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
>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
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
>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
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
>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.