Friday, 28 July 2017

A stew of leftover gravy, with some school holidays reflections

I had quite a bit of leftover gravy after our Christmas in July lunch.  It went very nicely into a stew along with some pumpkin and parsnip that never saw the inside of the roasting tin.  I made the stew during the day and it stood me in good stead on a crazy day in a busy week just when I was trying to get over the school holidays.

After making the stew, I got into the car to take Sylvia to swimming I found the battery was flat and then when I got to swimming we found that her lesson had been changed without notification.  Thank goodness that the swimming coordinator was really helpful and we had a delicious stew waiting  at home that night.

As stews are not at all photogenic and I was too busy while making it to take photos, I am taking the chance to share a few school holiday snaps.  First are these lovely "apple" cupcakes that Sylvia made especially for me.  She was very sweet and checked which cupcakes I liked in her book and spent a long time planning.  As I love chocolate I had leftover chocolate ganache with red sprinkles.  The other cupcakes had buttercream frosting.  They all had spearmint leaves and chocolate dipped pretzel sticks for leaves and stem.

We went to the La Mama puppet picnic and enjoyed it so much with all the quirky puppets (dinosaur, misinformation man, chameleon, fox lady) that we went along to a puppet show of Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne.  While the puppets were fun, it was the umbrellas of special effects and light boxes that really impressed me.  Think an umbrella opened up only to have blue glitter fall from it and blue streamers blowing around to create the effect of a whirlpool. I love a show that is low on resources and high on innovation.

We went to the Speigeltent to see E perform at a West Papuan fundraiser.  It was a fun night out, though Sylvia preferred hiding under the seat.  As well as dancing, singing and music, our tickets included a vegan dinner of delicious West Papuan curry, tofu and rice with some colourful crackers.  I am not sure what the crackers were but we checked and were told they were vegan.

After last year's Minion fever, Sylvia was excited to see the new Despicable Me 3 movie.  She was so excited that Mr Cuddles was dressed as a Minion.  I thought that the movie wasn't as good as some of the previous Minions movies but was still fun.  Sylvia loved it and even was tempted to get the Minions happy meal from MacDonalds.  Her dad ate the burger and she had the 3 potato Minions.  I was shocked to see how few she got and you just don't want to see the ingredients list. 

And lastly I wanted to share the beautifully presented food at the event I helped organise last week.  As usual I always think that the end of the school holidays means a bit of let up but it never does.  Last week was crazy with extra time at work helping with this event.  This week I have finally crashed and taken it a bit quieter with one day in bed with a headache.  Maybe next week I will be back on track.

Meanwhile I was very grateful to have this stew to see us through the week.  The gravy meant I could On the first night it lacked in flavour.  I added a generous amount of mustard which fixed it.  We all have our magic seasonings.  Mustard is one of mine.  I also would have loved to have tried cooking the stew with these dumplings but lacked the energy.  The stew went very well with brown rice.

I am sending this stew to Meat Free Mondays.

More winter stews at Green Gourmet Giraffe.
Bean and beer stew with dumplings (v)
Chickpea, potato and tomato stew (gf, v)
Coconut black-eyed bean stew (gf, v)
Coconut vegie and tofu stew (gf, v)
Honeyed beer and barley stew
Prune and bean casserole (gf, v)
Tempeh vegetable stew with dumplings (gf, v)

Gravy, pumpkin and parsnip stew
An original Green Gourmet Giraffe recipe
Serves 8

1-2 tsp oil
2 large parsnips, diced
1 zucchini, diced
handful of mushrooms, chopped
1 cup thick gravy
1 cup red wine
2 cups water
large wedge of pumpkin, peeled and diced
400g tin black beans, rinsed and drained
400g tin lentils, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tsp Vegemite
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp salt, or to taste1/4 - 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste

Cook parnsip in oil in a stockpot until they are softening.  Add mushrooms and zucchini for a few minutes until they soften.  Mix in remaining ingredients and check seasoning, however remember that the stew will thicken and sweeten once the pumpkin is cooked.  Bring to the boil and season about 15-20 minutes until pumpkin is soft.  Check seasoning again and serve hot.

NOTES: You could still make this without the gravy but you would need to brown onions, add some extra liquid and seasoning and a bit of flour to thicken the stew.  I didn't weigh my pumpkin - I guess it might have been 600-800g before peeling.  If you don't have vegemite, you could use other yeast extracts or a stock cube.  This stew lasts well for about 5 days in the fridge and can be frozen.  It is good served with rice and could be served with dumplings or toast.

On the stereo:
Christmas in the Heart: Bob Dylan


  1. That stew looks amazing. Just really good. A lot of that and some bread for dipping, and it would make every OK! Also - agree wholeheartedly on the mustard. I feel the same way about hot sauce too!

  2. The stew looks amazing - so hearty and warming in this winter weather. Shame that McDonalds gave so few potato minions in the Happy Meal. Sylvia's apple cupcakes are so cute.

  3. I absolutely adore Sylvias apple cupcakes, they are so gorgeous and really cute too. I am easily dazzled and think I too would have been very impressed by the whirlpool glitter falling from the umbrella, I think that is why I love public art and street art, it does not have to cost so much.
    I can see why you are unsure about those colourful crackers they do look like prawn crackers, but my sister in laws deep fries them all the time for the kids and they are vegetarian - but I am not sure about the colouring.

  4. That looks great Johanna. Pass the mash potato. You'll be pleased to know I featured it this week for Meat Free Monday. Thanks for submitting it. It left me drooling. Shared!

  5. The weather has been quite miserable here recently so this stew sounds perfect!

  6. It certainly sounds like you needed this stew. What a busy time! It's hard when work and home are busy at the same point. I hope you have a quieter week now but am glad you enjoyed some good school holiday activities.

  7. Oh it's a good idea to make a stew at the beginning of the week for busy weeknights. That's too bad about the car battery and changed swim time. That would have left me in a grumpy mood. It looks like you enjoyed your busy week though. The umbrellas sound rather cool.
    You managed to make your stew photogenic with the pretty green plate.

  8. Good to hear Sylvia is still baking up a storm! I think she would get on well with Miss GF....
    Shame the new Despicable Me movie isn't as good..... we were saying yesterday that we would like to see it, but that we thought the second one wasn't as good as the first.... Should we bother?? x


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