This Christmas – 2009 – was the year we did not have turkey. This was the first time ever, and I have to say it wasn’t missed (at least not by me, anyway). Instead it was roast pheasant and roast beef, not any roast beef though, but roast sirloin. Griggers says that if you cooking beef for a special occasion and you want to be sure of good beef, go for this cut. She suggests getting it from Harrods, but I didn’t go that far. Instead I went to a very good butcher’s shop in Pudsey, my home town, called Bentley’s. It’s won many an award so I thought I would mention them.
A roasting joint such as this needs little doing to it – place it in a roasting tin and season the fat with saltr and plenty of black pepper. Place in a very hot oven – turn the heat as high as possible and leave for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 180⁰C and roast for 15 minutes a pound for rare meat. Serve with the usual horseradish etc.
FYI: I bought a meat thermometer so I could be absolutely sure of perfectly cooked meat. I did it medium, though I would have done it rare if it were just me eating it. If you have one then follow these temperatures: up to 60⁰C gives you rare beef, 60-70⁰C gives you medium and 70+⁰C gives you well-done beef.
FYI2: there is a common story about Henry VIII eating loin of beef at a banquet and thought it was so delicious that pronounced it ‘Sir Loin’. This is unfortunately a lot of nonsense, though I wish it were true. This cut of beef got its name is from the French sur loin, meaning above the loin.
#213 Boned Roast Sirloin. This was the best roast beef I’ve ever had in my life! It was as soft as butter and tasty and all the better for adding only salt and pepper. No messing about with extras here. It beat the rib of beef hands down. Absolutely gorgeous. Go cook some next time you have something special to celebrate – this is an order! 10/10
A turkey wouldn’t be a turkey without stuffing. This is the one Griggers suggests to have with turkey. It contains no sausagemeat, so it’s quite light and the lemon and parsley flavour cuts through the richness of all the other roast items on your Christmas dinner. It’s also choc-full of butter, so it helps keep the turkey nice and succulent.
Begin by cutting the crusts off a large white loaf of bread and blitz it in a food processor until it becomes crumbs. Lay the crumbs on a large baking tray and allow them to dry out in a cool oven – you don’t want them to brown so 80ºC will be enough. Weight out 8 ounces of the crumbs (freeze the rest) and put in a large bowl and mix in the zest of two lemons and the juice of one, a bunch of chopped parsley, a teaspoon of chopped thyme, a teaspoon of dried marjoram, 8 ounces of creamed butter, 3 eggs and a good seasoning. Mix the ingredients with your hands and stuff the main cavity of the turkey with it. You probably won’t use it all, so freeze the rest in balls so you can put them in the cavity of chickens for your Sunday Roast.
#101 Parsley and Lemon Stuffing – 7/10. A nice fresh and light tasting stuffing. I reckon it’ll go better with chicken than with turkey.
The one-hundredth recipe had to be the Roast Turkey really didn’t it? It is the centrepiece of the whole dinner, perhaps the day. I bought us a nice free-range one from Frosts in Chorlton. I’m glad I was allowed to do it, as my Mum always panics about the turkey and over-cooks it by about two hours; in fact, over the last few years, she’s taken to over-cooking it the day before! It took some persuasion for us to cook the bird on the day: “Well I’m not getting up at 6 to put it in!”. Obviously, I didn’t get up at 6. I stuffed the turkey as recommended by Griggers with lemon and parsley stuffing. If your Christmas turkey tuned out to be, well, a bit of a turkey, try it this way next year. One doesn’t like to blow one’s own trumpet, but it was the best Christmas turkey we ever had at home; though it wasn’t really down to me, but to Jane Grigson.
The first thing to do is to remove the giblets and stuff the bird. You can stuff the cavity or the neck end, it doesn’t really matter. Next, calculate the cooking time of the turkey: 30 minutes per kilo if it’s below 7 kilos (15 lbs). If you are cooking a monster, add an extra 20 minutes per kilo after that. You must include the weight of any stuffing you’ve used too. Put the turkey on its side on a rack in a roasting pan and smear it all over with 6 ounces of slightly salted butter. Cover with a double layer of foil and cook at 190ºC for the appropriate time. Just under halfway through the cooking time, turn the bird onto its other side, and then in the final half an hour, put it on its back and remove the foil so it can brown nicely. Season with salt and pepper. Baste it a few times, if you like. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before you carve it. In fact, we left it for about an hour and it was still juicy and hot, so don’t feel you have to rush or anything. Skim off the fat from the juices in the pan, then make your gravy by boiling up the juices with a quarter of a pint of dry white wine and thicken with flour or gravy browning. Add enough hot vegetable stock to achieve the right thickness.
#100 Roast Turkey – 9.5/10. I love Christmas dinner, so I’m really glad that I did the turkey for the 100th recipe. This is a foolproof methods for doing your Christmas/Thanksgiving bird; succulent, tasty, not in the slightest dry. Bloody marvellous.
I’m in that post-Christmas dip before New Year’s Eve, so I thought I’d update the Christmas recipes I did over in Pudsey. I go home to Pudsey, Leeds, every year for Christmas to stay with my Mum and Dad, and probably always will. I like it. My Mum is the person that, unknowingly, got me into cookery, as she was a baker and therefore as a kiddiwink, it was baking we did on rainy days; making cookery a form of relaxation for me. Anyways, this was the first time I’d been let loose on the actual Christmas dinner, but thought it would be the perfect thing to do – take some of the stress off Mum on the day (though she did insist on doing the veg, so it was a team effort) plus doing something impressive for recipe 100! I shall be adding them over the next few days hopefully, though I’m off to the pub now – my mate Charlotte has moved in today and therefore cannot be arsed unpacking…