Thursday 15 September 2016

Food as Weaponry, Part 1: A Savory Beef Stew Saves the Day!

"Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?"


"Hilarious"  (several twisted readers)


Okay!  I was challenged to come up with a recipe that relates to one of my novels.  So natch, it has to be Rowena.  The first book.  The one that put me on the bestseller list between Tom Clancy and Nora Roberts.

 In my comic time travel novel, Rowena Through the Wall, the heroine gets kidnapped ‘not once, but twice, dammit’.  And as the promo blurb says, The stakes get higher as the men get hotter!

So it’s no surprise that Rowena starts to fight back, and the real fun battle in this book is with food:

Nobody noticed Kendra reach casually for the cauldron on the stove.

            “Bollocks!"  Warm meat stew hit Ivan square in the chest and face, and me behind him.  “What the devil was that?”

            We went down in a slithery tangle of arms and legs, meat chunks and cooked carrots.  I gasped for breath and tried to get up on my knees, but the stew was everywhere, and I fell on my face.

The beef stew in question is a lovely French variety, with mushrooms, rosemary and Burgundy wine.  Shame to waste it on a food fight, but it did the trick.

 So for your next food fight, I recommend:

 Melodie’s Magical Beef Stew

 1 ½ -2 lbs sirloin (or stewing beef, if you want to cook it longer)

1/3 cup all purpose flour

¼ cup olive oil

1 sweet onion, chopped

20 oz beef stock

1½ cups red wine

3 T tomato paste

1 T Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp dried rosemary

½ tsp ground marjoram

2 tsp salt (reduce or eliminate if stock contains salt)


1 cup cooked sliced baby carrots

2 cups cooked sliced baby potatoes

½ lb mushrooms, sliced


Dredge meat with flour.  In a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil; add meat and cook until browned all over.  Stir in onions; cook until onions are tender.  Add all ingredients ending at pepper.

Cook, uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is smooth and thickened.  Cover and reduce heat, and simmer until meat is tender (1/2 hour for sirloin, more for stewing beef).  Add carrots and potatoes.  Saut√© mushrooms in a small amount of butter.  Add to pot.  Heat thoroughly and serve with fresh bread and the rest of the bottle of wine (if you haven’t slurped it all down by now).

 Use generously in food fights.

 Melodie Campbell got her start writing comedy, so it’s no surprise that editors have called her writing ‘wacky’ and ‘laugh out loud funny’.  She has over 200 publications, and has won 10 awards.  Melodie was invited into the Toronto Press Club in 1994.  There is no truth to the rumor that she once did a somersault off the Press Club billiard table.

 Melodie Campbell’s comic novel Rowena Through the Wall (Imajin Books) is available at Amazon

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