For the stew:
1kilo / 2 Lb. Beef stew meat (braising steak)
half-litre / 1 pint beef stock (preferably fresh, but cubes will do just as well)
2 carrots chopped into small cubes
About the same amount of diced potatoes
1 finely chopped onion
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
For the dumplings:
100g / 4oz wholemeal flour
5g / 2oz suet
75 ml. / 5 tbsps milk
salt and pepper
One dumpling or two
On days like this, even the idea of a rich, filling stew is enough to help you feel warmer. The recipe below produces a satisfying dish in itself, but it's really just a template for you to experiment with.
You can add almost any kind of root vegetable, mushrooms, tinned or sun-dried tomatoes, beans, peas or corn to the recipe and it'll be delicious. You can try other sauces, spices or seasonings (for example, rolling the meat in a mix of flour and paprika will zest it up, a few drops of tabasco will put extra oomph into the whole experience).
Serve the stew with mashed potatoes for extra bulk and whatever greens take your fancy, sit back and accept the compliments of your guests.
Cut the meat into square chunks, roll them in flour and drop them, a few at a time into a deep saucepan containing a tablespoon or two of hot oil. As they brown, remove the chunks from the pan and set to one side. Fry the onions in the same oil until they begin to brown Add the stock and return the meat to the pan. Let it cook slowly for 1½ hours. Add the remaining vegetables and seasoning, cook for 30-45 minutes until the veg soften. Prepare the dumplings by shredding the suet(unless already shredded) and mixing it with the wholemeal flour Season well and mix in just enough milk to give a soft dough. Add a few drops of oil if necessary. Drop each dumpling gently from a spoon into the stew; cover the pan and steam, without lifting the lid, for 15 minutes.