You know those days when you want to cook something and nothing in the recipe books matches either what you feel like eating – or the ingredients in your pantry? Today was one of those days. Plus, I felt creative and energetic for the first time in a while!

Usually we have a weekly menu on the kitchen wall, religiously written out at the end of the week so we know what to buy and cook throughout the following week. This week, however, has been so busy that our menu was forgotten. Actually, on Sunday morning, Georgia rubbed out all the meals we had had the previous week (helpful) and replaced each meal with the word ‘cake’ (hilarious, of good taste – but not helpful).

So, what to do with 1.3 kilos of beef silverside?

I am hopeless with recipe books, actually. I really prefer making up my own stuff. Never mind the fact that the people who write recipe books really do know what they are talking about, having studied and whatnot. I like to plan out a meal and imagine what it might taste like and look like, and with what it might be accompanied. I get the ingredients out of the pantry and place them (in order of course!) on my bench. Yes, I am a bit OCD about things, aren’t I?!

Tonight I imagined a hearty beef pot roast, with mushrooms and onions. Cooked in the esse wood stove in a heavy le creuset casserole dish, it filled the house with delicious aromas. I would have loved to have picked the ingredients from my own garden. I could have, actually, come to think of it. And as I write this I am becoming increasingly annoyed that I did not think to add some food from my garden: peas comes to mind. Leeks? Spring onions? My own fresh marjoram and thyme and oregano, parsley… Oh well, next time!

Ok so here’s the recipe.

1.3 kilos silverside beef
3 large onions: cut in 1/6ths
4 garlic cloves: squashed and sliced
1 tin mushrooms in butter sauce
1/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
Cornflower, made into a paste, for thickening

Optional: 1/2 cup red wine, 1/2 cup beef stock and extra mushrooms

Place beef into dish and surround with garlic and onions.
Mix sauces, herbs and salt and pepper with the tinned mushrooms.
Pour sauce over onions, garlic and beef. Turn it over a bit in the pot.
Place dish on the stove, set at a medium setting, and cook for about 5 hours, stirring occasionally (if only just to spy on it, smell it, breathe it in a bit and test the flavor).
Turn the meat halfway through the cooking time.

You could cook this in a slow cooker or in the oven if you don’t have a stove-proof casserole dish. I always cook in the wood stove when the fire is on #countryliving!

After 5 hours, remove beef from the dish and let it stand.
Meanwhile, make a paste – about 1/2 cup – of cornflower and water, and add it to the onion gravy.
The onions would have disintegrated and when the sauce is thickened it will look very rich and beautiful and brown.
Carve the meat and serve it up with mashed potatoes and vegetables. Smother the lot in the gravy, to your liking.

The kids loved eating this. I know this because everybody ate the lot. Elora sat, squirming, in her chair, yelling ‘ta ta ta’ and ‘more more more;’ Georgia ate hers quickly; and Matthew soldiered on until it was all gone. The meat was succulent and tender, breaking away from the knife easily. It was browned really well too because I started cooking it on a pretty high setting:


This is the gauge on our esse, and this is the temperature the oven was at when I started cooking this roast. Sometimes I think it is a wonder we cook anything all, with a gauge like that! But we love it, and wouldn’t change it at all.

I am glad there are leftovers!! ;)