Advent Calendar 9: Goulash

My mum makes phenomenal goulash. When I was growing up, on a sunday evening, we would gather as a family in the lounge to watch some silly tv, chat about our day and eat a simple meal. We were a busy family (my brother plays sports, my mum was a teacher…) so there usually wasn’t time for a traditional roast dinner. We often had delicious jacket potatoes with varied toppings and left overs. However if more time was available, mum would whip up a delicious rich beefy goulash, let it cook for a couple of hours, and serve it with boiled potatoes and sour cream. Yum.

This recipe of hungarian origin is easy to throw together. Like all good beef stews, it’s a  little bit of chopping, and a whole lot of leaving it alone to bubble and brew for a couple of hours. I know I’ve put several beef stews in this advent calendar, but these warming, hearty dishes are perfect for the winter season. They’re great crowd pleasers and show stoppers for impromptu entertaining, perfect meals to fit other tasks like card writing and gift wrapping around, and for a little bit of effort you get a lot a reward. They’re also exactly what I’m eating right now, and they make me think of spending time with family, and therefore christmas.

Goulash

400g stewing beef (I used shin)
2 onions
2 peppers (one green, one red if you have them)
Handful of flour
2tbsp tomato purée
2tbsp paprika
1 tin chopped tomatoes
75ml wine (red or white work)
300ml beef stock
Salt and pepper

Chop up the beef into one inch cubes.

In a large pan, brown the meat. Remove it from the pan and add the chopped vegetables.

Soften the veg for about five minutes or until the onions are sweated. Add the flour, purée, wine, paprika and seasoning and stir through to make a loose paste.

Put the meat back, then add the tomatoes and stock. Give the stew a good stir to combine all the ingredients.

If your pot is ovenproof, pop the lid on and bake in the oven at 180c for 1 1/2-2 hours. Otherwise, you can cook the whole dish on the hob, covered, for the same amount of time, removing the lid for the final 20-30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.

Serve will mountains of fluffy mash, sour cream, and sprinkles of paprika.

I’ll add photos of this delicious redder-than-red stew asap. I hope you’ll give it a go!

Natasha x

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Giveaway update

Hello kittens!

It has been brought to my attention that some people have been having trouble entering the giveaway. To give you all a fighting chance, you can also enter via twitter. Tweet me @shewhobakes with the hashtag #swbgiveaway, and as per the comment method, let me know what you would like to see more of on the blog going forward!

Good luck!

Nx

Special Delivery! June Cathampurr review

This review is SUPER overdue, but after the fun and games of the first Cat Hampurr review, I decided to give their second box a go. This time, I invited Dexter, my big black tuxedoed cat to join me in the unboxing. Japes ensued.

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DeeDee also demanded to be included.

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This box was really heavy, and jam packed with goodies. The first item I picked out was the Feline Fayre tins. Cathampurr were kind enough to furnish us with five of them, wrapped in purple tissue…

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Yeah…

Anyway, five tins is an excellent sample. My two fuzzbutts are greedy guts, so one of these wouldn’t go very far- more a snack than a meal. I was really pleased that the chosen protein source was fish, as I prefer to feed these two on fish products. I feel, probably erroneously, that the source/level of processing of fish in animal feeds is less than with poultry and meat. I also worry about growth hormones and such in poultry not of british origin… but I digress.

The packaging on these tins, plus the portion size, suggests this is a classy, premium product, and the cats were definitely interested. Truth be told, I’ll probably end up feeding some of this, if not all, to my rats, because I am a cruel mummy, and the cats eat a mainly dry food diet.

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Since June marked the start of the football World Cup, Cathampurr included some catnip spiked toy balls so the cats can have their own kick about. I appreciate the inclusion of a two-pack, as it means they can have one each, instead of one of them (DeeDee) playing whilst the other stares on wistfully (Dexter). Also, my cats love to throw their toys under furniture, so at least they’ll still have one to play with if they lose the other.

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Uhoh. Another catnip toy. This time it was an adorable floral bunny from the Natural Pet Toy Company. This went down a treat with the kitties, and it still has some mojo, nearly two months on. Here’s Dexter’s reaction to said little rabbit…

Pretty scary, really. Basically, they loved it. It’s a brand I’m not familiar with, but I’d use it again!

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Next up was a sample of Burns’ chicken and rice dry cat food. Burns is a great brand and I have used them for years to feed my other pets. They provide excellent quality at competitive prices. I consider them to be a premium brand, but they won’t break the bank either. I’ve never used their cat food before, however, so the kitties will enjoy trying this out. The sample is about one meal’s worth.

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Lilly’s Kitchen Crunchy nibbles are a wet food topper to add interest and promote dental health. My cats actually decided they wanted to eat them on their own, and tore into the packet one night when I left them unattended. I never said they were well behaved cats. They have no class. Anyway, the packaging of this product is so. Darn. Cute. I love it! It’s a brand I’ve never heard of, and given how much they enjoyed the product, and the lovely packaging (I’m a packaging fan- I can’t help it), I would be interested in trying it again.

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I think the above picture sums up Dexter’s thoughts and feelings about this product.

It’s true love.

Arden Grange Liver Treat is a patê/paste treat, which I have never used for the cats, but they took to it like a duck to water. Or a pig’s liver to a cats face. It smells… rich, and the cats, once they worked out how the deliciousness was conveyed, went mad for it. I’ve used paste treats for other pets before, and for them it’s been excellent to mask medicine. I imagine this product would be perfect for getting ground up or liquid medicine into tricky customers, too. Regardless, it was a huge hit, a new brand to me and something pretty different to what I was expecting from the hampurr.

Finally there were some vouchers. One was a huge, laminated monstrosity for a brand that wasn’t even in the box.

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If you have read previous unboxings, you’ll know I don’t tend to count vouchers towards box value, because they generally require additional spending, and that’s not what we’re about here at SWB. I also thought it was weird that this brand had put a voucher in, when they hadn’t provided a sample. Very odd.

So, as you can see, the box was jam packed, and pretty much every product was a hit with the fluffies. But, was it a good deal?

  • Feline Fayre Simple cat food x5: 24 tins retail for £16.56, so 5 are worth £3.35
  • Jolly Moggy Catnip Sisal Balls: £2.50
  • The Natural Pet Company Catnip Bunny: £4
  • Burns Original Cat Food: 2kg is worth £7.99, so this 50g sample is worth a minuscule £0.20
  • Lilly’s Kitchen Crunchy Nibbles for Cats: 400g goes for £4.95, so this 40g sample is worth £0.49
  • Arden Grange Liver Treat: £1.99

Total: £12.63

I think this total really proves that quantity, and even quality, doesn’t always mean value. On a subscription, a CatHampurr will cost you a total of £15.90 (£11.95 + 3.95 shipping)- it’s more if you want to order a one off box. That means that before shipping, the contents of this box aren’t worth much more than what you paid, and with shipping included, you’re out of pocket. I know that Cathampurr is a new start up (this was only their second box) but this is pretty poor. Subscription boxes across the board should be providing value for money, no matter who they are catering for. LootCrates regularly provide twice the box value, and LIB often give you thrice the cost of the box back in goodies. For this reason, I decided it wasn’t worthwhile at this point to continue getting the Cathampurr, no matter how much the cats enjoy opening them with me. For less than the cost of the box, I could buy them stacks of treats and toys each month. However, I would be very interested in following this company, and I hope they go from strength to strength. If their repute grows and they manage to increase the value of their boxes, I would definitely think about going back.

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If you’d like to watch the unboxing, be sure to check out the video below for live action shenanigans!

Later days!

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July at She Who Bakes, PLUS! New blog!

Hello kittens! I hope this finds you well.

June ended up being a pretty scant month here at She Who Bakes, what with my birthday and my holiday… but if you’re a follower of the SWB twitter or instagram pages, you’ll have probably had a better deal. Be sure to scurry on over to catch up on all the #swbholibobs shenanigans.

The New Forest was a hoot and a half, and I’m delighted to say I’ll be zipping off there again in the autumn for another well deserved break. But in the mean time, there’s loads going on in my life, and here at SWB.

I have two massive family do’s coming up- the party to celebrate my grandparent’s SEVENTIETH wedding anniversary (yes, 70!) in a few days, and my brother’s wedding in early august. I’ll be baking for one of these, and I’m sure those celebratory cakes and bakes will find their way here!

I’ve been promising it for two months now, and the wait is over! The Spiced Blueberry Jam recipe will go up this week without fail! Some other fruity treats will follow: I’m trying my hand at shrubs- no, not the leafy kind. Be sure to check that out when it goes up online.

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If you’re here for the pretty things, I have a couple of fun box reviews to come, as well as a review of a new company and different kind of subscription service (oo-er!), and a sort of haul… You’ll see!

To be honest though, I might not get through all the content I’d like this month, as I’ll be blogging nigh daily over at Cavewoman Eats Paleo! After much reading I’ve decided to give the Paleo diet a go for 30 days, and rather than clog up the feed here, I’ll be separating the content out onto the new blog. I’ll be sure to flag any recipes over here too, but if you’re interested in watching me cry into steak and long for dairy products and cakes, you’ll know where to find me.

 

Later days!

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SWB on holiday!

That’s right kittens- I’ve jetted off for a much needed break with my darling mother. I won’t be posting for the next week, though I have a scheduled box review coming on the 23rd. I’ll be back at the end of the month with a recipe or two, but if you want to follow my shenanigans in the mean time, follow the tag #swbholibobs on @shewhobakes Instagram and Twitter.

Later days, kittens!

BEDA: After the ball was over…

Today have entertained some of my bestest pals, and stuffed them full if turkey and the trimmings, plus 4 homemade cakes which were freshly baked today. I have also mopped my floor three times after spilling huge quantities of oil on it, and washed my rapunzelesque locks. For someone who has mild issues with her energy levels, I am calling this a huge win.

However, now I have bid everyone adieu, stripped the 6.5 kilo bird, packaged up the fridgeables, wrapped up the cake leftovers and prepared dinner for the vermin swarm, I am now half undressed on my soft, typing on my phone, longing for pajamas and bed whilst my cats zip past in a turkey fuelled meat rage.

Thus, wait til tomorrow for some recipes :p

The hostess with the mostest,

Nx