We often had a huge pot-roast beef with crispy parsnips, roast spuds, creamed spinach and glazed carrots. Oh and lashings of gravy too of course! The best of mama's table ware was carefully laid out on the beautiful mahogany dinning room table. White starched table cloth and Mama's "birds of paradise" dinner plates accompanied the crystal wine glasses and napkins in silver rings.
I would pick flowers from the garden and arrange them in tiny little vases to be placed on on the right hand corner of each place mat. The place mats were scenes from fox hunting or something like that. Very "horsey"... I recall. They matched the paintings on the wall.
My Great Aunt Gene was a marvelous artist and she painted many beautiful paintings - some of which I have hanging in my current home. In Mama's dinning room, hung paintings of majestic race horses - dapple greys with their tiny jockeys or brooding black beasts in mid air as the sored over gymkhana poles. On the Welsh Dresser was a white marble statue of a almost naked voluptuous lady draped on a lionesses back. Bumps would joke and say that was Mama in her younger days. We believed him.
When we would eat no more, we would leave the table with full belly's and drooping eyes. It was time for the "pit of joy" Bumps would say and we all made our way to our rooms to snooze off the mighty lunch. I hated this part. Nothing worse for a ten year old to have to sleep in the afternoon. I would reluctantly lie on my bed and will myself not to sleep. More often than not, I failed and would wake up all groggy and bleary eyed.
Sunday afternoons would be a lull in activity...Mama would write her letters to faraway friends and Bumps would be on the radio chatting to someone from a magical foreign land. His call sign was Z23JO and I loved listing to the code language.
Zebra-two-three-juliet-oscar he would call out, or he would tap on his Morse key instrument sending location details to his contact. His den wall was full of call sign cards received from all over the world. Tobago and Vietnam and Papa New Guinea. He even had one from the Vatican City!
Sunday suppers always consisted of sandwiches. If we had roast beef for lunch - then roast beef and mustard sarnies we would have for supper. This is a really simple yet tasty pot-roast beef recipe. 100% fool proof... trust me I would know!
Mama's Pot-Roast Beef
What you need:
- Large piece of beef silver side - the biggest piece that will fit in your biggest pot
- 1 litre of beef stock
- Salt and pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 roughly chopped onion
- 3 roughly chopped carrots and leeks
- 2 glasses of white wine
- A little oil
- 3 table spoons corn flour
- Knob of butter
- Heat the oil in your largest pot, and sear the meet on all sides.
- Add in your chopped vegetables and allow to sweat for a few minutes.
- Pour in the beef stock and wine and add the bay leaves and a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- The liquid must cover the meat, add water if needs be.
- Allow to slow cook in the oven for 3 hours on a low heat - about 140 degrees. Keep checking liquid to make sure meat does not dry out.
- Take the beef out of the pot and loosely wrap in tin foil and set aside to rest.
- Put the pot onto boil and allow the liquid to reduce.
- Pour the reduced gravy through a sieve into another pot, squishing the veggies to get all the flavour out. So all you are left with is a meaty brown broth.
- Mix the corn flour with a little water and add to the gravy to thicken. Test for taste and add salt and pepper if needs be. Add the butter and take gravy off heat.
- Slice the beef as thin as you can and lay in a large shallow dish. Pour your gravy over the meat and put dish back into oven to keep warm until you are ready to serve.