St George’s Day Tribute: Dorset Jugged Steak

Completely owe this entire recipe and history to “The Dairy Book of British Food”

I normally cook French stews such as Boeuf Bourguignon or Irish stews which fill the kitchen with scents of Guinness, but for St George’s Day I wanted something English!  Made with English Beef.  And really homely and rich.  And I must say I was pleasantly surprised with this dish – Dorset Jugged Steak.  There was plenty to serve 4, especially with the filling (force)meat balls, and it echoed hints of Christmas with the cloves.  Whilst the port based juices just gave it a different kind of density to wine or stout based stews.  Very nice indeed!

Plus – it’s so, so easy to cook – you must give it a go.

This traditional Dorset dish was often prepared to be eaten on days when the fair came to town as it is good-tempered enough to wait until the revellers came home, although the forcemeat balls should not be cooked for too long. Jugging is a method of slow cooking which retains all the flavours of the meat while mingling them with those of the other ingredients.

recipe image


Serves: 4

675 Gram Stewing steak, in 2.5 cm cubes (1 1/2 lb)
25 Gram Plain flour (1 oz)
1 Medium Onion, sliced
4 Cloves
150 ml Port ( 1/4 pint)
450 ml Beef stock, to cover (3/4 pint)
225 Gram Sausagemeat (8 oz)
50 Gram Fresh breadcrumbs (2 oz)
2 Tablespoon Fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon Redcurrant jelly

Pre-heat oven to 170 °C / 325 °F / Gas 3.

Toss the meat in the flour, shaking off excess. Put into an oven-proof casserole dish. Add the onion and cloves, pour in the port and just enough stock to cover the meat. Cover and bake for 3 hours, until the meat is tender.

Meanwhile, mix together the sausagemeat, breadcrumbs and parsley, form the mixture into 8 balls. 40 minutes before the end of the cooking time , stir the redcurrant jelly into the casserole. Add the forcemeat balls and cook, uncovered, until the forcemeat balls are cooked and slightly brown.

Skim off any excess fat and serve hot.

The One-Stop Gift Shop

I don’t know about you, but as I look ahead to each month, I flick through my diary and see certain birthdays coming up, I know I’m going to have to deal with that dreaded problem.  The present shop!

It’s not because I don’t want to. Anything but. I love giving gifts. I wish I had more money so I could give more. My problem is finding the perfect present.  I stress over it, probably unnecessarily.  I always want to find something meaningful and perfect for that certain person.  And sometimes I stress over it so long, it’s the day before their birthday and out come the Boots vouchers again. 

This year, I’m determined to be organised and share some of my favourite shops and websites with you out there – whoever may be reading!

So. I have found some lovely websites to help as a starting point. And if you’re lucky enough to live in Essex here are a few of my favourite shops. You never know, you might find something for yourself too.


They do not have a website, but they’re a delightful little find.  And as I work in Shenfield, ideal for me for that last-minute gift for a female friend (Shenfield is not a male gift orientated high street – unless you need a spanner or a bag of hay).  The shop in question is Clair Gallery (148 Hutton Rd, Shenfield, CM15 8NL – 01277 211 238).  They stock a range of shabby chic accessories, some lovely jewellery, Sophie Allport items, and more. 


One of our favourites, IV (41 Elm Road, SS9 1SW – 01702 719 782) host a range of wonderful gifts or items for your home.  From ornaments, to jewellery to art/prints.  You can pretty much guarantee you’ll find something for a friend or family member and certainly yourself!

Scape (79 Broadway, SS9 1PE – 01702 719 253) stocks a lovely range of furniture and decorations for the home, plus a lovely range of ornate flowers. We recently bought a lovely shabby chic mug set, platter and jug from here and at the most reasonable of prices. 



WebDecorative Gesso Boards

Cox and Cox – I love this website and I love the fact that they still send out seasonal catalogues.  (love these platters on the right!)

Handpicked Collection – Another lovely website crampacked full of ideas and they also send out a seasonal catalogue – which is just great when you’re lazing around watching telly.

Melody Maison – I purchased a number of items from this website for my wedding.  They have a divine list of vintage style items.  Check them out – they have great sales as well.

Magpie Vintage jewellery – For that special someone, checkout the stunning vintage jewellery collection here:  I am lucky enough to own one of their vintage bracelets, which was given to me on my wedding day by my lovely, now, husband.

Spring in my step

image from - beautiful flowers

As the daffodils lose their sunshine, but tulips and blossom take their place; I can’t help but smile. They’re so pretty.

So as we settle into spring and start to pack away winter woolies for another year, april is a month of hard graft for the humble housewife but also in our household a month of celebration.

We kick off on April Fools Day with my mum’s birthday. I have found some lovely gifts which won’t break the bank so will post some ideas. Later in the month it’s my nan’s birthday. And slap bang in the middle; this year, I turn 30.

It doesn’t really bother me, turning 30. It’s just a number. What I don’t understand is how it happened. Time just went so fast. I’m extremely lucky in that I have achieved a lot in my 30 years. I’ve pretty much travelled the world, I have lived in 4 different countries, I have met some amazing people and now I’m married to a wonderful man and have my whole life ahead of me. I think that’s why I’m more than ever ready to be the humble housewife.

Looking back, as a little girl I didn’t really know who or what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now I am (almost) grown up, I have finally realised my ambition. I love being a housewife.

So. This month represents the realisation, the awakening, of someone who now knows exactly what she wants to be when she grows up. The Humble Housewife.

As my birthday falls over Easter this year I won’t be cooking the traditional roast lamb, with chantenay carrots, and grilled asparagus (yum). I won’t have time for egg blowing and decorating. I will make some more Simnel Cakes for the office though as they were delicious. Instead. We’ve decided to get away from it all and head to the Peak district – so I can indulge in walking, pottering, and eating Bakewell Tarts.

So that means, I won’t have any Humble Easter tips this year as I only believe in posting those I have tried and tested. But I’m already looking forward to Easter 2013.

Cake Decorating
At the end of the month some friends and I will be heading to a cupcake decorating course. I’ll be sure to post any clever ideas and some pics.

Spring Cleaning
It’s that time of year to throw open the windows, dust away the cobwebs and get rid of the clutter. I can’t imagine I’m going to do that well at this as we’re so busy this April. But I’m going to try.

Green fingers
I managed to clear out the front garden in march. Well one side of it. Didn’t even touch the evil ivy in the back though. Tut tut. Figured best to start small. So in April-May I will be landscaping the front, outside the lounge bay window. I’ve been researching suitable, low cost, low maintenance plants so will let you know how I get on. And how the design takes shape. Could be a disaster especially if I spend half the time running away from giant spiders like I did when I was clearing up all the dead leaves and odd rocks.

St George’s Day
And finally for April, in the year of the Queen’s Jubilee, I feel that this year more than ever, we can be patriotic on our national day. Which for me, obviously revolves around food so I’ll be posting some incredibly English and incredibly patriotic meal ideas. Yummy. Bring on the beef!