Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking about the changing of the seasons and how that changes the way we eat. This has brought me, almost inevitably to the Sunday Roast. As I sit here in my office on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon writing my column the air is filled with the aroma and warmth of a slow cooking roast gently sizzling away in the oven. The anticipation of a cosy family gathering, insulated from the outside elements, makes it really quite hard to concentrate. I find my mind wandering to how the Sunday roast came about.

To find its roots we have to go way back to 7th March 321 when Emperor Constantine, a convert to Christianity, passed the first law making Sunday a day of rest. Over the years since many rules have been passed, banning all kinds of activities on Sunday, except of course, eating.

Historically Sunday would have been the working family’s only day off and probably the only meat day as well. Everyone was expected to attend church in the morning and so the slap up meal was both the best meal of the week and a reward for being so virtuous. In fact during the Middle Ages in England the Lord of the Manor would provide a roast Ox for his serfs, thus starting the tradition of the Sunday roast.

In the days before ovens in every home, the poorer families would have used the local bakery, popping their joints of meat in the big bread oven that was still cooling down from the early morning baking. They would pick up their perfectly roasted meat on their way home from church.

Thankfully today it’s all a bit easier and the recipe below is the family favorite that we’ll be enjoying in about an hour’s time. Some of you might be curious about the curry powder – don’t worry you’ll barely taste it but it will make an amazing flavour-enhancing crust to the beef fat. Happy Roasting.

Roast Sirloin of Beef on the Bone

2.5 – 3kg Sirloin of Beef on the Bone

1 tablespoon Curry powder

2 tablespoon salt

Fresh ground black pepper

2 Onions , roughly chopped

1 Leek, roughly chopped

2 Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic, peeled

2 sticks of Celery, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon Plain flour

1 cup red wine ( optional but really good)

! litre of stock or water

Method

Mix all the powders together and spread on the fat layer of the sirloin. (This will make it very crispy.)

Put all the chopped veg in a high-sided roasting dish and sprinkle with the plain flour.

Place meat on top of the veg and flour and on the middle shelf of a preheated oven at 240˚C for 15 minutes per 450g plus 15 minutes extra, turning oven down to 190˚C after first 20 minutes.

Carefully lift the meat off the now caramelised veg, wrap the meat in foil and leave to one side to rest. Rest for at least 30 minutes before serving. While resting make the sauce by placing the roasting with the caramelised veg in over a high heat on the stove top. Get good and hot again and then deglaze with the red wine if using. Let this reduce by half, then add the stock or water making sure that you get all the lovely tasty bits off the bottom. Once boiling, sieve into a saucepan and keep warm

Top tip.

If you have a meat thermometer then these temps will guarantee doneness

Core temperature for RARE 50˚C

Core temperature for MEDIUM RARE 56˚C

Core temperature for MEDIUM 65˚C

Core temperature for WELL DONE 75˚C

Yorkshire Puddings

225g plain flour

3 eggs

225ml milk

150ml water

Salt & pepper

Beef dripping or Duck / Goose Fat

Method

Sift flour into bowl and, making a well in centre, break eggs into it, gradually incorporating flour. Now beat in milk, water & seasoning. Heat muffin tray, with a bit of dripping/duck fat in each, on top of stove until smoking hot. Add a bit of batter to each and place on top shelf of pre-heated oven at 220˚C for 15-20 mins. Serve with roast beef.

Wine Match

Pinot Noir is one of the most food-friendly wines. A signature grape variety in Burgundy France, this temperamental and sometimes great grape is grown in an ever-extending list of counties and regions. Luckily we produce some of the best here in New Zealand. Central Otago is certainly right up there with the best in the world and the Mount Dottrel 2008 from Mitre Rocks is winning the awards at the moment

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