21-day-aged, rare-roasted topside of beef with horseradish
Back in third year of uni, I was up to my oxters (armpits, southerners) in work with the uni paper. I’d work all week on my course, head to the office on a Friday, and get about 5 hours sporadic sleep between then and heading back to class for another week of creative inspiration on Monday morning. I was kicking the crap out of myself.
My diet at that point could best be described as toxic – I’d stopped smoking, but I’d replaced it with a steady stream of Rockstar Energy that we were furnished with by the student council – they’d had 4.5 tonnes of it delivered for Freshers’ Week, and had given away a fraction of that. We whittled away at the rest for a whole year, and drank it instead of coffee, instead of tea, instead of water. Food-wise, we had the vending machines, and Pizza Hut on speed dial – but on Sunday morning, when sanity was slipping, and with the paper on the home stretch before heading off to the printers, one of the guys would always head out to Marks and Spencer. I’d have a rare roast beef sandwich, and for the duration of that butty, I wouldn’t feel like death warmed up.
So that’s the food memory, and here’s my take. I did roast beef a while back, but this is much, much better for all sorts of reasons. Firstly, there’s the meat – it’s dry-aged for three weeks, letting the flavour develop perfectly. It’s cooked better – rare, and rosy pink in the middle. Bloody as hell when it came out of the oven, and moist as a motherfucker when it’s finally sliced wafer-thin with a ridiculously sharp knife for the sandwich. The bread is home-made white, un-toasted as I got up at the crack of dawn to assemble this puppy – just a spread of unsalted Lurpak inside, as well as the obligatory spoonful of horseradish to get that heat with the meat. A little herb salad caps the whole thing off, with just enough greenery to make you think of the big beast that was mooing and chewing its cud, before laying down its life for this tank of a butty. Maybe it was this cow, maybe it wasn’t. (It wasn’t)
One little bonus before closing – I love sourdough. To bits. It’s a fabulous thing to be making sandwiches with, but it kills the Scotsman in me every time I hand over a crisp fiver and get nothing but some silver coinage back, along with my beautiful loaf. I’ve made the empty promise of making my own for a long time now, but then I got given this stunner of a loaf by my girlfriend’s mum. As if that wasn’t enough, she also gave me a tiny, hand-grenade sized jar of starter to get my own going, which is now chowing down and getting big in the kitchen. So now there’s no excuse. At all. Gulp.