28 May 2013

Beef Stroganoff, the universe and a piece of corn

People (not all people...I don't know all people) have been startled by my admission to having depression and anxiety. I assure you it's not courage that has led me to make this announcement. It's more about putting these shitty, confusing years of my life to some better purpose. Rather than just feeling sorry for myself, I want to bring awareness of this godforsaken invisible illness out into the bright open fields where it can be analysed, discussed and better understood.

You see, I don't have a problem shouting about this illness from the roof tops. Why? Because, I still see so much confusion around what it is; and some of that confusion is my own when I've got the damn thing.

I recently read the coolest blog post about depression. Well, actually it's two posts, because it's in two parts. It's from Hyperbole and a Half and the post has cartoons, humour and truth. You can read part one here, and part two - which is my favourite - here. I'm still trying to find my piece of corn.

And so, after four months between writing my last post, 10 months between seeing my GP and about 12 months of this roller coaster ride starting, a shadow still follows me.

Don't get me wrong I'm doing a hell of a lot better than I was four months ago, but my little shadow remains. It just kinda hangs around to one side no matter where I am. It's like a ticking alarm clock with only the snooze button function accessible. The harder I look for the off button the louder the ticking gets, reminding me it's the shadow that controls that switch, not me, not yet.

But self-discoveries have been made, certain secrets have been freed and much soul searching has been, well, searched. Apparently the universe wants me to hang around for a while longer yet. So oblige, I must, as not even I can contend with the universe's plans.

Which leads me brilliantly into beef stroganoff. Okay, so that was a crap segue. In fact, it wasn't a segue. But seriously, who the hell can segue from depression, the universe to beef stroganoff? If you can come up with a good way to segue between such things - and you live in Brisbane - I will even make you a dinner of beef stroganoff.

Good luck to you ;-)

Beef stroganoff for the slow cooker
by The Self-Raising Kitchen

Beef stroganoff in the slow cooker with comforting
potato and cauliflower mash.
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp paprika
1kg beef (chuck or round steak), cut into thick strips
2 brown diced onions
4 to 6 cloves garlic crushed (depending on how strong the cloves are)
400ml can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 cups beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup yoghurt or sour cream
salt and pepper

Combine flour, a good couple of pinches of salt, a few good grinds of pepper and paprika in a bag - I just use a freezer bag. Chuck in your beef and shake it all around until all strips are coated.

Place the beef in your slow cooker along with the onions, garlic, mushrooms, can tomatoes, tomato paste, beef stock, red wine and worcestershire sauce. Mix it all around, cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or high for about 4 hours. Don't have a slow cooker? Just cook it on the stove on a low heat for about 4 hours or until the beef is tender.

In the last 30 minutes of cooking time, mix in the yoghurt or sour cream.

Serve with pasta, rice, or if you are in the mood I was in, some mashed potato and cauliflower.

This freezes brilliantly, too.

Enjoy and I wish you all the best in finding your piece of corn :-)


  1. Elena Molokhovets first published her spinster great aunt's recipe for Beef a la Stroganov with mustard in her 1861 classic, A Gift to Young Housewives. While history does not record the great aunt's name, family lore insists she devised this flavoursome favourite not with any ambition of it becoming an international epicurean sensation, but merely to take her mind off the fact she was the wrong side of 60, lonely, single, and the only eligible male within a 70-mile radius was her grandfather's toothless old donkey, Ulysses. Certainly neither Elena nor her sad and solitary aunt could ever have imagined, nearly a century and a half later, their warm, tasty, admittedly stodgy stew would be reinvented as "comfort food" and universally revered by women - young housewives and old maids alike - as a reliable remedy for depression, ennui, enforced celibacy, ambiguity around life's true purpose, and Tuesday-night pantry panic.

    Now, where's my dinner?!
    Oh, wait...

    1. Well now, Gracie, that is certainly a most impressive attempt at a segue :-)

    2. And it's all true. Well, sort of. You can google it, as RPatz famously said. ;-)