Sunday Lunch, Roast Beef Edition from “How to Eat”

Do you have a fail-safe system that you use all the time? (Me: Yes.) Do you question its origins? (Me: No.)

For me, my fail-safe system for Sunday lunch– or any big feast– is to create a menu and then make timetable for cooking all the different dishes. Obviously you work backward from when you want to sit down and eat and then plan accordingly. I never really thought about when I started using this method, or why, it just seems like it’s always been that way.

Until now. As I turned to the gravy-splattered pages covering Sunday Lunch in How to Eat, I read this sentence: “I’m sorry to sound bossy, but Sunday lunch, as I’ve said, has to be run like a military campaign. I find it easier to decide when I want to eat and then work backwards, writing every move down on a pad which I keep in a fixed place in the kitchen.”

There it is. My origin story for how to make Sunday lunch.

Nigella is right, of course. Not only do I write the schedule down, but I keep plans and schedules from big legendary feasts so that if I want to do it again, I’ll know how it went. For Thanksgiving, which is this week (huzzah!) I have a whole file folder devoted to previous schedules, recipes, menu plans, notes about didn’t work, dating back to 2001. We’ve never started eating the Thanksgiving year at the same time twice, but I find it very comforting to find these old notes when I’m planning our Thanksgiving extravaganza.

The grease stains and gravy spots in my copy of “How to Eat” will tell you that I’ve used Nigella’s recipes for a roast beef Sunday lunch countless times. The roast beef instructions are clear and work every time. The gravy is delicious and never fails. Controversially, she directs you to make one big Yorkshire pudding rather than four or eight smaller ones, but that’s good too.

Even looking at the photo again is making my mouth water. Once again: Nigella For The Win.

Sunday Lunch, Roast Beef Edition from “How to Eat”

“Roast Sirloin of Beef” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

Maureen: Yeah! Sunday Roast Beef! This is delicious. Thanks for cooking, Tim.

Andrew (13): Where’s the mashed potatoes? You can’t have a sunday roast without any potatoes.

Maureen: I’m with Andrew on this one.

Tim: We’re tying to have a potato-free dinner tonight.

Maureen: I’m sorry, but did you forget that I’m Irish-American? Just ask my dad. It’s not a meal without potatoes. This gravy is fantastic.

Tim: Yes, I agree. It’s really good. I can’t quite remember how it’s different from a usual gravy.

Maureen: Let me go get the cookbook and check. (Goes to kitchen to get cookbook.) Well, you use balsamic vinegar, which makes a nice difference, not to mention red wine and garlic.

Tim: I changed it a bit. I didn’t add the tarragon, but I did add chopped porcini mushrooms.

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Continue reading ““Roast Sirloin of Beef” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course””

“Roast Sirloin of Beef” from “Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course”

“Beef Salad with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar” from “Easy”

Julia: Visually, it’s… (pause for serious consideration for the right adjective) appealing. The flavours are really super.

Tom: I thought it was very tasty with a good mix of flavours.

Julia: What’s it called?

Maureen: Beef salad with red onions and balsamic vinegar.

Julia: It should have a fancier name than that!

Continue reading ““Beef Salad with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar” from “Easy””

“Beef Salad with Red Onions and Balsamic Vinegar” from “Easy”