Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Beefy Leftover Special: From Roast Topside to Vitello Tonnato

I'm a sucker for Farmer's markets, rarely get my food from anywhere else, and last Saturday it was Killerton House's turn (third Saturday in the month, in case you're local). This market has only been running for a year or so, and has attracted a couple of new meat producers recently. A while back I tried some lamb from Peradon Organic farm (, which I made into Spit Roast Lamb and Wild Garlic Mash - unfortunately never got a chance to blog about that one. However last week I decided to plump for Beef instead from West Kidland farm ( what what a piece of beef it was!

Anyone who has read this blog before will know that I also have a weakness for Rib of Beef on the bone, so it's not really like me to choose Topside, but it looked like a lovely piece of meat and a bargain at £15 for 2kg. It was very well hung too. I won't go into the way I cooked it this time, suffice to say that it was a pretty standard roast, that I served with a rather large yorkshire pudding, carrots, peas (in their pods) and new potatoes. Lovely stuff, which you can see on my Picasa food site if you're interested.

But what I really want to talk about is not the roast beef, it's what I did with the leftovers - Vitello Tonnato.

Vitello Tonnato aka Veal in Tuna Sauce

OK, first things first, obviously I wasn't using veal. But you don't really need to, to be honest. We've done this before with not only beef, but also lamb and even chicken. What is it? Basically it's cold meat dressed with a tuna sauce. It's simplicity itself to make, but like all simple food if the right ingredients are combined in the correct way then a few simple things can be transformed into something much greater than the sum of their parts. It should also be done with mayonnaise to be truly original, but as we're expecting our first child at the moment raw eggs are off the menu, so we are tending to use creme fraiche instead and that works out pretty well.

Ingredients (for four hungry people)

Tuna, 170g (in olive oil), chopped finely
Capers, 2 tablespoons, chopped finely
Mayonnaise (or creme fraiche), 150g
Anchovies, if you like them - not something we're keen on

Beef (or other meat):
10-12 thin slices of beef

(doesn't really need seasoning)


  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together - easiest done in a blender if you have one.
  • Layout beef on a serving platter, slightly overlapping.
  • Dress with a thickish layer of the sauce, then leave to come to room temperature.
  • Serve the platter in the centre of the table, and allow people to help themselves.


Boiled potatoes work well, or saute (my preference) - again left over from the roast.
A fresh green salad with cucumbers and tomatoes works well.

It's a fab dish for a hot summers day, and a very tasty way of using up leftover beef. I must admit I was a bit suspicious when the Italian first suggested this dish many years ago, but have enjoyed it many times since. I do urge you to give it a try, hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kudos to Kenwood, Customer Service to be Celebrated

I must admit I have something of a reputation for writing extensive reviews for disappointing service. I love the way the web allows someone as insignificant as me to have a voice that can spread so much further and wider than was previously possible, and there's something deeply satisfying about doing your little bit to stand up to bullies. But that said I recognise that I don't perhaps write quite as often as I should about the good things in life. Thought I'd go some way to mending that by writing about my recent experience with Kenwood.

I needed a new food processor last year as my old Moulinex Ovatio gave up the ghost, so bought a Kenwood FP950 Multi Pro Libra Food Processor. Been very happy with it overall (love the fact that it can weigh food as you add it), but not so long ago part of the mechanism that locks the bowl in place snapped off. It still worked OK most of the time, but it was a bit weird to have such an expensive piece of kit break. I have various Kenwood tools (including one of their very first generation Chefs, still a stalwart in the kitchen) but the rest are generally well built.

Broken safety switch - now that shouldn't happen

Anyhow, to cut a short story even shorter I contacted Kenwood about this, and after a few emails back and forth they were satisfied purely on the basis of the photos that I supplied that it was a problem with the machine, and a brand new bowl arrived this morning, no charge.

Brand new bowl, no charge - now that should happen!

The machine was out of warranty by the time I contacted them, and although I know there are further European laws I could have tried I think in stands in Kenwood's credit - and for that matter Zoe Hall from Kenwood who dealt with it - that what could have become a long winded and difficult situation was dealt with efficiently and appropriately. One happy customer, many thanks Kenwood, and Zoe.


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