Beef stew with onion, carrot and turnips

Basic Beef Stew

This basic beef stew is a versatile recipe that can be cooked in a pressure cooker in no time at all, or in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid over several hours.

This recipe was originally published as “Stewed Steak” in “The Basic Basics Pressure Cooker Cook Book” by Marguerite Patten in 1977.


1 – 1/2 lbs or 500 – 750gms of stewing steak. You might know it as stewing beef. Gravy beef will also work well. Cut this into rough cubes, about an inch square.

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 medium sized onions, chopped

2 turnips, peeled and diced

40 gm or about 1 1/4 oz of dripping or other fat. I used vegetable shortening in the video.

420 ml or 14 1/2 fluid oz of beef stock. You’ll need an extra cup if cooking in a regular saucepan.

Your choice of herbs and spices.  Click here for great chart that shows you which spices goes with your choice of meat.

25 gm or 1 oz of plain or all purpose flour.


Heat the fat in your pressure cooker or saucepan.

Lightly cook the onion for a minute or so.

If cooking in a regular saucepan, coat your meat with the flour. Don’t do this if you’re using a pressure cooker

Add the meat and brown quickly.

Add the stock. If using a pressure cooker keep a few tablespoonfuls aside to mix with your flour.

Add the vegetables and seasonings and stir.

Put the lid on and cook on a low heat on the stove-top for 2 – 2 1/2 hours if using a regular saucepan and serve when done.

If using a pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes if you have a 15 lb pressure cooker. Cook for 20 minutes if you have a 10 lb pressure cooker.

When cooked, reduce the pressure quickly by putting in a sink of cold water.

Mix the remaining stock with your flour. Put the open cooker back on the stove, add the flour/water mix and stir over a gentle heat until thickened.

This is a very tasty stew that you can change to suit whatever you have handy at the time.

Onion soup hangover cure

Onion Soup Hangover Cure

The tastiest (and only tolerable) vintage hangover cure that I have found is a classic, light onion soup. This particular recipe was originally published as “onion soup” in the Sunday Times (Perth), July 14th, 1935

Other hangover cures of the time included raw eggs, Worcestershire sauce and oysters, donating blood (although that was in an emergency during WW2 and not generally recommended) , and giving up and staying drunk.


2 medium sized onions, sliced finely

570 ml or 2 1/4 cups of stock (a brown stock or vegetable stock both work well)

1 cup of water

1 tablespoon of butter or margarine

4 teaspoons of plain or all purpose flour

salt and pepper

to garnish




Finely slice the onions and cook in a saucepan in the butter until they’re see-through.

Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the stock and the water. Simmer for 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, toast your bread, put some cheese on top and put it under the grill (broiler to my US visitors) until melted.

Once the soup has cooked for the 15 minutes, add the seasoning. If you’re using a commercially made stock don’t add the salt.

Serve in soup bowls with the cheesy toast floating on top.