It’s St George’s day. England’s annual day for naval gazing and chuntering on about how we should celebrate it more. Except of course, we never do because we’re English and that would never do. It’s a shame really as we’ve a lot to shout about these days.
Although I know an acquired taste, especially with our Antipodean and trans-Atlantic friends, we produce some truly excellent ales. We farm great produce and now thanks to a millennia of trade links, are welcoming of cuisines from all around Europe and the world.
Of course this is a food blog and so I’m looking at it from a very narrow angle. I felt compelled therefore to try and wave a flag in recognition and save this post until today, being a typically English dish. Maybe the typical English dish.
I’m doing nothing to dispel the French notion that we all eat Roast Beef, but it is for a very good reason! It’s delicious. To partner, the classic Yorkshire pudding, cauliflower cheese and, as I believe it’s probably a law dating back to 1738 or something*, roast potatoes.
(* That isn’t true, neither is the ‘law’ that states you can still kill Welshmen with a longbow)
The beef was actually a lovely thick piece of Sirloin, off the bone and only about a rib thick, like a thick steak. I cooked it a little differently this time as I have a fancy oven setting called Low Temperature Cooking, which surprisingly does just that (it’s a beautiful example of efficient German naming). You simply sear the edges, for flavour, and then set it away for two to three hours – kind of like a sous vide in reverse. No resting, or precise timing needed.
I prefer a couple of smaller Yorkshire puddings than the biscuit barrel sized version you often find filled in pubs – the secret, apart from the batter, is to get the oil in the baking tray smoking hot first. It won’t fail you.
Cauliflower cheese is a favourite of mine and it is quite simple yet utterly delicious. Some cabbage would have been good, but I forgot it so we only had carrot as the other veg.
I made the gravy from a roast bone stock I had in the freezer, fried onion and a good splash of red wine and thyme. A nod to our French neighbours!
1 700g/24 oz sirloin steak – serves two with left overs.
For the Yorkshire Puddings (I can’t remember the source of this, I have it written down, but it works well):
- 250g plain flour
- 4 free range eggs
- 150ml whole milk mixed with 150ml water
- Salt and pepper
Roast the steak medium rare, as I like it. There is no one method or technique, as it will depend on the roast you have and the type of oven you’re using!
About an 1 hour before the meat is done, peel and par boil some Maris Piper potatoes, rough up in a colander when draining and roast in a hot, hot oven for about 45mins – 1hour. Season and turn occasionally.
For the Yorkshire puddings, mix the eggs and flours to a paste and gently pouring the milk, whisking as you do so. A food mixer makes this easy. Season with salt.
In a cake/muffin tin, add a 1-2 tsp oil and put in the oven at 220 degrees C until smoking.
Pour in the batter and it should sizzle. Place it back in the oven for about 20 minutes or until beautifully risen and golden!
The cauliflower is simply par boiled then covered in a simple cheese sauce (made from a roux, about 400ml whole milk and 2 handfuls of grated cheddar) and roasted for about 30 minutes until coloured on top.
The gravy is a reduction of the stock and a glass of red wine, with the thyme and seasoning added towards the end as needed.
This is truly a fabulous meal! I’ve always wanted to make Yorkshire pudding. That cauliflower is beautiful.
Thanks Rosemary, please do try them. They’re made for beef. I love cauliflower cheese so thanks for highlighting that too!
Lovely Phil. We have it most Christmasses
Thanks Connor, I considered this for Christmas lunch last year. for some reason , we don’t have it very often. I feel we should!
It’s a sad fact that today I saw someone had put up an England flag in the office and I thought ‘Why’d they do that? England aren’t even playing…
That beef looks very impressive – i tried to do the roast rib thing a while back – very expensive and i overcooked it – good idea to use a cut like that you can’t go wrong
It is a shame isn’t it? We’re a funny bunch! Love rib of beef but like you say it an expensive cut if it doesn’t work out. I’m lucky enough to have bought fancy oven that takes the guess work out 😉
That’s a lovely looking piece of beef!
I’m of the opinion that France had so many wars on its own soil that there wasn’t any beef worth roasting. I also believe that an American micro brewery revolution in the last 20 or so years has introduced the population to a lot of English style ales and the business model has had a knock on effect here, encouraging small independent breweries 🙂
Thanks MD, it was pretty tender. That’s interesting about the US micro breweries. I must admit I was in Vegas a few years back and was amazed to find Taylor’s Landlord and Newcastle Brown ( less amazed) in the bars. Nice to see so many local breweries here too. I think it’s many a guy/gal’s dreams business!
Amazingly the Americans have been showing a lot of interest in English ale for 20 years or so. I was quite surprised to find a bar selling Watneys Red Barrel!
Quintessentially English food indeed, beef looks perfectly pink too. Happy St George’s Day, yours is the only post I’ve seen mentioning it, shocking when you think how we bang on about St Andrew’s Day (well, our government does anyway, foisting public holidays on us) and everyone covers St Patricks Day . Good for you 🙂
Thanks Tracey, medium rare it certainly was – lovely. Glad I could squeeze this in and fly a little flag! Too right you should celebrate St. Andrew’s day, wish we could make more of national days this side of the border!
I haven’t had roast beef and Yorkshire pudding for a long time – and am definitely craving it now. It all looks beautifully cooked, and I also really like that you’re having cauliflower cheese with it. Perfect!
Thanks very much Georgina. It is the kind of dish you long for after a while away isn’t it? And, yet we (Helen and I) rarely eat it these days! That said, it isn’t exactly the sort of thing we should eat very often……
What a beautifully cooked piece of beef…your entire meal sounds wonderful.
Thanks very much Karen, both for the comment and for visiting. Definitely one worth trying!
I’ll have to give this a try! What a great photo too. I can’t say I’ve ever made anything English but I’m a fan of Downton Abbey. Does that count?
Well I think that’s close enough! Thanks for comments and I’m glad you like the picture, I was quite please with that one 🙂
This meal looks mouth wateringly good! I like how it is perfectly in tune with the blog’s namesake as well. Theres a woman in my parents’ village with a big the size of a horse called blossom. Her technique for yorkshires is simply 1 cup flour, 1 cup milk, 1 cup eggs and as you say smoking hot oil in the pan. I now know her as the Yorkshire Queen because the result is that good!
Many thanks Alfie. Nothing like beef and Yorkshire puds! Thanks for the recipe tip too – i’ll be trying that out next time for sure. I’m also intrigued as to what Blossom has that’s the size of a horse 🙂
Looks pretty tasty!
Thank you Victoria! It was a good cut of beef.
Looks fantastic and im sure tastes even better !
Thanks very much! I really should make it more often.