1 piece of beef (sirloin, topside, brisket) between 1 and 1.2 kilo in size (2-3 lbs)
2 good-sized brown onions sliced
1 big carrot, cut into 2cm (1") cubes
2tbs soy sauce
1tb worchestor sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2tbs tomato paste
1tbs dry mustard (or premixed dijon mustard)
1tb brown sugar (optional - I don't like it)
2 bay leaves, 2 big sprigs of parsley, two sprigs of thyme, 2 sprigs of oregano, all tied together with a long string that you leave outside the pot to pull them out easily
some peppercorns, some whole allspice and cloves if you like them
salt to taste
Turn the slow cooker to high and remove the ceramic inner bowl. Have a good-sized frypan heating with a little drop of olive oil in it, then add the piece of meat, fat side down. Sizzle for a few minutes, then carefully turn the meat so that all sides are browned. At the same time put the cut-up vegetables into the ceramic bowl, add a little olive oil, stir and microwave on high for three minutes, stirring after two. Return the ceramic bowl to the slowcooker and put the lid on.
When the meet is nicely browned on all sides put it on the top of hot vegetables, fat side down, leaving the juices in the pan. Add the liquids to the pan, then add the tomato paste, mustard and brown sugar (if using). Stir until it's all nicely mixed, then pour it over the meat, leaving some on top for basting. Carefully add enough water or stock to come about half-way up the meat, trying not the wash the baste off the top. Add the herbs and spices and return the lid to the cooker.
This will take about 4-5 hours if you leave it on high or 8 hours if you turn it to low (which I prefer). Turn the meat half-way through if you're around.
When you're ready to serve, remove the meat to a plate. Fish out the carrots with a slotted spoon, then pour the remaining juices into a pan and thicken, either by reducing (boiling on the stove top) or adding a thin paste of flour and water to the boiling juices while stirring. You can use cornflour which is quicker, but I don't like the texture. If there's time and there seems to be a lot of fat, you can cool the juices and remove some of the fat that rises to the top before you thicken it.
Slice the meat and serve with the carrots, mashed potato, a green vegetable and the thickened juices poured over.