Tag Archives: cinnamon

Just Gorgeous Beef Casserole with Red Wine and Cinnamon


I’ve had this recipe in my ‘to do’ file for years but every time I’ve flicked through, I’ve seen the words ‘prunes’ and ‘cinnamon’ in the ingredients list, hesitated and then….moved on. However, I finally decided to try it and, as a woman who has cooked hundreds of beef casseroles, this one stands head and shoulders above the rest! The eclectic mix of ingredients make for a fabulously rich sauce with beautifully intensified, silky flavours – everyone around the table was agreed – this is the best of all that we’ve tried: why did we wait so long? Try it, you’ll love it!

Serves 6 – 8

What you need…

1 x ovenproof casserole

600ml boiling water from kettle

2 beef stockpots

1kg braising steak, diced

600ml robust red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon works well)

4 garlic cloves, chopped

4 cinnamon sticks

12 bay leaves

8 slices good quality streaky bacon, chopped

Knob of butter

12 small shallots, chopped

24 baby carrots

16 soft dried prunes

2 tablespoons plain flour

What to do…

The night before! Put the meat, wine, garlic, cinnamon and bay leaves into a large bowl, give them a quick stir and pop in the fridge overnight, allowing the flavours to develop.

The next day, preheat the oven to 150° / 300°f / gas 2.

In a small jug, dissolve the stockpots into the boiling water from the kettle (a small balloon whisk works really well). Set aside.

Drain the meat, reserving the marinade. Then dry the meat on kitchen roll.

Fry the streaky bacon in a large saucepan over a moderate heat until it starts to brown. Add the knob of butter and then the shallots, carrots, prunes and reserved cinnamon and bay leaves. Sauté until the shallots and carrots start to brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ingredients to your casserole dish.

To the pan, add the meat and brown. Tip in the flour, stir well and then reintroduce the shallots mixture. Whack up the heat to high and add the stock and the marinade. Bring it to the boil and then tip the whole lot back into the casserole dish, pop on the lid and then stick it in the oven. Cook in the oven for 2½ hours. The smell, as it’s cooking will be amazing! Take the casserole out and check that the meat is succulent by retrieving one piece and trying it – if it’s not quite falling apart in your mouth, pop it back in for another 15 minutes, but it should be done by now.

Once removed from the oven, leave to rest for 15 minutes and then serve with really lovely buttery mashed potato (naughty) or baked potatoes (good) as well as either boiled broccoli or a steamed leek and cabbage mix. Take your first forkful, and sit back and smile – the flavours really are sublime and frankly, you just want to keep eating more!

Inspired by…

Waitrose Food Illustrated from several years ago!

How easy…

Really easy and so worth it!



Apple and Almond Cake with Cinnamon and Nutmeg

A lovely, moist cake with a layer of apple running through the middle, this cake simply exudes Autumn for me and the combination of the apple with the cinnamon and nutmeg is made in heaven!

Serves 12

What you need…

3 Granny Smith apples

6 large eggs

335g dark soft brown sugar

335g butter

340g self-raising flour

55g ground almonds

1½ tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons good-quality apple sauce

for the decoration

2 tablespoons flaked almonds

Icing sugar

Ground cinnamon

What to do…

Grease a 10in/25cm round cake tin (with a removable bottom for easy cake extraction) and preheat oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Put the eggs, sugar and butter into a food processor/electric mixer and mix thoroughly.

Add the flour, ground almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg and apple sauce, mixing together until lump-free.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples.

Arrange one third of the sliced apples around the bottom of the tin – fanned and slightly overlapping. Pour half the batter on top and then arrange a second third of the apples. Pour over the remaining batter and then arrange the rest of the apples. Scatter over a handful of flaked almonds.

Bake for 60 – 75 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then ease out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Mix together the icing sugar and cinnamon in an icing sugar shaker and dust over the top of the cake with the remaining flaked almonds. Your yummy, gorgeous apple and almond cake with cinnamon and nutmeg is now ready to be indulged: kettle on, comfy chair, some relaxing music and a slice of delicious cake: a little indulgence goes a long way!

Where from…

Chinskitchen.co.uk, published in The Daily Telegraph

How easy…

Dead easy. Process and let it cook itself!