Sunday, May 29, 2011

Easy Roast Beef Recipe for Autumn Cooking

What better time of the year to get out the steamboat or slow cooker from the cupboard to prepare for the colder months than autumn with its crisp mornings, cool days and the striking display of autumn colours as trees outside my kitchen make their finale before going to sleep in the winter months ahead. This is also a good time to use the full advantages of the oven for roasting or baking and still enjoy the warmth it radiates to the kitchen while it is being used.
To heat up the kitchen yesterday, I cooked an easy roast beef recipe that I have inherited from Mrs. Otley, who taught me how to cook western dishes when I first came to stay in Brisbane. I could not think of too many more slow food recipes when the cold winter days arrive and appetites swell, some hot favourites still beckon more than others. But I am sure that there’ll be encore for this one.

Easy Roast Beef

1.5 kg silverside beef
1 tbsp flour
1 knob butter
2 tbsp cream
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup red wine
Salt and pepper

Rub the beef with seasoning to taste. Put all the marinade ingredients in a large roasting pan and marinade the beef and leave in the refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 220 C. Put the beef into the oven and braise for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 180 C and roast the beef for a further 2 1/4 hours. Transfer the beef to serving dish and keep warm.
To make the gravy sauce, strain the cooking juices into a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat. Mix the flour and butter to make a paste and add to the sauce in small pieces. Cook and stir until thickened. Stir in the cream. Cut the beef into slices and serve with sauce.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Strange as it may seem, it was not the sight of cleverly displayed gifts in the shops, from cards to chocolates bidding everyone to buy for Mother’s Day that brought back fond memories of my late mother, but it was the scorched rice at the bottom of the paella pan while I was doing the dishes after dinner, last night. Like many older Singaporeans, growing up in post war period of World War Two, we saw many parents facing high unemployment, and putting food on the table to feed their families was a daily struggle.

I can still remember our mother scooping out the steaming white rice from the soot-laden aluminium pot on top of the firewood stove to feed her ever hungry mob which often included some extra mouths from the children in the neighbourhood who always seemed to appear on cue at meal time. After she would then add water to the scorched brown sheet of rice that was left to make gruel porridge for her. There were occasions when the rice ration was low to be shared among us; the crust was intentionally left there for us. There was always a mad scramble among us children over the last piece of rice crust.
Together with the flowers we have collected from our garden, we will place a bowl of fluffy white rice for you, Mum.