Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Easy Braised Roast how-to

I was asked by a friend how I do my roasts and here is a quick how-to.

I used a Prime Rib Roast (roll) and I think this might be a better, juicier and softer cut than topside.
Traditionally you will make a mirepoix to add flavor to the gravy but if you want to save some time & effort you can leave it out as I did below. The only difference is you might need to strain your braising liquid at the end to remove all the veggie bits with the herbs.

Preheat oven to 160 Celsius.

1.  Use a casserole you can use stove-top and in the oven.
2.  First put is on the stove and heat some oil in it to brown the meat. Don't forget the ends!
3.  Do NOT add salt at this stage as it will dehydrate the meat.
4.  In a jug mix the following:

  • 1 cup dissolved beef stock
  • 1 cup red wine (you will use more later on)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (if you don't have at hand, tomato sauce will also do but will be a bit sweeter for the sensitive pallet)
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1 bay leave
  • A bunch of parsley
  • A bunch of thyme
Here's how much parsley & thyme I put in but it's up to you:
5. Give the braising liquid a quick stir & then pour it into the pot with the meat.
6.  Top up the liquid with red wine until it reaches about halfway up the roast.
7.  Do NOT add salt.
8.  Bring the liquid to a light bubble on the stove top before transferring it to the oven.
9.  To ensure that there is little evaporation you can cover the top of the pot with a layer of foil before putting the lid on.
10.  Put in the oven & cook for at least 3 hours. If you're around you can turn the meat about halfway through. Salt all around at this stage if you turn it or at the end before covering with foil.
11.  Once cooked, remove the roast and cover with foil to keep warm.

Making the gravy:
Put the casserole with the liquid back on the stove top & remove all the herbs (and mirepoix if used).
Bring to a rapid boil for about 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally with a WOODEN spoon.
Dissolve 2 heaped tablespoons of flour with at half a cup of water. Try to get rid of any lumps.
Turn the heat down to low.
Very gradually pour little bits of the flour mix into the liquid while whisking with a plastic whisk (not metal).
Carry on whisking and pouring until the gravy starts to thicken and keep on whisking. You might not use all the flour mixture if the gravy is the right consistency.

Cut the roast into slices and return to the simmering gravy. Taste and add salt if needed.

Friday, June 28, 2013


I've been asked to copy the recipe for Julie Child's Frangipane (almond custard) and before trying to type it out, I went on a search and found it on Katie's blog (link below).

Recipe copied from

Note: I used to find "ground almonds" ready packaged but couldn't find it this time around (busy making Mille-feuille for this weekend) so I just took some crushed almonds and put them in the blender until they were powdery.

This takes a little effort and a bit of "on-the-stove-off-the-stove" maneuvering to keep it from burning if you use an electric stove and the temperature doesn't come down quickly enough but just keep it going (build those arm muscles!!)

Frangipane (Almond custard filling)
1 egg
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup flour
1 cup boiling milk
3 Tb butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional - I find it gives it a bit of a strong flavor but that's ok if that's your thing)
1/2 cup pulverized macaroons or pulverized almonds
Directions:  Beat the egg and egg yolk in he mixing bowl, gradually adding the sugar, until mixture is pale yellow and forms the ribbon.  Beat in the flour.  Then beat in the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets.  Pour into saucepan and set over moderate heat.  Stir slowly with the (hand) whisk, reaching all over the bottom of the pan.  When mixture begins to coagulate into lumps, beat it vigorously until it smooths and thickens into a stiff paste.  Then over moderately low heat, beat it with a wooden spoon for 2 to 3 minutes to cook the flour thoroughly.  Be careful the custard does not scorch on the bottom of the pan.  Off heat, beat in the butter, then the flavorings and macaroons or almonds.  If not used immediately, clean custard off sides of pan and dot top with softened butter to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.  Frangipane will keep for a week under refrigeration, or may be frozen.