Monday, December 07, 2009

The Story of my Silverside...and others.

Have seen chefs recommend simmering sausages in water for between 6 - 10 minutes before cooking off in the oven, this is supposed to prevent the skins splitting and also helps to make sure the 'innards' are cooked through. They should then take only about 15 minutes to cook/brown in a hot (200C) oven, longer if the oven is set lower.

Yesterday watched the grocery episode of 'Rip off Britain'. They were saying how package weights were going down, but not the price. So we have now to watch out for that. One lady said there was a lot more sauce than there used to be in the tins of baked beans, and to have enough to serve the family she had how to use two cans rather than one.

Here comes the financial bit about the silverside cooked very recently - my cost-cutting approach preferring to deal with things of such importance.
Firstly, after cooking in a conventional oven, at around 160C, when cooled the 5lb silverside weighed just over 3.5 lbs. At the time of removing from the oven, the inner temperature was a fraction over 160 (so presumably it never gets hotter than the temperature the oven is set at?). My meat thermometer gave that as 'medium', and although red juices leached out during the resting time, and my fear was that it had not been cooked it long enough (for B does not like his meat 'rare'), after standing until cool, then being wrapped in foil (two lots to prevent leakage) and chilled overnight in the fridge, when sliced on the electric slicer, it was exactly right. Just the barest pink in the very centre, and so incredibly tender and moist. And full of flavour.

Checking Tesco's online grocery site saw they were selling silverside (and similar cuts such as topside) at £10.48p kg. Converting my 5 lbs to kgs, this means the weight of our joint would have been 2.25kg, and if I got my calculations correct, this would have meant paying over £23 from the supermarket for the same weight. Buying from the local butcher, we paid just over £17 - a saving of £6.
The joint was basically the same shape throughout, so when cut, the slices were a good 6" x 3.5".
Half the meat was cut into thin slices (as sold in packs of cooked meats) and with me this gave 3 - 4 four (according to thickenss) to a 100g pack (which is the weight chosen to pack and freeze them). The joint cut into 40 thin slices, and 20 thicker ones (the latter suitable either to eat cold with salads, or reheat in gravy as 'roast beef').

Tesco's price for their 100g packs off cooked beef was either £1.59p for 'no added water cooked beef', or £2.65p for roast beef. I took an average and worked out our roast meat at £2 per 100g. Remembering the meat had reduced in weight after cooking, the amount of cook meat when sliced and weighed, would have cost over £31 had it been bought in packets. So again, cooking it at home has saved me over £14. And that's at the average price. If I had taken the top price (after all ours was 'roast beef', and top quality) the savings would have been greater.
We now have enough silverside to last several weeks (if not months). Incidentally, having saved the meat juices (which had set when chilled), addeding some finely diced (leftover) onion, and a glass of wine, plus a pack of ox-tail cuppa soup to help thicken made a really good gravy. It really does prove that buying from a butcher and cooking a joint ourselve will save POUNDS. Also we end up with meat that has more flavour. How good(e) is that?
All I need now is to buy a joint of gammon and cook, chill and slice that. Then that is Cold Meat Platter sorted for a few months.

The two recipes promised now follow. Very similar to ones seen recently in (it has to be said) more than one magazine (do they copy each other?) mine has the usual 'Shirley twist'. So can safely say it is my own version.

First we have a pudding that thinks it is a cake. A version of Bread and Butter Pudding, this is cooked and eaten as a (preferably) warm traybake, and a great way to use up surplus bread. Give it a 1 minute warm through in the microwave and eat with cream or ice-cream and you then bring it back to a hot pudding.
Use either white or brown bread, and if you choose to use a fruit loaf, then you can reduce the amount of dried fruit by a third.
Bread Cake: makes 9 squared
1 lb (450g) bread, roughly crumbed
1 lb 5 oz (600g) dried mixed fruit (inc. candied peel)
1 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 pint (600ml) milk
3 medium eggs (or two large), beaten
4 oz (100g) light or dark muscovado sugar
1 tsp orange zest
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
demerara sugar
Put the torn bread into a large bowl and add the fruit and spices. Pour over the milk, and stir to mix well. Add the eggs, light or dark sugar, and orange zest. Mix well again, the set aside for about an hour (up to 8 hours in the fridge if you wish), to allow the liquid to be soaked up by the bread and fruit.
Grease and base-line a square 8" (20cm) solid-based cake tin or tray bake tin. Stir the melted butter into the cake mixture, tip half into the tin, cover with sliced apples, spoon over remaining mix, level the surface and scatter the top with demerara sugar (approx 2 tblsp).
Bake for an hour and a half at 180C, 350F, gas 4, until firm and golden. If browning too quickly, cover with foil. When baked, leave in tin to cook for five minutes, then turn out, peel away any paper stuck to the base, cut into squares and (preferably) serve warm.

After Xmas we tend to have a surfeit of cold meats to use up. This recipe for apple chutney not only eats well with pork or ham, but also cheeses. It keeps well for up to 6 months when stored in a cool, dry place. Ideal to include in that 'hamper' that several readers say they like to make as gifts. Best apples to use are Granny Smiths. It should be stored for 2 weeks before ready to eat, but if made early this week, will be ready to use the week after Xmas when we are desperate to eat something flavoursome with the cold cuts.
Granny Smiths Apple Chutney: makes around 3 lb (1.5kg)
18 fl oz (500ml) cider vinegar
2 lb (1kg) crisp green apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 " (5cm) root ginger, grated
1 lb (500g) light muscovado sugar
8 oz (225g) raisins
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1 tblsp white mustard seed
3 tsp salt
Pour the vinegar into a large stainless (or preserving) pan, and throw in the remaining ingredients. Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has dissolved. Then increase the heat slightly until the mixture begins to simmer, the cook slowly for up to 50 minutes, or until the mixture leaves a path on the bottom of the pan when a wooden spoon is drawn across.
Turn off the heat and leave the chutney to cool slightly before potting up into warmed sterilized jars. Avoid trapping air bubbles by stirring with a sterilized skewer. Allow to cool completely before sealing. Store in a cool place for at least 2 weeks before using.