I’ve been writing this blog for a few years now. Like all endeavours, it has it’s ups and downs. There are weeks when I am overflowing with ideas for stories and recipes. There are the fallow periods when I haven’t either a recipe or story idea that makes any sense. I have been through a thin patch recently and was beginning to think that perhaps I should park the endeavour for a while (That’s a euphemism for give it up entirely). Then, along came a thought; “What about a Thai style Beef Stew?”. Without thinking about it, I was thinking about it. I rummaged in the press and the fridge. Yes! lime leaves, coconut milk, lemongrass, chilli, ginger, garlic, potatoes and palm sugar. I just needed the beef and the spinach. Then I got to thinking about my motivation. Why do I write this blog? Why do I take the photos, process and publish them? Why do I devise and cook these recipes?
Good questions all, I hear you say. So let’s get it clear, it’s not to build audience. I don’t do advertising, link-backs, sponsored content, sneaky brand exposures or any of that stuff. If I do, I’ll be upfront about it (Unless I’m being very, very sneaky).
It’s not for the celebrity. I’m pretty well known here in the kitchen. That is, the Wife and the dog give me attention on a daily basis and the family come over to be fed once a week or so. I have never encountered a clutch of adoring fans as I leave the house and the trees opposite the house have never been graced by paparazzi.
It’s not for the free stuff. A number (big number) of bloggers I know will give the false fingernails from their right hand for some free cosmetics. They will gush and enthuse to their clutch (not the handbag type of clutch) of followers about the cream or gel or powder or whatever, all for the free samples. I don’t do that.
It’s certainly not for the money. If I was depending on the blog to feed myself, the Wife and the dog, I wouldn’t be writing waffle like this. No, I have come to the conclusion that I do this stuff for the love of it.
Now, back to the Thai Style Beef Stew. It’s really easy to prepare and delightful. So, you will love it too. I all but guarantee it.
- 1 kilo of beef shin, cubed
- Half a kilo of beef shin minced
- Half a kilo of small potatoes
- 250 grammes of spinach leaves
- 800ml (2 cans) of good quality coconut milk
- 4 or 5 stalks of lemongrass
- 3 red chillis
- 5cm piece of ginger
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
- 4 or 5 shallots
- 2 teaspoons of palm sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of mixed peppercorns
- 3 or 4 lime leaves
- A handful of fresh coriander
Heat a little oil in a large casserole (Dutch Oven). Peel and roughly chop the lemongrass, garlic, ginger and shallots. Roughly chop the chillis. Add this lot to a blender, along with the sugar, salt and peppercorns. Blitz to make a paste. If you are having trouble getting the blitzing started, add a little oil.
Add the resulting paste to the casserole and fry for a few minutes (until your eyes are watering and stinging).
Add the beef a bit at a time and fry it in the spice mixture until it changes colour.
Add the coconut milk and lime leaves. Bring to a gentle boil and transfer the casserole (with a lid on) to a 180ºC oven.
Let it cook away undisturbed for an hour. Slice the potatoes into half or thirds. Remove from the oven and add the potatoes. return to the oven for a further 45 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, being patient to press them down and replace the lid. Cook for a further 15 minutes or so. At this stage, your Thai Style Beef Stew will be ready to serve. Just before serving, chop the coriander and add to the stew, stirring to incorporate.
Dish this up with a generous serving of Thai fragrant rice. It is a meal that is worthy of that love I was talking about earlier. I hope you love it too.