It's almost mid-May and still the really cold weather has yet to set in.
By 'really cold weather' I mean top temperatures of 12 to 14 celsius, with overnight lows of 2 or 3.
Through Melbourne's most balmy April on record, we averaged top daily temperatures of 24 - an all-time high - and temperatures so far in May have hovered around the high teens.
Still, I did detect a certain chill in the air when I walked Goldie at 6.30 yesterday morning.
Excuse enough for a hearty beef stew - with dumplings! and red wine!
Cold weather beef casserole with dumplings.
Stew: Fry half a kilo of cubed stewing steak, a medium chopped onion and a scored garlic clove in oil until lightly browned. Sift in a tablespoon of flour, stir in half a litre of boiling water. Return to the boil, add a chopped carrot, a cup of red wine, two teaspoons each of french mustard and tomato paste, a bay leaf and a handful of chopped parsley. Simmer low for about an hour.
Dumplings: Sift one and one-quarter cups SR flour into a large bowl, add a tablespoon of chopped chives or parsley and a pinch of salt. Then rub 75g of butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well and pour in a quarter cup of water. Cut to mix with a round-bladed knife until a soft dough forms - not too sticky. Flour your hands, roll dough into eight dumplings and drop them into the stew, ensuring they submerge. Adjust liquid level if necessary using water, stock, wine or a combination. Cook for another twenty minutes.
Serve with a robust red.
Anyone for sticky date pudding in syrup with home-made vanilla ice-cream afterwards?