Season the flour with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then toss the beef in the seasoned flour to coat
Cook the beef in batches in 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan over high heat, turning occasionally, for 5-10 minutes or until brown all over. Transfer to a slow cooker
Cook the vegetables, garlic and mushrooms in the remaining oil in the pan over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, until vegetables begin to brown. Stir in the herbs, tomato purée and chopped tomato and cook for a couple of minutes. Add to the beef in the slow cooker
Pour in the stock and cook for 4 hours on high (or 6 hours on low), until the meat is very tender
To make the dumplings, combine all the flour, suet and herbs in a bowl and add enough milk to just bring it together. Season with salt and pepper. Roll into 6-8 small balls
Stir the stew, remove the bay leaves and season to taste
Evenly top the surface of the stew with the dumplings. Cover and cook for an additional hour with the lid on
Serve topped with the combined parsley and garlic if using.