Friday, June 15, 2012

Wintery Beef Stew with Onion Walnut Rye Scrolls

For the most of you who are living anywhere above the equator... you must be thinking that I must be crazy eating this stew and scrolls at this time of the year. True enough and sad to say that these are actually the nice and comforting wintery food that we are eating now all because of the reason that we are living at down-under (which is also known as upside-down of the world).

I must admit that I do feel good cooking these wintery food... First of all, it was nice to keep the oven on to warm up our chilly day while doing these slow-cooking. Secondly, I can cook a large portion of this stew, so that I can kept the leftover in the freezer to supplement any of my lazy weekday cooking. Lastly, nothing beat the enjoyment of eating these warm-tasting food on a cold wintery night.... Hope that you can feel the warmth too by looking at our dinner.

Our nice and warm dinner...
Making the simple beef stew
Slow-cooking the stew
Making the scrolls
Here are the recipes (with my modification in blue)

Simple Beef Stew from the book, Epicure Winter 
by Stephanie Alexander, Brigitte Hafner and Jill Dupleix and this recipe is written by Stephanie Alexander.

Serve 4-6

1.5kg chuck or blade steak, cut into large cubes
60g plain flour
2 tsp Spanish paprika (replaced by Hungarian sweet paprika)
400g tinned peeled tomatoes (replaced with tinned finely chopped tomatoes)
1 glass white or red wine  

(I used Shiraz which is spicy, plumy and goes very well with beef)
2 onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced (replaced with minced garlic)
1 stick celery, finely sliced
3 medium potatoes, cut into large chunks
salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 180°C (or 160°C fan forced). Roll beef in flour mixed with paprika (easiest to do in a plastic or paper bag). Put into an enamelled cast iron casserole dish that will hold all the ingredients comfortably with not too much extra space.

Whiz tomatoes and their juice in a food processor, or crush roughly with a wooden spoon ( I didn't do this because I was using the finely chopped tomatoes), and add to meat. Add remaining ingredients to casserole and stir. Press a piece of baking paper over contents and cover with lid. Cook in oven undisturbed, for 2 hr.

Taste for seasoning. Check if meat is tender and cook longer if necessary (I cooked mine for 2 1/2 hrs). Offer stew with a bowl of yogurt and maybe a small bowl of sliced pickled dill cucumbers. Or serve with simply cooked carrots or another vegetable alongside. And, I served mine with these onion walnut rye scrolls...

Rye Walnut Scrolls from

1 medium onion, chopped (1 cup) (replaced with 200g store-bought caramelised onion)
1 tbsp salt, divided (I used only 1/4 tsp for the bread dough with half of the recipe)
1/2 cup olive oil (I used the extra-virgin one)
2 cups whole milk
2 tsp active dry yeast (from a 1/4-oz package)
1/4 cup warm water (105–115°F)
1 tbsp mild honey or sugar (I used honey)
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for kneading and dusting
(I use a combination of bread flour and Italian OO flour in the ratio of 1:4)
1 cup rye flour
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled, and coarsely chopped
1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp water for egg wash (I used egg yolk with 1 tbsp milk instead)
1/4 cup nigella or poppy seeds (I used only a pinch of poppy seeds)

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cook onion with 1/4 tsp salt in oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 min. Drain onions in a sieve set over a bowl, reserving onions. Stir milk into onion oil in bowl. (I didn't do any these step and replaced these onions with store-bought caramelised onion)

Stir together yeast, warm water and honey in a large bowl and let stand until foamy, about 5 min. Mix flours, pepper, milk mixture, and remaining 2 3/4 tsp salt into yeast mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until a soft dough forms. Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface and your hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until dough is elastic and smooth, about 6 min.

Pat dough into a 9-inch square and sprinkle with onions (I didn't add this) and walnuts. Fold dough over to enclose filling and pinch edges to seal. Knead to distribute onion (I didn't add this) and nuts throughout dough, dusting with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, about 2 min.

Put dough in an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let dough rise in a draft- free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. Note: Instead of kneading by hand, I've placed all my ingredients except the nuts and onion into my bread-maker and use "dough" setting to knead and prove the dough for 1 hr. The nuts were added to the dough after the bread-maker "beeps" after its kneading step.

Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Roll half of dough on a lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands into a 12-inch-long log (keep remaining half covered with plastic wrap). Cut log into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball by cupping your hand and pushing dough against work surface as you roll in a circular motion. Arrange rolls 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Cover rolls with a kitchen towel. Make more rolls with remaining dough, arranging and covering them on second sheet. Note: Instead of shaping the rolls into round shapes, I've rolled my rolls into 20 cm x 20 cm square flat dough. I spread store-bought caramelised onion on the rolled dough. Then, I rolled the dough like a Swiss roll and cut each with 3 cm thickness. The scrolls were placed in a greased 20 cm round baking tin and covered with a plastic wrap for their final proving. Let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.

Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.

Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with seeds. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through, until golden brown, 20 to 25 min. Transfer rolls to a rack and cool at least 20 min.

Note: Using half amount of this recipe, I've baked 7 scrolls at 180°C fan forced for 25 min.

Happy Baking
Please support me and like me at Facebook.


  1. Wow, that rye walnut rolls look awesome! I will have to make that next time I make beef stew. Do you know why baking paper is needed to cover the stew even when lid is on?

    1. Not sure why too? I did all these all according to what the recipe describe.

  2. This looks so good, warm, and comfy for sure! I know I would eat it here in Florida, even in our summer weather. I like the changes you made it goes so well with the dish! I know my mom would love the scroll with the caramelized onions!

  3. One of the reason I love to stay at the kitchen in winter is to keep myself warm there. Totally adore your onion scrolls!

  4. 哇!这个看起来很好吃叻!

  5. This looks like the perfect comfort food. The rolls look amazing!

  6. wow , this is tasty . Maybe I should try this in my Pyrex glass bowl with lid. Yum Yum

  7. Love those scrolls.

    Please come by and pick up an award which you rightly deserve.

  8. Very appetizing! The scrolls looks great.

  9. Wow! In spite of our heat wave, that really looks good! I'd never think to add paprika to the flour when coating the meat. Interesting!

  10. Zoe, what absolutely delicious food and amazing photos! Thanks for your comment and for following. Glad to have discovered your blog! I'm a happy follower of yours now!

  11. Yum ! Must be good even in this hot summer days here ! :D Together with the walnut scrolls , I'm sure it tastes as good as it looks !

  12. Your rye scrolls look so delicious(I don't eat beef)! I have been using the oven so often in this winter!

  13. Beef stew sound very tasty . and I still enjoy the stew in summer season season too :) even better serve with homemade rye,delicious post !!

  14. Those scrolls are the perfect accompaniement my friend, well done well done :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. I just realized that it's Winter in Australia! How crazy! It's in the 90's here and I am craving this stew. But the scrolls look to-die-for! I can't wait to make them. YUM!

  16. WOW, Looks yummyly LOVELY :D

  17. What a beautiful blog........lovely pictures......big fan of kids baking...bookmarked to try...thanks for sharing.

  18. 我喜欢那个scrolls,有我爱的walnuts哦!

  19. I love the look of those scones! They look mouthwatering with the onions!

  20. i'm not so much into beef stew but i can imagine how nice to hv these taken on a cold night together with your rolls. isnt this better than wearing layers of thick clothing? haha!

  21. Hi Zoe, Your stew looks really good! And the onion walnut roll looks perfect with the stew. What a scrumptious meal!

  22. Your dinner looks totally comforting and amazing. It is strange to see you embarking on winter comfort foods while I'm grilling up a storm or eating salads every day. I do have a question that may sound silly. Do your kids have off school in your summer (our winter)? I was just curious and thought I would ask you!

    Have you tried any of your homemade vanilla extract yet for baking? If so, does it work as well as the store bought stuff?

    1. Hi Jacquelyn,

      My son is only three this year and he will be starting school only after Feb 2014. According to my motherly colleagues, their kids have their last school term just before Christmas day and will have their summer holidays until 1st Feb. I guess you must be very busy now with your kids because they have having summer holidays now.

      I have been using my homemade extract for my baking. I think it works pretty well. Viscosity wise, it is not as thick as the store-bought concentrated one (those highly concentrated and very expensive ones). Flavours and taste-wise, I think the homemade ones are really GOOD! I think your starting material is important. You got to get the good quality vanilla beans for your extraction and it does make a lot of differences in your end products.


    2. Hi Zoe! Thanks for the info. I wanted to know if it was worth it to make my own extract. I may give it a go this summer and get the kids involved in the process, sort of like a science experiment.

      Were heading back east today to visit my family and I'm excited to have my mom cook for me for a week! Marin Mama is getting a vacation from the kitchen!

  23. It's hot hot hot hot hot here.
    I don't mind having the whole pot pot pot pot pot.

  24. We're in the middle of "June Gloom" so warm wintery recipes are perfect.

  25. Only you can make me crave beef stew in the middle of summer! This looks wonderful...and those scrolls....beautiful! : )

  26. I love beef stew and yours look soo so good especially with those rolls. Great dinner for sure!

  27. Hi Zoe, the stew looks really good! I think I'll still have some of them even though it's really hot here in Singapore... do you still have some left? ;)

  28. I love that you use paprika in the seasoning. Winter food is actually my favorite - there's nothing like a wonderful stew warming up the house - not to mention the aroma! Hope you're keeping warm!
    Mary x

  29. Zoe, it looks amazing! Its very hot here, but still I feel like having some :)

  30. Your beef stew and rye walnut scrolls look delicious! I only know how to make one type of beef stew which is belgian/flemish stew with belgian beer :)

    Btw how do u manage to cook and bake with a 3 year old? My son is also 3, but he already goes to kindergarden since 2.5yrs, so I have more free time now, otherwise pretty tied up with looking after such an active boy.

    1. I do have a guilty look and answer when you asked me this question... I will ask my 3 yr old to watch TV...Ops! And when he is bored with TV, I will ask him to stand next to me and chat with me in the kitchen. If I'm stressful with oven and cooking heat and I will asked him to stay again for a while. He is always very understanding and good with my instructions :D

  31. What a comforting stew. If kept overnight, taste even better huh! hehe....