Off-the-Cuff Beef Curry..

Beef curry (7)We’ve all been there – a packet of something with its best-before date shouting at you from the fridge. It usually happens on a Monday, which is my ‘clear-out-the-bottom-of-the-fridge’ day..

And so it was, on a really busy week, that the packet of Organic Beef pieces was guilting me from afar.

Me: (sighing, and definitely on the grumpy side) I’ll just throw this together with whatever else is lying around, and sure it will be grand…’

Me: (later, and definitely more cheerful) Honestly, I should do this more often!

Sometimes, you just chuck a dish together without even thinking about it; and what a joy it is when it turns out so well!

Here’s what I used:


  • A large frying pan.
  • An ovenproof casserole
  • Chopping board, sharp knife etc.


  • 300g or so of beef pieces
  • 2 large onions roughly chopped        Beef curry (12)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 300g Mushrooms – I used mini-Portobello mushrooms – chopped small.
  • 2 teaspoons of ground Cumin

Beef curry (15)

  • 1 teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • Sprinkle of dried Chilli flakes – or half a fresh red /green chilli, finely chopped if you have it.
  • generous splash of red wine
  • 1 x 350g jar of Passata
  • 2-3 tablespoons of dark Soy sauce.
  • 1 tablespoon of dark brown sugar – I used dark Muscovado
  • Salt – taste it first – and Pepper
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Basmati Rice – to serve.


  • Heat the oven to 120º Fan or the equivalent.
  • Heat the oil in the pan until it’s hot – add the beef pieces.
  • Allow the beef to cook until the pieces are charred on the edges – about 10 minutes. If you’re using a large amount of beef, or have a small frying pan, you might need to do this in two batches. Remove the beef to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat and add the onions.

Beef curry (17)

  • Add the chopped mushrooms. Stir around until they start to wilt – about 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and all the spices.
  • Return the beef to the pan.
  • Add the wine; let it bubble and reduce.
  • Add the Passata and the Soya Sauce.

Beef curry (20)

  • Season with a little salt (taste it first – the Soy Sauce might be salty enough) and lots of freshly ground Black Pepper.
  • Transfer the whole lot to the casserole and pop it into the oven at 120ºFan for 1-2 hours or until the beef is tender. See NOTES

Beef curry (4)

  • If you like, add a handful of chopped Apricots and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • As always, this tastes better the next day, so leave it if you can, then reheat gently while you cook the rice.
  • Serve with Basmati Rice.


  • This will freeze like a dream, so make it, freeze it in a labelled and dated container with a tight-fitting lid. Use within 3 months.
  • This would be ideal for a slow cooker – most of the liquid from the mushrooms is evaporated before you leave it to cook.
  • This is a dark, comfort-food curry – it’s warm and comforting, rather than spicy-hot -which is just perfect on a cold wintery evening.
  • Once thawed, it reheats in about the time it takes to cook the rice. Magic!

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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