21 November 2013

GUEST BLOG: Cold comfort

By guest blogger TRACEY

It was such a relaxed session at the Approved Premises in Chorlton this Wednesday, despite the guys having to prepare a good deal of seasonal vegetables for the beef and root vegetable casserole with herby dumplings and a lovely rustic Lancashire crust pie using the same beef and veg mix. Kim shared tips on how to peel and chop the hard-skinned butternut squash and the guys deftly worked their way through the parsnips, carrots, tomatoes, leeks and beetroot, and were reminded about what they learnt last week: that ‘eating a rainbow’ of vegetables aids digestion and is simply more enticing. Bay leaves, tomato puree and paprika were added to the saucepan with the chopped root vegetables, along with fragrant rosemary and thyme. Our tastebuds were well and truly awakened when the braising beef  a cheap cut, but tasty if you cook it for the right length of time  was set to brown on a high heat then combined with the veg and stock poured over.

While the mixture stewed, the guys set to measuring out flour, one batch for the dumplings and another for the pie top – however, the batteries in the scales were flat! Kim welcomed suggestions to overcome the dilemma, then explained that you can calculate the required amount simply by judging the quantity left in the bag in relation to the ‘full package’ amount. The guys relished the challenge, and we ended up with some beautifully fluffy chive dumplings and a perfect crust pie top. Our hearty lunch was accompanied by broccoli florets which had been treated to a sprinkling of lemon juice – a very tasty and extremely satisfying, colourful meal.

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