Tuesday, 22 April 2008
I do try not to serve beige meals, but occasionally I impress myself with the colours on a plate. Tonight's vibrant green and orange are so very pretty.
When I moved to the UK I had no idea that corned beef was held in such poor esteem here - it is entirely associated with the cans of shredded not-sure-what (which my husband makes into a fab, comforting pasta sauce) and not at all with the corned silverside of Australian country Sunday lunches and brilliant sandwiches. Come to think of it, I must find out from my mother how she came to be such a proponent of the art of silverside without being Australian or a country girl... On the other hand, there is a great fondness and respect for the Jewish hot salt beef bar, and from where I sit, salt beef and corned beef are very much the same animal.
Tonight's corned beef was a small piece from a brisket that I cured according to a recipe in Preserved by Nick Sandler and Johnny Acton. It's been sitting in the freezer for quite some while, and I am on a bit of a freezer-emptying jag at the moment, so I decided the time had come. With the other piece from this cure, it was a bit too salty, so I soaked this one overnight, before cooking it for 2 1/2 hours in fresh water, with a slosh of vinegar, a bayleaf and an onion spiked with cloves. I don't think the extra flavourings do anything much for the flavour of the meat, but they make the kitchen smell heavenly.
I am very lucky to have found in my husband a soulmate: someone who likes their parsley sauce thick as wallpaper paste, and with far more parsley in it than white sauce just like I do. It is so rare to find that I don't think I will be making parsley sauce for anyone else, ever. So, corned beef, peering from a thick blanket of sauce, with roast butternut pumpkin, some roast cloves of garlic and steamed broccolini. Yum. Nothing like the stuff in cans.