Food | Gingerbread Lad – Home cooked comfort food

Ginger Bread Lad

We’re getting deeper into the first semester, the nights are getting darker and homesickness is probably kicking in a little. If mum and dad’s cooking is what you’re missing, bring it to Leeds. These simple, warming dishes are comfort food classics to tide you over until you can get the authentic version. In this first installment, LSi treats you to some delicious warming autumn recipes.

Steak Stew and Rosemary Dumplings

This is definitely one for a lazy Sunday. Just leave it bubbling away, occasionally adding extra stuff to this comforting pan of goodness. The dumplings are lighter without suet and it makes the ingredients easier to get hold of. Serves 2


1 tbsp olive oil

Steak Stew

1 small onion, sliced into half-moons

300g Stewing Steak

1 litre beef stock

2 tbsp flour

2 bay leaves

2 sticks of celery, chopped into chunks

2 large carrots, chopped into large batons

80g mushrooms

2 tbsp corn flour mixed with 4 tbsp water

For the dumplings

200g self raising flour

100g lard

The leaves of 3 rosemary sprigs chopped

Salt and pepper

About 140ml water

Heat the oil in a large pan and once hot add the beef to seal. While all sides of the beef are colouring throw in the onions and stir so they begin to sweat. Once the meat is sealed, spoon over the flour and stir. Pour over the beef stock and bring to boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for an hour then add the carrots and celery. Simmer for another hour then add the mushrooms. Allow to simmer for a final hour, so that the steak tenderly stews and the vegetables soften. During this time, make the dumplings. Rub together the flour and lard until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then add the rosemary, salt and pepper. Slowly add the water and stir with hands until the mixture comes together. You want them to be quite sticky. Form them into four balls and put to one side. Preheat oven to 220c/Fan 200c. When the mushrooms have been in the stew for an hour, turn off the heat and pour in the corn flour to thicken. Stir until you the gravy in the stew is thick and glossy. Pour into an ovenproof dish and sit the dumplings on top of the stew. Bake for about 25-30 mins, until the dumplings are golden and firm. Serve with mashed potato and a side veg of your choice.

Cheese and Bacon Hotpot

Anything called a ‘hot pot’ must be comforting and a cheese one takes it to another level. Why not experiment with the cheese? The farmers market outside the Union have a great stall with a range of cheeses to add variation to your dish. Serves 2


2 potatoes, peeled and sliced

1 large carrot,chopped

1⁄2 red pepper, diced

1 large stick of cellary chopped

1/2 small leek, chopped

800ml veg stock

2 rashers bacon

For the cheese sauce

1tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

About 170ml milk

40g grated cheese of choice

1⁄2 tsp crushed mustard seeds

Put all the vegetables in a pan with the stock and bring to boil. Leave to simmer for about 20-25 minutes, until the veg is cooked through. In the meantime, heat a small amount of oil in frying pan for the bacon. With some scissors, snip the rashers into little chunks and fry for about 10 minutes until crisp. Put to bacon in a little bit of tin foil and seal to keep in warm. Once the veg is cooked set to one side. Heat a small saucepan and add the butter and flour. Quickly stir until it forms a little ball then slowly pour in the milk, whisking until smooth and thick. Add the cheese and mustard seeds then stir. Drain the vegetables but keep some of the stock to loosen up the sauce and the veggies. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and mix. If it seems too thick, little by little pour in some of the stock, just until you have the right, creamy consis- tency. Throw in half of the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Once plated up, top with the rest of the bacon and serve with crusty bread.

Wil Law

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