Slow Cooker Carbonnade of Beef With Little Mustard Toasts

One of the many things I enjoy about blogging is the social aspect – forging friendships with fellow bloggers, talking online, meeting in person. And when good things happen for the friends one has made, it’s really wonderful to be able to share the news.

Miss South, one half of North South Food, is not only a fellow food lover and inventive cook but she is also a very talented and articulate writer. Her posts on cooking on a budget, and the realities of living on the poverty line should be taken as a wake up call not only by politicians who are wildly out of touch, but also by food celebrities who mean well but haven’t got a clue either. For more about Miss South, read my recent Meet The Blogger interview with her, here.

The good news I wanted to share is to spread the word about Miss South’s latest book, one that I’ve been really excited about seeing in print. It’s called Slow Cooked and has over 200 recipes to make in a slow cooker.

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Back when Miss South was recipe testing, I was quick to step forward and delighted to volunteer my services in helping her with some of the Indian recipes. Some tips gleaned from my mum about making your own garam masala made it into the book, as did the method I recommended for making keema. It’s a lovely feeling to contribute, even in such a tiny way, to someone’s book – I know it was a project that Miss South poured vast energy and effort into and the result is a super resource.

Using a slow cooker is a boon for many cooks. It’s great for those evenings when you’re so hungry by the time you get home you just want to walk in to something delicious, hot and ready to eat. A little prep in the morning, or the night before, and that’s exactly what a slow cooker can give you. It’s also a very economical way of cooking, using far less energy over several hours than a conventional oven or stovetop for a few. And if you are cooking in limited kitchen space (or perhaps no kitchen at all), it can be a lifesaver.

Of course, cooking in a slow cooker is not the same as cooking in an oven or on the stove. For those who’ve made slow-cooked stews or casseroles before, their first experiences cooking with a slow cooker can be disappointing. Food tastes bland and watery and it’s easy to give up.

One of the best aspects of the book is the excellent and detailed introduction Miss South gives to cooking in a slow cooker, spelling out the adaptations you need to make to ensure that you achieve great flavours when cooking this way. It’s immediately clear that Miss South has used her slow cookers (she has various models in different sizes) a lot and in this book she passes on all the tips she’s learned along the way. After the introduction, dive in to a fabulous range of slow cooker recipes, ranging from hearty meat stews to fish and vegetable dishes, soups and curries. There are even chapters on preserves and other pantry staples, cakes and breads and puddings.

Most recipes don’t have accompanying photos, but a good selection of dishes are showcased just inside the front cover. Usually, I’m a fan of having an image of every recipe so I can see what it should look like but most of the dishes in the book are classics that most of us are familiar with, so I find that I don’t actually miss them in this book. What I’m more interested in are the adapted versions that allow me to make all these recipes in my trusty slow cooker.

Not every recipe is to my taste – I was disappointed by the butternut squash curry which needs more spice, more punch, more flavour. But there are many recipes which more than make up for that one, such as the fantastic carbonnade, Miss South’s slow cooker adaptation of a Belgian beef stew made with beer, onions and mustard. I particularly love the mustard toasted baguette on top, though do note you’ll need use of a grill to toast the slices before sitting them atop the stew.

Note, Miss South isn’t as greedy as Pete and I – she lists the recipe as serving 4-6 with leftovers whereas I’d say it serves 4 with none leftover.

Miss South’s Carbonnade

Servings 4 people


  • 500 g stewing steak or beef brisket , cubed
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 onions (preferably caramelised, recipe provided in the book)
  • 1 carrot , diced
  • 2 large flat mushrooms , sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 350 ml ale or stout
  • 4 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 1 demi baguette
  • chopped fresh parsley, to serve


  • Place the beef, mustard powder, salt, pepper and flour into the slow cooker, toss well to coat the meat. Add onions, carrot and mushrooms and onions (we used raw), then sugar, vinegar, bay leaf, thyme, beer and half the wholegrain mustard. The meat should be about two-thirds submerged by the liquid.
  • Give a stir, to mix in the mustard, then put on the lid and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • After 6 hours, beat together the butter and remaining wholegrain mustard, 6 six thick slices from the baguette and spread the mustard butter on one side. Toast under a grill (butter side up) until the edges start to crisp and the mustard butter darkens.
  • Transfer the mustard toasts to the slow cooker, setting them gently onto the stew and pressing down just a little so the gravy soaks into their bases.
  • Replace the lid and cook for another 2 hours.


If you decide to buy this book after reading our content, please consider clicking through our affiliate link, located within the post and in the footnote below.

Kavey Eats received a review copy from Random House. Slow Cooked is published by Ebury Press and currently available on Amazon for £13.48 (RRP £14.99).

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52 Comments to "Slow Cooker Carbonnade of Beef With Little Mustard Toasts"

  1. Choclette

    Ooh I didn’t know Miss South had written a book – how exciting. I love it when bloggers I know (if somewhat remotely) get a book published. From your review, this sounds like a good one. I’m terrible at using my slow cooker as I don’t have much space in my kitchen and it’s a faff to get in and out of the back of the cupboard, but I’m seeing so many good slow food recipes recently, I think I need to do something about it.

    When I do get mine out, I use it for cooking dried pulses in bulk, then freezing appropriate sized portions – beat tinned pulses any day. Failing that my favourite slow cooked dish is probably Sussex Pond pudding – I love steamed suet puds.


    It’s lovely isn’t it, to see people who deserve success find success. And yes, this book’s a great resource, I hope she’s very proud of it. I know she’s a true fan of the slow cooker, so was very well placed to write this book.

    We use ours fairly often, especially to make overnight chicken stock after every roast chicken dinner, and we do occasional stews and curries, as well as slow cooker jacket potatoes, but I want to make a wider variety of things, so this is a great prompt to do that.

    Miss South

    Thank you Kavey, Choclette and Janice for such kind words and encouragement. I absolutely loved writing the book but it never occurred to me people would read it (denial helps with deadlines) so it’s wonderful to hear people enjoying the writing and the recipes.

    The slow cooker is brilliant for the whole dried pulse thing and I wanted more people to know about that. And there’s even a Sussex Pond Pudding in there…

  2. NickyB

    I’ve a slow braised lamb and borlotti bean chilli which I think has become our favourite: allspice, bay, cinnamon, anchos, arbols, cumin, coriander … Aromatic and punchy!

  3. Janice

    It’s lovely to find out who else is reviewing this book and what they think of it. I really loved it and I love that you and your Mum had a hand in helping the recipes be so good. Nice review and that carbonnade looks so luscious. Obviously I don’t need to enter the competition as I have copy of the book, but wanted to leave a comment anyway.


    Only a tiny hand, don’t want to take anything away from the author’s achievements… 🙂

  4. Andrea

    Sometimes I don’t know what I’d do without my slow cooker but if I’m honest I don’t make anywhere near as much use of it as I ought to. I pretty much do the same few things over and over so a detailed book with new ideas would be fab! Of the things I do cook in mine I particularly love my thrown together version of the carbonnade (or, as it’s know in our house, beef in beer – which can mean anything from an IPA to Guinness!) or lamb shanks in red wine. As you say, there really is nothing quite like getting in from work on a miserable winter night to a hearty dinner that’s already done save for the addition of some rice or mashed potato.


    There’s a lamb shanks in red wine and balsamic recipe I got from a recipe book of stews which I’ve since adapted for beef cheeks and love but really need to look at adapting for the slow cooker!

  5. Sam Bresnahan

    I love loads of slow cooked food, from curry, mexican to stews and puddings!

    My favourite has to be slow cooked chili, I adore it. With home made guacamole.

    However, only I like chili so my family would say chicken stew and dumplings. They ask for it every week x

  6. Sue Turner-Smith

    I love taking my slow cooker on holiday in my caravan. I can cook stews and soups all day while we are out sightseeing, and come back to a delicious meal. I often make stock using a leftover chicken carcass overnight, and then strain it the next morning before adding vegetables, lentils and any leftover meat and cooking on low all day. A fabulous main course soup to serve with crusty bread.


    We do the same – make overnight chicken stock with roast chicken carcass. I picked that up on BBC Food boards, I think, perhaps from you, Sue or maybe we both picked it up from someone else? Is brilliant.

  7. Snigdha (Snig of Snig's Kitchen)

    Hello Kavey,

    For me, the only redeeming feature of Autumn and Winter is that you can have stews, casseroles and slow cooker dishes!

    Beef bourguignon is my favourite all time slow cooked dish. But Coq au Vin, Cocido, Beef stew with dumplings, Pulled pork are all fabulous.

    I wasn’t previous aware of Miss South – I am very glad you have brought her book and blog to my attention. I shall be bookmarking furiously!!

    With love

  8. Joann Kiser

    I love using my slow cooker for so many 1 pot meals. Everything comes out soooo yummy and yet it makes life so easy. But I think right now my favorite thing to make are bbq pork ribs. I rub tons of spices onto them, put the rack of ribs in my slow cooker for fall of the bone yumminess done in 4 hrs.

  9. Katie Bryson

    This book looks fabulous, and as i’ve just got my slow cooker out again for another season i’d be super excited to win a copy! My favourite dish is beef in a rich spiced ale sauce, but i’m going to be experimenting with slow cooked curries and vegetarian dishes this winter to change things up a bit! Great review Kavey 🙂

  10. Sally - My Custard Pie

    I’ve just acquired a slow cooker for the first time and I’m still on the learning curve. You are right that some things are disappointing but then you get a great surprise. I learned about Miss South on the BBC Food Programme and have followed the blog ever since.

  11. Jenifer

    I like to make a lovely slow cooked pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce, I love how slow cookers fill the house with beautiful smells although it makes me really inpatient for dinner! 🙂

    Jen xx

  12. Jackie ONeill

    Lamb tagine, use larger than normal chunks of lamb and slow cook in the aga, beautiful xx

  13. Stephanie Whitehouse

    Steamed sponge pudding with homemade blackcurrant jam – sweet, soft and tangy

  14. Ali Onslow

    The book looks lovely. My favourite slow cooker dish is a whole chicken with the juice of a lemon and a sprig of thyme left to cook all day or night on low. Delicious hot (with superb juice) but also makes the most succulent chicken to be served cold.
    I have also tried rice pudding in the slow cooker with ordinary cows milk and with coconut milk. Very good.

  15. christy beckett

    We take our slow cooker in the caravan, although I dont cook many dishes i’m still looking for new recipes, we do love to come in from a day out hiking and have a plate of hot beef stew all ready for us. I couldnt do without my slow cooker x

  16. Paul Kay

    My favourite slow cooked dish is Pork with Orange and Rosemary sauce (just cooked in Orange Juice..the acidity works well with the pork)

  17. Alison

    I love my slow cooker. One of my favourites is ham in coke but I just did a roast beef in red wine sauce that is my new favourite

  18. Susan Carruthers

    Braising steak casserole with potatoes, carrots and peas. The slow cooking helps the flavours develop and makes the meat beautifully tender

  19. Patricia Avery

    I love my slow cooker so easy and economical to use. Very important as an OAP on a tight budget. My favourite is pork and apple cobbler which uses cheap slices of belly pork and apple juice. Absolutey delicious. I always make a full dish then freeze what we don’t eat on the day it is made. 🙂

  20. Ruthy @ Minibreak Mummy

    We use our Slow Cooker to make soups and stews, but it is nice to get some new ideas. Saw the Brixton Beans and the Cream Cheese Brownies on the BBC ‘Food & Drink’ programme and now I’ve added this book to my wishlist.


    Yes, thought it a shame they didn’t mention “Miss South” or mention her book when they introduced her — the BBC seem happy to promote/ mention books by celebrity chefs!

  21. Sunny

    Great sharing!!! I just got my slow cooker and as you said few of attempts were really disappointing. I almost gave up but seen this post now I ought to give it a try for my favorite chicken stew 😀


  22. richard baker

    I love Leffe – though being something of a lightweight, I’m normally tipsy after one bottle! Haven’t eaten a carbonnade in years – for more 70s recipe inspiration, read Simon Hopkinson’s brilliant The Prawn Cocktail Years, it’s one of my favorite cookbooks.


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