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Sunday 17 December 2017

All-weather roast

When the sun doesn't know whether to shine or hide, this is the perfect dinner compromise -- so get some pals over and tuck in

One day the sun is shining; the next it's pouring with rain. So, for those cooler evenings, why not try this dinner? Roast beef and potatoes make up the main dish but they're served with a simple summery salad.

Invite a few friends over, open some wine, watch a movie and make a night of it!

Summer chop salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

>8 large leaves romaine or cos lettuce, washed and chopped

>1 small head radicchio, washed and chopped

>1 large cucumber, peeled and diced

>2 red peppers, diced

>2 yellow peppers, diced

>3 carrots, peeled and cut into long, thin strips

>2 celery stalks, finely chopped

Dressing:

25g (1oz) blanched almonds, roughly chopped

1 small shallot, finely chopped

1 tbsp chopped mixed herbs

(such as tarragon and basil)

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp water

150ml (1/2 cup) olive oil

50ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method:

>Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4).

>First make the dressing. Tip the almonds on to a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until lightly golden.

>Tip them into a food processor and add the shallot, mixed herbs, balsamic vinegar, honey, water and the olive oils.

>Blend to form a rough paste and then season to taste with salt and pepper.

>Toss the romaine or cos lettuce, radicchio, cucumber, peppers, carrots and celery together in a large bowl.

>Just before serving, toss the salad with the dressing.

>Serve with crusty bread.

Roast beef fillet with blue cheese butter

Serves 4-6

Beef:

2 tsp beef stock granules

1 tsp cornflour

1 tsp dried oregano, crumbled

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp mild paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

900g (2lb) centre-cut beef fillet

1 tbsp olive oil

Blue cheese butter:

175g (6oz) blue cheese, crumbled

175g (6oz) butter, at room temperature

Method:

>Reheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/ Gas Mark 7).

>Mash the blue cheese and butter together until well mixed.

>Spoon the mixture down the centre of a large square of tinfoil and roll up to enclose the butter in a 2½cm (1in) log shape, twisting the ends to secure.

>Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

>Mix the beef stock granules, cornflour, oregano, garlic powder, paprika and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper in a small bowl.

>Pat the beef dry and rub the oil all over. Sprinkle the spice mixture over, rubbing it well into the meat.

>Place the beef on a rack in a roasting tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 200°C and cook for about another 25-30 minutes for medium-rare.

>A thermometer inserted diagonally into the centre of the meat should register 55°C. Cook for longer if preferred.

>Remove the beef from the oven and leave to rest covered with foil for about 10-15 minutes.

>Carve the meat into slices and serve with the potatoes (recipe below).

>Remove the foil from the butter log, cut into 1cm (1/2in) thick slices, arrange on top of the beef and serve.

rosemary roast baby potatoes

700g (1 1/2lbs) baby new potatoes, scrubbed

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

2 tsp coarse/flaked sea salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

Tip the potatoes onto a large non-stick roasting tray. Drizzle with the olive oil, scatter the rosemary over and enough salt and pepper to taste.

>Toss everything together and arrange the potatoes in a single layer.

>Roast for about 25 to 30 minutes until they are golden and tender.

>Place the potatoes in the centre of each serving platter and top off with slices of beef.

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