Spiced beef

Spiced beef

The amount of meat used in this recipe, and the process it goes through, might seem intimidating at first glance, but this traditional dish is easy to make and uses a cut that is relatively inexpensive. The recipe is based on one by the great food writer Jane Grigson, who noted that although spiced beef is traditionally served at Christmas, it is just as useful for summer entertaining. Saltpetre can be ordered online and helps to give the beef a better colour, but is optional.

About 20 servings
100g (3½oz) dark muscovado sugar
1 heaped teaspoon saltpetre (optional)
125g (4oz) fine sea salt
25g (1oz) black peppercorns, cracked
25g (1oz) juniper berries, cracked
25g (1oz) allspice, cracked
2 bay leaves, snipped or crumbled into small pieces
1 x 3-kg (7-lb) piece of silverside, tied at 5–6 intervals to holds its shape
300ml (½ pint) water

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then massage them into the meat. Put into Ziplock bag or a shallow non-metallic container, and leave in the fridge for 1 week, turning the meat and massaging in the marinade every day.
Spiced beef
Preheat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1.

Brush the coating off the meat, then rinse briefly under the cold tap. Put the meat in a deep ovenproof casserole dish and pour in the water. Cover the dish with a double layer of foil and then a lid. Place in the oven for 4½ hours. Set aside to cool for 3 hours without removing the foil and lid.

Drain off the liquid and pat the meat dry with kitchen paper. Wrap in foil, place in a dish and press it down evenly with a board and some weights on top (a couple of bags of sugar or some heavy cans will do the trick). Leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

Spiced beefRemove the foil, wrap the beef in greaseproof paper and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Serve in thin slices with salad, potatoes and pickles.

Bonfire Night bangers & beans

Good sausages make all the difference in this hearty one-pot meal – essentially a meaty spin on American-style baked beans. This will keep everyone warm on Bonfire Night. Add chilli or not, according to your crowd.
Bonfire Night bangers & beans
Serves 6–8
2 tablespoons olive oil
100g (3½oz) pancetta, cubed
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
500g (1lb) dried haricot beans, soaked overnight
1 litre (1¾ pints) water
2 bay leaves
200ml (7fl oz) good-quality barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon dark muscovado sugar, or to taste
700g (1lb 6oz) passata
½–1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ tablespoon smoked paprika, or 1 chipotle chilli (optional)
½ cinnamon stick
12 meaty sausages (about 1.25kg/2½lb)
lemon juice (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3.

Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, flameproof casserole dish and fry the pancetta over a medium-low heat until it starts to release its fat (about 5 minutes). Add the onions, garlic and celery and continue to cook over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until soft (10–15 minutes).
Bonfire Night bangers & beans
Drain and rinse the beans in cold water, then add them to the onion mixture. Pour in the water and add the bay leaves, barbecue sauce and sugar. Tip in the passata, then fill the empty bottle with water and shake it to mix with the passata remnants. Measure this liquid and add enough water to make it up to a full litre. Add it to the pan and stir well, then mix in the fresh chilli, smoked paprika and cinnamon stick. If using the chipotle, tear it into 3 pieces, removing some or all of the seeds if you wish to reduce the heat, then add to the pan. Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 1 hour.
Bonfire Night bangers & beans
Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan. When hot, add the sausages and brown them on all sides. After the beans have cooked for 1 hour, add the sausages to the casserole dish and cook for 30 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 30–60 minutes, or until the beans are soft and the sauce has thickened slightly. Cover with a lid if the mixture is thick enough, but don’t let it get too dry. Add more water if necessary, and adjust the seasoning, adding some lemon juice or a little more sugar if the dish is too salty.

Before serving, discard the chipotle pieces (if using.) Serve with baked potatoes or crusty bread.

Stuffed turkey breast

Stuffed turkey breast

Small households who want to eat turkey on Christmas Day but would find a whole bird too much for their needs can buy just a breast and stuff it with this tangy stuffing flavoured with cranberries and lemon. It is excellent served with the traditional trimmings, such as chipolatas, bacon and roast potatoes, which can be cooked in the oven at the same time.

Serves 2–3 (with some leftovers)
1 turkey breast (625–750g/1¼–1½lb)
1 onion, halved
1 carrot, cut into chunks
1 celery stick, cut into chunks
olive oil, for drizzling
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the cranberry and lemon stuffing
knob of butter
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 banana shallots or 1 large onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
50g (2oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
juice of 1 lemon and finely grated zest of ½
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

For the gravy
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
½ tablespoon plain flour
500ml (17fl oz) hot chicken or turkey stock
90ml (3½fl oz) white or red wine
Stuffed turkey breast
First make the stuffing. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the shallots or onion and fry over a medium-low heat until soft. Stir in the rest of the stuffing ingredients and season well with black pepper. Set aside to cool.

Place the turkey breast on a chopping board, skin-side down. Open it out by spreading the fillet to one side, making a heart-shaped piece of meat. Cut into the thick part of the breast to make a pocket, keeping your knife parallel with the chopping board and taking care not to cut right through the meat. Cut a little way into the other side of the breast, going towards the fillet, to increase the size of the pocket, again taking care not to cut right through the meat.

Pack the stuffing into the pocket in the turkey breast. Flip the fillet back over, turn the stuffed breast skin-side up and tuck the sides under slightly to give the meat a nice, plump shape. Using kitchen string or roasting bands, tie or fasten it at 4 regular intervals into a compact shape. This can be done up to 24 hours in advance, in which case cover and keep it in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Weigh your stuffed breast and calculate your cooking time at 20 minutes per 500g (lb 2oz), plus 20 minutes.

Put the onion, carrot and celery in a roasting tray and drizzle over a little olive oil. Rub olive oil all over the turkey breast and season with salt and pepper. Place it on top of the vegetables and cook for the calculated time, checking it for readiness about 10 minutes before the end. It is done if the juices run clear when a knife is stuck into the thickest part, or when a meat thermometer put into the thickest part of the meat registers 70–73°C (158–164°F). Transfer the turkey to a carving board, cover with foil and set aside to rest whilst you make the gravy.
Stuffed turkey breast
Discard the vegetables from the roasting tray. Add the butter if there’s not enough fat remaining. When melted, sprinkle in the flour and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Gradually pour in the hot stock, stirring as you go. Add the wine, bring to the boil and bubble away until it reaches the thickness you like, adding some vegetable water or more stock if necessary.

Cut the turkey breast into slices across the grain, making sure that each person gets a decent amount of stuffing. Serve with the gravy and trimmings.

Valentine’s Day beef Wellington

Valentine’s Day beef Wellington
Serving beef fillet, the most expensive and tender cut, shows your beloved how much you care. We sell beef Wellingtons of many sizes, all made by Monika and her team in our kitchen. Make sure you use good-quality pâté to season the meat, and top-notch puff pastry.

Serves 2
375g (12oz) beef fillet
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
100g (3½oz) mushrooms, finely chopped
100g (3½oz) chicken liver pâté, at room temperature
plain flour, for dusting
500g (1lb) butter puff pastry
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk, for eggwash
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a heavy-based frying pan on the hob until it is really hot. Rub the beef with half the oil, then sear for about 1 minute on both sides in the hot pan until a good dark brown. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Valentine’s Day beef Wellington
Lower the heat under the pan and add the remaining ½ tablespoon oil. Fry the mushrooms over a medium-high heat until they release their liquid and are reasonably dry, but do not brown (about 10 minutes). Set aside to cool, then mix with the pâté.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6, and insert a baking tray to heat up.

Dust a work surface with flour and roll the pastry into a rectangle slightly longer than the fillet and a little more than double its width.

Season the beef with salt and pepper and place it on the pastry. Trim the edges neatly, leaving a border of about 2.5cm (1in) all round. Spread the pâté mixture over the top and sides of the beef. Brush some of the eggwash around the perimeter of the pastry. Fold the pastry over the beef, pressing it around the meat, then run the rolling pin around the edges to make a tight seal.
Valentine’s Day beef Wellington
Brush the top of the parcel with most of the remaining eggwash. Reroll the pastry trimmings and cut out a heart or two for the decoration. Stick them on top and brush with eggwash.

Put the beef Wellington on the hot baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes (this will give medium-rare meat) Set aside to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes, then cut into thick slices. If the beef isn’t done to your liking, put it back in the oven for a short while until it is; your sweetheart will be in a tender mood and prepared to be patient.

Serve with dauphinoise potatoes and green vegetables or a sharply dressed green salad.

Traditional roast turkey

Traditional roast turkey

At Lidgate’s we favour traditional turkey breeds, such as Kelly Bronze. Descended from old-fashioned stock, they are more narrow-breasted and with a better fat covering than the modern, big-breasted birds. Not only do these turkeys have a better flavour and texture, but they also cook more quickly and are less likely to dry out.

Serves 7–8, with leftovers
5–5.5kg (11–12lb) free-range traditional-breed turkey with giblets
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, halved
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 celery sticks, cut into large chunks
4–5 streaky bacon rashers, to cover breast (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Traditional roast turkey
For the chipolatas and bacon rolls
10–20 chipolatas
5–10 streaky bacon rashers, cut in half and rolled up

For the stock/gravy
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon plain flour
good splash of red or white wine
Traditional roast turkey
For the roast potatoes
2kg (4lb) floury potatoes, e.g. King Edward
1 teaspoon sea salt
100g (3½oz) goose fat or beef dripping
1 tablespoon plain flour (optional)

To serve
1 quantity Stuffing of your choice
1 quantity Honey-roast Parsnips (optional)
1 quantity Bread Sauce
steamed Brussels sprouts and carrots
cranberry sauce

Take the turkey out of the fridge 1½ hours before cooking so it isn’t stone-cold when it goes into the oven. Untruss the bird and remove the giblets. Snip off the wing tips and set aside for stock.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/Gas Mark 6. Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper and rub all over with the oil. Put the onions, carrots and celery in a large roasting tray and sit the bird on top of them. Roast for 30 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and continue to roast for around another 1½ hours or so, basting occasionally. If your oven is fierce, you might want to cover the breast with strips of streaky bacon to prevent the skin from burning.

Meanwhile, make the stock for the gravy by placing the reserved giblets and wing tips in a saucepan with 1.5 litres (2½ pints) water. Add the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf. Bring just to the boil, then spoon off the froth and simmer, uncovered, until the turkey is cooked.

About 1 hour before the turkey is done, cut the potatoes into equal-sized pieces. Put in a large saucepan, cover with water and add the salt. Bring to the boil, simmer for 5 minutes, then drain. Put the fat into a roasting tray and heat in the oven for a few minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle the flour over the potatoes. When the fat is very hot, carefully add the potatoes and roll them around in it. Season with black pepper and roast for about 1 hour, or until crispy around the edges, turning them after 35 minutes.

To make the chipolatas and bacon rolls, put them on a roasting tray or shallow dish, place in the oven with the turkey and cook for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through.

After the bird has been roasting for 1½ hours in total, you can start testing if it is done (this timing is for a narrow-breasted traditional turkey – a large-breasted bird will need longer in the oven). To do this, stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – the juices should run clear, not pink. If using a meatthermometer, stick it into the thickest part of the thigh, doing it first from the outside, then through the cavity from the inside: the temperature should reach 70–73°C/158–164°F.

Take the turkey out of the oven and transfer it to a large carving board. A butcher’s trick for lifting the turkey is to slip two big knives into the bird under the breast, through the lower ribs between the wing joint and thigh joint. Lift, keeping the bird tilted slightly and neck up so that the juices don’t run out of the cavity. Cover the bird loosely with foil and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to eat. It remains hot for a remarkably long time (up to 2 hours). You can also use hot gravy to warm it up when serving, and put the meat on to hot plates.

While the bird is resting, steam the sprouts and carrots. Cook the stuffing in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until hot all the way through and browned on top. If making the parsnips, roast them in a separate tray at the same time.

Meanwhile, strain the stock, discarding the solids. Discard the vegetables from the turkey roasting tray. Pour the remaining juices into a gravy separator or jug and pour off as much of the surface fat as you can into another jug. Place 2 tablespoons of the fat back in the roasting tray, place over a medium heat and stir in the flour, cooking it for 1 minute. Pour in the hot stock gradually, stirring as you do so. Add the wine, bring to the boil and bubble away until it reaches the thickness you like, adding some of the vegetable cooking water or more stock if necessary.

To carve the turkey, see the step-by-step instructions . Serve with the roast potatoes and your favourite stuffing, plus bread sauce, steamed sprouts and carrots, and cranberry sauce.

 How to carve a turkey
Many people find carving the turkey a bit of a challenge. But there is a straightforward and efficient method. By first removing the whole breast, you can cut it into neat slices across the grain to get tender and even-shaped pieces of white meat. After that, remove the leg and cut off the dark meat in slices. We’ve adapted this method from the one used by Paul Kelly, preserver and producer of the famous Kelly Bronze Turkey (www.kellyturkeys.co.uk).

1   Cut between the legs and the breast to loosen the legs – this will make the next step easier.

2 & 3   Cut along one side of the breastbone, using small strokes to ease the meat away from the ribs. Cut down to the bottom of the breast, using your free hand on the carving fork to add to the downward pressure. Remove the whole breast and transfer to a carving board.

4 & 5   Repeat steps 2–4 with the other breast.

6   Cut off the legs, using a carving fork to ease the drumstick and thigh away from the carcass. Cut around the ‘oyster’ on the base of the bird. Remove the leg and place on the carving board. Repeat these steps with the other leg. Cut just above the wing where the wing is connected to the carcass. Turn the bird over, cut around the little mini ‘oyster’, where the wing joins the carcass – you can wiggle the bone around a bit to help you put your knife through the socket. Put the wing on the serving platter. Repeat with the other wing.

7   Slice the breasts, including the skin, across the grain.
Put on a serving platter.

8   Cut between the drumstick and thigh on each leg to separate them.

9   Slice the dark meat off the thighs and drumsticks.
Put on the serving platter.

Traditional-breed turkey sizes & cooking times
To calculate the size of turkey you need, the general rule is to allow at least 500g (1lb) of the bird’s weight per person. This is a generous amount, but there’s nothing worse than running out of meat at a feast, and you need leftovers for sandwiches and the like. You can allow less weight per person if the bird required weighs more than 7kg (15lb).

Whatever the weight of the bird, cook it at 200°C/400°C/Gas Mark 6 for 30 minutes, then at 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 for the remaining time. Birds up to 7kg (15lb) should be checked for readiness about 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, and larger birds about 45 minutes before the end. If the skin is overbrowning – this can happen with large birds that have long cooking times – drape streaky bacon over the breast.

The timings below are for traditional-breed turkeys; bigger-breasted birds will take longer to cook.

For 6–7 people: 4–4.5kg (9–10lb); cook for 1¾ hours approx. length/width/height: 27 x 20 x 14cm (11 x 8 x 5½in)
For 7–8: 5–5.5kg (11–12lb); cook for 2 hours approx. length/width/height: 30 x 22 x 18cm (12 x 9 x 7in)
For 8–9: 6–6.5kg (13–14lb); cook for 2½ hours approx. length/width/height: 22 x 22 x 19cm (9 x 9 x 7½in)
For 10–12: 7–7.5kg (15–17lb); cook for 2¾ hours approx. length/width/height: 33 x 24 x 19cm (13 x 9½ x 7½in)
For 14–16: 8–8.5kg (18–19lb); cook for 3 hours approx. length/width/height: 38 x 28 x 19cm (15 x 11 x 7½in)
For 18–20: 9–9.5kg (20–21lb); cook for 3½ hours approx. length/width/height: 40 x 29 x 22cm (16 x 11½ x 9in)
For 20–22: 10–10.5kg (22–23lb); cook for 3¾ hours approx. length/width/height: 46 x 36 x 25cm (18 x 14 x 10in)

Hot Dog Heaven

hot dog heaven

At its simplest, a hotdog is a sausage in a bun. We love a good ‘dog’ and believe the best are made with quality sausages and served with interesting relishes. Of the three options given below, the onions go especially well with pork sausages, the guacamole with chicken or pork, and the tzatziki with lamb – we suggest making two of them to offer people a choice.
We recommend you try the Australian technique for barbecuing sausages, which is to simmer them in boiling water for 30 minutes shortly before you barbecue them. They can then be browned as usual over the hot coals. This gives them the desired chargrilled taste and appearance, but avoids the problem of sausages burnt on the outside but raw within.

hot dog heaven

Serves 6–12, as a main dish or as part of a barbecue
12 good-quality pork, lamb or chicken sausages
12 finger rolls, buttered
150g (5oz) rocket leaves

For the caramelized onions (for 6 hot dogs)
knob of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 onions, sliced
¼ teaspoon sea salt flakes
pinch of caster sugar
½–1 teaspoon cider or balsamic vinegar

For the guacamole (for 6 hot dogs)
2 ripe avocados
½ small garlic clove, crushed
about 90ml (3½fl oz) olive oil
2 tablespoons roughly chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander stalks
2 tomatoes, chopped (optional)
½–1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped (optional)
¼–½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

For the tzatziki (for 6 hot dogs)
½ cucumber, diced
125ml (4fl oz) thick Greek yogurt
1½ tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
½ small garlic clove, crushed
¼–½ teaspoon sea salt flakes

First make the two relishes of your choice. For the caramelized onions, melt the butter with the oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and salt and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until they start to soften. Lower the heat and cook very gently, stirring now and then, for another 30 minutes, or until soft and sweet. Stir in the sugar and vinegar and continue to cook on a low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

To make the guacamole, roughly mash the avocado flesh in a bowl with the garlic and 50ml (2fl oz) of the oil. Mix in the herbs. Add the tomatoes and chilli if you like (this is a dressing rather than a salsa, so you may prefer it not to have chunks of tomato). Taste and season, adding as much more olive oil as you like to get the consistency you want.

To make the tatziki, combine all the ingredients for it in a bowl, seasoning to taste.

When you’re ready to start cooking, light a barbecue or preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

To barbecue the sausages, simmer them in boiling water for 30 minutes, then pat them dry with kitchen paper. Place them on a rack over the coals and cook until brown, turning frequently. This will take just 5 minutes as you have preboiled them.

To oven-cook the sausages, arrange them on a wire rack over a baking tray and place in the oven for 20 minutes. Turn and cook for another 20 minutes. Check they are piping hot all the way through and no pink remains.

hot dog heavenPut the cooked sausages into your buttered rolls with some rocket and whatever relish you like.