Monday, 14 November 2011

Beef Suet Pudding - A British Winter Classic

A rich and luxurious beef steak suet pudding. Easily enough to feed 6+

I'd never made one of these - but it's easier than it looks. A pressure cooker drastically cuts down cooking time !

For the filling (and enough to also do a steak pie !)

1kg shin beef (cubed)
all purpose flour
2 cloves of garlic, crushed / chopped
150g pickled onions, drained and sliced
1 > 2 medium onions, finely sliced
150g sliced mushrooms
2 sticks celery (finely sliced or small diced)
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp black treacle
2 tsp marmite (or vegemite)
3 beef stock cubes
1 heaped tsp of english mustard
30g grated parmesan

Generously toss the cubed shin beef in flour until totally covered and fry in a little oil to brown in batches until starting to go golden on the outside. Set aside. Gently cook the garlic, celery and onion for a couple of minutes, before adding the onions, pickled onions, and mushrooms to the pan.

To approx 1pint of boiling water, dissolve the stock cubes. Stir in the pepper, thyme, treacle, mustard and parmesan. Pour over the meat / onions. Give it a good stir and cover with a tight fitting lid. Leave to gently simmer on the hob for a couple of hours, checking occasionally. More water can be added if needed, but we’re looking for a thick and luxurious gravy at the end before taking it off the heat.

To make the suet pastry

150g beef suet
300g self raising flour
1tsp dried mixed herbs
1 > 2 tsp baking powder
approx 200mls cold water.

Mix the dry ingredients together.  Combine the ingredients together with cold water – just enough to bind and bring together. I also added a couple of tsp of dried mixed herbs

Take a pyrex glass pudding bowl and butter the inside generously.

Reserve about 1/3 of the pastry dough. Roll the rest out to about 5 or 6mm thick on a silicone work mat (stops it sticking to the work tops !) and use this to line the pudding bowl. There should be enough to allow for a small overhang. Rest / chill in the fridge for approx 20 mins.

Fill the pudding bowl to within about 30mm of the top, don't put in too much of the gravy ! Roll the remaining dough and place this over the top of the meat and seal using a pastry brush with a little water. Make sure to leave a gap of about 25mm / 1" from the top of the bowl to allow for expansion

Cover with some greaseproof paper and foil. Put a pleat in the middle to allow for expansion. I used an elastic band to hold this in place whilst I tied it with string.

Put about 3" of water in the bottom of a pressure cooker. Place a trivet on the bottom and a bowl on the top. Cook at high pressure for approx 1 hour. Alternatively, this can be steamed in around 2.1/2 hours.

Carefully remove from the pressure cooker or steamer when cooked. Remove foil and allow to sit for approx 10 mins to crisp up and retract a little before turning out. Additional reserved gravy can be poured over the top if required.


I can’t believe about 2 weeks have already passed since Oliver and I made this. The time has simply flown by ! It’s that time of year when I work so much that one day rolls into the next without me noticing. There is just SO much work to be done.......

Bed time is normally around 4am and I’m staggering back to my feet around 7am. For the most part, I cope with it - but every 10 days or so my body says no which results in a twelve hour or more straight of seriously deep sleep. I swear that during that time, I would be totally oblivious if a bomb had gone off and trying to wake me is totally pointless. Oliver will vouch for that ! Thankfully, it’s normally on a weekend when my husband is still around in the mornings.

I’ve had one of “those” nights and thankfully rather refreshed. Bright enough in fact to catch up on some well over due blog posting before I forget to post some of these entirely. After all, my mind is not what it was. I could be crazy, or senile – but thankfully it’s much more likely to be down to tiredness.

A week ago, one of Oliver’s little friends was having a birthday party at an indoor play centre. Feeling guilty that during the winter months Oliver (like me) has a non-existent social life, I decided to pull him out of nursery and take a couple of hours away from work to take him to Finlay’s party. Work could wait.... just a little while. After all, the world wasn’t going to stop turning just because I’d taken two hours out. We arrived about 15 minutes late. No big deal I suppose – and fairly normal for me at the moment given the hectic schedules I’ve been running to. Oliver was proudly carrying the little present and card we’d got for Finlay and was super excited about the party and seeing his friends.

Tears flowed.

Lots of them.

Bad Mummy had got it wrong. The party wasn’t today – we’d arrived a MONTH early ! No amount of apologies or chocolate could make it right. Yeah. Sometimes even chocolate is not enough to win over a kid..... Even a kid that loves chocolate.

I joke not – Oliver’s little face was STILL tripping him when I picked him up that night. I agreed to the request to make cake. I sort of made it up to him after work on the Saturday after work and took him (by special request) to the cafe at Goodies Farm shop too. He loves sitting in there and having some lunch, with a drawing book and a pile of crayons.

We had a good couple of hours the next day (last Sunday) too. I’d booked tickets months ago to take him to see “Roary The Racing Car”. We had ice cream in the city before going into the theatre. The seats we had were super – front row, right in the centre. Oliver loved it – but I can’t really say that I got into it. I think I fell asleep once or twice (was certainly on the cusp) although Oliver was rather unimpressed with Mummy for that !

By the time we got home, I realised that I’d lost my camera. It’s ALWAYS in my handbag, and I’d had it with us. That camera goes EVERYWHERE with me. I turned the car upside down. I phoned the cinema. I tried to back track where I’d been. ALL this week I’ve been looking for that damn camera and totally gutted that it was gone. I’d checked my handbag several times. Checked my laptop case, taken a pitch fork to the car. No camera. I didn’t think I’d ever see it again until I got a phone call from the cinema this afternoon. Yes, one of the staff had found a black camera left on the front row on Sunday.

My heart skipped a beat. I’d a load of photos on there of recipes I’ve not yet blogged. I’d photos and videos of Oliver I hadn’t downloaded. “Yeah, it’s a Samsung.”

Hell and damnation. Punch me why don’t you. “Mine’s a Panasonic.”

“Are you SURE ? Why don’t you come and get it ?”

I actually stopped to think. Maybe mine was a Samsung.... “Thanks – but mine’s a Panasonic”.

Nah. I’m sure that I’m sure I’m sure !

I rummaged in my handbag – searching for a couple of Neurofen to kill a migraine that was on the brew. They were in there somewhere. I needed them now. Even if they were lurking with fluff at the bottom I’d find them.

So was a black Panasonic camera.


  1. Wow this looks incredible, what a hearty dish! :)

  2. My husband would love this - I've never been able to eat suet pastry although I don't mind a dumpling!

  3. Ooooh suet pudding looks divine, lived here 12 years and still not tried it - I think I need to put it on my list :-)

  4. This looks awesome!! A beautiful stew in pastry? Never heard of Suet pudding but sounds incredibly good.

  5. look absolutely nice! love puddings! gloria

  6. Thanks Sarah Jane, proper stodge, and full of flavour I bet. Rgds, A.


I hope you have enjoyed my blog and found it useful. Please do leave any comments you may have - your feedback is much appreciated. Thanks for visiting !