One of the key lessons I've learned this year is the power of meal planning. As I am now on holiday however with more time to myself and full freezer, fridge and pantry I've allowed myself a little latitude today to be creative.

Having enjoyed a variety of stews and casseroles so far this year, this is my take using ingredients I had to hand. The chilli flakes give the stew a lovely warmth while the ginger ale keeps the taste popping in your mouth. The mixed spice also adds a festive touch in the run up to Christmas.

Ingredients

500g Aberdeen Angus organic stewing beef (or other good quality beef), diced
2 tbsp seasoned flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp mixed spice
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of tamarind paste
300ml ginger ale
150g of chopped tomatoes (I actually used some leftover tinned chopped tomatoes from the fridge)
Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (140 fan oven).

Drench the meat in the flour. Heat the oil in an ovenproof casserole and then brown the meat in two batches, removing to a separate bowl.

Gently soften the onions for 8-10 minutes in the remaining oil. Add the chilli flakes, mixed spice and garlic and cook for a further minute.

Add the ginger ale and tomatoes. Season well and turn up the heat. Once simmering place in the oven and cook for 90 minutes.

I served our casserole with gently steamed samphire.