Necessity is…

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…the mother of invention – apparently.

There was no real necessity for me to use ginger ale in the stew – It’s just I hate to waste a thing if I can avoid it and I didn’t see any prospect of anyone else in the house drinking the ginger ale (left over from the birthday cake) in the next week or so (although at the time I had forgotten about the bottle of lime vodka in the freezer…).

But there I was with stewing steak desperately needing to be cooked before it went off. A bag of ready cut stewing veg bought cheap in Asda not used when originally planned and looking sorry for itself, plus the remains of the veg drawer… what I lacked though was leftover wine or beer or anything that might give me an interesting variation on a standard beef stew…so I poured the ginger ale into it and added a stock cube (some lemon, more ginger, garlic and a cinnamon stick), boiled it up and left it in the slow cooker overnight.

It was…interesting. OK it wasn’t bad, but there was a background sweetness which would have been unbearable after a few mouthfuls if it hadn’t been for Husband’s fabulous fluffy dumplings (recipe on back of Atora packet) and some last minute chunks of potato… Cheap and green – not as green as the meat and veg would have been if I’d left it any longer !

oops

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The plan today was to pick friends up from Heathrow and whisk them back up the motorway to our house and their car and then give them the option of staying overnight.  In case they did want to stay and needed feeding the plan was to make a stew and stick it in the slow cooker. Simple plan ? Yep, and although there are lots of things that can go wrong with a plan it’s always the thing that you don’t anticipate…

it’s not the fact that the braising steak I took out of the freezer turned out to be on the turn. No, that wasn’t a problem, it just gave me an excuse to head over to Lidl and check out the wool sale…and whilst there spotting the hobgoblin special ruby ale for Halloween. Bought a bottle for Husband and a second to pour over the beef and onions…

Nosing through Appetite:Nigel Slater I was inspired to chuck 2 tins of chopped tomatoes in with the beef and ale… I grabbed 2 green and white tins which are Asda’s budget line for tomatoes. It was not until I opened the second tin (and emptied it into the saucepan) that I realised that just like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, Asda use the same packaging for their baked beans as they do for their tomatoes…

I cooked it up anyway figuring that the sweet tomato sauce would just vanish into the sauce during cooking. It did and you wouldn’t notice that there were beans in it if someone hadn’t mentioned it (foolishly) in the hearing of Teenager who then said “urgh, beans” in the hearing of Spider, who then decided he didn’t like stew.

Shame really as they’ll just have to like it cos I’ve got a big batch made up and the friends we cooked for decided all they wanted was lots of coffee, a bacon butty and to hit the long road home to Cumbria as soon as possible…