Roast Beef Tenderloin with Herbs & Garlic

IMG_9090Tenderloin of beef is a perfect go-to roast for special occasions. It is very easy to prepare, takes little time to roast, and carves beautifully. Yes, it is expensive, but when reserved for special occasions, is so worth it.

The tenderloin is the most tender of cuts. This muscle runs under the ribs next to the backbone of beef, and gets very little use, so remains tender. Even in an older animal who’s meat might be only be used for minced or stew, we try to reserve the tenderloin, which has amazing flavour, but is still tender. Unfortunately on-the-hoof aged tenderloin is hard to get (unless you raise beef).

The basic principal is that the more exercise a muscle gets, the more flavourful it is. So although very tender, the tenderloin benefits when treated to a rub or paste before roasting. Buy a roast that has had its fat and silver skin removed. It will have a long tip at one end, which you’ll be tying back to create a uniformly shaped roast. Continue reading

Chicken with Milk, Sage & Lemon (Jamie Oliver)

IMG_9409Jamie Oliver’s chicken cooked with milk, sage & lemon, seemed to be calling out to me. Whether it was in the form of a random review, or best 10 lists, finally I decided to try it. The simplicity of Jamie Oliver’s recipes always appeal to me, as he has an amazing knack for taking the best and freshest and creating dishes that become part of our everyday cooking. The reviews for this chicken are pretty constant; many people commenting that it is the “best chicken ever”. That’s a pretty good compliment. Well, I tend to agree. I’ve made it a few times now, and each time I get exactly the same results. The chicken cooked beautifully right through to the bone, with subtle flavours, and a very “more” quality. We are given the comfort of a beautifully roasted chicken, with melt in your mouth tenderness. Continue reading

Lemon Coconut Bars

IMG_8255Although Sheila’s Lemon Bars hold a very special place in the hearts of our family and friends, sometimes I want to create something just a bit more complex.   By adding coconut to the shortbread crust, it gives a lovely new quality to the original. Topped with an extra thick layer of the lemony custard, they become more of a dessert instead of a snack. Continue reading

Cheddar Cumin Scones

IMG_6283Picture this, the temperature is wavering between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (35 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit ~ see how inclusive I am?) and the clouds are rolling over the hill that cuts off the sun too early in the winter months. You know it’s going to rain, you know that daylight hours are just about done, time to feed the stock and get them settled in for the night.

Walking down to the house, with it weirdly lit from a dark-purply-clouded northwestern sky, all you want to do is be inside, for the duration of the long night ahead. It isn’t teatime, but too early for dinner. How about a cheese & cumin scone to warm you from the inside out? These are so good, with the earthy warm tones of cumin settling over the always-wonderful flavour of aged cheddar. Make a batch, have one with a late afternoon “beverage”, and hold yourself until that late dinner that is somehow going to appear miraculously. If it doesn’t appear, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. You can always have another scone, and another glass of…. Continue reading