Steak & ale hotpot

IMG_2552.jpgHappy new year to everyone – it is so hard to believe that we are already half way through the first week of 2018, yet it seems like only last week that we left Turkey and returned to the mayhem that is our house in Cornwall.

We’ve had a couple of weeks off from our lovely builders, who will be here with their boots shined (and coffee mugs at the ready) towards the end of next week, ready to start on Phase 2. This involves knocking down a wall (eek) and installing a new RSJ (not necessarily in that order, I realise, no need to write in to let me know that my house is about to fall down). I shall be glad to avoid the accompanying mess by being away in the Midlands, visiting friends and family, and cat-sitting for the same trio of Greek cats that we looked after back in the summer. In return for providing Claridges-style five-star catering and door-opening services for the Grecian trio of whiskered musketeers, we get to stay in Rosie’s lovely home in a pretty village on the Warwicks/Northants border, which handily means we are minutes away from our family and friends. Continue reading “Steak & ale hotpot”

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Italian-style tuna and bean stew (with optional mussels)

IMG_2192 croppedStillĀ  no kitchen, but things are moving along. Today, the carpenters magically constructed our built-in seating area, which is exactly as I had pictured it in my head. I showed them a photo of the kind of thing I wanted and they built it to fit the space – the seats even lift up so that we can store our outside cushions beneath them. When it comes to anything that involves a drill or a screwdriver, shall we just say that it’s better if I just stick to making the coffee, and it always amazes me that people can just knock up something like this from some apparently random pieces of wood in the space of a few hours. Continue reading “Italian-style tuna and bean stew (with optional mussels)”

Goulash soup with caraway dumplings

img_1756When we were in Prague over Christmas, we had goulash in various forms. It was served in pretty much every bar and restaurant and was the perfect winter warmer after walking around the city in the freezing cold. In some establishments, it was more of a stew, but most versions were much more soup-like than we are used to.

Regardless of style, it was all completely delicious and I have been meaning to have a go at replicating my favourite since our return, but then Veganuary got in the way (not really conducive to testing beefy soup), closely followed by a trip to the UK and then a dose of the particularly pesky virus that seems to be circulating the British Isles this winter. Continue reading “Goulash soup with caraway dumplings”

Slow-cooked beef and Old Speckled Hen stew

DSC00020.jpgWe’ve been in the UK for the last ten days, mainly drifting about in Devon and Cornwall, where the temperatures were surprisingly mild and the sun shone most of the time. Now that we are back in Warwickshire, things have taken a downward turn, with strong winds and pelting rain.

My parents are due back from a holiday in Madeira today, so if I can ever brave the rain to get across to Tesco, I am planning to make a warming beef and ale stew to leave for them to heat up when they get home – they have a two-hour drive from Gatwick when they land, so my mum certainly won’t be wanting to cook. A bowl of stew and a herby dumpling or two should be just the ticket. Continue reading “Slow-cooked beef and Old Speckled Hen stew”