Thursday, 10 November 2011

Casseroles and Costume Dramas

Now is the winter of our casseroles and costume dramas (I’m sorry)

But truly, this is the season for which casseroles and costume dramas were created, it would be rude to ignore them! So get a casserole in the oven, find a cat/lover to curl up with and choose your costume drama.

For grey days and dark cold nights I recommend Jane Eyre, Bleak House or Little Dorrit. All three of these adaptations have a beautiful aesthetic which echoes this time of year in their use of light and colour. I know they are all very long (the whole of Jane Eyre is nearly 4 hours  and both Little Dorrit and Bleak House are over 7 ½ hours long) but this is a good thing because it means you can do it all again next week and the week after! 

I’ll leave the companion catching up to you, but don’t try to get anyone grumpy or whiney watch with you because it will kill your costume drama buzz. Definitely banish Costume Drama-hating boyfriends while you indulge your love.

For the casserole I recommend Beef in Beer, or, if you are veggie or vegan, the gluttonous vegan’s Beany Stew.

My recipe for Beef in Beer

This is far too yummy for something so easy! Get the casserole ready nice and early and by the time it’s ready the smell will have you drooling. It takes a fair bit of time so you need to get it started nice and early but then you can forget about it for a couple of hours. These quantities will feed three to four people (depending on how greedy they are) but you could easily scale up or down. (I made this last night and I should have taken a picture, but I was far too hungry and had no idea I would write this post!)

You will need:

-  800g braising steak, cut into chunks.
-  ¾ pint ale
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks
- 6-8 shallots (roughtly 2 per person), peeled
- 1 tbsp flour
- Salt & pepper
- Couple of pinches of Thyme
- 1 large clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp oil

What to do with it:

1) Preheat the oven to 140°c and heat the oil in a large casserole dish.
2) Brown the meat in batches, transferring the beef to a plate as it is browned.
3) Brown and soften the shallots in the casserole dish and then return the meat, along with any meat juices, to the dish.
4) Stir in the flour so that it soaks up the flavours and juices from the meat and onions.
5) Pour in the ale. Slowly bring the whole thing to simmer, adding the salt and pepper, thyme, garlic, bay leaf and carrots.
6) Once all the ingredients have been added and the casserole has been gently simmering, put the lid on the dish and transfer it to the middle shelf in the oven. You can add a sheet of tin foil under the lid to make sure no steam will escape.  Leave for 2 ½ hours.
7) Serve with brown rice, baked potatoes or mash. I think really creamy mash goes especially well with the flavours of the beer.

Nom nom nom.  

1 comment:

  1. Ah, how banished I would have been from your TV watching yesterday if we still lived together... hehe