Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Beef Slow Cooked in Red Wine

Winter is upon us here in Ireland. While where we live is relatively sheltered from most of the worst weather, it does get very cold. This time of year means putting on a thicker pair of socks...and 2-3 layers of clothes to stay warm! Even in the house. Especially for this California girl.

This time of year also means a change in cooking habits. Pointedly, making more soups and stews. Today, I'm sharing my recipe for a beef that's slow cooked in wine. This is my lazy adaptation to a traditional Beef Bourguinon.

*This is not a slow-cooker recipe, though you could use one if you aren't home all day to monitor your cooktop or oven. Turn it down to low too cook about 8-9 hours. Be sure to follow your slow cooker's own instructions for an all day cooking time.

This recipe is very easy. Most of the work is in the cutting of the ingredients. There's no precooking or browning. Just dump everything into the pot and simmer for a few hours. Like a dump cake, but savory :-D


2kg/appr 4.5 pounds of Bavette or Skirt Steak (chuck or stewing beef is OK too), rough cut into largish chunks (4-5cm/appr 2in or so)

2 large white onions, de-skinned and rough cut (yellow onions are OK too, but not purple)

1 large carrot, peeled and rough cut into similar size as the onion

1 large fresh beet, peeled and rough cut as above (do not use precooked or pickled...fresh!) (I used a Candy Beet, hence the stripes)

2-3 large cloves of fresh garlic (to taste) (if you must, use granulated, but not powder or garlic salt)

2 tablespoons mixed herbs (I was out so used sage and thyme here)

1/2-1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (season to taste)

2 whole chipotle chilies

1 container of good beef stock (pouch or canned, preferably homemade)

equal measure of water to stock

2 beef stock cubes

half bottle of good red wine (I prefer Malbec but merlot works great too...use half in the stew and serve the other half with dinner!) (Most often, I use Barefoot wines when I cook, as they're affordable and very tasty, AND from my home state of California. You know the saying, If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it!)


Dump everything into your pot and stir well.

That's it!

Cover and turn on the stove to high to get the liquid warm and you can see some steam coming off the top of the liquid (you don't want it to boil), then turn it down to low and leave it for at least three hours. *I start the heating on the big burner then move the pot to the small burner for slow cooking.

It should take about 3-4 hours until the meat is super tender and literally cuts with a spoon. You might even find it falls apart as you're ladling it into your bowl.

*If you use a slow cooker, as above, refer to manufacturer settings for an all day cooking time.

Serve with warm, crusty bread (I prefer sourdough), or with creamy mashed potatoes.

This recipe makes approximately 6-8 servings depending on your appetite.

This freezes well so you can make a big pot in advance and divide into servings to freeze and thaw later. You can reheat in the microwave.

Stay warm this winter season with a wonderful, hearty beef stew!

Happy eating!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Game of Thrones Stained Glass Windows

One of six stained glass windows are being released each week as the last season of Game of Thrones airs on TV. The windows are being laid out in a three kilometer-long trail around Belfast, which will end in the Titanic Studios where much of the show was produced. Each window pays homage to one of the Houses from the show: House Stark, Targaryen, Lannister, etc, and depicts key moments from the plot.

Week one - House Stark, reveled outside Belfast City Hall.

Week two - House Lannister, revealed outside Waterfront Hall.

Week three - House Baratheon, revealed at Lagan Weir.

Week four - House Targaryen, revealed outside SSE Arena.

Week five - White Walkers, revealed outside Titanic Museum.

Week six - The Iron Throne, behind the Titanic Museum, overlooking Titanic Studios where Game of Throne was filmed.

Tourism Ireland hopes the windows will become a major tourist attraction for the city, providing fans of the show some selfie opportunities as they make their way to the production studio where they can take one of the coach tours out to filming locations, and an opportunity to sit on the Irish Throne!

How big of a GOT fan are you? Is this on your must see list for your visit to Ireland?

Check this if you want to see the Doors of Thrones (hand-carved timber felled from the Dark Hedges during Storm Gertrude in 2016)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Curried Potatoes

Curried Potatoes


Peel and cube 2-3 large firm potatoes into bite size pieces.
Madras curry powder
Minced garlic (fresh preferred by dry OK)
Sunflower or olive oil

Heat a heavy pan on high, add oil just to coat the base of the pan. When hot, add the potatoes and toss evenly in the oil and cook until a fork just pierces the surface...mixing occasionally to prevent burning.

Add about 2 tablespoons of curry power, 1-2 teaspoon of garlic (to taste). Toss well to be sure all the potatoes are coated.

Continue mixing to prevent burning, but if you like crispy edges, let sit longer before stirring.

If you want a stronger curry taste, add more curry powder and garlic.

If you like hotter curry, use a hot madras powder.

Serve warm.

Savory Potatoes and Squash

Savory Potatoes and Squash


2 large firm potatoes (about 2 cups), cubed (skin on, optional)
1 small butternut squash, peeled/seeded/cubed (about 2 cups)
1 large onion, peeled and cubed
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme (fresh preferred but dry OK)
1 gelatin stock pot, chicken or vegetable
½ cup of hot water
Oil to cook, sunflower or olive


Preheat a heavy pan on high. Add oil to coat the base of the pan. When hot, add the potatoes and squash and toss together to coat evenly in the oil.

When you can just pierce the veg with a fork, add the onions and toss evenly.

Add the garlic and thyme and toss evenly.

Dilute the stock pot or cub in the hot water, then pour over the vegetables. Mix well, then cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook until the potatoes and squash are cooked and most of the water has cooked away.

Serve warm.

Served here with a Spanish style fried egg.