Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Dust the beef with flour. Heat the oil in a large casserole dish, then add the meat in batches and fry until golden brown, removing each batch as you go. Add the pancetta or bacon, garlic, onion, celery and carrot to the casserole and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until it begins to darken, then add remaining ingredients (except the extra thyme) and return the sautéed beef and its juices to the casserole. Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours or until the beef is tender.
Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the extra thyme leaves, and serve on a bed of mashed potato.
To make the mashed potato, cover the potatoes with cold salted water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until just past tender. Drain and pass through a potato ricer or mash with a potato masher. Combine milk and cream in a saucepan and heat, then stir in the butter to melt. Return the mashed potato to the heat and add the milk mixture, noting that all of the liquid may not be needed, depending on the starchiness of the potatoes. Stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add the nutmeg and chopped herbs and season to taste. Keep warm.
For that extra 5 percent magic, I often marinate the stewing meat in the red wine with the herbs overnight, then use the marinade as the cooking liquid.