Recipes: Fruity beef casserole and Bara Brith

Yesterday I wanted to do something different with the beef I had in the fridge, I usually make a beef and red wine casserole or a beef and mushroom casserole - but we are getting bored with these, so I visited my favourite on-line cooking site ( and found the following recipe.  It had received many positive comments so I thought all these people couldn't be wrong . . . . and no they weren't.  This is a great casserole. The combination of chillie, lemon and plum jam make for the most deelish dish!! I could imagine this recipe with lamb shanks or diced lamb . . . yum.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 40ml (2 tbs) olive oil
  • 1kg lean stewing beef, diced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, peeled, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 heaped tbs plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 lemon, zested plus 1 tbs juice
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) beef stock
  • 1/2 cup plum jam
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
  • Creamy mashed potato, to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add the beef, in batches, and cook until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside to rest.
  3. Add the onion to the pan and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until softened. Add the carrot, garlic, tomato paste, flour and chilli powder. Stir to combine and cook for a further minute. Add the lemon rind and lemon juice, beef stock and plum jam (the liquid needs to just cover the meat so add a little water if necessary).
  4. Season well with salt and pepper and bring to the boil, then place in the preheated oven and cook for 2 hours until the beef is tender.
  5. Garnish with the parsley and serve with some creamy mashed potato.
 from Taste (link)


Bara Brith
(meaning "speckled cake" in Welsh)

If you google Bara Brith you will find many variations of this recipe, some contain yeast, others, like like mine, don't, some even have marmalade jam in the recipe.  Over time Welsh mums had altered it to suit what was in the pantry and as a result we now have many varieties!  This is mine (thanks to my Welsh DH).  Play around and have some fun:)

Preheat oven at 160C (325F)

Soak the fruit in 300ml of hot strong tea (find a strong brand of tea).  The longer the better - overnight is best.
  • 150g currents
  • 150g sultans
Mix together the following:
  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons mixed spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger), depending on how spicy you want it to be
  • 1 egg
Pour in fruit soaked tea along with the tea.  Mix together and pour into pan (I usually use a log tin).  Bake in moderate oven for 1 hour 20 mins or until cooked.  Cover top with foil if becomes too brown.

Once cooked, leave to stand for 5 mins and then tip out of tin.  Using a pastry brush, glaze top of cake with honey.

Best eaten warm with lashings of butter.

PS   I sometimes add 1/2 cup of walnuts to this cake as I love nuts in my fruit cakes.



  1. What unusual-sounding recipes!! Does the tea recipe taste like tea, or does that flavour disappear with cooking??

  2. ooooh, both of these look super yummy! I'm going to have to copy these recipes to try out. been thinking of making casseroles recently (i don't usually:)) so this will come in handy!

  3. Clara, no you can't taste the tea at all, it just makes the cake moist.

  4. The beef casserole sounds awesome, and yummy!!


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