Chef Talk

Roast Beef

How do we get our roast beef nice and pink?


We do a lot of roast beef.. & freshly grated horseradish.

How do we get it nice & pink? - all the way through..

The Trick:

It's all about the core temperature: 55C for medium rare...60C for medium

It makes sense that if you did put your beef into an oven that was actually very cool (55C) that it'd be virtually impossible to overcook it - Right?

Most people's ovens don't go quite that low (maybe 70C) and even if they do, they might not be very accurate'.

  • Sear the beef first (searing does not 'seal' in the juices incidentally, thats rubbish that just about everyone believes apart from me and a few other nerds) - best to do it in a hot pan with a little oil.
  • Now whack your oven on super low and get it in there.
  • Basting is great - why? 'Cos it prevents the surface of the meat from getting too hot and drying out, but also because the juices that run out of the meat as it cooks contain flavour. When you baste the meat you are 'giving it back some of that flavour' (which in turn concentrates as the water evaporates away and it gets re-basted back onto the meat).
  • The great thing about cooking at super low temps is that it is much harder to screw up (unless you get so bored waiting for it to cook that you just bu**er off down the pub for a pint.. and some roast beef). Also, your meat, when cooked will be medium rare pretty much all the way through, as opposed to black on the outside, grey in the middle and almost raw in the very centre as it would be if you haphazardly roasted it in a really hot oven.
  • Squeezing with your fingers to guage the 'done-ness' of the roast is ok but it's a bit hit or miss (the shape of the cut, how tightly it's been tied after rolling make quite a difference to how it feels. Do invest in an electronic temperature probe. They work well and the readings are much easier to get right when using gentler, slower temps.
  • Medium rare: 55C; Medium: 60C; Medium Well: 65C

People Who Don't Like Garlic

Written by Jake Honeywill   

I get cross (well, just slightly disappointed) when customers say that they don't like garlic.

So, some of you aren't keen on raw garlic (especially when factory made garlic puree ha s been used as it has an awful aftertaste). Maybe you've had bad experiences in the past.. I try to eat tons of raw garlic when I feel like I might be coming down with something and it does kind of make me wretch.

I don't really buy the garlic allergy thing either - come off it, what are you? A vampire? (OK, some people are genuinely allergic to garlic, but only a few. The rest are just picky  - like people that don't drink tea - don't trust 'em)

It just takes half the fun out of cooking. I mean you can't really taste it when its been cooked 'into' a dish - it just adds depth. Actually that's b*llocks, as we use f***loads of it in our cooking.


Why Indian Food is so perfectly confounding

Written by Jake Honeywill   

I cook a lot of Indian food at home. Indian food is probably my favourite cuisine. I spent four months travelling around India but still can't say I really know how to cook authentic Indian food. There are far too many recipes! Most of them seem to translate to 'meat with vegetable' or 'spiced vegetable and meat' In the hope that I will finally understand, I follow the recipes accurately. I do not have the wealth of experience and knowledge to be able to improvise & be able to produce authentic Indian food. We've all tried Kormas and Vindaloos, Jalfrezis & Tandooris but these names don't mean much.

I quote wikipedia:

'Jalfrezi is a type of Indian curry in which marinated pieces of meat or vegetables are fried in oil and spices to produce a dry, thick sauce. It is cooked with green chillies, with the result that a jalfrezi can range in heat from a medium dish to a very hot one. Other main ingredients include peppers, onion and tomato.'

Read more: Why Indian Food is so perfectly confounding

Happy New Year

Written by Jake Honeywill   

Well, after a busy Christmas period we're kicking back at Octopus Food Ltd. This is when we send out the chocolates to our loyal clients to say thanks for everything.

During December we catered two Chirstmas lunches on Christmas Day itself. Ahhhemm ..Not Cheap, especially for the guy who's family all but desserted him and his wife to go and look after poorly and more needy relatives out of town, ended up cooking for four people -We did one luch for thirty in East Sussex (which was nearly cancelled, after it took us almost four hours to get up the driveway in the snow - got there in the end (even if the first guests actually arrived before the turkey was in the oven and even before half of the waiting staff arrived. Then there were two events on New Years Eve.

As usual, at this time time we're busy thinking up new menus and coming up with designs for state-of-the-art-box-oven-BBQ-smokers for the oncoming barage of searing and grilling ahead this summer.
We'll be running a maximum of three bbq crews of these babies on any one day during the summer of 2010. Designed for big cuts of meat (as well as all the piddly stuff like prawns, burgers and chicken skewers etc) our new BBQ will really go all the way.


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