Robbie’s Inspiration – Recipes from Around the World: Beef stout stew

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas in July. It was also a farewell for Sister #2 who is moving to Cape Town. Sure, its in South Africa, but Cape Town is a 14 hour drive from Johannesburg and the flights are so expensive now, it’s cheaper to fly internationally than locally. It is rather sad as my dad won’t travel, he health isn’t very good, so I don’t think my parents will see much of them. My family will only see them once a year, if that. Anyhow, that is life and it is full of partings.

Anyhow, moves aside, the lunch was a great success. I spent a lot of time on Saturday preparing food for the lunch. Terence was working and went to the office so I had to do everything myself. It’s a jolly good thing I enjoy cooking.

The menu

Beef and Stout stew

Savoury rice

American baked beans


Roasted potatoes

Greek roast lamb made by Justin


Apple pie

Vanilla ice cream (store bought)

New York cheese cake

My recipe for beef stout stew for 15 adults (there was also the roast lamb, of course, so this would feed about 10 adults as a stand alone).


3 kilograms good quality beef

2 packets of bacon, chopped into big chunks (250 grams each)

6 large carrots (peeled and chopped)

6 stalks of celery

2 medium onions

4 extra large potatoes, cut into large chunks

1 60 gram tin of tomato paste

1 bottle of stout

1 cup of plain flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon of thyme

1 tablespoon garlic

4 bay leaves (curry leaves)

Olive oil

8 cups chicken stock


Cut the beef into large chunks. Place in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the flour, pepper and salt. Toss to ensure each piece is coated in the flour. Heat the olive oil (cover the bottom of a heavy based pot) and brown the meat. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Pour a little of the stout into the pot and loosen any browned flour, add to the meat. Add a little more olive oil and sauté the onion and the chopped bacon. Add the carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and tomato paste and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the rest of the stout and 8 cups of chicken stock. Add back the meat and add the chopped potatoes. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Serve with rice.

A few months ago, I used this recipe to make a beef and stout pie.

These are some of the other dishes that were served:

The American baked bean recipe came out of this cookbook by author Charles F. French

Click the cover for the purchase link

My review

I have read all three books in The Investigative Paranormal Society series and the cookbook is an added bonus. Each recipe is contributed by a specific character from the series and is introduced with an overview of that character’s contribution to a specific book and the series as a whole.

I enjoyed reading a little more about my favourite characters in the more relaxed and culinary setting provided by this cookbook.

The cookbook offers a wide range of recipes, all of which are reasonably simple to make and covers the full spectrum of appetizers, main course and side dishes, desserts, and even drinks. The drinks was rather a fun addition for me and I was pleased to find some great recipes for cocktails including Helen’s Bethberg Iced Tea and Jeremy’s Mint Julep Mocktail (non alcoholic).

From the appetizers, Helen’s Grape and Walnut Side Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing grabbed my attention. I love walnuts and anything involving blue cheese. This salad is certainly a bit different and slightly sophisticated, and would certainly add to any dinner party.

The main course and side dishes range from the fun Roosevelt’s Cheeseburgers and Panfried Vegetables to the more unusual Sam’s Chicken Paprikash to Roosevelt’s Baked Beans. I am pleased to have this last recipe as homemade Baked Beans often come up in American literature and I’ve never tasted them. Now I will be able to try this dish.

The desserts all sound delicious and I am keen to try Roosevelt’s Bread Pudding and Whiskey Sauce and Sarah’s Irish Stout Brownies.

Overall, this book is a great introduction to the memorable characters in this terrific series and is also a useful recipe book with some delicious sounding recipes.

You can read Charles’ latest post here:


83 thoughts on “Robbie’s Inspiration – Recipes from Around the World: Beef stout stew

  1. Hi Robbie, I feel fully sated having read all about that fab. food. Takes me back to when our lads where younger and ate as with hollow legs…Sad that your sister is moving so far away. Such partings are painful. Wishing you all happiness. Joy xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That was a real feast, Robbie. I am sorry to hear your sister is moving so far away. One of my best friends moved to New Zealand, and another now lives in Turkey. I have not seen either of them since 2001.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pete, that is my concern. Once people are not in your ordinary life, things change and the relationships become less close because you don’t know anything about their daily lives. It is inevitable. Never mind, she is very excited about the change and her new job and that is what’s important.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. for a second I wondered what “stout” was but then in the ingredients you said it was a bottle, so I’m realized it must be a beer?
    Everyone must depend upon you in these family coming togethers I bet. Good for you Robbie! Steady hand on the tiller!


    1. HI Wayne, it never occurred to me that some readers might not know what stout is. This is the definition: stout, dark, heavy-bodied beer popular in Great Britain and Ireland. Stouts are stronger versions of mild ale. Guinness is a well known brand but we don’t get it here. I do a lot of catering and hosting for family events, that is true. I like cooking, baking and entertaining.


  4. What a yummy menu, Robbie – glad everything went well. That’s rough having family that far away. I’m sorry you’ll only be able to see each other yearly. Congrats to Charles on the review!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You dish out some wonderful nourishment in your kitchen and at the computer. Yesterday my daughter-in-law prepared a luscious birthday dinner for me: herbed pasta with large shrimp, tomato pie, and a blackberry icebox dessert with a mint garnish.

    I know I’d enjoy eating at your table no matter what you serve, Robbie! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Tandy, here job is in the CBD. They don’t seem to have settled on where they will live as yet. In fact, they haven’t even put their house in Joburg on the market yet and she’s known about this move for 6 months. Sister # 2 is my antithesis. The most disorganised person I know – haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think of South Africa as being that large a country. UI was surprised to learn that your sister could travel 14 hours and still be in the country.

    Your stew dishes always look so delicious.


    1. South Africa is pretty big. The Kruger National Game Park is 2 million hectares which is the same size as the whole of Israel, a little smaller than Belgium and about a third of the size of Ireland.


  7. What a wonderful day for celebrating and for good-byes, Robbie. It’s so hard when family moves away. Our son and daughter both live on the east coast pursuing dreams and spreading wings which makes us proud. But we hate them living so far away (even though they text and we talk often). Maybe things will change in the future. Anyway, your stew is making me hungry. It’s similar to my recipe, except for the stout. Does that make a big difference? “It’s a jolly good thing I enjoy cooking” brought a smile, too. 💞

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds like a lovely meal before seeing your sister off. Sorry to hear she will be far from the family now. I liked seeing the photos of the assortment of dishes that were served and enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I didn’t realise the distance was so big, Robbie. It is sad to think that travelling within your own country can be more expensive than going abroad, but this is often the way, unfortunately (although the prices of everything have gone up). Thanks for the recipes and the recommendations. The idea of a cookbook written by one of the characters sounds great. Thanks, Robbie, and give my regards to all your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Olga, I think everyone is trying to make up there losses of the past few years. We are looking to go away for a weekend in August and the prices are shockingly high. The hotels have forgotten that we are the people who supported them when international travel was banned and the are making it to expensive for many local families which is a shame (and greedy – I think the pandemic taught us nothing).


  10. Hi Robbie. Sorry to hear about your sister moving far away. We have relatives in Australia and Malaysia and it’s hard for my mum being parted from her brother, sister, nieces and nephews especially as she gets older. And me too! Would love to see them again. But not possible for mum and dad to travel so far to see them. A lovely meal to see her off. Hope it works out well for your sister.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Robbie, this was such a fun post. Although I’m sorry your sister will be so far away. It’s so wonderful that we have video calls now. Not a replacement for having the person there I know, but it still helps.
    I’ve never had stew with any kind of beer or ale (although I add it to chili). Wow, it sounds delicious and perfect for your cooler weather. You worked the book review seamlessly into the narrative. Congrats to Charles. Hugs all around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Sally, I’m not sure how it will go. Cath is one of those people who just disappears and you never hear from her. She lived in Cape Town for 10 years when she was married to her ex-husband and I only saw her 4 times in the whole 10 years. When I did see her it was at our instance as we travelled to Cape Town. This is written in the nicest possible way, but I know my sister [sigh!]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My mother always sets the table formally. We even set it for evening meals but without all the wine glasses. I suppose the end of setting the table is to do with people working long hours and having no time to cook or ‘break bread’ together at meal times.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. A sumptious feast, Robbie it all sounds delicious… I know whats it is like being so far away from family.. You feel detached even thought you have FT and What’s app but hopefully flight prices will come down x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow Robbie, that’s quite the feat doing all the cooking for everyone. Sumptuous menu, and that stew had my mouth watering. 🙂 How sad for your parents with your sister moving far away, but life sometimes takes us where we need to be. Hugs xx


  14. Like Pete and Olga I had no idea of the size of South Africa! It sounds as if you and your sister have one of those easy relationships that can pick off where you left off no matter how much time has passed in between. I think there’s no better or more memorable send-off than a large family meal where everyone enjoys themselves, the food and the memories created. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Alex, thanks for visiting and commenting. We are already planning a road trip to Cape Town next year. There are a few places on-route I want to visit and that makes the journey a lot more bearable. Maybe my parents will agree to fly down. I will see how that goes.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I know very well about the physical distance among family members, Robbie. Mercy is 1,000 miles away from me. I’m glad I planned the travel six to nine months in advance when the plane is empty so the airfares are reasonable. Flying to Hong Kong takes 12 to 15 hours, but I haven’t seen my family in Hong Kong for three years. I visited my parents when they were in their last months but I wasn’t by their sides when they passed. It was very sad.

    Your Christmas in July menu is wonderful with many of my favorite dishes. Your review of Charles’s book is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Miriam, I’m glad you like the post. I am so sorry about your parents, I remember reading a beautiful post about your father on your blog. At least you do get to see Mercy and her family quite often and that is wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know it was hard for me not to see my parents as much as I wanted. So I try to be sensitive to Mercy. My husband and I are the only grandparents to Autumn and Nora. Mercy’s husband’s parents passed away, father died when Will was 7 and mother died when he was 30. It’s wonderful the kids get spoiled by grandparents.


  16. Thanks for sharing another great recipe, Robbie! I hope you all are well, and enjoyed the Christmas celebrations. Unbelievable for us, but this year maybe it would be a good decision also for here. When there will be a lack on electrical energy we could have very icy Christmas in December. However, i also love Charles’ books. They are a great read, and the cookbock offers very interesting recipes. Best wishes, Michael


  17. Hey Robbie. How bittersweet your experience is. I feel the same way leaving my family behind to travel half way across the world to my Peruvian wife. The comfort of my mom’s recipes is what keeps me going. Thanks for sharing this incredible stew, very different from the curries my mom made.

    Liked by 1 person

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