Spanish Beef Stew

A year or so ago hubby and I went out for a meal with some friends and hubby had this Spanish style Beef Stew, which he quickly proclaimed a ‘taste sensation’.  Once home I decided to replicate the recipe, the result isn’t quite there but it’s pretty darn good!

Please note that all ingredients are approximate, splash it together to get the consistency you like, the amount of meat to vegetables etc oh and the level of spice.

What you need:

  • 500g Stewing beef
  • 1 tin Stewed Steak
  • 1 tin Butter Beans
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 650g of tomatoes (I like a mixture of cherry, beef and salad tomatoes for the range of textures and flavours)
  • 110g Chorizo Sausage
  • Small handful Green Olives
  • 2 Bouquet Garni
  • 1tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • Large Glass of Red Wine (Save the rest to drink with the stew!)
  • Large Glass of warm water
  • Salt and pepper as required
How to make it:

Marinade the Beef, chorizo and garlic in the red wine, ideally over night.

Brown the Beef and place in either a slow cooker or an oven proof dish (with lid).

Crush the garlic, add to the chopped onion and sweat them down before adding to the Beef.

Lightly brown the chorizo and add to the other ingredients.

Put the tomato, spices, wine, water and butter beans into the pot along with the olives.

Check the liquid, it should cover the ingredients, stir well and if necessary add either some vegetable stock or more red wine until all the ingredients are covered.

Cook slowly, the longer the better, so Low on the slow cooker or about 150 degrees for at least 4hours for best results. If the sauce is too thin mix a small amount of corn flour with water to make a paste and stir this into the pot.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or cous cous and vegetables as required.

I’ve joined the link up at Mari’s World!

My Mummy Journey

My Mummy Journey…….

It all started about 9years ago, I was diagnosed with PCOS and underwent various tests before being told that we would definitely need IVF in order to have children. We were upset and worried about what that meant for our future but we were young, IVF is a massive thing, we decided to wait until we felt ready.We stopped using contraception but really forgot about wanting children for a long time.

Time passed and as it did the thought of children got further away, we got married, we talked about trying for babies when we turned 30. Life carried on.

My Mummy Journey

After a wedding in 2008, something was off. I wondered why I had sore boobs, in fact I wondered why my boobs had been sore for 2 weeks – strange, my periods were so erratic by this time that I couldn’t know if my period was due or not. So I did a pregnancy test, I knew the result would be negative. I went and got ready for bed whilst it was developing and nearly forgot to check it I was so sure it would be negative. Something drew me back to that test, as I turned it over there were 2 lines  staring back up at me. But I couldn’t be pregnant, I physically couldn’t be pregnant, could I?

Now it had actually happened I was scared. I couldn’t tell my husband, I lay awake all night going over and over it in my head. I had just started a new job, I was really focused on my career, we weren’t ready for a baby. Come on, we weren’t even able to have a baby, yet here we were. The next morning I tested again, yes, sure enough two lines appeared on the test again. I was shell shocked.

“We have a problem”, I told my husband. “What?” he asked panicked, “I’m pregnant”. Why I decided to tell him when he was stood at the top of the stairs I’ll never know, poor guy very nearly fell down the lot! At this point I should add that C, if you ever read this, you were very very wanted, you were just the biggest surprise of our lives. I never expected to be hit so hard with such a strong sense of protectiveness as I felt from that day forward.

And so it began, 16 weeks or so of sickness and tiredness ensued before I started to feel good. At the 20 wk scan we held our breath while the sonographer carried out all the checks, we were so relieved to hear everything was fine. Then she moved onto the really exciting part, what flavour was this baby? As the picture appeared on screen I was sure I saw something, sure enough with a smile she confirmed “that looks like boy bits to me”. We were so excited, a boy!

We were given a 4D scan as a Christmas present, it was amazing, the cheeky monkey did a complete 180 when we went out for a walk to give some amazing pictures, I felt like I knew my baby boy already.

The pregnancy went really well, I had the usual aches and pains and the kicks that take your breath away but otherwise it was good.

My due date came and went, I was fed up. My mum tried to keep me occupied with shopping trips. The day I eventually went into labour I had traipsed around IKEA for a few hours, I felt fine. That afternoon I had a really dodgy tummy. Secretly I was pleased, I’d read somewhere that a dodgy tummy was a sign that labour would follow in a couple of days. The dodgy tummy carried on into the evening. At about 7.30pm, the dodgy tummy turned into nasty IBS cramps (pain in the left hand side of my stomach as usual for me and my IBS). By about 10pm my husband suggested I might be in labour, I thought he was crazy but he made me go to the hospital anyway. All the way I was cross with him saying “I hate you, we are going to get all the way there and I won’t be in labour and they will just make me go all the way home!”

I was examined by the midwife, 4cm dilated. I wasn’t going anywhere. I burst into tears, I wasn’t ready to have a baby, I was scared. C came naturally at 2.34am, he weighed 7lb 10oz, my beautiful sister and mum stayed with me the whole time, my husband was sent to his parents house to wait it out. The last thing I needed was for him to faint, he is very scared of needles after all!

The next few months were a whirlwind, C was hard work! He was a poor breast feeder and I struggled through until he was 7 mths old (another post to follow on this subject) and stopped with a view to going back to work. I went back to work in the January, just part time but it was enough.

We decided that we would stop using contraception in the March, we thought that we would like another baby but given our history we worried that it would take a long time. It didn’t, I tested in the June, I was pregnant again. This time C and I told Daddy together, he was shocked again but not nearly as much as the time before and we were very excited at the thought of a brother or sister for C. We were sure it was a boy! In the August, I was told by my employers I either needed to drop my hours or increase them. Given that I was pregnant I decided to increase them to get better maternity pay and to be able to save some money for after the new baby arrived.

At 13 weeks my left hip was starting to hurt, it got steadily worst over the coming weeks. I was diagnosed with SPD and given a support belt to wear, that didn’t help at all, in fact it felt to make things worse and I was signed off work at  23 weeks. That same week I was given crutches and I had to hobble everywhere, everything was a real effort. The SPD got progressively worse, the NHS gave me cupping and acupuncture but I was told that they had left it too late for it to work. The physio exercises helped a bit but it didn’t stop me needing a wheelchair to get out and about from about 30weeks.

At the 20week scan once again we were very relieved to find all was well with the baby and we asked what we were having and we were shocked to find out the baby was a girl, we didn’t know what to do with a girl!

SPD is an evil, debilitating condition that broke my body and drove me mad. The pain took over everything and I’m pretty sure I was a horrible person to know back then. I learnt a lot about long term pain and how it affects your mind. It robs you of the ability to think clearly, react normally or even feel like you. It was a dark and terrible time for me personally as I felt the strain of not being a ‘proper’ mum to C or a proper wife to my husband.

My Mummy Journey

Eventually, I was booked in for a csection at nearly 39 weeks, I was scared about having major surgery but I knew that;

1. couldn’t carry on with that amount of pain

and 2. I was worried about doing myself long term damage in labour.

LissyLou was born on a Monday morning, 11.15am, weighing 7lb 7oz to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. It was a surreal experience, but this time hubby faced his massive fears and was there in theatre holding my hand and was the first person to hold her. It was beautiful watching him sing to her while they finished the op.

A short hospital stay later and LissyLou and I came home, unlike C she took to breast feeding like a dream, and she sleeps! C still isn’t the best sleeper even now!

So that’s it, my family is complete. I always wanted 2 children, and I have one of each. Even if I had wanted further children this last pregnancy means I won’t ever do that again. I couldn’t go through all that pain again and would not put my family through it either, life for hubby and C was pretty pants for most of the pregnancy. In the back of mind I long for the pregnancy I couldn’t enjoy with LissyLou, for the plans I had for a more active labour and birth and the things I longed to do during that pregnancy that I couldn’t. I know that I am blessed to have healthy children and be healthy myself but the ‘what if’s’ creep in from time to time and my heart aches for them.

I am very blessed

My Mummy Journey