I never knew my Grandmother, Margaret, as she died when Dad was young. However, I do have pictures of her and stories which her family have passed onto me.
Grandmother grew up in Bewell Head, Bromsgrove. She met and married Grandad and they moved to a newly built semi-detached house in Northfield on the leafy outskirts of Birmingham. He was almost 10 years older than her, and by all accounts, they loved each other very deeply.
They were a very cosmopolitan couple. Having married during the wartime, they both worked for the war effort making sheet metal for aircraft. Grandad had to commute to Derby every day to work in a factory there, for almost three years, before he was posted back to Longbridge. They travelled around on a motorbike and sidecar, taking many trips out to the seaside and into the country. They were the DINKYs prototype!
This recipe for Roast Beef, Gravy and Yorkshire Pudding is a nod to my Grandmother, and how I imagined our Sunday afternoons would have been.
3kg (6lb 9oz) prime rib of beef * salt & freshly ground black pepper * 2 tsp dry English mustard * 3 tbsp plain flour * 285ml (½ pint) red wine * 285ml (½ pint) beef stock * 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8. Season the meat with the salt & pepper and rub in the mustard and 1 tbsp of flour. Place the meat in a roasting tin large enough to hold it comfortably and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 and cook for 1¾ hours for rare or 2 hours 20 minutes for medium. Baste the meat from time to time to keep it moist. If the tin becomes too dry, add a little stock or red wine. Remove the meat from the oven and place on a hot serving plate, cover with foil and leave in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.
Pour off most of the fat from the tin (you can use it for the Yorkshire pudding below). Leave behind the meat juices and sediment. Place the tin on the top of the stove over a medium heat and scrape all the sediments from the base of the tin. Sprinkle in the remaining flour and quickly mix it into the juices with a small whisk. When you have a smooth paste, gradually add the red wine and most of the stock, whisking all the time.
Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper and add the remaining stock, if needed. Add the Worcestershire sauce, if you like it. Slice the meat and serve with the gravy and Yorkshire puddings (below).
115g (4oz) plain flour * pinch of salt * 1 egg, beaten * 310ml (10 floz) milk and water, mixed * 2 tbsp oil or beef dripping
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Make a batter by mixing the flour, salt, egg and milk/water with a whisk. Allow to stand for half an hour. Pour the oil or beef dripping in a 6 hole muffin tin and put it into the oven for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the tin from the oven and divide the batter into the muffin tin. Bake for 20 minutes until it is puffed up and golden brown.
This meal can be served with perfect roast potatoes and carrot and parsnip mash. Finish off with either Bread and Butter Pudding (to come) or Apple Pie (to come) with Homemade Custard (to come).
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.