The Land Rover Owners Ex Wife

……becoming me again

Suet free dumplings


Crisp outer layer with light and fluffy inner.

Crisp outer layer with light and fluffy inner.

Nothing can beat beef stew and dumplings on a cold and blustery day, especially a traditional stew containing potatoes and carrots, cooked for hours with the meat, absorbing all the delicious flavours, complimented beautifully by light and fluffy dumplings.

Back track 30 years or so and tell the teenage me that one day I would be enthusing over stew and dumplings and I probably would have laughed in disbelief. Although the stew was never the issue. No! The stew was actually pretty good but the dumplings, oh my, the dumplings……

The dough should be soft but not sticky

The dough should be soft but not sticky

How to describe the dumplings. Well, to say that you could have used them to fill cracks in a wall would be a tad unfair to polyfiller and other such wall repair products. Sticky, stodgy, heavy and indigestible doesn’t even come close. Oh how well I remember the feeling of having the roof of my mouth stuck to the glupey mess, of my throat struggling with the act of swallowing and the heavy feeling as it eventually came to rest in the my stomach.

Suffice to say it was many, many years, in fact a decade or more before I plucked up the courage to try dumplings again and what a revelation. Gone was the stodge and adhesive properties and in their place were fluffy, light dumplings and I was hooked.

Place dumplings in boiling hot casserole/stew and cooked for 20 minutes

Place dumplings in boiling hot casserole/stew and cooked for 20 minutes

The difference, it turned out, was that the suet traditionally used in British dumplings had been replaced with butter, so nowadays I only ever make dumplings using butter and they are a favourite of Mud (who is blessed with equally bad memories of stew and dumplings) and Little Mudlet. But not Middle Mudlet. She doesn’t see the attraction at all, no matter how many times I tell her how lucky she is that she has my modern version and not the dumplings of my childhood

These dumplings work well oven baked in a stew/casserole with or without a lid on the casserole dish. With a lid on, they maintain a soft outer layer but with the lid off, the upper crust crisps up producing a crispy dumpling with fluffy center. They can also be cooked in a lidded pan on the hob, again producing a soft dumpling.

So for those of you who wish to know:


  • 4oz of self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2oz softened butter (makes it easier to mix)
  • and a little cold water to bind.


  • Sieve flour and baking powder into bowl;
  • Add the salt and pepper;
  • Rub in the butter;
  • Add enough cold water to bind into a soft (not sticky) dough;
  • Roll into 8 equal sized balls;
  • Pop into boiling stew/casserole with or without lid as preferred;
  • Cook in oven at 200C/400F/Gas Mark  6 for 20 minutes.

2 thoughts on “Suet free dumplings

  1. Those dumplings look and sound delicious! Something I do miss as I’m gluten intolerant, but I think I’ll give your recipe a go with some gluten free flour 🙂

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