Beef Penang Curry

Beef Penang Curry (2)

(You can get cast iron oven safe individual dishes like mine here).

Fancy a smashing curry to warm the chilliest of cockles? This is the most warming, comforting Thai curry I have ever tasted, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. It has the huge advantage of being ready in almost no time at all – using thin strips of good quality beef means that the curry doesn’t need slow cooking; in fact, this one is almost as fast as a stir fry!

The curry is essentially a mixture of all of my favourite spices, mixed together and mellowed with coconut milk. There is a little heat, but it is gentle rather than burning.

This would be best served with a veggie side dish – some spinach, simply wilted, would be perfect. It’s also important to make sure you have plenty of rice (Thai jasmine rice is best) to soak up the lovely, creamy sauce. Mmmm!

Try this if you’re a curry fan – I’m sure you’ll love it.

This takes 15 minutes to cook, and will serve 2-3.

Beef Penang Curry (1)

Beef Penang Curry

2 shallots

3 cloves garlic

1 red chilli

1 thumb sized piece of galangal

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp fish sauce

4 tbsps tomato puree

3 kaffir lime leaves

1 tsp paprika

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground tumeric

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp ground nut oil

45og steak, sliced thinly

400ml coconut milk

1 lime

A few basil leaves

Thai jasmine rice, cooked, to serve

1. To make your curry paste, finely chop the shallots, garlic, chilli and galangal. Place into a bowl, and add the soy sauce, fish sauce, tomato puree, lime leaves, paprika, cumin, coriander, tumeric, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Mix well to combine.

2. Heat the groundnut oil in a large saucepan. When it is hot, add the steak and brown for 1-2 minutes. Add the curry paste and mix together. Heat for another 2 minutes, stirring often.

3. Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Ladle into bowls and squeeze over lime juice and tear over a few leaves of basil. Believe it or not, it’s ready!

Beef Penang Curry (3)

Beef Stew with Parsley Dumplings

What food could be better for a cold, wintery evening than stew and dumplings? It’s the sort of food that gives you a cuddle, that doesn’t judge you for wanting to eat it in front of the X Factor in your pyjamas and odd socks.

Although they take a long time, stews need very little effort – the oven does all of the work. And though dumplings can seem a bit daunting if you haven’t made them before, they always work perfectly and are so worth the little bit of work required.

You can add any other wintery vegetables you like to this stew – swede and parsnip would work well.

This will take 3 hours in total to make, and will serve 4 hungry people.

Beef Stew with Parsley Dumplings

450g stewing steak, cut into bitesize chunks

25g butter

25g plain flour

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

2 carrots

1 large leek

1 large potato

200g chestnut mushrooms

250ml red wine

1 pint beef stock

1 sprig rosemary

1 handful thyme leaves

1 tbsp Lea & Perrins sauce

200g self-raising flour

100g beef or vegetable suet

1 handful fresh parsley, chopped

1. Season the plain flour with salt and pepper and roll the steak in it, ensuring it is comppletely covered.

2. Melt the butter in a large casserole dish over a medium-high heat and add the steak. Brown lightly and then place in a bowl to one side.

3. Chop the onion and garlic and add to the casserole dish. Cook for 2 minutes, then put the steak back in and add the sliced carrots, sliced leek and chopped potato. Pour in the wine and add the mushrooms. Bring to the boil, then add the stock, rosemary, thyme and Lea & Perrins.

4. Bring to a simmer, then cover with a lid and place in the oven at 150 degrees.

5. For the dumpings, tip the self-raising flour, suet and parsley into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add cold water a little at a time – you’ll probably need 150-200mls total – until it forms a pliable dough.

6. When the stew has been in the oven for 2 hours, take it out (leave the oven on). Form little balls (about 1.5 inches in diameter) with the dough and place evenly spaced on top of the stew. This mixture made 14 dumplings.

7. Put the lid back on and return to the oven for another 25 minutes. You won’t fail to enjoy this!