I don’t have any desire to live in the past, however being the nostalgic fool I am, I’d love to go back for periodic time-travel visits. That’s what writing Jewels from The Roving Stove has been all about – from VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron. Last night I got my wish. The perfect combination of friends old and new, a healthy dose of glamour, with lucious food and giggles galore.
The heady London party days
I won’t bore you with details, but this week has been an exasperating one! I needed to blow off some steam. Enter Emily Cash and Natalie Smith – two of my favorite partners in crime from my London days for a rendezvous at Soho House (the club that’s the next best thing to a trip back to London). They were running fashionably late, so I was delighted to bump into more blasts from my past, Julia Verdin and Maya Fiennes, and make several new acquaintances that equally captured my fascination in the interim.
Jewels with Emily in London recently
Now, I saw Em on my last trip to London, and Natalie and I hung out backstage at a recent Duran Durangig, but the three of us had not been together in fourteen years! I have a Swiss cheese memory. Being with friends that share your history fills in those holes and fond memories magically come into focus again. A happier, modern day version of Scrooge – in this case visiting parties past, present, and future. Well, tis the season!
Jewels and Natalie backstage at a Duran Duran gig last March
Our walk down memory lane took us to the Cajun bash, complete with magnificent fireworks display, Natalie and husband (Iron Maiden guitarist) Adrian Smith threw on the grounds of their Buckinghamshire estate. Emily’s ex, Pat Cash, played “beer tennis,” challenging all of us to see if we could return the Wimbledon champs’ serve. If we could, he had to drink a beer, and vice versa. He deliberately let quite a few fly by.
I’m sure I’ve had more birthday parties than actual birthdays
Or the time Emily taught me how to make an authentic paella while we amused ourselves watching our friends bounce off of each other in padded sumo wrestler costumes in her back yard, or the raucous game of paintball we played on another occasion. Wimp that I am, I spent the entire evening cowering behind a corner, praying no one would shoot me. Then there were my yearly birthday parties and pre Wimbledonconcerts with Adrian, Pat and John McEnroe jubilantly jamming – bringing back even more memories of my childhood tennis groupie past. This week’s stress and foul mood rapidly dissipating with each warm memory during the course of a new evening to remember fondly.
Taking the party to the other side of the Atlantic: Emily, Maria, Natalie and Jewels
To balance the old with the new, Natalie invited her friend Maria – an actress, fine jeweler and CHEF! Needless to say, a lively conversation ensued. After gushing over each others jewels (she admired my Jodi’s jewel for Jewels and I wanted to run off with her black pearl bracelet), we discussed our favorite cuisines to cook. So, in honor of the country where our friendships began, here is my roast beef recipe. What fond party memories bring a smile to your face?
Roast Beef with Roasted Potatoes
One of my favorite memories of my first trip to London as a teen, was of having a proper Sunday lunch at Simpson’s on the Strand. The famous carvery was known for it’s succulent roast beef, perfectly crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding, all smothered in a rich, silky gravy. Although there are so many comfort foods associated with English cuisine, I always think of roast beef first. I’m not alone, for nearly a century now, the English have sarcastically referred to the French as Frogs (frog legs are quite common on menus in France), and the French have responded by calling the Brits ” les Rosbif ” (roast beef). This is my interpretation, not strictly the classical way they would make this well-known roast.
1 onion, quartered
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
3 stalks celery, cut into 3 inch pieces
6 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary, finely chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 pounds eye of round
4 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite size chunks (eliminating need to parboil)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup beef broth
1). Preheat oven to 475° F. Remove meat from the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before roasting. Place the onion, carrots, and celery in the center of the roasting pan to create a cradle for the meat.
2). In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, thyme, Rosemary and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using clean hands, rub 1/2 of the mixture over all sides of the beef and place in roasting pan.
3). In a large bowl, mix remaining garlic-herb mixture with the last 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the potatoes and toss to coat. Pour into the roasting pan around the meat and season everything well with salt and pepper to taste (I like lots of fresh cracked black pepper on mine).
4). Roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes )to sear in the juices) in the hot oven, then reduce temperature to 350°F., use a spatula to turn the potatoes over to brown evenly, and continue roasting for another 25-30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer registers 135° when inserted into the thickest part of the roast, for medium rare. If roasting a larger piece of meat, add an additional 20 minutes per extra pound roasting time.
5). Remove meat from oven, and let rest 15-20 minutes, tented with foil to keep heat in, before carving.
6). Meanwhile, deglaze the roasting pan with beef broth over medium heat, stirring up any gooey bits at the bottom of the pan, and bringing to boil for a 2-3 minutes to make the au jus.
Serve the meat hot or at room temperature. The vegetables and au jus are best served hot.
Traditionally, you would make a brown a gravy with the drippings from the roast beef, but after habitually watching my caloric intake for many years, I am partial to just spooning the naturally rich au jus over the meat for a little added moisture and flavor.
You can of course use different herbs and/or vegetables to your liking.