Before our first date, Bearhands and his brother Craig sat on the back deck of their house, had a beer and made a checklist of qualities I would have to possess to be qualified for the vacant girlfriend position.
The list was extensive but three items stand out in my mind:
- must eat meat.
- must drink beer.
- must have brothers.
I, of course, was blissfully unaware of the existence of this list until months later. On reflection though, it explained the odd line of questioning that came after I ordered the fish at dinner.
When he finally revealed the contents of the list, Bearhands explained the reasoning behind his criteria. Girls with brothers understood boys. They were under no illusions about boy behaviour and boy aroma. He further reasoned that girls who drank beer were likely lower maintenance and that he couldn't see a lot of vegetarian risotto in his future.
beef and beer stew with parsley dumplings
for the stew
- 800g gravy beef
- 3 rashers bacon
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 carrots
- 1 brown onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbs flour
- 375ml beer
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tbs worchestshire sauce
- 300g mushrooms
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
for the dumplings
- 100g self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 60h butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs parsley, chopped
for the stew:
Cut the meat into bite sized cubes. Dice the onion, carrot and celery. Crush the garlic. Slice the mushrooms.
In a heavy saucepan, heat some olive oil and cook the beef in batches. Put aside and keep warm.
In the same pot add some olive oil, the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and saute over a low heat until the onion is translucent. Add the flour and cook for two minutes. Make sure to stir and 'cook' the raw flour flavour out of the mixture. Add the beer, stir and bring to the boil.
Return the meat to the pan, along with the stock, bayleaves, worcestershire sauce and mushrooms. Bring to the boil and cover, reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for ninety minutes.
for the dumplings:
In a food processor combine the flour, baking powder and cubed butter. Process until they mix resembles breadcrumbs. Add the parsley, process again briefly. Add the egg and process until the mix comes together. Then use your hands to form about eight balls of dough.
If the mix doesn't come together easily try adding a little water. About twenty minutes before serving, add the dumplings to the top of the stew. Cover and increase the heat to medium - this will give the dumplings a chance to rise. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until the dumplings have risen.
Meat, check. Beer, check. Ugly food, check. Satisfying tucker, you bet!
The moral of this story is a simple one: if you want to bring all the boys to your yard, skip the milkshakes and serve beef and beer.
what qualities do/did you look for in a partner?
where was your first date?