Artistic License Slow Cooker Beef Casserole

Every now and then, life throws a little curve ball that hits you square in the face. You can be sitting at your little ol' laptop, sorting out entry forms to art awards and stalking blogs on facebook (!) when the phone rings and you know immediately that life for the next little while has taken a different path...that happened thursday.

Mum rang. Frantic. She had tripped in the garden and needed

She sure did need me... and a fair supply of stitches, antibiotics and bandaging. I wont go into the details just in case any of you are a little squeamish, but put it this way...I can handle blood but seeing bone at the same time is a little harder to take. Yep...that bad.

So for the last few nights I have slept over at Mum's. Lucky for my gang, she only lives in the next suburb, so I have flitted back each morning to keep my own house running smoothly, put on a wash and make a meal. The gang have coped fairly well and Mum has been amazing...I am astounded by her pain tolerance and ability to bounce back from a knock to her head and a seriously injured knee. I have to add here though (or Mum will be very cross with me!) her accident was the result of being too busy and in a hurry...not because she is an 'old lady' who has had a 'fall'. She tripped, just like any age group can and does...she did not fall!!

On a positive note, a three night sleepover with Mum has been kinda fun...loads of chatting and giggling and mulling over life as we know it... and the most comfy, all to myself king sized bed with a thousand pillows and toasty warm air-conditioning any girl could want, with a bit of a sleep in each morning...but of course, I barely noticed these things as I was there to help Mum...seriously!

Anyway, with Mum temporarily cut off from her busy 'running a ballroom dance at the age of 72 with an amazing social life that puts her daughters social life to shame' lifestyle on hold...I now get the chance to show off my culinary skills in the form of a repertoire of dinners delivered 'meals on wheels' style. My slow cooker and I are embarking on a little love fest...

Here is one of my gang's favourite Beef Casseroles...aka Artistic Licence Sore Knee Black Eye Stew...

Adapted from Women's Weekly - The Country Collection Cookbook. (Serves 8 or more!)

1 kg beef chuck steak, cut into 2cm pieces.

1/2 cup plain flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small brown onion - quartered

1 leek, washed and chopped (white part only)

2 cloves garlic crushed

2 rindless bacon slices, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

3 cups beef stock

400g tin crushed/diced tomatoes

1/4 cup worcestershire sauce

2 medium potatoes, chopped

1 medium sweet potato, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 large red capsicum, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves

Coat beef in flour, shake off excess and cook in oil until browned. Transfer to Electric slow cooker.

Briefly cook onion, leek, garlic and bacon in same pan until onion is softened and bacon has started to brown. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker (except the thyme and peas), stir, put on lid and cook for 6 hours. (My slow cooker only has one temperature, which is probably high. Adjust cook time accordingly if your slow cooker has a high or low function.)

During last 15 minutes, sprinkle with thyme and stir in peas.

Serve as is or with brown rice or a decadent slab of ciabatta and butter.

Warm, nourishing and perfect for "Meals on Wheels" to the walking wounded.

I will upload a photo next time I cook this dish...some things just get forgotten when life is redirecting itself!

Bon Appetit

Mia x

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