Tonight, we’re having roast beef and all the trimmings. That means it’s time to dig out my dog-eared copy of Floyd on Britain and Ireland, a paperback I’ve had for 20 years, and is long out of print.
Keith Floyd is one of my culinary heroes. Yes, I know, but that’s my thing and you won’t change my mind.
His recipe for roast beef is a thing of wonder. I’ve followed advice from many other chefs and cookbooks, but I always come back to this one. It’s bombproof, as far as I’m concerned (see my slightly careless variations on the blueprint), or as Floyd himself puts it:
My personal way of roasting beef that never fails is to rub into the fat a combination of two tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon of mustard powder and plenty of freshly-milled black pepper…
I actually add salt as well and rub the mixture all over the joint to make a crust that holds in all the delicious juices.
Make sure the joint is at room temperature before you start, and pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6, 200C or 400F. Floyd recommends you use beef dripping to brown the joint in a frying pan; I never have beef dripping, so I use whatever oil I have to hand.
He recommends the beef is put on a rack in a roasting tin; I usually put it straight in the tin or raise it on some halved onions, which can help the gravy. Whichever way, make sure the fat is uppermost.
After 20 minutes, lower the temperature to gas mark 3, 160C or 325F. Cook for a further 15-20 minutes per pound, but you should really invest in a meat thermometer to get the joint just how you like it.
Floyd says you should baste the joint regularly; I can’t be bothered.
Remove the joint from the oven when cooked, cover with foil and keep warm. Increase the oven’s temperature to finish your roast potatoes and cook your Yorkshire pudding(s).