Good Granny Cookbook

Week 53: Hungarian Goulash

For the last year I’ve been trying to focus on speedy meals that don’t require me to be chained to the hob for hours on end, so in that spirit I spend three hours of last Sunday bubbling some stew.

The recipe in The Good Granny Cookbook says it serves six, but I reckon with a bit of veg and maybe an extra potato it could stretch to eight easily.  I halved the ingredients and it still served me and him two nights in row.

For six you will need: sunflower oil, 3 onions, 900g of chuck steak (I used casserole steak) 3 tablespoons of sweet Hungarian paprika (the book says to use a fresh tin of paprika, I just used normal smoked paprika) 2 tablespoons tomato purée, a garlic clove, a glass of red wine, a bouquet garni, 4 medium potatoes, 1 red pepper, and 200ml of sour cream. You can also add 2 teaspoons of caraway seeds, but I couldn’t find any.

Firstly, as always, peel and chop the onions, and cut the steak up into 3cm cubes. Get out a large pot that can go on the hob, and heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan.  When the oil had heated up brown the onions, and then chuck them into the pot. Then sprinkle the paprika into the pan and roll the beef around in it, keep stirring until the beef has been browned on all sides, then add to the pot.


If there is any paprika left add it to the pot, then throw in the garlic cube, tomato purée, the bouquet garni (mine came as a little teabag, which was exciting), the wine, a little salt, and enough hot water to cover the meat.


Bring to the boil – stirring well – then turn the heat down and simmer with the lid on for two hours. That’s right. Two hours.

After about an hour and three quarters, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1 inch cubes and boil them for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the pot, with 2tsp of caraway seeds if you’re using them. Simmer for another 20-30 minutes.


By this time you should have washed out the frying pan you did the meat in, so out it back on the hob, quite low with a bit for oil in, and while its heating up de-seed the pepper and cut it into thin strips.


Gently cook the peppers for a few minutes, then stir them into the goulash and serve with a dollop of sour cream.  And don’t forget the pick the bouquet garni out.


The first night we had it is was with a whole head of broccoli, and the second with noodles. I preferred it with the veg, but my lover preferred the noodles.


I didn’t want to risk freezing it because of the potatoes, so I left it in the pot on the hob overnight and it was fine. The meat was so tender it fell apart on the fork, and the flavour was really full and autumnal. It was absolutely perfect for a rainy October Sunday.

I’d imagine this would be a good meal to make in one of those slow cooker things, but I don’t have one. I’m definitely making this again, on a slow day…


Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)

good granny

Week 6: Toad in the Hole

I would just like to say that before I made Toad in the Hole for the sixth New Recipe Night, I had never eaten it before and didn’t know what it should look like.  Like most Beano reading children of the 80s, I had heard of it – I had just assumed it was made with actual toad.

The idea for making it wasn’t mine – my Lover decided he wanted something more traditional after choking back the gorgonzola pasta in week five.  I had to dig deep into my stock of cookery books to find a recipe for Toad in the Hole – and I found one in Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “Good Granny Cookbook”

good granny

I’ve moved house with this book so many times, and I couldn’t remember for the life of me when or where I’d bought it… it just seems to be a book that appeared from nowhere.  Like the title suggests, it’s a book of traditional meals that every schoolboy (now in his 60s) grew up eating in pre-spaghetti Britain.  Many of the meals even I had not eaten since primary school!

Now I’ve christened the book I think I should make a few more.

The first thing I learned about Toad in the Hole is that it does not contain toads.  I’d imagine the die hard foodie could source sausages made from toads, but I just got good quality pork ones from the butchers.  I halved the recipe and just followed the instructions as written.

To make for 4 you will need: 8 sausages, 2 tablespoons of oil (sunflower/vegetable oil) 125g plain flour, 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white, 300ml milk, and salt and pepper.

Like with pancakes you need to make the batter mix about half an hour before you need it.  Put the flour, eggs and milk into a bowl and whisk – get lots of bubbles into it, then season and whisk a bit more.

Turn the oven on to 220c (200 fan) and put the oil into a baking tin – obviously not a loose bottomed one – I use one of those enameled tins that I butter up the sides.  Put the tin of oil on a tray and put it into the oven – and make sure your oven shelves are set so there is space for the Toad in the Hole to rise.

The only criticism I have is that one of the key instructions is a little vague.  It says “Add the sausages and cook for a few minutes or more until the fat runs and they are lightly browned.” I’m not a good enough cook to realise that this means to make sure the sausages are pretty well cooked – which in my case was about 20 minutes.

To speed things up I start the sausages up in a frying pan and then put them in the oil in the oven for about 10 minutes until the sausage juice starts to run.  Then pour the batter in and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.


Serve before it deflates!

My first ever Toad in the Hole came out surprisingly well.  I made it a second time with Merguez Sausages – but it was much nicer with traditional British Butcher’s Bangers.

I will make it again, but before I do I want to get a non stick pan – because while my pie tin is about the right size for two portions; it’s such a fight to get the hole off that it sinks by the time it reaches the plate.


Served with a blob of Sainsbury’s ketchup.  Yum!

Good Granny Cookbook by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall (Short Books 2007 ISBN 978 1 906021 10 8)