Saturday, February 28, 2009

Computers, Roasting,

I seem to be fated to have PC problems the last couple of days. I blush to confess that my problem yesterday was my own fault, I had thrown a power switch accidentally and it took me a while to discover it. However, today, the router is definitely not working. No idea why but I have had to disconnect it in order to get on the internet and later I will try it again and see what is happening. I was also nagged to get dressed before I wrote this blog. I usually eat breakfast and then come straight to the computer, but as I have customers calling for Avon and Matt had to go out, he nattered at me until I was respectable for calling customers.!!! I was thinking, this morning, about a discussion we had with friends the other day, on what North Americans usually mean by roasting and what English people usually mean. To quote one of my cookbooks "Roasting must be a form of cooking kept for really prime joints (roasts)". For instance, if I want to roast some beef, the English way, I would first buy a good piece of sirloin, or a rib or beef or something of similar quality. I would smash up some cloves of garlic and poke them into the meat to enhance the flavour. I would then rub the meat all over with oil and salt, usually olive oil and then place it in an oiled pan and place in a hot oven. Most North Americans, when they talk about roasting, are referring to putting a piece of meat, often a less tender cut, into a roasting pan, with a lid and adding water or stock with vegetables. This is usually referred to as a pot roast, or roast for short. Its a linguistic problem in as much as when we say the words roast we mean two different things. The same as the word joint (no not what you're thinking), that is what we call a piece of roasting meat in the UK whereas the word roast is used all the time. Of course, roasting meat which is a better cut, is also a 'better' (more expensive) price and one needs to think twice before buying it. Looking through my old English coobook Cookery in Colour, which was one of my earliest books ever, seeing some of the recipes makes me hungry. Right now I am looking at a picture of a typical English Mixed Grill the contents of which can vary according to your taste and preferences. I notice there is no bacon shown in this picture - nor is there any Heinz baked beans which is something that has sprung up since I left the UK some 30 odd years ago. When I was a kid, baked beans were a supper dish, not for breakfast. My mother used to serve them to me on a piece of toast for my supper when I was too young to stay up for dinner. Matt does remember baked beans for breakfast, but his family came from Northern England. I do not like them for breakfast, these days, I don't much like them any time, Heinz baked beans that is.
 This book, Cookery in Colour, had a lot of very simple but very tasty recipes, some of which I still use. Steak Elizabetta is one of them.

Steak Elizabetta with Mustard Dumplings

2 lbs stewing steak, cut into small pieces
1 heaped Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp Colemans dry mustard
1 oz dripping or best margarine (vegetable oil these days)
 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
3 medium carrots, sliced
3/4 pt stock or water
1 Tbs vinegar

 Coat the meat in the flour, seasoned with salt, pepper and mustard. Heat the fat in a pan, lightly brown the onions and then meat. Add the carrots, stir in the water and vinegar and bring to boil. Turn into a casserole, cover and cook in slow oven 325°F for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 30 minutes before steak is ready drop dumplings on top of meat, cover tightly and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Mustard Dumplings
4 oz self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Coleman's dry mustard
2 oz. shredded suet or margarine (in fact I would use butter if suet not available).

Sift together, flour, salt and mustard. Add suet or rub in margarine. Mix to a dry dough with 3 to 4 Tbs cold water and shape into small balls. For 6 people. MY NOTE: Don't add water to your dumpling mixture until just before you are going to add them to the casserole.

Have a great day.

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