Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Roast Beef - Delia Smith Reigns!

…for Delia Smith truly is the Queen of Cookery.  The Jamies and Nigellas are the Princes and Princesses.  The Ramsays and Blumenthals are the Movie Stars.  Then there’s the Mamas, the Papas, the Grande Dames, les Enfants Terribles, the Whizz Kids and Paula Deen (she is in a buttery category of her own).  …but there can and shall be only one Queen – Delia Smith.  All hail Queen Delia.  Salve Regina! 
So embarked I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea, who suffers from ADD, on a journey going back to the basics of cooking.  For too long have I forced down a dry piece of beef silverside on a Sunday.  For too long did I have to gulp down a glass of wine to sluice meat-turned-cork down my gullet.  For too long have I accepted “traditional gravy” made from a packet of powder…*whisper dramatically* …just add boiling water…  Find a recipe for Pastrami or Corned Beef and do your silverside justice.  God had a divine purpose for silverside, but forgive me (especially my fellow offending South Africans) it is NOT to end up as a roast on the Sunday Dinner Table.

This is why I consulted *bow down low or curtsy depending on gender* Delia Smith for back to basics Sunday Beef Roast.

Also Sprächt Delia (Thus Said Delia): with Hardspear interjecting...
  • Get of your lazy, stingy arse and go find a well matured good sized piece of top quality beef sirloin (Delia prefer the bone still on, but I have not yet gotten to the basics of carving and did not want to deal with the bones).  You’ll have to find a butcher you can trust and a big chunk of sirloin ain’t cheap.
  • Delia starts off by slicing an onion in two and then tucks the two halves underneath the roast in the roasting tin.  I, J. Hardspear de la Azotea, wayward as I am, added a carrot and stick of celery.
  • Then…, and this is Delia Smith’s trick…, dust the fat with flour and dry mustard powder.  (this will help to make the fat very crusty).
  • Season well and shove into a preheated oven (220°C).  Do not cover.  Do not add water.  Do not add wine.  Do not add stock.  Do not add oil.  Do not add butter.
  • After 20 minutes turn the oven down to 190°C.  Calculate the total cooking time as follows:  15 minutes for every 450g = rare.  For medium add an extra 15 minutes at the end of the cooking time or 30 minutes at the end for well done.  Or go to Delia Online if you need to do it in Fahrenheit and pounds.  Baste the roast 3x with its own fat & juices during the time it takes to cook.
  • When you take it out of the oven let it rest for 30 minutes before you carve.  Now you can add wine or stock or whatever to the pan juices to make gravy.  I made a jus by adding a glass of red wine and a cup of my very own back-to-basics homemade brown beef stock to the pan juices and simmered it till the liquid reduced to 1/3.  For gravy ad a spoon of flour first, mix well and then add the liquid.  You don’t need to reduce it so much for gravy, just allow a few minutes on low heat for the flour to cook and thicken.  I’d also use more stock and no wine for gravy.  If you intend to make Yorkshire Pudding it is also best to make gravy instead of jus.

This is unbelievably good and unbelievably back-to-basics easy.

In the whole of the English speaking world, Roast Beef supersedes chicken and leg of lamb as the quintessential Sunday Roast.  The side dishes differ though.  In South Africa we are also fond of roast potatoes, but Yorkshire pudding is a bit of a novelty here.  We also like plain white rice (Tastic brand) drenched in gravy and green beans and pumpkin with LOTS of sugar or sweet potato with LOTS of sugar or carrots with LOTS of sugar.
Delia’s Complete How to Cook is on special at Bargain Books.  It usually costs R500, but I got it for R200!  It is really a very good cookbook and even if you have to pay R500, buy it.

Interesting Delia Smith facts:  Plagiarised from Wikipedia (there, I’ve given recognition)
  • Already an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Delia Smith was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours, "in recognition of ... [her] contribution to television cookery and recipe writing".
  • She owns a football (soccer) club.  Delia Smith is ACTUALLY the majority shareholder in the Barclays Premier League team, Norwich City Football Club.  *say it slowly with me*  “Delia Smith actually OWNS a football club.”
  • Delia Smith’s television series, Delia's How to Cook (1998), reportedly led to a 10% rise in egg sales in Britain, and her use of ingredients (such as frozen mash, tinned minced beef and onions as used in her 2008 TV series), or utensils (such as an omelette pan), could cause sell-outs overnight. This phenomenon – the "Delia Effect" – was most recently seen in 2008 after her new book How to Cheat at Cooking was published. Her fame has meant that her first name has become sufficient to identify her to the public, and the "Delia Effect" has become a commonly used phrase to describe a run on a previously poor-selling product as a result of a high-profile recommendation.  (Nigella can also achieve this phenomenon, but Delia was first, so even when everyone in Britain rushes out to buy whatever Nigella took a seductive bite from the night before and as much as I am in love with Nigella, it is, alas, still called the DELIA effect.)

OK.  Before Delia Smith reads this [unlikely] and decide that I am a psycho-fan, I’ll stop.  Just now she sends a plane full of hooligan English football fans to South Africa to come and beat me up.  You never know with Queens…

1 comment:

Angel said...

Ooh that sounds yummy! I have a brand new Fresh Living Cook Book and I am going to start trying new recipes out of it!