Saturday, March 24, 2007

Back to the best - the glorious Fore Rib of Beef

When it comes to roasting beef, I find only one cut will do these days, and is has to be rib. We can argue over whereabouts on the cow it comes from, but the combination of flavour and texture you get from this joint just leaves everything else in the shade. And it must be on the bone. Most people agree it has more flavour, and what else are you going to make your stock out of (you do make your own stock now don't you? :-).

Now my butcher only had a limited choice (as usual I give them no notice - well often I don't know what I want till I get there) so it was 2 ribs off some monster cow - 5.5kg of meat!

Now that's a big roasting pan but it only just fits. Nothing special here - just season well with lots of salt & black pepper. I go for Hugh F-W's recipes for roasting these days, so this fella went in for 30 mins at about 220°C and then down to 150°C for 9 mins per 500g, although I actually did mine for 90 minutes. Then half hour rest. To be honest it was still a bit overcooked for me - here's the beast once it had come out - note this is with the top half taken off already to make it easier to carve (the other half is in the foil wrapping):

And finally on the plate:

That's with my own recipe yorkshire puddings, beef dripping roasted potatoes, lightly boiled cabbage and steamed carrots. The carrots came out particularly well!

One day I'll share the yorkshire pudding recipe (if like me you like them eggy and with a good bit of squidy batter you'll love it), but I'm in a bit of a rush right now. I will try and share what I did with the leftovers though soon - that's worth a post in itself!

Update Christmas 2010: My Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The beauty of the cheaper cut - The Spare Rib

Well no Rib of Beef at the butchers this week - all been sold already. That's what comes from buying your meat from a proper butcher - you have to have what he's got if you don't order ahead of time. So Pork last Sunday, and a nice little Spare Rib at that. It's been my choice of pork cuts for a while now, as it's very cheap but has a great flavour, cooks up nice and moist, and has lots of great crackling! What more could you ask for out of a pork roast - you can keep your legs and loins.

I've found the best method is the 20 min hot bit at about 220°C, and then down to 160°C for 30 minutes per 500g, plus of course resting time after that.

And the trick with the crackling? Well I just rub in a good amount of maldon sea salt, getting it right into those cracks, and that's it - no oil, no pepper, no basting, no nothing. Just leave it be and it will work, trust me! Served this with mash and carrots, so pretty basic stuff really.

Now I know my photography leaves something to be desired - maybe I'll fix that one day.

The other thing about a spare rib roast is the left overs are great for making your own schnitzel. May sound a bit odd I know, but try and it and you'll be very pleasantly surprised. Just slice relatively thickly, maybe just less than a cm, do the old dipping thing (flour/beaten egg/breadcrumbs - twice through is always good for a nice crust, and do remember to season all three I say) and then shallow fry and until crispy, maybe 5-10 minutes each side. These can be eaten hot, or even left to cool and then shoved into a pitta bread with some fresh salad, squeeze of lemon juice and maybe some mayo. Yum. Beats cardboard sandwiches.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

London Particulars

Away last weekend in London to visit old friends, including my god daughter (although technically I guess she's a young friend). It's a house of chicken pox at the moment, and that wasn't the only meat that weekend ... seeing as the lady of the house is a vegetarian and therefore meat is perhaps not on the menu as often my old friend Rich would like, he decided to rekindle his meat cooking skills and offered up a fab slow-cooked belly pork glazed with honey for Saturday night:

(excuse the shaky picture - I only had my phone with me)

That was followed by next day by a steak & kidney pie, which he'd slow cooked the day before. Scrumptious it was, with proper lumps of ox kidney throughout, and a generous layer of pastry. Even the young girls enjoyed their kidney (well, for the most part!).

As you can tell, a fine time was had by all, although I think it's safe to say the desire to live back in London again has definitely gone. Always happy to get back to the country again!

Back in Devon this weekend, so hopefully will have the chance to get another Sunday Roast in myself. Haven't had beef in a while, so it might be time for a best of british ...


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