Tag: beef

a real treat

Iceland ChateaubriandWe had planned a day out on Sunday, to do some City of Culture stuff, watch them take Blade out of Queen Victoria Square, have lunch. But it was raining, and we had work to do, so we didn’t. That’s the joy of self-employment, it’s either famine or feast.

We have an Iceland pretty much at the top of our street, and I use it a lot; I find the quality very good. Curiously, on Saturday, a Facebook friend sang the praises of their Chateaubriand with Red Wine Sauce. For a tenner, if you please. So I trudged through the rain to buy one (and a teeny tiny fillet steak that will make a Stroganoff later), really to make up for not having lunch out, and also because I really, really,  fancied red meat (we don’t eat it very often).

After I’d thawed the meat  (in several changes of water), I dried it off, then coated it in garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. Have I told you about garlic powder? – such a useful thing to keep in! Then I seared it in hot oil, and popped it into a pre-heated cast iron dish for about thirteen minutes. Then it had a rest for five minutes or so, wearing a tin foil hat (the beef, not me).

My friend had said the red wine sauce wasn’t great, so I jazzed it up with more wine, some gravy granules, some thyme, and a good dollop of dijon mustard.

We ate it with braised red cabbage from the freezer, a head of broccoli, and potatoes roasted in olive oil. To be honest, we weren’t expecting it to be spectacular because, you know, a tenner.

Readers – it was gorgeous.

Beautifully tender meat, and really flavoursome. We’ll be having it again (and again, I should think).



This is not *the* pie, but it is a similar pie that we made.

We had a slow cooked joint of beef for our Christmas lunch this year, and while it was very nice, we’d had a couple of cold meals from it, and were a bit bored with it. So we made A Pie.

I sautéd diced carrot, onion and courgette, and then added some mushrooms and cooked it all down. Then a splash of red wine, some garlic powder, some Bisto granules (or Aldi equivalent), and some mixed herbs. Diced up the beef, bunged it in the pan, and let it all simmer for about half an hour.

We used ready made puff pastry (I know, I know), which Pete rolled out because I’m useless at it, no idea why.  It was very nice, and did us for a couple of days’ worth of meals. Never underestimate pie!

a piece of brisket

Another siren call from T L Norman’s chill cabinet, this small piece of brisket (maybe 1.25kg or so – I didn’t weigh it) went straight into the freezer when I bought it. I fetched it out on Saturday, and slow cookered it thus on Sunday:

I seared the brisket (all in one piece) in a little olive oil, then set it aside. In this house, this means putting it in one of the ovens, for fear one, or many, of The Tribe will minister to it. Then into the oil went a large onion, diced, and a few carrots, cut into batons. I added black peppercorns, juniper berries, fresh thyme, a good slosh of red wine, a smaller one of balsamic vinegar, and a good sprinkling of gravy granules. Oh, and a few cloves of garlic, crushed. And salt.

Everything went into the slow cooker for about eight hours. Sadly, I came down with some dreaded lurgy during the afternoon, and couldn’t face food, but Pete manfully tackled it, with a slice or two of sourdough bread. Which meant that there was plenty left for Monday. It stayed in the slow cooker and was cooked again for about four hours, and this time we had it with broccoli and Yorkshire puds.

Today, I have once again fished out the remaining brisket. Sliced three spuds thinly, and fried them gently in the fat left over from the lunchtime bacon butties (it’s cold, OK?). Set them in the slow cooker, added the rather splendid gravy and remaining veg, and they can sit and mull to themselves till suppertime, and which point they will accompany some cold brisket.

And there looks to be plenty to eat for lunch tomorrow as well.

Jacob's ladder

Rising rib, or Jacob's ladder

I’ve written before about our wonderful butcher, T L Norman of Princes Avenue, Hull. They’re an old fashioned butcher, and keep a lot of stuff out the back (not unlike Hilary Briss in League of Gentlemen, now I come to consider it), but of late he has installed a chill cabinet in the shop, and it is my downfall. Therein he puts all manner of things to tempt me – I go in for a dozen eggs, and come out bankrupt.

Today, I called in for a chickie! for the weekend, and some bacon – the weather looks foul, so we shall  be hunkering down at home, I think. And there it was – a cut of beef I’ve never even seen before. I picked it up and Craig beamed; “I thought you’d like that”, he said. “It’s a rising rib, or known as a Jacob’s ladder”. And we did. So I bought it – rude not to, really. 3.3kg of prime beef for £18.80. It’s gone in the freezer to be cooked on my 60th birthday weekend, when the family are here.

I certainly won’t be cooking it like this, though. Absolutely not. No question whatsoever.

Pete and I were on our way back from Aldi when we stopped at the butcher. We bought a mound of veg, cold meat, dishwasher tablets and washing up liquid, cheese, cream, an apple strudel, some seedy rolls for lunch, some naan, and lord knows what else for £27 odd, and congratulated ourselves on our thrift. And then we were mugged by Normans again. Ho hum.

And now he’s tempting me with shin. *On the bone*. Ohmigod. And he’s putting aside some minced offal for me for next week, when the Piranha Sisters arrive. I tell you, a good butcher is worth his weight in rubies, but you need an overdraft …

a load of mince

We are having the kitchen refitted  in the next few weeks. I cannot tell you how much I’m looking forward to the process, not least because I’m not. I want it to be done, obviously, but oh my … blocking up doors and knocking out walls and moving the gas points, etc. Still, it will be lovley when it’s finished, or so I keep telling myself.

As part of the preparation for this, I’m cooking all the ingredients in the freezer into meals that I can freeze, so we can at least eat well while I weep into the wreckage. So last night, I removed all the minced meat – 2lbs each of pork and lamb, and 1lb of beef. Stuck them all in the microwave to thaw (not to thaw electronically, just as a cat-proof box), then when we were warming the microwave hotties last night (rock’n’roll lifestyle that we live), I stuck them in the oven as it is similarly cat-proof

While rummaging for the mince, I found a box of frozen banana muffin mix: we love muffins, and they’re far nicer fresh, so I often freeze half the batter; banana muffins for breakfast, then! I came down and put the oven on to warm – and you’re all way ahead of me, aren’t you?

Thankfully I realised in time, and removed the meat before anything dreadful befell it, apart from the edge of one packet of lamb, which Iggy and Ron were quite happy to deal with. The pork and beef were turned into meatballs in a sweet pepper sauce quite, but not exactly, like this – only had two fresh peppers in the veg drawer, so added a jar of roast, and bunged honey and a dash of shoyu in the sauce. They’re in the slow cooker doing their thing.

The lamb was fried off and hurled in a big casserole dish (having realised that the first one I started wasn’t going to be big enough – roll on the dishwasher). Fried of carrots, courgettes, onions, celery in olive oil, added some home made Ras el Hanout, salt, pepper, tin of tomatoes, splash of home made wine and in it went with the meat. Added some bay leaves and thyme from the herb pots

I reckon I’ll get about seven meals worth from that lot for the two of us; moussaka tonight, with spinach under the aubergine (works really well) and a half pack of feta that needs eating up.

And now I must go and clean up the kitchen.

beef in ginger and orange

How to turn 500g of stewing beef into six portions? Add 100g of bacon bits, a stack of butter (lima) beans, and a load of veg, thus.

I used shallots in this – if you’re going to do this, they are much easier to peel if you soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes, and you get lovely shallotty water to add either to your casserole, or to your soup pot (the latter for me yesterday).

Cooked off the bacon bits, put them in the slow cooker. Browned the beef in batches, added them too. Fried off the whole shallots until they were caramelising a bit, the into the pan went four chopped carrots, half a courgette and some garlic. They were lobbed into the slow cooker, and then the pan was deglazed with …

Horror! No Stones Ginger Wine! And only 9 in the morning, so offy not open, and I bet the local mini Sainsburys wouldn’t have it, and besides – it was pouring with rain. I improvised.

Deglazed the pan with about 3/4 pint of fiery ginger beer. Added a slosh of brandy for good measure, and the zest and juice of an orange. Added a teaspoon of grain mustard and some season. Brought to the boil, bung in the slow cooker, switched it on.  Went back and added the beans (which had been soaked and boiled the day before), and some herbs from the garden.* Waited for six hours while the smell drove us crazy.

We are having some for tonight’s supper, with dumplings, and the rest will go into the freezer.

* Somewhere – no idea where – I found some reuseable cloth bouquet garni bags, which are dead handy for such occasions, because you don’t have to bother stripping the leaves from woody herbs, or finding the bay leaves afterwards. But do remember to fish it out before someone accidentally tries to eat it.

I also made the Christmas cake yesterday – 1 kg of random assorted dried fruits and a load of Cointreau. I always base it on this Nigel Slater recipe.  What with that, the stew, and the soda bread, the kitchen was an olfactory no-go area yesterday!

beef in beer

bottle of beerI knew there were two rump steaks in the freezer that we brought with us from Somerset – the very last of the Dexter beef.  There’s no way we’d ever eat a whole steak nowadays – it’s just not the sort of meal we have – so I decided, that in light of the chilly weather, we might have a steak pudding tomorrow.  (Pete is not offally fond (sorry) of kidney, so we never have that in a pud).

I want to make the pudding in the slow cooker; it’s much easier, never boils dry, and can be left while we go out, but in my experience they work better if the filling is pre-cooked, so that’s what I did this morning.

I normally make a base of carrot and celery for a beef casserole, but there was a head of fennel in the fridge (and, indeed, no celery), so I used that, and three carrots.  Chopped into small cubes, and sauteed down in olive oil till softened. Then chopped a large onion and a few cloves of garlic, and some fresh sage leaves, and they got the same treatment.

The steaks were cut into chunks, and browned off – the cats got the trimmings, so they were happy. All of this was put into the slow cooker, and Pete was despatched to buy a bottle of beer; he returned with a bottle of Fursty Ferret from Badger Beers, which seemed appropriate.  I deglazed the meat frying pan with the beer, added a teaspoonful of grain mustard, and a tablespoon of flour, decanted that into the slow cooker, and added salt and black pepper.

I’ll leave it cooking for about six hours – it’s smelling good!

reactive winemaking!

I’m getting the hang of this winemaking lark now, and I’m much more confident than I used to be.  We did our monthly trip to Makro on Saturday (first time the car had been out for a fortnight!), and they had a 5kg bag of carrots reduced to £2.30.   “Wine!”, I thought, and bore the bag home in triumph, along with 96 cans of cat fud and other essentials.

5kgs is a *lot* of carrots, I may tell you, but Pete and I topped and tailed them and chopped them up, and then I boiled them up in my preserving pan (bought from eBay a couple of years ago, and so useful).  We had to do it them in two batches.  You want the liquor for wine, and the carrots can be repurposed for eating.

I had a little ham hock in the freezer, and I put it in the slow cooker yesterday before I went out.  So, in a serendipitous style, I had a load of nice ham stock for soup.  One half of the Jordan carrot mountain went through the Magimix and into a big pan with the stock, and that’ll be this week’s soup, or the start thereof.  And I have some coriander to go with it, which will be nice.

The other batch of carrot will be liquidised and, somehow, shoehorned into th freezer for another soup.  I really can’t get used to living with just one freezer, and it’s always full to bursting, with me wanting to cook still more.

I have a big batch of Gujuerati beef curry in the slow cooker right now, and space will have to be found for that too … I’ll write the recipe up tomorrow.

And there are cheese scones and some cocktail sossidges in the oven for supper …

beef with clementines and ginger wine

There was a 3.75lb hunk of silverside in the freezer, and a tub of clementine mush (clementines that have been boiled and liquidised – I normally use them to make a cake with ground almonds).

So diced and sautéed two big carrots, a courgette and two sticks of celery, together with a red onion cut into big chunks. Chopped up the silverside and browned it off. Sliced some mushrooms and fried them gently. About four cloves of garlic were finely chopped and softened in some olive oil, then I added the clementines and about the same again in cold water, stirred it round until it came to the boil, then added a good sloosh of ginger wine.

Dumped everything in the slow cooker and left it on low overnight – it made 8 portions, and we consumed two last night with dumplings, accompanied by broccoli and cauliflower. Fit for a king.


As my loyal reader will have noticed, we’re moving house in a few weeks.  And we have to empty the freezers.  We just about eaten our way through all the prepared meals, so now we’re starting to make inroads on the raw ingredients.

For some reason, we had 3lbs of sausage meat in the freezer; I suspect it was left from Xmyth, when I would have planned and failed to make sausage rolls.  So out came 2lbs, and 1lb of mince.  Pete combined these with some allspice, ground dried ginger, black pepper, salt, fresh thyme, sage, majoram and savory, and a teaspoon of lazy garlic.  That made 53 small meatballs.

In the meantime, I sliced up two red and one yellow pepper, and sautéd them down with 1.5 thinly sliced red onions.  Bunged that in the slow cooker, then set to frying the meatballs in batches.  They went in the slow cooker too.

Then I tipped the oil out of the frying pan, and added a jar of tomato salsa (well, why not? – it needed eating!), a glass of red wine – the end of a bottle that had, inexplicably, not been drunk, and the last of the lazy garlic.  And a generous teaspoon of chilli flakes.  All into the slow cooker, with a bit of water.

It smells gorgeous, and will make lots of meals.