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What you need:

0.4 pt (240 ml) dry white vermouth
1.2 pts (700 ml) water
4 sprigs fresh parsley
3 sprigs fresh tarragon
1  (5 cm) ) piece of lemon zest
¾ oz (20g) salt
6 small red-skinned potatoes (about 8 oz (225g) )
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
For the filling:
3 oz /85g  fresh soft goats cheese, at room temperature
¾ oz /24g  creme fraiche or sour cream
¼ oz /4g  minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ oz /2g  minced fresh tarragon
¼ oz /2g  minced fresh chervil or minced fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

For the potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 400 F /Gas 7.

In a medium saucepan combine the vermouth, water, parsley, tarragon, lemon zest, and salt. Set aside.

Cut the potatoes in half  horizontally. Slice a small portion off of the rounded ends– so the potatoes stand up without rolling around — and discard. Add the halved potatoes to the saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until just fork tender, about 8 mins. Set the potatoes aside to cool in the liquid for 5 mins.

Drain the potatoes, reserving 10ml of the cooking liquid. Discard the herbs and lemon zest. With a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out a little of each potato, to make a little “bowl” for the cheese.

Toss the potatoes with the oil in a small bowl, and stand them up on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 mins.

For the filling:
In a medium bowl, cream the cheese with the creme fraiche and the 10ml of reserved cooking liquid. Fold in the minced parsley, tarragon, chives, and chervil. Season with pepper, to taste.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool slightly. While the potatoes are still warm, spoon a dollop of the cheese mixture into each potato. Set the potatoes on a platter and top off with the chive segments to garnish.

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What you need:

1 lb of stewing steak
1 or 2 red onion ( sliced)
3 leeks ( sliced)
1 lb of small skinned potatoes (quartered)
4 carrots ( diced)
1/2 of swede ( diced)
1 parsnip ( diced)
1 1/2 pints beef stock
1 or 2 cloves garlic finely chopped or crushed (optional)

For the dumplings

100g/4ozs self-raising flour
50g/2ozs shredded suet
5 tbsp cold water, aproximately
Mixed dried herbs to flavour – optional

What to do:

Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker then add the beef stock.
Cook on medium heat for 7 to 8 hrs (or alternatively on low over night)
or high heat for 5 to 6hrs.

To make the dumplings:

Mix the flour, suet, dried mixed herbs with the water. It should not be sticky but soft and pliable. If too dry add a little more water: if too sticky add a little more flour.

Using floured hands divide dough into 8 pieces and shape into balls. Place on top of the stew around an hour before your due to serve.
Personally I prefer to cook stews on a low setting over night.

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