So they turned Victoria Bitter back into a beer, reissued the earlier pack design and brought back the old advertising line, a hard-earned thirst needs a big cold beer. Good*.
I cooked up the following stew while camping along the Murray River recently. Browning the meat takes a little extra effort and an additional implement or two. Optionally you can throw the whole lot in together. When your pot starts steaming, the aroma will drift along the bank and you'll have visitors.
Beef with beer.
In a large pot over the camp fire, place one chopped onion, a dash of oil, 500g diced beef (dredged in seasoned flour and browned), a chopped carrot, two sticks of chopped celery, a bay leaf or two, a chopped leek, a sprig of thyme, two tablespoons of tomato puree or paste, a tablespoon of brown sugar, one can of Victoria Bitter and enough beef stock to cover.
Let it bubble away for a few hours.
Serve with potatoes wrapped in foil and buried in the coals for an hour or two - they'll come out charred on the outside and steaming inside. Break them open, dot them with butter and pour the stew over them in a deep dish.
Eat as the sun goes down and the cockatoos roost for the night.
Drink: more beer, please. You can get it talking, you can get it walking, you can get it pulling a plough.
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*While they're on the job, beer marketers would be well advised to junk the whole infantile beer advertising monoculture in which bunches of grown-up juveniles carry on like children to soundtracks by the kind of bands thet get played on 3MMM, like a cross between Jackass and Playschool. The last good beer ad on television was the Carlton Draught ad shot in the outback with an original Kevin Johnson score. Yes, it was a few years ago. CUB sponsored Thursday night's League Teams at the time.
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One night a long time ago, pre-children, we camped by the Murray River where it turns north-west, somewhere near Robinvale. It was a clear, warm night and I pitched the tent on the south bank. I made a fire and cooked a stew similar to the above, but using red wine instead of beer. Later, it grew dark and the most enormous full moon rose, as if from out of the water. Never forgotten it. The call of the Murray is irresistible. I've no idea why people rush off overseas all the time.