Place flour in a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Add beef and gently toss to lightly coat. Heat 1/4 of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over high heat. Add 1/3 of the beef and cook, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes or until brown all over. Transfer to a heat proof bowl, then cook the remainder in two more batches until all the meat is browned.

Add remaining oil and onions to pot for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly golden. next add garlic and stir for 1 minute or until aromatic. Then add the beef, Guinness, tomato paste, beef stock, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to the boil then reduce to very low heat. Cover and cook over very low heat for one and a half to two hours until beef is tender and sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside for 30 minutes to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 200°C.

Spoon beef mixture evenly among 6 x 350ml oven proof dishes. Cut the pastry into 6 piece and lightly brush with egg. Place a piece of pastry over each dish and use a small, sharp knife to cut a small slit in the top of each pie to release the steam. Bake on an oven tray for 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from oven and serve immediately.