Our record-smashing Aussie summer of ridiculousness has finally come to an end. And when I say smashing, I mean over 150 extreme weather records were broken this summer. There are lots of things I like about summer, but I am definitely not sad to see this one go. The weather is still warm, but cooling. The last major bushfire in my home state [which began in January] has just been contained. And it’s now possible to walk outside without fear of spontaneously combusting.
Almost equally exciting is the fact I can now turn my oven on without fear of undoing a days worth of effort of keeping my house at a liveable temperature. My cooking routine is gradually returning to normal and meals are no longer planned around the likelihood of it causing us to drown in our own sweat. Returning to baking desserts and decorating cakes had me feeling completely out of practise, but much like getting back on that bike, my old skills are quickly resurfacing.
As soon as we got a respite from the heatwave, I turned to one thing we have sorely missed this summer: roasts. We were still keen for something on the lighter side of the roast category, so I started us off with a mini beef sirloin. These tiny roasts are great for a small family like my own, and the relatively quick cooking time is another wonderful bonus.
There’s lots of ways to herb crust a roast. One of my go-to [read: lazy] methods is to cover the meat in dijon mustard, then cover that with whichever of the herbs in my garden looks like it could do with a prune.
In this case I went for rosemary, thyme and chives.
How long you roast it is going to depend on your preference. We love our meat medium rare, so it takes a bit under an hour. It’s right when the internal temperature reaches about 60°C. If you like your meat well done, you’ll be wanting closer to 70°C.
Since it’s still warm we weren’t quite ready for roast veggies just yet, but a tater salad fit the bill just perfectly. There’ll be no recipe to follow for this side dish, but it’s so easy you don’t need one. Just quarter and boil washed potatoes in their skins until tender, then add your favourites. I can’t say no to hard boiled eggs, some bacon and spring onion. I make the dressing from mayonnaise and, again, whatever is around at the time. This time I added a squirt of lemon juice, dijon mustard, Italian salad dressing and dill leaf tips.
We took our meals to the setting outside and relished being able to enjoy the outdoors for once. Maybe we were just missing having proper home-cooked meals, or maybe it really just did taste amazing, but we could not get enough of this dish.
The gravy is completely optional, but we never feel a roast is complete without it.
When it comes to savoury recipes I’m fairly terrible at translating my methods to text. I don’t really measure anything and my methods can differ every single time. So know the following recipe is not gospel and don’t worry about getting exact quantities. There’s no need for it. Most everything (except perhaps the cooking time) is completely open to interpretation.
|Herb-crusted Roast Sirloin Beef
|Mini roast sirloin been (approx 500g)
salt and eapper
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used rosemary, thyme and chives)
juice from roasting dish* (oil removed)
2 tbsp plain flour
1 cup beef stock
*NB: as this is a small roast, it is likely that the juices released during roasting will dry up on the bottom of the pan. You can pour a little boiling water over them to rehydrate it.