A block and a stew…

by Sunita on October 11, 2007

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Writer’s block! Isn’t that what they say when you try to sit down and write something , but all that comes out is….well, nothing really. When you think of penning a masterpiece…words flowing effortlessly from your pen, or should I say, words being typed away at ease on the keyboard…constantly. So what do you do, when, you are perched in front of the laptop, with great plans of typing your thoughts the best way possible, and … what else, but no words come to your mind.

Well, I definitely felt that way today. Has my brain frozen…well, there is indeed a possibility, for the temperature has really made a nosedive today. It has been a nice sunny morning, and in all the bustle that accompanies a weekday, I didn’t quite realise how cold it actually was. We were a few minutes behind schedule, and as me and the kids hurriedly stepped out of the house and opened the garage to take out our bikes, I was still unaware…the heat of rushing around was still keeping me quite warm. But as we hit the path, and as the cold air hit my face and numbed my hands, and reddened my nose, as the clouds of smoke burst out of our breaths or every time we spoke… I realised it all so well…that it’s time for those heavy coats now… well, time also for those little squabbles with hubby dear, for I, unlike him, usually want the radiator on at most times :-)

There is indeed another kind of charm in the air when the temperatures drop…the entire atmosphere seems to change… nature seems to be quieter as well…the bustle of spring is not there….a kind of hush seems to prevail…the sun shines down, but with a soft and gentle warmth in it’s rays, ever so slightly brightening the changing hues of the trees at this time of the year, and glistening the blades of grass laden with dew…a different kind of beauty altogether…the people in their bright wintry gear are also a part of this atmosphere. I simply love to take in all this…so very refreshing. Well, nature always is , isn’t it.

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The cycle path(the darker lane, the lighter being the walk) near our house, which we use everyday to the kid’s school…

Now, did I mention about ‘brain freeze’ a short while ago…well, talking about nature does seem to have thawed it well :-) The drop in the weather temperatures is very often complimented by an increase of temperature of the food…well, at least that’s what I feel. So, when we come in after a stint in the cold outdoors, there is nothing quite like being greeted with a bowl of warm, hearty and comforting food…a bowl around which we can wrap our hands to take in it’s warmth, and then savour the same from it’s contents. A bowl of this stew with minced lamb, vegetables and rice is just one of those things that I love to serve my family on such a day. The kids never complain when I serve them this stew and I don’t have to give them that gentle nudge to finish their meal.It is an uncomplicated dish without a drop of oil, is hearty, nutritious and comforting at the same time. I love making it…can feel the warmth already seeping into me. The lovely aromas that waft through the kitchen and through the entire house, are pleasing indeed. And the best bit is that it is a one-pot meal where one can put everything together, resulting in one wholesome dish. So here goes…

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What’s needed-

475 gms of minced lamb
2 carrots, scraped and cut into small cubes
a handful of green beans, cut into diamonds
2 medium sized potatoes,peeled and cut into small cubes
1/2 a red pepper, deseeded and chopped into medium sized pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
3-4 pods of garlic , crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 tblsp plain flour
3 tblsp worcestershire sauce
3 stock cubes, diluted in 3and1/2 glasses of hot water
2 C cooked rice
a pinch or more of chilli powder(optional)
salt
and a generous helping of freshly ground pepper

How to-

  1. Place the mince, carrots, beans, potatoes, onion and garlic in a slightly heated pan and fry for 10 minutes or till the juices begin to flow.
  2. Blend in the flour , tomato puree and the worcestershire sauce.
  3. Gradually stir in the stock.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the bay leaves and simmer for 15-20 minutes or till the vegetables are done.
  6. Stir in the rice, and simmer for another 5-6 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

This stew tastes the best if served immediately, for it tends to thicken on cooling. Add a little water, or even better, a little stock, if reheating it.

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It is a very hearty and filling dish… a dish which we immensely enjoy, especially on a chilly night.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandeepa October 11, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Not a drop of Oil !!! Did I read that right ? If I am using minced chicken does the same rule follow ? No butter too right ?

I want to make this soon if no oil is added, let me know. Thanks

Looks great and filling

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2 Asha October 11, 2007 at 2:46 pm

You did very well for a girl with “block”!!;D
Stew looks great, somewhat like US chili but lot lighter. Good one Miss!:))

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3 sunita October 11, 2007 at 2:54 pm

sandeepa, you did read that right…there is indeed no drop of oil or any butter.I’ve never made this dish with chicken, but I guess it should come out all right.

There…now go on and make it:)

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4 sunita October 11, 2007 at 2:55 pm

asha, thanks…it’s one of our favourites.

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5 Sia October 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm

writer’s block han? i go through same phase many times and get so frustrated!!! i know what i want to write but i cant seem to put them into words;) but u have managed quite good with well thawed brain cells ;)
ur bike path looks so good suni. wish we had something similar like that rather than driving on motorways:(
how abt some vegetarian stews for me??? gorgeous pic suni, ur photography is becoming good day by day just like the way u whip those stunning cakes:)

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6 musical October 11, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Now that looks lovely! what writer’s block, it all seems so perfect :) . The stew is super-healthy! I do that sometimes too, just toast the vegetables, no need to stir fry :) . Hey and the cycling path looks so pretty, with all the colors of autumn! And the new header, absolutely gorgeous!

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7 Sig October 11, 2007 at 3:40 pm

:) Hey, you wrote up all that with a block? Then imagine what you would’ve wrote without one :)

Love this recipe, perfect antidote to cold weather…

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8 sunita October 11, 2007 at 4:18 pm

sia, it is indeed quite frustrating…

As for the cycle path,we are indeed blessed to have it so nearby…I understand what you say about motorways…one of the reasons for us backing away on moving to those parts… or probably we’re getting too ruralised :)

And as for the pictures, well, I’ll let you onto a little secret…I used to paint once upon a time…since I hardly spread colours on canvasses nowadays, I’m trying to do the best I can with the camera…of course, I’m just a novice and trying to teach myself…so thanks for the encouragement.

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9 sunita October 11, 2007 at 4:21 pm

musical, thanks for all those lovely words…my bag is overflowing :) …but honestly, I did spend quite a few moments without knowing how and what to start with…thankfully, nature always comes to my rescue…I can go on and on about it.

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10 sunita October 11, 2007 at 4:25 pm

Sig, honestly, as I said, I was indeed quite frustrated for a while…thought my brain cells had stopped working:)

As for the stew, it is indeed a very comforting dish.

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11 Sharmi October 11, 2007 at 6:22 pm

sunita the pic on the header looks nice and the cycle path pic too.

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12 Mansi Desai October 11, 2007 at 6:27 pm

wow, that’s a heck of a recipe!!! no trans fat at all:) cool! I really envy the path in front of your home!:(

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13 sunita October 11, 2007 at 6:35 pm

Sharmi, thanks…glad you like the pics..the one in the banner is one of my favourites too…I stumbled upon that natural scene, almost by accident.

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14 sunita October 11, 2007 at 6:38 pm

mansi, thanks, and it is indeed filling as well…we do love it a lot…as for the cycle path, well, it’s not exactly in front of our house, but, yes, it’s just less than a a minute away.

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15 Suganya October 11, 2007 at 7:04 pm

Nature is always refreshing particularly during fall. Everything around us screams ‘beauty’ :)

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16 Padma October 11, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Such an awesome recipe with lamb kheema as far as I know. Would love to try this when i bring kheema next time. You take such wonderful snaps Sunita, Hats off!

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17 sunita October 11, 2007 at 8:23 pm

suganya, nature is indeed so refreshing…at this time of the year, everything acquires such a nice hue.

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18 sunita October 11, 2007 at 8:24 pm

padma, thanks…do give it a try…hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did :) …as for the pics, I’m still learning.

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19 Nabeela October 11, 2007 at 8:38 pm

That looks like a lovely stew Sunita…I’ve been craving stews and soups for the past week too

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20 sunita October 11, 2007 at 9:34 pm

nabeela, thanks…the weather is right for it.

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21 Anh October 11, 2007 at 10:42 pm

Very lovely stew indeed! I wish I had some mince to make this tonight!

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22 Richa October 11, 2007 at 11:12 pm

hey, the new header looks beautiful! The bench invokes feelings of mystery, i feel ;)
that is one lovely path to cycle on!!

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23 Toffeeapple October 12, 2007 at 8:00 am

Wow! That’s my Saturday dinner sorted then, thanks for that. It looks very much like the stews my Mother used to make in Wales, but she always used the very cheapest cut of lamb and stewed it for a day on the hob by the fire. And she used to make dumplings for it too. Happy memories.

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24 sunita October 12, 2007 at 8:15 am

anh, thanks…I wish you had some too…we do love this stew a lot.

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25 sunita October 12, 2007 at 8:18 am

richa, glad you like the header…I too love the picture…I just happened to stumble upon the scene and couldn’t help capturing the moment…seems to say quite a lot of things, doesn’t it? and yes, we’re really lucky to have that path to ride on(touch wood).

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26 sunita October 12, 2007 at 8:24 am

toffeeapple, glad to be of help in sorting out your dinner :) …your mother stewed it for a whole day!!!!That will need so much of patience…but the outcome must be great, and the dumplings must have made it taste even better.So, do you come from Wales? We went there a couple of years ago…absolutely loved it..we went to Brecon Beacons…stunning views.btw, do you have a blog…because I can’t seem to be able to access it.

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27 Bharathy October 12, 2007 at 3:20 pm

Fine Recipe,Sunita!!!
Love the bike path as well!!

Excellent pictures!!…

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28 Toffeeapple October 12, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Hi Sunita,
I don’t have a blog of my own, I just hang around everyone else’s. Yes, I am from Wales, not too far from the Brecon Beacons, in Abertillery. Used to be a lovely little town but that was 50 years ago; it’s all changed now. Mind you, there are no ’slag heaps’ from the coal waste anymore, that is a dfinite improvement.
Mum used to cook the lamb stew for so long because we had very little money and the ‘Scrag end of neck’ was a very tough and therefore cheap cut of meat. It would sit by the fire cooking very gently on the black-leaded hob and the aroma would tantalize for hours on end.

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29 sunita October 12, 2007 at 6:40 pm

bharathy, thanks…glad you dropped by…have a great weekend.

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30 sunita October 12, 2007 at 6:46 pm

toffeeapple,nice to know about you…aren’t mom’s wonderful…your’s must have been a strong lady…and yes, the aromas from that stew would definitely be tantalizing indeed…do feel free to ‘hang out’ here :-)

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31 Toffeeapple October 15, 2007 at 2:52 pm

Thanks Sunita, I’ll certainly hang around here, I love your photos and your recipes. Like you, I used to paint too, before the job became necessary. One day…

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32 sunita October 15, 2007 at 6:22 pm

tofeeapple, you’re most welcome…as for the painting, yes, maybe one day….

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