Mix the flour, salt and suet in a bowl and stir in the liquid gradually, making sure that the dough does not become wet and flabby. Shake some flour on a flat surface and roll small balls of dough about
Drop these into the simmering stock 20 minutes before the meat should be ready. There should be room for them to cook without touching. If you want more than the saucepan of beef will take, steam for the same length of time in a steamer or in a colander, tightly covered with a lid or with foil, over a saucepan of boiling water.
Lift very carefully as they are apt to break. Arrange round the edges of the beef dish and sprinkle with parsley. Very few people have ever been able to resist dumplings, but they were particularly famous in Norfolk, where in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries they were served in stews of duck or partridges at the supper tables of sporting gentlemen.
©1975 The Estate of Elizabeth Ayrton