Heat the oven to 170oC (gas mark 3).  Grease a loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, butter, sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or hand-held electric beaters until just combined.  It’s important not to beat the batter to much – just long enough to make it smooth.
  3. Mash the bananas with a fork and add to the mixture bit by bit, alternating with the buttermilk, mixing until combined.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until the top of the bread is firm and deep brown colour.  A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.  Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  4. Serve dusted with icing sugar.  The flavour improved on keeping.  It will store for up to 3 days if covered with cling film.

Lobscouse

Lobscouse, or Scouse as it’s commonly known, was originally a sailor’s stew of meat, vegetables and hardtack – a hard, salt-less biscuit. These days, it’s usually a stew made from stewing beef or lamb and leftover vegetables.

Daisy-Anne Borge says of her version of Lobscouse “I used to make this dish when times were lean. But my family still enjoy the recipe as it is cheap, quick and easy – and very satisfying too.” You could also add a little extra flavour by beating in some freshly grated nutmeg, the juice of a lemon or even a little chilli or curry powder.

Serves 4

Ingredients: 1 1/2-2lb (675-900g) potatoes; 1 onion, diced; 5 fl oz (150ml) milk; 13oz (340g) tin corned beef, diced; any cooking vegetables, chopped; 1 oz (25g) butter; salt and black pepper

  •  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark 6. Boil potatoes until tender, then drain thoroughly and mash.
  • Boil onion in milk until soft, drain and add to the mash with corned beef, vegetables and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn the mixture into a buttered ovenproof dish and cook for 20-25 mins. Serve with fried eggs on top.

Beef & Beer Casserole

Serves 4

Ingredients: 1 lb (450g) lean stewing steak; 1 jar Marks & Spencer Beer and Onion Casserole Sauce; 1 dsp horseradish sauce

Preheat the oven to 150-180oC/300-350oF, gas mark 2-4. Place steak in a casserole dish. Add Sauce, cook in oven for 3-4 hours. Just before serving, stir in the horseradish sauce. Serve with unlimited potatoes and other vegetables.

Beef and Bean Stir-fry

To keep this dish crisp, be sure to cook over a constant high heat. It works just as well with veal or pork.

Serves : 4

Ingredients: 1 tblsp sunflower oil; 3 garlic cloves, sliced; 2 red chillies, sliced; ½ tsp finely chopped ginger; 14oz (400g) beef, cut into strips; 14oz (400g) green beans, cut into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces; juice of ½ lemon; 4 tblsp stock; ½ tsp sugar; salt and black pepper; freshly chopped basil, to garnish.

  • Heat oil in a wok or a large frying pan. Add garlic, chillies and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add beef, stir-fry for 1 minute. Add beans, stir-fry for 1 minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients, except basil, and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with basil and serve with Chinese noodles.

Beef and Bacon Olives with Lemon & Thyme

A Gary Rhodes recipe

This slowly braised beef, stuffed with bacon then served in its own sauce, is a real rich classic and a meal from one pot. The texture of the meat in this dish becomes really moist and tender, while the bacon and lemon flavours go together so well. I like to use rashers of back bacon (smoked or unsmoked) at least ¼ in (5mm) thick. This will give you plenty of meat content in the rolled olives. Incidentally, to avoid confusion, anything rolled up and secured with a cocktail stick is an “olive”.

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 4 x 4-6oz (100g – 175g) slices beef topside or rump; 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme; finely grated zest of 1-2 lemons; 4 x ¼ in thick (5mm) rashers back bacon; oil; 1 ½ – 2 pints (900ml – 1.2 litres) beef or chicken stock; 1 garlic clove; 1 small thyme sprig; 2-3 carrots; 2 onions; 1 large swede; 3 celery sticks; 2-3 large potatoes; 1 leek; 2oz (50g) butter

  • Place the beef slices between 2 sheets of cling-film and flatten with a rolling pin, to give escalopes ¼ in (5mm) thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix together the chopped thyme and grated lemon zest and sprinkle over each beef escalope. Then lay a rasher of bacon on top of each escalope and roll up to make an olive. Secure each with two cocktail sticks and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan, add the olives and brown evenly. Then remove them from the frying pan and place in a saucepan with the stock. Add the garlic and thyme sprig. Then bring the stock to the simmer and cook for 1 – 1 ½ hours, skimming any impurities from the surface of the stock.
  • Prepare all the vegetables and chop them into ¾ in (2cm) dice. Then add them – except the leek – to the stock for the last 20-25 minutes of cooking time. Add the leek to the pan for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
  • Strain 10fl oz (300ml) stock into a saucepan, boil to reduce by half. Whisk in butter. To serve, remove thyme sprig and garlic, spoon veg into centre of plates or bowls. Sit olives on top, remove cocktail sticks, spoon the sauce over.

For braising the beef olives:

A Gary Rhodes recipe book:

Banana Corned Beef Hash

Serves: 4

Ingredients: 1 tblsp sunflower oil; 1 onion, peeled and chopped; 225g corned beef; 3 tomatoes, quartered; 2 bananas, cut into chunks; 1 large potato, cooked and mashed

  • Heat oil in a frying pan and fry onion until soft. Cut corned beef into cubes and add to the pan with tomatoes, banana and potato. Cook for about 10 mins. Serve with a green salad.