Monday, 9 September 2013

Fall into Comfort Food with Donna Alward

by Donna Alward

One of the things I love most about fall (besides the smell of fresh looseleaf and pencils, but that’s another blog) is the return to comfort food after a summer of grilling. It’s the perfect time to make a lot of dishes too because fresh veggies are still available and a lot of tree fruit is in season (my berries and rhubarb are already frozen or made into jam). This year I even canned tomatoes from our new garden, pickled jalapeno peppers and diced green and red pepper and froze them. I can’t wait to expand our garden next year!

I thought I’d share two of my favourite recipes today – one uses fresh root veggies and red wine (of course!) and the other is perfect for those fresh apples that are in season. Both of these recipes disappear in a big hurry in my house!

Best Beef Stew and Dumplings
1 cup flour
½ tsp celery salt
¼ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
2 lbs stewing beef
 ¼ cup oil (I use olive, veg oil can also be used)
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp marjoram
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
3 cups hot water
2 OXO beef bouillon cubes
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce (I double this)
 1/8 cup chopped parsley
½ cup red wine
Vegetables: carrots, potatoes, celery, turnip, cabbage

Mix flour, celery salt, salt and pepper together. Dredge meat in flour mixture and brown in the oil. Add onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add other spices, oxo and water, Worcestershire sauce and red wine and let simmer an hour and a half. Add vegetables of your choice and simmer until cooked through.  If the meat has left brown bits on the bottom, don’t worry – the simmering in the liquid will soften it and it adds a lovely flavour as well as helping to thicken it.

Dumplings: mix 2 tbsp of shortening into 2 cups flour, 4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp parsley. Add milk and stir, then drop by spoonfuls on boiling stew. Cover tightly and cook for 12 minutes.

Shenandoah Valley Apple Cake

1 cup cooking oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 ¼ tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups diced apples
1 cup chopped nuts
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

Beat oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a bowl at medium speed (about 3 min). Sift together in a separate bowl – flour, salt, soda, spices. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet, beating well after each additions. Stir in apples, then nuts. Pour into a greased and floured 13x9 pan, bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done (mine took between 50 and 55 minutes).

For topping combine ½ cup butter, 1 cup brown sugar (packed) and ¼ cup milk in a saucepan. Cook over med heat, stirring constantly, until it boils. Boil 3 minutes, pour on cake at once and let cool.

You can eat it once it's cool, but truthfully it's better on the second day after the sauce has soaked in....mmmmm!

And if those recipes sound good, you can check out my Recipe Corner on my website!  I have lots of recipes there and a few knitting patterns as well. 

Twitter: @DonnaAlward
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  1. While I'm not happy to see summer go, I do love fall. And comfort foods. Am definitely going to try that apple cake recipe!

  2. Looks yummy. I'll have to try those recipes.

  3. What says fall like stew and apples. Will try for sure.