Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Cow Casserole

If you do a Google search for the 'Most Depressing Place on Earth', it seems to be a toss up between the capital of Papua New Guinea and Baghdad. I however, beg to differ. The people who did the research into depressing places obviously have never visited my local Doctors Surgery.

The attention to detail on this sign really is second to none. I particularly like the information of afternoon opening times and the Emergency Telephone number. We lost 0181 numbers in the year 2000, 12 years ago. Let's hope I never have an emergency. 

I had the misfortune of going there this morning and it was so stressful I thought I was going to combust in the waiting room. Not only do you feel like you will come out significantly sicker than when you went in, you also feel like you could get embroiled into a fight at any moment. Todays stress inducing incident's involved a pair of screaming toddlers, a mother and daughter duo bullying the receptionist ("Come and get us when its our turn, we'll be outside having a fag" "But your name comes up on the screen when its your turn"' "What if I've got bad eyes and can't see the screen?", "Have you got bad eyes?", "No. Just come and get us") and a man on crutches pushing a young woman out of the line in the queue to check in. I didn't hang around long enough to hear the full gory details of what the woman was going to do to the man if she ever saw him again but needless to say he would need more than crutches when her and her mates had finished with him. Depressing. And very tense.

I know that no one goes to the Doctors for a good time but this place really takes the biscuit. I'm not blaming the people that work at the Surgery as they are just trying to do their jobs, but the place really does seem to attract the most unsavory characters. Its infinitely worse than the bar in Star Wars and the people are far more terrifying.

The week hasn't been all bad though, my dear old friend Daniel came round for dinner with some rather lovely blooms. What a nice young man. It's definitely worth getting split in half in May for all the flowers I've been getting lately.

Anyway, to celebrate the fact that Daniel, The Wig and I have all been doing so well at being Vegetarian' s this year (*cough*) we treated ourselves to a delicious Organic Cow Casserole with dumplings. This is VERY easy to make and great if you have people round for dinner as you can prepare it all before they arrive. It's also good to give people / kids who are a bit funny about vegetables as the longer you cook it, the more the vegetables disintegrate and they wont even know they are eating them! Crafty eh? I think you can buy packet mixes for this type of casserole but there really is no point, also they are probably packed with tonnes of salt and E numbers.

To make Cow Casserole with dumplings for 3 hungry vegetarians.

Shopping List:
Olive Oil
1 x pack of good quality diced beef
1 x Small Onion
1 x Garlic Clove
1 x Carrot
1 x Large Potato
1 x Large Mushroom
Salt + Pepper
500ml Beef Stock
1 x Glass of Red Wine
1 x Splash of Worcester Sauce
Dried mixed herbs
4oz Self Raising Flour
2 oz Atora Suet
Cold water

* Heat a little oil in a big pan, then add a finely chopped onion and a crushed garlic clove and soften.
* After a few minutes add a finely chopped carrot, and a large diced potato cook on a  low heat for 5 minutes.
(You could also add a chopped celery stick and / or leek here if you wanted to).
* Next chop up a large mushroom and add to the pan.
* Once the mushroom pieces have also softened remove everything from the pan and set aside.
* Add some more oil to the pan and sling in the diced beef, get the best you can stretch too.
* Brown the meat then once this is done return the softened vegetables to the pan and season.
* Pour in 500ml of Beef stock, one glass of red wine, a big splash of Worcester Sauce and some dried      herbs.
* Bring to a simmer, cover and leave for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
* While this is happening, mix 4oz of Self Raising Flour, with 2oz of Suet, a pinch of salt, some dried herbs and a splash water to make a dough.
* After 1 hour and 10 minutes separate the dough into equal balls and plop into the casserole for 20 minutes. Make sure you put the pan lid back on.
* After the dumplings have risen, serve the casserole and eat! We had it with peas and broccoli. Delicious.

(Terrible photos again... must try harder next time. It really was delicious despite the horrid pictures).

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