Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Meat Course - Cookery Class

The main course is always the highlight and the one course you will be really measured on by your guests. It not only has to taste fantastic but also needs to look stunning. You can of course stick to the good old favourites but why not push the boat out a bit. I always like to serve food that my guests won’t normally cook and eat themselves. It can be risky as it might not be to the taste of your guests but in my experience, people are inclined to try something new when the dish is nicely presented. As they say; the eyes eats as well.

Here I am showing you a dish I grew up with but that I haven’t seen that often on menus – it’s a dish my mum used to cook and my dad loved it. It is a weird mixture of meat and a pickle but apparently, the pickle is a must and I am not going to break with traditions. The meat doesn’t need to be round steak but can be cut from the flank or silverside. Your butcher will be able to cut the meat to suit the dish. I think we don’t use our craft butchers enough – give them a try. The knowledge and expertise your butcher has can’t be matched by any supermarket. The meat is fresh and can be easily traced.

We are going to cook the beef in a beer sauce which is will underline the richness of the meat and is a perfect partner to the dish. Red wine would be another option but I think beer is underrated in cooking these days.

This dish can be served with steamed or roast potatoes but I think mashed potatoes for a change of the good old boiled spud. As a contrast to the rich meat, I will be making champ – the crisp fresh spring onions will add a lift to the dish.

As we are in autumn, cabbage comes to mind and here I am using red cabbage slow-cooked with apples, red onions and redcurrant jelly. For me, the best way to eat cabbage J

Beef Roulades

Beef Roulades with champ & red cabbage
  • 4 thin slices of flank steak (ask your butcher to slice it for you)
  • Mustard
  • 4 slices of cooked ham (similar in size to steak)
  • 2 Onion, sliced
  • 4 gherkins
  • Butter
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1 Celery, chopped
  • 1 can Beer
  • 100ml Stock
  • Cream

Preheat oven to 180C.

If the slices are not thin enough to roll up, ‘bash’ it with a mallet until thin enough but no holes have appeared. Lay the steaks on a flat surface and spread a thin layer of mustard across.

Line the meat with a slice of cooked ham and scatter some onion slices over it. Place a gherkin (or two if too small) in the middle and roll up to a roulade. Secure either with a toothpick or twine. Repeat with the rest of the meat slices.

Heat butter in an ovenproof dish over a medium to high heat. Seal the roulades from all sides until nicely browned. Remove and set aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery and stir-fry until soft and slightly browned. Return the meat and pour the can of beer over it. Add the stock and cover. Place in the oven and braise for about 60 – 90 mins.

Remove the meat and keep warm. Set the dish over a medium to high heat and let the sauce reduce by half. Season well.  Strain the sauce through a sieve into a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and add enough cream to make a nice sauce.

Serve with lovely mashed or steamed potatoes and red cabbage

Wine Suggestion: Chateauneuf-du-Pape or Malbec


  • 800g Potatoes, peeled and halved (quartered if big)
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 bunch spring onions
  • Seasoning
  • Butter

Place potatoes into large pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain well. Return to very low heat and allow the potatoes to dry out for a few minutes. (It helps if you place a clean dish towel over the potatoes to absorb any remaining moisture.)
Meanwhile, heat the milk and green onions gently in a saucepan, until warm.
Mash the potatoes, salt and butter together until smooth. Stir in the milk and green onion until evenly mixed. Season to taste.

Red Cabbage with Apples

  • 1 small head of red cabbage
  • 2-3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
  • Butter
  • ¼ cup soft brown sugar
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • Seasoning

Take the out tough layers of the cabbage and discard. Cut the head of the red cabbage into 4 and remove the hard stalk in the middle. Shred the cabbage finely with a sharp knife.

Heat the butter in a large saucepan and sauté the onions until just soft but not browned. Add the cabbage and apples as well as the spices and sugar. Mix well and cook over a low heat until the cabbage starts to soften. Add the redcurrant jelly and mix well.

Cook over a low heat until the cabbage has the required consistency.

The cabbage freezes very well so it is worth making a big batch and to freeze it in portions.

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