Surviving the cold weather – the Xing way

Simon Long, co-founder of Xing, wrote us a Guest Blog about student food perfect for the colder weather. As someone who runs a business working with students (Xing is all about student-run smoothie bars and enterprise days in schools and colleges), he’s in a good position to share his advice, and offer a cheeky recipe too!

The new uni term unfortunately signals the end of summer. But the cold days and darker nights are the perfect opportunity to make some really simple but impressive grub for you and your housemates – if you want to score some brownie points!

Firstly, you’ll need a slow cooker. You can pick one up from Argos for about £30. It’s a big-ish one-off cost but you’ll save lots of money on ingredients. When you slow cook for hours you can use much cheaper cuts of meat such as shin of beef in this case, which would ordinarily be too tough to use. The result is a hot and hearty stew with rich deep flavours and perfectly tender meat. You don’t even have to stand over the stove whilst the magic happens.

Try this recipe…

BEEF AND ALE STEW

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
• 3 bay leaves
• 500g diced stewing beef
• 500ml Black Sheep Ale
• 2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped
• 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
• 2 medium cheap potatoes, chopped into 2cm cubes
• 2 carrots, chopped into cubes
• Lug of olive oil
• 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons tomato purée
• 400ml beef stock
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1. Peel all your veg and roughly chop. This is a big hearty stew so the veg can be cut big and rustic. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to a separate pan (not the slow cooker just yet).
2. On a medium heat, fry the onions, celery, and carrots for 5 mins. Add the beef and fry until it’s brown. Add the ale, chopped tomatoes, puree, bay leaves, potatoes and stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Season – add and stir in salt and pepper until you can almost taste salt and pepper. Then add to your slow cooker and leave for 6 – 7 hours.
3. When you get home, you’ll the best winter warmer ready for you. If the stew is too bitter, add some honey or sugar to taste.

Thanks Simon, we think you should give it a try! :)

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