More quakes, more shakes and a beef and mustard pie

On Friday afternoon we experienced another big earthquake, this time 6.6.  We were at work, so I ducked under my desk, scattering the marking I was doing, and crouched there waiting for it to stop.  We were evacuated from the building, and Karl and I just went home, quite shaken, but also relieved to find only a couple of squint pictures and a tangelo on the floor as ‘casualties’ of the quake at home.  Anton was sent home from school early as well.  There were 46 after shocks of magnitude greater than 4 within 12 hours of the one on Friday afternoon.  It is a bit disconcerting to watch your television shaking or watch curtains sway, but so far we are all right, if a little shaken.

Switching to a much nicer thing that is happening here, and that is spring.  There are quite a lot of daffodils and lots of blossom coming out, which certainly lifts the spirits.  Our first daffodil has also appeared.


1 golden daffodil

Meanwhile inside the house, after browsing the latest edition of Dish magazine and lots of lovely looking pictures of stews with toppings, I decided to make the ‘Beef and Mustard Pie with Champ’.  This was a lovely beef and beer based stew with a potato topping.  I added some parsnip to the stew as I wanted to use them up. I also missed out the suggested soy sauce from the recipe as I figured it would be salty enough with the stock and Worcestershire sauce.  The recipe suggested making individual pies, but I made one big one since I don’t have the dishes for small ones. I’ve included the recipe below.


The stew of course took a couple of hours to cook, and filled the house with delicious smells.  When I was chopping the parsley to add to the mashed potato topping, I was suddenly transported back to childhood, and the memory of my mother’s parsley sauce she used to serve with the boiled gammon we sometimes had for Sunday lunch.  It was my least favourite meal, but I loved the sauce, and smothered the meat with that.  My mother, by the way, was not a good cook, but she could make a good parsley sauce!

I have to say, the pie tasted lovely, and was consumed in record time. I almost felt I should almost have made more.  I decided to use my camera instead of my phone to take a picture of it, which was a big mistake – see below.  It does nothing to capture the meat that melted in your mouth, the rich tasting gravy and the soft mash on top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVery bad picture of a delicious dish

I really should invest in a decent camera!  By the way, if anyone is interested, that book I mentioned in the last post by Molly Ringwald was really good.

Recipe adapted a little from Dish

Beef and Mustard Pie with Champ

Preheat the oven to 150C. Season some flour and toss through the beef (1kg for 4-6.  I used 500g for 3).  Brown the beef in batches, until nicely browned, and transfer to a plate.  Don’t let the base of the pan catch and burn while cooking the meat!  Add 1 or 2 onions depending on quantities, a crushed clove of garlic, a couple of carrots and a parsnip to the pan and cook for 5 minutes.  Stir in 1 or 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce (tablespoon for the larger quantity, less for the smaller amount), a good dollop of grainy mustard and stir it all up.  Add the beer – a 335 ml bottle for the larger quantity and about 3/4 of that for the small amount.  I used Monteith’s Golden Lager as that was what was in the fridge.  The recipe suggests pale ale.  Add good beef stock, about 1 cup, and the beef back to the pan. Season. Place a piece of baking paper over the meat, cover tightly with a lid or foil, and cook for 2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes until the beef is tender.

Once ready, pour into either individual ovenproof ramekins or one big dish, and top with the topping which is basically mashed potato (as much as you and yours like to eat – very scientific measurement) made with lots of butter and milk or cream, 2 spring onions and some finely chopped parsley and of course pepper.  Bake until golden brown.



  1. Yes, there is nothing quite like sitting still and watching the world around you rock and roll. As a former Californian, I feel your angst. And I can think of nothing better to take the edge off of the discomforting feeling of quakes, than that amazing beef pie recipe you shared. Thank you very much for that. Here on Vancouver Island we’re just heading into the Fall, and the sound of this warm, comforting casserole hits the spot.

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