Bacon-wrapped Steak Pattie Rounds:

Bacon-wrapped Steak Pattie Rounds:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      20 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         3:  Moderate

This is a good way to use up left-over meats.

Find:

  • 500g some sort of steak, raw or cooked (or sausages, or something left over…)
  • 200g streaky bacon in four pieces – they need to be as long as you can possibly get; to be wrapped around the four formed patties. Keep this in mind when sourcing the streaky bacon.
  • 2 slices bread for fresh breadcrumbs (See Tricks’n’Tips)
  • Mick’s Terbs (See Tricks’n’Tips)
  • 1 egg
  • Dollop whole grain mustard or horseradish sauce
  • Onion
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Food processor
  • Frying pan or grill

Method:

  • Make the breadcrumbs (See Tricks’n’Tips). Cut the steak up to allow it to process easier, trimming off any fat or other unwanted bits at the same time.
  • Roughly slice the onion.
  • Put both into the processor and blitz for a time. Add the breadcrumbs, herbs, mustard, egg and seasoning, then blitz again for a while.  You are trying to aim for a mixture that will form fairly stable balls of meat mixture.  If it’s too loose, add breadcrumbs.  If too dry, add a little oil.
  • Form into four round patties of equal diameter and thickness. Wrap the streaky bacon around the circumference of each of the patties, pinning into place with a cocktail stick.
  • They can be fried in a little oil for about 15 minutes, turning several times to avoid burning, or grilled/griddled for the same time, occasionally being turned over and drizzled with a little vegetable oil to keep them moist.
  • Serve with new spuds & veg or a simple salad, rice or whatever you wish.

Cottage Pie:

Cottage Pie:

(Cottage pie is the one that has ‘tiles’ of potato on the roof.  It is made with beef mince, not lamb).

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      1 hr.

Course:        Lunch/Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         3:  Moderate

Find:

  • Mince mixture as above for Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob
  • Potatoes for the topping
  • Grated cheese for the topping
  • A splash of milk
  • Seasoning
  • Any extra veg as desirable

Method:

  • Peel the potatoes and slice across to get oval discs about 5mm thick, enough to cover the size of oven dish you plan to use (which is why the amount of spuds is not mentioned above).
  • Put them into a saucepan of cold water, bring to the boil for a few moments, then drain and put aside.
  • Follow the above for the Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob mixture. Add any other veg you would like; there are few rules.
  • Pour into the oven dish. Use the discs of potato to assemble a roof for the cottage pie.
  • Season the roof with black pepper and salt, sprinkle the grated cheese on top and splash the milk over it all.
  • Bake in a medium oven for half an hour.

BASE ITEM….Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob:

BASE ITEM….Beef Mince’n’Onion Thingymebob:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      40 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main/Part of any of them

Serves:        4

Rating:         2: Easy

 (Base mixture for Lasagne, Bolognaise sauce, etc.)

Find:

  • Small pack beef mince (400g)
  • Onion
  • 1 carrot (size as you wish)
  • ½ a green pepper (or could be other colour)
  • 1 or 2 cloves crushed/chopped garlic
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • Tomato puree
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Optional – 100g chopped bacon bits (streaky is nice)
  • Optional – Red wine if you have it

Method:

  • Break up the mince with a fork into a lightly oiled pan and fry over a high heat to colour the meat. It will produce an amount of fat which should be poured off and dealt with as in Tricks’n’Tips.
  • Turn the pan down to a medium heat.
  • Chop the onion, carrot, bacon, pepper and garlic finely and soften with the mince for 5 mins.
  • Add a can of tomatoes, pour in a glass or so of red wine and add a good squeeze or dollop of tomato puree. Season well with black pepper as the tomatoes will certainly benefit from it.  Leave the salt until you taste it later – the bacon will add a certain amount.
  • Put the pan onto the lowest heat, lodge a lid half-way on and just simmer for about 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
  • Season the mixture to taste and use it to make whatever dish you are doing. It is ready for both Lasagne and Bolognese as it is now.
  • This will also be suitable for serving with baked spuds; it can be spiced up for couscous or served with white rice. It is also ready for the filling for Cottage pie and can be used for Cottage Skins.

Pot Roast Beef:

Pot Roast Beef:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      2 ½ hrs.

Course:        Main

Serves:        4-6

Rating:         3:  Moderate

 Ah well now.  Ok.  You will automatically think of a conventional roast as ‘bung it in the oven, almost dry’. 

Pot roast is a bit different.  You ‘bung it in the oven, in a lidded pot, with a bit of oil and water in it as well’.    You are not trying to get the same effect as oven roasting the meat, because pot-roasting is actually a completely different animal.  Pot-roasting is cooking the meat in a confined environment, with a combination of steam and oil.  It retains the moisture within the meat and it stays really succulent and tasty.

What do you do?  Well, it’s actually quite simple.    And can be beautifully cheap too.

Find:

  • Piece of beef brisket or similar meat that requires cooking slowly – see Tricks’n’Tips for suggestions – perhaps 1 kg or so
  • Oil
  • Water
  • Mixed herbs – dried
  • Covered cooking pot of some sort – Pyrex with lid, or similar

Method:

  • Take an oven dish with a lid. It might be a posh enamelled Le Creuset pot from France, it might just be a Pyrex (or similar) glass oven thingy that you found very cheaply at a car boot sale.  It simply doesn’t matter.  Just so long as the container is ok for the oven and has a lid (and the lid could just be foil if you want – but not cling film), it’ll be ok.  Ok, so you now have your thingy-pot.
  • Put a few tablespoons of water and a glug of oil (not ‘engine’, please….) into the thingy-pot and pop your bit of brisket, silverside…. (or whatever you have discovered in the reduced cabinet) in as well – but take the ‘added basting fat’ off first, and bin it

(That tied-on layer of fat is only necessary if it’s open-roasted – it just is not wanted for this method.  It’s put on there to let fat dribble down the meat, keep it moist and give it extra flavour.  Oh yes, and it’s also a way of getting you to pay for extra fat at the same price as the beef.  The trouble is you can’t take it off before you pay for it.  Dammit.   However, as you got it out of the reduced chiller……..   Sorry, once again I digress…..  )

  • Ok, carry on. Don’t season it, just put the lid on and stuff it into an oven on about gas mk 4/180C.  Leave it for an hour then turn it down to gas mk 3/160C.
  • After a further hour, take your pot-roast out of the oven. It will have made more fluid – leave it in there as it’s doing a great job.
  • Baste the meat (spoon the fluid over the top of the meat) for a while. It’ll benefit from this as it takes back in some of the moisture it has lost in the cooking.  Whilst you are there, just cut a tiny bit of the meat off a corner and taste it….. oooooh, lovely  AND YOUV’E COOKED IT LIKE THIS  ON YOUR OWN. 

Are you not a clever Rookie Cookie then?              Of course you are  ……IN’T IT EXCITIN’.

  • Ok then, calm down, drink a slug’o’wine/beer, put the lid back on and pop it back in the oven (that’s the meat, not the wine/beer), still on gas mk 3/160C.
  • Prepare your veg. Put on your selected veg…..  (at this point it’s too late to do roast veg – if you wanted roast veg with it, you should have put it in much earlier – there’s always another time; c’est la vie).

And don’t forget the sauce or gravy…. (See Sauce or Gravy…..)

  • When your veg is done, so will your meat be.

With a traditional open oven tin ‘roast’ your meat would benefit from being given ten minutes out of the oven under a foil blanket to ‘rest’ or ‘relax’ away from the searing heat.  Some people think it’s worth it, others don’t bother.  Your choice.  Try it both ways and see what you find. 

  • This is a pot roast, though. It’s fine to take the pot out for ten minutes – even half an hour out of the oven with the lid on whilst the oven is used for something else like a pud or giving roast veg the last blast, should it be needed

Presentation?  Well, ideally carve the meat across the grain into slices, or if that’s not possible, cut it into chunks.  If the meat is done really well it may just fall apart.  It may not look brilliant just falling apart but it’ll taste gorgeous. 

  • Have it with mash (see Variations in Tricks’n’Tips) or jacket spuds, boiled/steamed carrots… anything. Don’t worry too much about presentation.

Remember – Lessons you learn one day will  be the experience from which you benefit the next.

  • Plate it up and eat. Enjoy it, and be proud that YOU did it.

Beef in wine:

Beef in wine:

Prep:           30 mins.

Cooking:      As above.

Course:        Main

Serves:        As many as….

Rating:         3:  Moderate

Method:

  • Do basically the same as in Carbonade of Beef but use half a bottle of red wine instead of the beer as you have it left over from last night. This is a very good way of using up any leftover wine that has gone beyond the ideal condition for drinking.  It’s called ‘recycling’, and you know that we’re all encouraged to recycle. 
  • Then you can open a fresh bottle (or three).

 

Carbonade de Bœuf: (Beef in Beer)

Carbonade de Bœuf:   (Beef in Beer)

Beef in beer can be wonderful.  Twice cooked (once on one day, allowed to cool overnight, then cooked again the following day) it tenderises beautifully.   You just need to be a bit organised, that’s all.

Prep:           30 mins.

Cooking:      1st session: about 2 hours in a slow oven.                                                                                                  2nd session: 1 hour on the top of the cooker.

Course:        Good, solid, quality main course. Ideal to serve to guests who you want to impress (for whatever reason).

Serves:        4 to 6

Rating:         3:  Moderate, but just follow the method and all will be well.

This is a long and low oven-based casserole, twice cooked. 

You just need to be a little organised, then it’s quite easy.

  • 1 kilo chuck steak, skirt, shin…. (you can use rump, but if so, use the cheaper end)
  • 4 onions (red if poss, but…)
  • 2 or more cloves garlic…. Yes, more.
  • Half litre of light ale, stout or Guinness, depending on how ‘dark’ you wish it to be. I’d use Guinness if I was you.  NEVER EVER use lager.
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (use one of those long packets that you get when you go for coffee!)
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Bay leaves – up to 4
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • Butter
  • Oil
  • Seasonings
  • Large oven/hob casserole (Le Creuset or similar)

Method:

  • Put the oven onto about 130 Centigrade, ready for when you want to use it.
  • Cut the chuck steak into cubes, about an inch (2.5cm) each way. Good lunky chumps.
  • Peel and quarter the onions, separating the layers.
  • Use a broad-bladed knife to squash & peel the garlic, then chop it coarsely. Retain these, ready for use in a while.
  • Put some oil and a knob of butter into a large Le Creuset casserole or similar (You can use a frying pan for this but you’ll have to change pans after the first bit). Put it on the heat and whack it up to full.
  • As soon as the butter is melted, drop a few cubes of beef into the pan and make sure that they are frying off well. You are ‘browning the meat’ by doing this.  The finished casserole will benefit so much from this very important process.  They should not be touching each other as they will stew rather than fry, spoiling the flavours.
  • Browning will need to be done in batches, so when one batch is browned, put them onto a plate and put the next batch in.
  • When all meat is browned, put the onions into the fat & meat juices and fry them off for a few mins as well. Put in the sugar.  Mix well and fry off.  Take out the onions and put them with the meat, for now.
  • Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of plain flour into the resulting fats & juices in the pan, then the garlic and mix it all in. It’ll go all stiff and horrible-like.  Don’t worry; that’s normal.  Take it off the heat for a mo.
  • Open the beer. You do have a bottle opener, yes?  You’re stuffed if you haven’t! Pour the beer into the pot, gradually.  Mix in the beer and it will start to loosen.  Mix more in and it will start to froth, and go creamy.
  • Mix it well. Put back onto the heat and bring it to the boil.  It will thicken somewhat.  Don’t worry if it looks too thick.  Season with salt & pepper and then put the onions and the meat back in.
  • Chuck in the bay leaves (you did get some, didn’t you?….well, if you didn’t, it’s too late now, so ne’mind!) and a couple of big pinches of dried thyme. Mix well.    All the ingredienty-type bits are in there.
  • Put the lid on and put it in the middle of the oven. Close the door.
  • Go away for a couple of hours. Or more.
  • After a couple of hours or so, just turn it off and leave it there overnight.
  • On the morrow (another way of saying ‘next day’….I must make an appointment with my ‘therapissed’), about an hour or so before you want to eat it, put it on top of the cooker, remove the lid, peel off and discard any solidified fat layer from the top of the mixture. Don’t take the good stuff though!
  • SLOWLY bring it back to a simmer, occasionally stirring very gently; you need to avoid breaking up the meaty chunks. Check for correct seasoning and adjust as nec.
  • Put it onto the lowest heat that you can manage on the cooker top, plonk on the lid, just cracked open slightly, and leave for an hour or so, stirring occasionally (see note about being careful, above) with your large wooden spoon so that the mixture does not catch on the bottom of the pan.
  • Serve with roast veg?
  • Serve with baked spuds & steamed veg?
  • Serve with pride!