Preheat the oven to 160°C. Toss the pieces of steak in the oatmeal to lightly coat, then shake to remove any excess.
Heat the oil in a heavy flameproof casserole dish and briefly cook the beef until lightly coloured. Transfer to a plate. Add the chopped onions to the casserole dish and cook gently over a low heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes until softened and golden.
Add the beer, thyme, juniper berries and allspice plus a little seasoning to taste, and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.
Stir in the shallots or onions, whole baby carrots, parsnips or turnips, and the beef and any meat juices. When the liquid comes to the boil, cover the casserole dish and put into the oven. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1½ hours until the meat is really tender.
Towards the end of the cooking time, cut the bread stick into slices about 2.5 cm thick and lay on a baking tray. Bake for about 15 minutes until they are lightly brown and crisp. Arrange the toasted bread on top of the meat and vegetables and cook, uncovered, for a further 5 minutes. Serve hot, straight from the casserole dish.
*To prepare ahead, cook up to the end of step 4, then cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, or freeze. Thaw, if frozen, then reheat thoroughly before adding the toasted bread. *Shallots and pickling onions are easy to peel if you make a small cut in the skin at the top and then soak in boiling water for 2 minutes.
If you like, use 450 ml beer with 150 ml beef stock instead of just beer.