Monday, October 5, 2009

Beef Olives

This weekend was Kelly's birthday; she just turned 10. How many mums before me have looked around and instead of seeing their wee child, they see instead a tall, beautiful, capable person stand in front of them and ask themselves "when did this happen??". It makes me proud and a little sad at the same time.

The weekend was busy with parties, cooking, hosting and hanging out with the extended family and Kelly's friends . It was wonderful.

I made Beef Olives for dinner on Sunday evening. They are a traditional British meal although the French do a version too, as do many countries, I'm sure, known as paupiettes de boeuf. There are a few different recipes out there but traditionally, beef olives are stuffed with sausage meat. You can buy sliced sausage over here, either square or round; the easiest way to make sausage stuffed beef olives is to buy as many sliced sausage as you do slices of beef and place it in the middle of each slice of beef, skin removed; the sausage meat will already be seasoned and salted and there is little need to add further ingredients, if you're looking to do it quickly. Alternatively, normal shaped sausages can be used with the skin removed. You won't be sorry!

Beef Olives don't exactly look pretty but they taste divine!

There are other types of stuffing though, just as tasty like the recipe on this page. It is utterly delicious stuffed with haggis, a treat I allow us to have on occasion. It doesn't actually cost that much, even though good beef is best used because you buy thin slices and batter each slice a bit more.

The first time I ever cooked anything like this was when I was 17; I had my very first 'dinner party' for friends who were 10 years older than me and was out to impress. I came across a recipe in Keith Floyd's cookbook called 'Paupiettes of Beef with Lemon Stuffing'. Having not a scooby what I was doing, I took his advice and phoned the butcher, ordering everything on the list.

Unbeknown to me, the list contained the ingredients for a large amount of homemade beef stock which used many slices of the best braising steak, amongst other things. I cheerily skipped into the butchers, basket on arm and asked for my order; the bill came to over £100. I did a double take and fainted inside my head, went pale and paid the butcher. I couldn't believe what I had done. To put it into perspective, it was more than a week's wages and I had rent and bills to pay. I decided to make the best of it and cook it to the best of my ability.

I have to say, it turned out splendidly although the state of the kitchen was a sight to behold. Every surface was covered in pots, pans and plates and it took me an entire day to clean up. It was a brilliant night though and I lived off the 'beef stock' for a week.

Beef Olives (or paupiettes de boeuf)

Oven to 190 degrees Celsius
A thin topside of beef per 'olive' although I used 21 day matured Aberdeen Angus this time.
Stuffing of choice, usually sausage meat (see this recipe). I used a rice stuffing (see below).
A little seasoned flour
Good beef stock, enough to cover the olives, 3/4 pint should be more than enough
A dash of red wine
A little hot oil

Place each slice of beef individually in a plastic bag and bash it! Not too hard now! Place a small amount of stuffing in the middle of the slice and roll as tightly as possible. Tie with string or use these new elastic strings you can buy which makes the job much easier. Repeat until all beef olives are complete and coat lightly in the seasoned flour. Fry in some hot oil until browned and place into an oven proof dish.

Pour a dash of red wine into the pan to get all the extra bits of meat, flour and flavours. Let it bubble for a minute and add in the beef stock, stirring once and removing as soon as it gets to boiling point. Pour over the beef. Cover with two layers of foil and place in the oven. Turn the heat down to 150 degrees Celsius after 15 minutes and cook for 2 hours but you can leave it a little longer if you prefer.

I think the best thing to serve this with is mashed potato although I used Flora light (low fat margarine) this time rather than full fat butter. Mmmm mmm!

Mmm, yeah, still not pretty but still tastes...and smells wonderful

Rice Stuffing

Boil some basmati rice (or any rice) as per instructions. Meanwhile, fry a finely chopped onion and garlic with some chopped mushrooms and bacon or chorizo and any fresh herbs you have lying around; I used thyme and rosemary. Add a good dash of black pepper and some salt. Add any other ingredient you like, to taste. Once the rice is cooked, drain and add to vegetables. Stir fry for a minute and remove from heat. Keep heat low whilst doing this as the rice may stick and burn.

I made some cupcakes for the kids coming back from school today....

Thanks to the lovely Anne McW, I have discovered something wonderful: Nutella can be melted in the microwave! Do you have any idea what this means? I no longer have to mix Nutella with butter icing or faff about with it, trying to top muffins or stuff scones with the stuff. I can simply melt the Nutella and pour. Pour over any surface I require. Evil chuckle.

The wonderful roasted vegetables we had tonight with the Wiltshire Ham and poached eggs.

I was going to just do potato (and sweet potato) wedges but decided to add in some peppers, mushrooms, courgettes, carrots and tomatoes. I tossed everything in olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, fresh thyme, rosemary and lavender. The smell was amazing, I highly recommend this dish. I made entirely too much but the rest will be tossed into my vegetable curry.


Sumandebray said...

I have to say, it turned out splendidly...... this says it all. The satisfaction is priceless!

Peanut-Butter Kitty said...

Yummm, everything looks so good!

Anonymous said...

Every thing looks yummy!

*Awwww, your Baby is growing up*
I hope she had a Fantastic Birthday!

*It is a sad, but exciting time for us Moms*
"Your doing an Awesome job Mom". :0)

~Amor, Familia Y Cultura~

confused homemaker said...

Hope she had a wonderful birthday & year ahead of her.

You also had me at beef, adding cupcakes was just heavenly.

The Grown-Up Child said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! When I'm looking for a yummy recipe, I'll be back. 10 years goes by so fast doesn't it? My son will be 5 this year too and I feel like he was born yesterday!

Mrs. Fish aka Two Fish said...

You pain me more my friend!! I read this right before bed, how awful is that! Your meals look so scrumptious! But I own a bulldog and think she is beautiful so I am biased towards unsightly items. The beef olives!! YUM!!

Unknown Mami said...

Why have I never thought of putting Nutella on cupcakes? What is wrong with me?

Protege said...

You are the best mom! Just look at those cupcakes.;) And I love Nutella, mmm, lovely.;) I am so trying this out this weekend.;)

Single Mama NYC said...

Happy Birthday, Kelly!!!

Mmmm, Nutella...mmmmm.


Anonymous said...

I smiled when I read '21 day matured Aberdeen Angus'. The supermarkets here clearly think we're made of money and the last time I saw a similar ingredient (*28* day matured) it was a jaw-dropping £29 for two steaks. I kid you not. (Maybe the extra 7 days makes that much of a difference). ;)

This does, however, look spectacularly yummy.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I can relate, mine is turning 10 in Nov. They grow up way to fast sometimes.

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