Friday, 26 February 2010

Rice Krispie Squares

Remember these? If you live in North America you’ll remember them from every buffet table and every school bake sale of the 1970’s and 80’s. They were a huge part of my childhood.

I have fond memories of making these with my Mom. I can remember painstaking counting out the “40 marshmallows” the recipe called for. My Mom always said, “Honey, you don’t have to count the marshmallows. There’s usually about 40 in a package – maybe a little more, maybe a little less, but it won’t matter.” I was okay with the more, but not with the less – so I kept counting!

I used to make them with my son when he was little. Then one time when we were making them, he slipped on the stool he was standing on to stir the marshmallows. I couldn’t grab him in time and he managed to catch his neck on the pan and burnt it as he fell. (Yes I know now that it was a dumb idea to have a five-year old standing on a stool to reach the stove, but at the time it seemed perfectly safe. The stool was especially for kids and I was standing right there.) Although it wasn’t a serious burn (I took him to the doctor to be sure) and it didn’t leave any mark, we never made Rice Krispie squares together again, despite his numerous requests that we do so. In fact, although he is scarred neither physically nor emotionally from the burn experience, it took me years to get over it. The first time we made Rice Krispie squares together again was about a month ago. My son is seventeen years old.

Anyway, since then I’ve been making up for lost time, and we’ve been having Rice Krispie squares quite regularly. You’d be amazed by how much people love them. Over here in England where I live now, not every one remembers them from their childhood, but they still love them! Marshmallows over here are somehow different in taste and texture, making them pretty much unsuitable for melting, and it used to be nigh on impossible to get North American style marshmallows. (I used to bring marshmallows back with me in my suitcase when I visited Canada.) Now you can get what I consider to be “proper” marshmallows fairly easily, at the big warehouse store Costco and from speciality importers of foods from Canada and the US like American Sweets in Aldershot and the Canada Shop in Covent Garden in London. Both have on-line stores too.

To make these sweet treats, I use the time-honoured recipe that Kellogg’s post on their North American website, with the addition of one extra ingredient. My best friend’s Mom used to make the most amazing Rice Krispie squares and she shared it with my Mom. Just add one to two tablespoons of corn syrup as you stir in the Rice Krispies. If you are familiar with Rice Krispie squares you will be amazed at the difference it makes to how they taste. Okay, okay, it’s yet more sugar in something that is already alarmingly sweet, but nobody ever said Rice Krispie squares were healthy. Kellogg’s may have tried to imply it, but seriously – 40 marshmallows and three tablespoons of butter definitely negates any health benefit of eating something made with rice cereal, no matter how nutritious that rice cereal might be to start with. A little corn syrup isn’t going to make that big a difference! If you live in the UK and can’t get corn syrup easily (the Canada Shop does stock it) you can always use Lyle’s Golden Syrup.

Anyway, I urge you to give these delicious squares a try, whether you have ever made or tasted them before or not. For me, they are a blast from the past but even if they are new to you I’m sure you will enjoy them. And seriously, next time your little one mentions those dreaded words “school bake sale” – these take about ten minutes to make and they definitely qualify as home-made. Just cut them up in small squares make little packages of three or four in food safe cellophane bags, tying them with a ribbon. I can tell you from experience, they disappear from bake sale tables almost before anything else, no matter what country you are in!

Rice Krispie Squares

3 tablespoons butter
40 marshmallows - American style, a brand such as Rocky Mountain, not European-style marshmallows like Haribo
(This is about 1 large package or half the very large package of Rocky Mountain brand. You can also use 1 large package of mini marshmallows.)
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 to 2 tablespoons corn syrup

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low to medium heat. Add the marshmallows, and melt into the butter, stirring almost constantly with a wooden spoon. Be careful the marshmallows don’t start to catch on the bottom of the pan.

When the marshmallows are melted, remove the pan from the heat. Quickly stir in the Rice Krispies and the corn syrup, making sure the cereal gets totally coated in the buttery, sticky marshmallows.

Now here’s the tricky bit. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch pan that is about 2 inches deep. Now, using two buttered knives (just run them along a block of butter to lightly coat them), firmly press the mixture into the pan until it looks like this.

Allow to cool at room temperature. Then cover with Saran Wrap or cling film and put in the fridge. They will keep for a couple of days in there, if they last that long!

Serve cut into small squares with a knife. Once they are cool, they are not so sticky so are pretty easy to serve. As I said, it’s hard to qualify these as a nutritious snack, but I comfort myself with the knowledge that as this recipe involves cereal, there must be some good in it! Perhaps it is nostalgia on my part, but for some reason, they taste particularly lovely with a glass of ice-cold milk.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Club Salad

I invented this recipe on a busy weeknight a couple years ago, and it has become a family favourite. Based on the flavours in the iconic Club Sandwich, it makes a delicious and satisfying meal. The best part is that in my experience, kids really like it too.

If you are watching your pennies (and who isn’t these days!) there is no reason why you could not wash and prepare your own salad leaves. I was just in a hurry the night I developed this recipe and as I had some bagged salad on hand, I used it instead.

This should serve 3 to 4 people.
1 very large bag of ready washed mixed salad
1 to 2 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed and drained
2 or 3 cooked chicken breasts, chopped in bite-size pieces
(the ones you buy ready-cooked from the grocery store are fine)
1 cup cubed pancetta or unsmoked bacon lardons
(or 5 to 6 slices of bacon, chopped)
Honey Mustard or Ranch dressing
Place the salad leaves in a large bowl.  Add the tomatoes and cooked chicken.  Fry the pancetta or bacon until done, and then add them to the salad while still they are still warm.  Dress the salad with the dressing, toss and divide between three to four large salad bowls. Garnish with croutons.  That is all there is to it!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Guglielmo Winery

You don't have to travel to the Napa Valley for the best of California wine. About 20 minutes south of San Jose and an hour south of San Francisco, there is lovely vineyard tucked away in the countryside - the Guglielmo Winery. Family owned and operated since 1925, this Morgan Hill based winery is now being run by third generation brothers, George E, Gene and Gary. It's a real family affair and each of the brothers specializes in a different area; in university one studied wine making, one marketing and one finance, making them the perfect family winery team.

Whether you enjoy white wine, red wine or Port, this is definitely the place to go for inventive flavours and a great day out. Tastings cost only $10 and include several reds and whites. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable, friendly and clearly love their work. The atmosphere was so convivial I felt more like I was in a friendly local pub or wine bar than in a winery. We met some really interesting people and learned a lot about some really delicious wines. There is also a wonderful gift shop with lots of interesting wine-related gifts and accessories.

Guglielmo Winery holds lots of special events including a quarterly "Cork Equity' event. The vintner blends the leftover wines from several different grapes into a delicious blend and offers it for sale at $5 per bottle. The only catch is you have to bottle and label it yourself. Based on the number of folks we saw having fun doing just that, this is really no hardship at all. Indeed it is such an enjoyable process that these 'Cork Equity' days have become incredibly busy - so much so that the vintner actually makes sure he has extra wine for leftovers and blending. I tasted this Cork Equity blend and I was blown away by its wonderful balance of flavours.

I can understand why Guglielmo's blends taste delicious - because the single grape varieties we tasted were also extremely good. I particularly enjoyed the Petite Syrah 2007 (which goes on sale in March) and by their Sangiovese. Their 'Tré' line of wines are excellent too - particularly the Chardonnay and the Merlot. We were also delighted by their delicious ports. Emile's Port is a lighter, fruitier wine which would be lovely with almonds or tapas and their Eredita Port -made with Portuguese grapes grown at the winery - is a more traditional full bodied dessert wine.

If you find yourself in the Santa Clara area, I highly recommend a visit to this beautiful winery. It's a great day out in some beautiful surroundings and if you are anything like me you will definitely want to bring some of their delicious wines home with you. I only wish I lived closer!

Our tasting at the Guglielmo Winery was complimentary however I was not asked to write this piece which contains my honest personal opinion.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Kara's Cupcakes

Just here behind Santana Row

there is a gorgeous little piazza surrounded by restaurants and cafés where you can find a magical shop.

It's very hard to choose from all the beautiful cupcakes on offer

but it is impossible to leave without at least one of these delicious little morsels.

I chose sweet vanilla coconut and one flavoured with Meyer lemon.

This branch of Kara's cupcakes is one of five in the Bay Area and is well worth a visit. But don't say I didn't warn you about how dangerously delicious they are!

(No promotional consideration was received for this post.)

Monday, 15 February 2010

A Taste of California

I always enjoy visiting the Bay Area and this time is no exception. We are based in the fashionable Santana Row in San Jose this time, and as well as some fantastic shopping we have been enjoying some wonderful food.

We arrived late on Sunday evening and of course the restaurants in Santana Row were pretty busy as it was Valentine's Day. Eventually my husband and I gave up trying to get a table anywhere and returned to the hotel we were staying at to try to get a snack in their popular Vbar. The friendly staff and convivial atmosphere were just what we needed after a stressful day's travelling, and we were delighted with the bar snacks that were available. Although billed as appetizers, the servings were incredibly generous and the dishes on offer were original and inventive. My husbands turkey club sandwich had the delightful addition of avocado and my beef quesadillas were spicy comfort food at its best. We also shared some delicious potato skins dressed with sharp cheese and crisp bacon. They also had a huge menu of drinks and cocktails, and although we chose to just have the more staid beer (for my husband) and wine (for me), we are looking forward to returning with a more adventurous spirit later in the week!

Yesterday we headed out to Los Gatos, and re-visited an old favourite, Steamers Grillhouse. Located just behind the quaint main street, Steamers is a wonderful place for seafood. Last time we were there we had the most wonderful three course evening meal, but we had an equally delightfulexperience at lunch yesterday. The service is friendly, efficient and discreet, and the food is fresh and creatively prepared. My husband's fillet of sole with lemon butter was beautifully flavoured and served with a side of homemade coleslaw.

I had a Shrimp Louis salad that was loaded with shrimp and had a traditional Louis dressing that was one of the nicest I have ever tasted. (Shrimp Louis salads and I go a long way back!)

Los Gatos is a great place to wander around on a sunny afternoon or balmy evening, and there are no shortages of cafés, bars and restaurants to enjoy. When we began to feel a bit tired later on, we stopped in at Great Bear Coffee for some delicious coffee. It's a great place to relax and there is free internet access ( you can charge your computer too!). The interesting art on the walls is for sale, and people seemed relaxed and comfortable chatting, reading, or in one case, playing Monopoly!

We were planning to meet up with friends back at Santana Row for dinner and as they were bringing their little girl we thought somewhere fun and casual would be the best bet. We were not disappointed by our old favourite The Cheesecake Factory at Valley Fair Mall, just across from Santana Row. As always the service was fantastic, the food delicious, the servings generous and the cheesecake something you definitely need to share! I just love their Luau Salad.

Made with giant fried wontons, chicken, fresh greens, peppers, carrots, macadamia nuts and sesame seeds, this salad is definitely not the low-cal choice, but wow is it ever delicious! My husband had one of their specials - a Salisbury steak, mashed potato and green bean comfort combo that went down a treat. Our friend had a fantastic cheeseburger which she really enjoyed and her daughter had a great choice of food on their kid's menu. The cute little sundae they brought her at the end was fantastic.

I'm looking forward to enjoying more of the great food and hospitality this area has to offer over the next week or so, so if you will excuse me, I am just off to the hotel gym!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Is This Cheating?

Doesn't look like it to me...

except aren't those dumplings uniform and beautifully formed?

That's because I - shhh - cheated a bit. You see, I may be one of the only people in the world who doesn't like dumplings. This makes it very difficult to know if the ones I make from scratch are any good. I mean, I'm happy to take my very willing taste testers' word for how good things taste in most cases, but when I genuinely don't like something I make myself, my inner critic's voice gets loud enough to drown out theirs. As a result I have never been able to make dumplings from scratch that I was genuinely happy with.

Which is why I was so delighted when I found these:-

Ready prepared dumplings you bake in the oven and then pop on top of your stew. Aren't they cute?

They are from a grocery store here in England called Waitrose and I think they are a fantastic idea. The best bit is that as you bake them in the oven on a baking sheet they don't get all squashy like homemade dumplings. Although I am told that is a major part of their charm, for me that squashy goodness is kind of yucky. So these I almost liked - a little.

I know some purists might be horrified, but for me, these have been a lifesaver. And my family are delighted to have dumplings without me worrying about whether they taste good or not.

As for the stew, my recipe for that I am very happy with - so I'll share it with you here.

The 21st Century Housewife's© Beef Stew

2 tablespoons oil (any mild olive oil, sunflower oil or canola oil works fine here)
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 pound of stewing beef or braising steak, cubed
¼ cup flour
2 cups of beef stock (made from cubes is fine)
3 - 4 carrots, peeled and cut in 1 inch chunks
3 - 4 parsnips, peeled and cut in large chunks (or cut in half and quartered depending on how big they are)
1 piece of celery
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon pepper

Heat the oil over medium heat in an oven safe casserole that you can also use on the stove top (I use one by Le Creuset). If you don't have a casserole like that, you can start this recipe off in a large frying pan and then transfer the ingredients into the oven safe casserole before you put them in the oven to cook.

Cook the onion in the oil until it begins to soften slightly. Put the flour in a small bowl and coat the cubes of beef lightly with flour before adding them to the onion in the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the beef begins to brown.

Pour over the beef stock and stir to make a gravy. It will still be fairly runny at this point but will thicken up as it cooks. Add the carrots, parsnips, celery and seasonings.

Cook in the oven at about 350℉ or 170℃ for an hour and a half or so, stirring about every half hour. The stew is done when the beef and vegetables are very tender - the beef should be almost falling apart. Remove the stick of celery. (Celery adds a beautiful flavour to stews but my husband does not like the texture of it so if I take it out, he is none the wiser. I always eat the celery as a "cook's treat" - and to hide the evidence!)

If you want to add homemade dumplings at this point, you are on your own - or you can "cheat" like I did and add some ready made ones :) I've also served this without dumplings and nobody minded a bit!

(No promotional consideration for this post was provided by Waitrose. The opinions of their product are my own.)

The 21st Century Housewife's© Scalloped Potatoes

My Mom really wasn’t one of those people who love cooking, but she was a very good cook nonetheless. One of the dishes she was famous for was her scalloped potatoes. They were voluptuous comfort food at its best. Thinly sliced potatoes and onion nestled in amongst a rich, creamy sauce that seemed to make itself. Mom never wrote her recipe down, because she maintained it was “hardly a recipe” but she talked me through it many, many times. Despite this, I never really quite got the hang of it, and my scalloped potatoes were always either too runny or not creamy enough. They certainly never tasted remotely like hers, so I kind of gave up.

It was not until about a week ago that I tried her recipe again as part of my Family Food History and Recipe Project. Perhaps it is because I am a more experienced cook than I was all those years ago, but suddenly, this time I got much closer to the wonderful dish I remember after only a couple attempts. I’m not sure it’s Mom’s exact recipe, but it sure does taste very similar.

Scalloped potatoes are a wonderfully easy dish (I honestly don’t know why I struggled so with them before) and they are a great one to make ahead. I use my oval Le Creuset casserole for this. Preheat your oven to about 200℃ or 400℉ and then all you need is:-

3 to 4 large potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 large mild onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 generous tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon of cold butter, cut in small pieces
2 cups of milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper

Put a layer of potato slices on the bottom of the casserole, overlapping slightly. Follow with a layer of onion slices. Sprinkle evenly with one generous tablespoon of flour.

Make another layer of potato slices on top of the flour, again overlapping slightly. Follow with another layer of onion slices. Sprinkle evenly with one generous tablespoon of flour.

Top the flour with a final layer of potato slices, being sure to overlap them slightly. Evenly distribute the pieces of cold butter over top of the potato. At this point, it should look like this:-

Heat the 2 cups of milk in the microwave or on the stovetop until warm. (I usually microwave on high for two minutes.) Stir in the salt and pepper. Carefully pour the hot milk over the potato and onion layers.

Cover the casserole with foil and put in the oven for half an hour. Remove the casserole from the oven, and remove the foil. Using a fork, carefully push the potato slices so that they are mostly under the milk. Return the casserole to the oven and cook for another thirty to forty minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the top is turning golden brown.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Chocolate and Banana Snack Cake

I’ve been working on developing some easy to make, delicious cakes that can be served without icing in an homage to the “Snackin’ Cakes” Betty Crocker marketed in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. I think this is my best one to date - and my very willing taste testers all agreed!

You probably already have everything you need to make this in your store cupboard and fridge. Don’t worry if you don’t have buttermilk; I do like the tangy flavour it gives, but ordinary milk works just fine.

To read more about my “snack cakes”, the history behind them, and for another snack cake recipe, check out the entry just before this one!

1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa (not drinking chocolate)
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 cup white sugar
2 generous pinches of salt
½ cup chocolate chips
1 egg, lightly beaten
⅓ cup sunflower oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 mashed bananas

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, salt and chocolate chips.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg, oil, buttermilk and vanilla . Stir in the mashed bananas.

Add the egg and milk and banana mixture to the flour mixture. Stir thoroughly until well blended, but don’t beat. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured (or lined) nine inch square pan.

Ovens can vary quite radically so you’ll probably need to watch this the first time you bake it. I bake mine at about 350℉ or 170℃ for 20 to 25 minutes or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle comes out clean (ie. with no batter clinging to it).

This cake really does not need any frosting and it is easy to pick it up and eat it with your fingers. (Far too easy in my experience!) However, a little dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of good vanilla ice cream does go really well with it if you want to serve it as a proper dessert.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Carrot, Walnut and Ginger Snack Cake

When I was a kid growing up in Canada, Betty Crocker marketed a cake mix called “Snackin Cake”. It was a moist cake that you served without frosting. One of the “modern time savers” of the late 1970‘s and early 80‘s, if I recall correctly the box even contained a handy disposable baking pan you could cook the mix in. The cake had a bread-like texture similar to a loaf cake and it became a real cult favourite.

I wanted to develop a recipe that was almost as easy to make as the original snackin’ cake, but something that was a bit more wholesome and tasted homemade. (Snackin’ Cake tasted amazing, but homemade isn’t a word I would use to describe it - it had a distinctive cake mix flavour to it.)

My recipe still has the firm texture of the original, so you can pick it up and eat it in squares if you want to - although as you can see from the photo, eating it with a fork and a side of ice cream works too! I have tried to use store-cupboard ingredients in this so that it is easy to whip up at a moment’s notice. I did use buttermilk because I like the flavour it gives the cake, but ordinary milk will work just fine if it is all you have on hand. Similarly, don’t worry if you don’t have crystallised ginger, just add a bit more of the ground ginger.

We really like nuts in our family so I used a whole cup in this recipe, but if you are not as enamoured of them as we are, just use 3/4 of a cup instead. I normally dust this cake with icing sugar, but there is no reason you could not frost it if you wanted to. In fact, I think a cream cheese icing might be a very nice idea. (Although it is not true to the original ethos of a snackin‘ cake, I won’t tell if you don’t!)

The whole idea of snackin’ cake was that you could make and bake it quickly, and possibly even eat it warm, but do let it cool a little before you try to cut it up or it will fall to pieces. And if you are eating it warm, don’t bother with the icing sugar as it will just dissolve into the warm cake. (And yes, warm with ice cream is very, very good!)

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 generous teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon crystallised ginger, very finely chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts (or other chopped nuts)
1 cup grated carrot
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup sunflower oil (mild olive oil, corn or canola oil works too)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

Measure the flours, sugar, baking powder, ginger, crystallised ginger, carrots and walnuts into a large bowl and stir to mix.

Beat the egg, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in a medium bowl.

Add the egg and milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir thoroughly until well blended. Don’t beat the mixture though or the cake will be tough. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured (or lined) nine inch square pan.

Bake at about 350℉ or 170℃ for 25 to 30 minutes or until a piece of dry spaghetti inserted into the middle comes out clean (ie. with no batter clinging to it).

Allow to cool a bit before slicing. This cake keeps quite well, and tastes really lovely the day after it is made too - if you can wait that long :)

Monday, 1 February 2010

The 21st Century Housewife's© Beef and Shallot Bourguignon

This recipe really isn’t difficult to put together, and it is a great one for company. You need to use the kind of beef you cook long and slow for it. It’s always cheaper so that helps to keep costs down while still producing something really delicious. I find all the terms for beef that you need to cook long and slow vary wildly between countries, but here it is called braising steak, stewing beef or chuck steak. You know what I mean :)

Two little hints - be sure to use a good wine and don’t leave out the celery!  Good wine does not have to be expensive anymore, just be sure to always cook with a wine you are happy to drink. (It’s lovely to be able to serve the remainder of the bottle with the meal.)   Beef Bourguignon is traditionally made with a full bodied wine such as Burgundy, but I have also had great results with cheaper Cabernet Sauvignon blends and Shiraz.  As long as it is red and reasonably full bodied and tasty, it’s fine. As for the celery, I recommend you leave the sticks whole and remove them before you eat but please do not leave it out as it adds the most gorgeous flavour – not celery-like at all, just a lovely fresh taste. (My husband hates celery, but he loves my this which I always make with it!)

I use a Le Creuset casserole for this as it can be used on the stove top first and then go into the oven.  If you do not have an oven safe casserole you can use on the stove top, just do the first few steps in frying pan with a lid and then transfer the meaty mixture to an oven safe casserole before you add the vegetables. 

Although the recipe sounds boozy with the brandy and the red wine, the vast majority of the alcohol cooks off and leaves only a fabulous flavour, so folks are pretty unlikely to get tipsy from eating this! This is wonderful served with crispy roast potatoes, mashed potatoes or rice (I even served it with couscous once), so you can make whatever you like best!

If there are leftovers this is wonderful if you refrigerate it and re-heated it the following day - or make it the day ahead on purpose so you can spend lots of time with your guests. This will serve four, but it’s really easy to double it if you have lots of folks coming for dinner.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound of braising steak, chuck steak or stewing beef, cut in pieces about an inch square (just roughly)
1 cup of chopped bacon or bacon ‘lardons’ (pre-chopped bits of bacon)
about 20 shallots, peeled, cut in half if they are on the big side
2 tablespoons flour
¼ cup brandy
½ to 1 cup beef stock
¾ cup (6 ounces) good red wine
1 clove of garlic
2 teaspoons thyme
2 - 3 sticks of celery left whole
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large stove top to oven casserole with a lid.

Place the flour in a small bowl and dredge the pieces of beef in the flour. Add them to the casserole and fry gently, stirring so that they brown on all sides. When they are just about browned, add the bacon, and cook for about two or three minutes before adding the shallots. Get the shallots all coated in the oily bacony juices, and then pour the brandy over top.

Working quickly but very carefully, flambé the casserole by putting a lighted match near the casserole. The alcohol in the brandy should ignite. Allow it to flame for a few seconds and then put the lid on to extinguish any remaining flames. (Always keep the lid nearby when doing this so you can put out the flames quickly if you need to. I like to wear an oven mitt on the hand holding the lid as well.) After a few seconds, take the lid off the pan and add the wine and 1/2 cup of the beef stock. Grate the garlic into the casserole, and add the celery, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir and cover. (If using a frying pan, please transfer the mixture to an oven safe casserole now.)

Place the casserole in the oven for about 1½ - 2 hours on a low heat.  I suggest 325℉ (160℃).  Every oven is different though so go carefully because it is the long slow cooking that makes this casserole so delicious. Check and stir every half hour, adding a bit more beef stock if necessary.

The Beef Bourguignon is ready to serve when the beef is fork tender.  Just remove the celery, give it a stir and you are all set to go! This is lovely served with mashed potatoes or rice, but my favourite accompaniment is crispy roast potatoes and a nice green vegetable like broccoli.