Ok. Get some stewing beef-braising steak, skirt or shin. Or get steak and kidney mix from the butcher. The kidney makes a great gravy but not everyone likes it.
In a large, heavy bottomed, pan or an iron casserole gently soften chopped onions until they are translucent or taking on some brown colour.
In another pan, put some oil in and put it on a reasonably high heat. When hot flash fry the meat. This will seal the meat so that it remains juicy.
Add the meat to the onions and then add either water, guinness or red wine.
Then add vegetables and finely minced garlic. Any root vegetables will do particularly potatoes, swede or turnip and carrot. Chop these into bite sized chunks.
You could also use celery or celeriac but this will impart that slightly aniseed taste.
Add plenty of mixed herbs, some tabasco, some HP sauce or Worcester sauce, and a couple of beef stock cubes.
At this stage you could also add pearl barley or other pulse to bulk out the sauce.
Place the whole lot on a low heat or, if in a casserole, into the oven. Leave for one and a half hours.
You could make dumplings to go in at the end. These are basically flour, suet and water. You can buy dumpling mix in packets with instruction on the side.
ps. you could use any kind of beer in this but dark beers look nice. Alternately you could use mostly water and add dry sherry as the water reduces.