Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Joys of Cooking....removing sap, a bit of nature and a new book.

Browsing through cookbooks and trying new recipes help to keep me enthusiastic about cooking.
Cocooning inside The Humble Bungalow on a blustery day making a hearty stew feels so good.
Harvesting and eating root vegetables seem to go hand in hand with the shorter daylight hours and cooler weather.

The colours of yams, parsnips, turnips and carrots remind me of autumn...

Our family have been enjoying "Little Stew" for years.
It is a simple meal of ground beef and vegetables made with a rich gravy.
It simmers in the large Le Creuset dutch oven for hours and is just as tasty the next day.

Little Stew
Saute a large diced onion until soft.
Add ground beef and brown.
Make a "gravy" with a bouillon cube or beef stock and pour over cooked beef.
Add vegetables, any that you like.
I used carrots, potatoes, and peas.
Season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for several hours.

I served it with some home made bread.

Our large Le Creuset gets used most days.
It's a heavy Dutch oven that can go into or on top of the oven.
I feel like I get a workout merely lifting it in and out of the cupboard!

This Ulster Weavers linen tea towel is new from The Irish Linen Shop on Government Street.
I liked the whimsy of the lone black sheep.
I bought some new linens from them when I walked by 
after the Veteran's Day Ceremony at the Legislative Buildings.

Speaking of new things...
I found a new ~ to ~ me platter.
It is enormous and will be fabulous for the turkey dinner at Christmas.

I love the oak leaf and acorn detail on the edges.

In the "Oak Bay Style" 
I grew up in Oak Bay and went to both Oak Bay Junior and Oak Bay Senior High Schools.
(many moons ago)

I plan to go to out and gather up a bunch more cones to decorate this platter.
I read recently that cones are considered "autumn roses."

I got the cones but ended up getting some sticky sap on my coat!
Grrr..."How to remove sap?" 
I entered this line into a google search and to my relief the results were "hand sanitizer removes sap."
It worked and was so easy, no damage to my coat either!

Reading another book by Linda Grant and loving her writing...
a former English literature professor who spent time lecturing at Simon Fraser University in BC during the 1970's.

I've been shopping for some new core wardrobe pieces and will share them with you later in the week.

~ ~ ~

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn--that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness--that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” 
~ Jane Austen ~


  1. I haven't had a stew since I lived at home,I used to love them, but have no idea how to make one. What temp do you put it in the even at and for how long?

    1. I cook this stew on top of the stove. The heavy pot helps al lot when making stew. I simmer it on the lowest setting for several hours after the vegetables have been added but you could put it in the oven covered on a low setting as well.

  2. Mmm, your stew sounds scrumptious. May have to give that go this weekend.

  3. Have you ever thought of practicing to become an expert on cooking from other cultures? That's my current approach on staying interested. Your stew sounds like a great way to eat happily when you don't want to make much effort.

    1. I've cooked lots of French food and Indian cuisine. I like Vikram Vij's cookbooks for his recipes are detailed and taste delicious. The downside is that they take a long time to prepare and lots of exotic spices.
      I think everyone needs an easy dish for days when they are busy.

  4. Yum! I made a huge batch of beef stew the other day and froze some for a "rainy day" which for us is a snowy day. Comfort food is the best!

  5. i dont know why but certain foods taste better in le creuset or any enamel pot for that matter.
    I also cook casserole twice if time allows so it has that leftover rich taste. I let it cool before I crank up the oven again and let the residual heat do the rest. Homemade bread must make all the difference but at the mo just cooking anything is a big call...

  6. We have been eating squash and root veggies, this fall, until they feel like their running out of our ears!! Hard to make a stew without meat, but I've been experimenting. Love to see what clothes you find! Have a cozy week.

  7. I use my Le Creuset dutch oven so often, I leave it out on the stove, and don't bother lugging it to a cupboard. I think it looks charming and cozy anyway. Looking forward to seeing your new core wardrobe pieces.

  8. This looks so good, like you I have been in the mood for more robust meals and this sounds both delicious and easy.

  9. Boeuf Bourguignon a la Julia child ... yum!! Recipe is on line. :)

  10. Love your stew! So perfect for right now. I also end up using my Le Creuset a ton. They are beasts. I particularly hate filling it with water and then lugging it back to the stove. I can see how people get those pot filler faucets!

    Good to know about the pinecone sap too! Love the Persuasion quote. What a gem. It's one of my favorite books. Your blog is wonderful and I'm just discovering all your fun posts!
    Thanks so much for visiting mine too!

  11. I love my le creuset too. Super pricey but worth saving up for and it will last a life time. Enjoy your stew, it looks tasty.

  12. Love that quote. It seems Jane Austen always has something to say about the things I love. I just used my red Le Creuset last night. Not only is it beautiful but it cooks everything perfectly! Have a great autumnal week!

  13. I had my orange Le Creuset for 30 years and recently replaced it with a Staub dutch oven. It's a lovely warm red colour and I love to cook all those autumn vegetables. It is so heavy that I can barely lift it. My mum makes "mince stew" that sounds just like yours.

  14. I am going to make this tonite! I have all the ingredients on hand and the men in my life will love it. We got a small and large Le Creuset as a wedding gift last year and my mother-in-law (lives next door) has used it more than I have (she shares whatever the cooks). This looks so easy that I could see it as a "go-to" for my family. Thank you :-)