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First of all, please let me apologise for the lack of posts over the past few weeks. My Grand Mother passed away and we buried her on Saturday. As the oldest grand daughter it was up to me to do quite a bit of the organising and I haven’t had a chance to even sit down never mind think about the blog.

We had a traditional wake, with an open casket and many friends, neighbours and family members were coming through the door to pay their respects from morning until late at night and so to keep everyone fed I made my grannys recipe for stew. It was actually a real comfort to everyone to be eating something that she made herself every weekend and in a weird way made it feel like she was around, and I thought I’d share the recipe.

Granny’s Stew

600g / 1 lb Lean Steak Mince

300g / 1/2 lb of either pork mince, or lamb mince depending on your preference (you can replace the meat with soya mince or quorn should you choose to, just make sure the mixture stays well hydrated during cooking)

2 grated carrots

1 grated onion

12 good sized potatoes (I prefer waxy varieties in this stew, i think she did too)

4 oxo cubes

salt and pepper

First step, peel and halve the potatoes and leave to sit in a bowl of water while you prepare the other ingredients. Grate the carrots and the onion, and place in a big stew pot. Take the beef mince, and rinse in a sieve or collander – it sounds weird, but it breaks up the texture of the meat and really helps the meat coat the potatoes later on. Do the same with either your pork or lamb mince and add all the meat to the stew pot. Cover the meat and vegetables with enough water to cover all the ingredients, and place on a medium to high heat.

Add the oxo cubes (now, I know purists will be appalled at this addition but Granny lived through the blitz and products like oxo cubes helped people through rationing –  it’s her recipe and so it is completely unnecessary to add properly made beef stock!) and season alot with salt and pepper. Stir and wait until you see the first bubbles of a rolling boil, and reduce the heat to the lowest you can. Give the mixture another stir and add the drained potatoes on top of the meat and veg – DO NOT STIR! Put the lid on the pot and leave for 1 1/2 hours at the lowest heat setting.

Come back to it after this time, and take a look at the potatoes. Do they seem soft? If not, give them another ten minutes or until they are. If they are soft, start to use a big spatula or metal spoon to split the potato pieces in half, then half again. Crush some with the back of the spoon, and leave some whole. The idea of this is to thicken the stew with some of the crushed potato, but to leave potato chunks in the stew also, adding to the texture.

Put the lid on again, and let it sit for about twenty minutes, or just heat it up when you want a bowl. The beauty of the stew is that it tastes better the longer you leave it. Everyone ate it with gusto, sometimes adding HP sauce if they wanted too but always making stew sandwiches with thick slices of white bread covered in butter.

A self styled foodie at my grandmothers wake came over as I was making it, screwed her nose up and said “Are you not adding any herbs or wine or something?” That’s not the point of the stew. The stew is subtle in flavour; it’s honest. And it always tasted like it had been made by someone who really loved you.

I’ll miss you granny 🙂

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got this from soph last night, some gluten free potato bread 🙂 nice work!potato_glutenfree

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So, sorry for the delay in writing up my gluten free bread experiments. To be honest, working with unfamiliar flours was a little strange because they behave so differently from wheat flour and leavened dough. I got a selection of Soya, Rice, Gram (ground lentil) flour and some potato starch, four ingredients that seem to be staples of the gluten free bread recipe.

I thought for this first try, I’d take a recipe that strictly speaking, isn’t normal sliced white bread, but to me tastes amazing and i thought, would be a great starting point – potato bread – which is a flat dense griddle cake made with, you guessed it, potatoes but the addition of the wheat flour and egg to the potatoes gives the bread a gnocci-esque texture, not too squiggey and a little bit firm. And they are truely delicious, even though as I am Irish I am bound to say this, but as a vehicle for egg yolk and melted butter on a Sunday morning you can’t really go wrong.

Recipe –

300g potatoes,

(mashed with a fork or ricer or food mill – NOT with a hand blender or food processor as this makes the potatoes too smooth and a bit watery)

600g Soya Flour, Rice Flour, and gram flour

3 eggs

Vegetable or Olive oil (depending on your tastes)

Copious amounts of salt and black pepper (or whatever pepper takes your fancy)

Take 200g of the mashed potato, setting aside 100g of the potato in another bowl. Add 400g of the soya/gram/rice flour mixture and two eggs, a dribble of oil and salt and pepper. Combine all with a fork until it creates a stiff dough. If it is still a bit wet, add some more flour – either rice, soya or gram. Place it on a floured work surface to rest.

Take the remaining 100g of potato, add the egg and remaining flour and again a dribble of oil and salt and pepper. I added some powdered spinach to give the bread in the pictures colour and flavor, but you can use a whole number of different ingredients to give this dough colour – ketchup, tapenade, vegetable or fruit purees etc. Just take care to make sure that the texture of the dough is quite stiff after adding your additional ingredient; add more flour if the mixture seems sloppy.

Ok, time for me to ‘fess up – I used the doodle tin and doodle star for the first batch of my gluten free potato bread dough, but it was WAY too sloppy the first time round and when I took it out of the tin, it was like blanchmange :S. So, I had a little bit of creamy dough and green potato dough left and decided to make a C in the bread for Calypso (since calypso is our gluten free poster girl) – it seems the rice flour/soya flour and gram flour are less porous than normal flour and so I needed to add more and more flour to stiffen up the dough.

I shaped the green dough into a long sausage shape, and flattened it/rolled it out so that it was roughly 3 inches/7cm by about 15 inches/25cm in length. I took some creamy dough, shaped it into a sausage and placed with running down the centre of the green dough, wrapping the green dough round. Then, I took the remainder of the creamy dough, rolled it out to the same length and covered the green and white tube. I placed this big roll in the fridge and let it chill completely before taking it out and cutting off 2cm disks, which gave the C shape on the face.

If these instructions for making the C slices sound a little – or very – confusing, please leave me a comment below and i’ll post up some more images or sketches to better explain myself!

Once I had the little disks of potato dough, I used my fingers to flatten them out. I tried cooking them on a griddle – a hot dry pan covered with flour – but the C shape disappeared so instead I cooked them in a hot oven – 220c – for ten minutes on a flat baking sheet, and they kept the C and tasted not bad at all!

If I’ve missed anything out please leave a comment and I’ll write it up again. And if you try this recipe out, please please tell me how it went!

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I’ve stocked up on all sorts of different types of non-wheat flour  – gram flour, rice flour, soya flour, potato starch – to get going on testing out some great  gluten free doodle bread recipes…

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Calypso is the adorable face of doodle bread and daughter of a good friend, Sophie. In an ironic twist, Calypso very recently has been found to be allergic to wheat/gluten and so, we’re going to try and include some gluten free recipes on the blog also that can be used with the doodle bread kit. There are some great resources already, like babycakes NYC with their wheat free/gluten free/egg free/vegan/kosher bakery treats so we’ll see how it goes 🙂