Sunday, March 12, 2006

Late-Summer Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding for 8

This menu is, obviously, intended for entertaining. The main event is a cold roasted beef fillet (AKA eye fillet). Nigella suggests up to 2.5 kilos of beef for 8 people. Eye fillet is $40 a kilo. Ahem. Now, you know that I do love to entertain, but I am also a poor student. There are very few people who I love enough to spend that much money on. There are also very few people who I can count on to appreciate this food. Luckily, I know some very special people who fall into both these categories. And 3 of these very special people live right under this roof.

I halved the quantities of this extravagant lunch, and made it a special one, just for the family.


294. Rosemary-Infused Oil
295. Cold Roast Fillet of Beef
296. Rosemary and Anchovy Mayonnaise
297. Warm Cannellini or Borlotti Beans with Garlic and Sage
298. Tomato Salad
299. Yorkshire Pudding with Syrup and Cream

This menu is pretty simple to put together. The first thing I did was soak the cannellini beans overnight in water. Then in the morning, I drained them and boiled them in water for 1.5 hours with an onion, a carrot and some sage leaves.

While they were boiling, I made the rosemary oil, which both anoints the beef, and goes into the mayo. All you need to do to make this is sizzle some rosemary needles in olive oil…

rosemary oil

…and then strain out the rosemary needles.

rosemary oil

You could either rub the rosemary oil onto the beef by itself, or add some mashed anchovies to the oil before rubbing it on. I adore anchovies, so there was no question about my taking this option.

This is a $40 piece of meat.

After being rubbed, it goes into a 210C oven for 10 minutes per 500g plus 10 minutes.

Then I made the mayo. This mayo has pounded anchovies added to the egg and garlic mixture at the start, and also includes a potion of rosemary infused oil.

start of mayo

As you probably know, making mayonnaise is a really annoying process. You need to slowly and patiently whisk the oil, drop by painstaking drop, into the egg mixture, taking care not to get too enthusiastic with the pouring, lest it curdle. I have to admit that I only bothered with about half the quantity of oil before I gave up on the idea, and left the mayo-sauce as it was. With only half the required quantity of oil added, the “mayo” was rather thin and runny, but still tasted good.

And here is what the beef looked like when it came out of the oven.

cooked beef

While it was resting, I made the batter for the sweet Yorkshire pudding. It has three ingredients – eggs, milk and flour. First you whisk the eggs and milk together, and let it sit for 15 minutes before adding the flour. The pudding has to be cooked at the last minute, so I left the completed batter to the side until we finished eating.


After this, I finished off the beans by draining them, removing the vegetables, and stirring it over a low heat with olive oil, garlic and sage. I then made the tomato salad, (sliced tomatoes sprinkled with salt, oil and vinegar) and sliced the beef.

sliced beef

"if you weren't looking I'd be licking the board"

All the components of the lunch were thus completed, and it was time to serve.


tomato salad

close up of beans

That beef is awesome! It was rare and gorgeous and meltingly soft. The flavour of the anchovies really complements the beef well, and the sharply salty mayo was an addictive accompaniment. The tomatoes were ripe and full of summery tomato goodness. As for the beans, the sage-garlic flavour was very nice, but I didn’t cook them very well and they were still quite tough. Overall, I thought the menu was lovely as it was, but my dad said he would have liked some lettuce or green salad to go with.

The logistics of the pudding requires a bit of precision timing. You see, the pudding needs 20 minutes in the oven, and has to be eaten as soon as it comes out. Furthermore, both the oven and the baking dish need to be very hot when you pour the batter in. I did it like this: as we were eating, I turned the oven up to very hot and put in the oiled baking dish to get very hot. When we finished eating, I poured the Yorkshire pudding batter into the sizzlingly hot dish, and let it bake for 20 minutes as we cleared up the kitchen.

Despite the total simplicity of this pudding (3 ingredients, a bit of light whisking, a very hot oven), it smells divine and looks totally impressive. I couldn’t believe how much it rose! It’s so cool; you can actually see it rising, millimetre by millimetre, in the oven. I was really happy with the way it turned out – it looked just like the drool-inducing one that I saw Nigella make on the Nigella Bites program a while back.

I set out all the possible accompaniments on the table – honey, golden syrup, maple syrup and vanilla ice-cream.

yorkshire pudding

On that program, Nigella described the pudding as, “a cross between donut and pancake… which is my idea of heaven”. She was right!

Check it out! Did someone say, FOOD PORN?

sweet yorkshire pudding

The crunchy sides are the best part of the pudding. As for accompaniments, I do think that cold vanilla ice-cream is definitely the way forward. I personally like maple syrup the best, but my mum preferred the thick gooiness of the golden.


Ange said...

Looks scrumptious. Have never seen a sweet yorkshire pudding before, I love mine with the roast & heaps of gravy. On the mayo have u ever tried doing it in a food processor before, very quick & great results I find?

Anonymous said...

Sweet Yorkshire pudding is traditional in some villages in the West Riding. Often served with jam as a starter for the kids, or big kids..