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Charlotte potatoes are in the premier division of potatoes — they are waxy, with a dark yellow colour, incredibly flavoursome and the best potato to roast. At the Boxwood Cafe we use ribeye of beef for this recipe, but at home I suggest you use sirloin, or an individual ribeye. Even the T-bone steak, the retro classic, can be used as an alternative to sirloin. Don’t be scared to serve this warm — there is nothing worse than being pressured into thinking you’ve got to serve it hot. I personally enjoy beef much better when it’s warm, as it’s been able to rest sufficiently, which tenderizes it.
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper /1 x 1 kg sirloin beef / olive oil /1 head of garlic, broken into cloves / a few sprigs of fresh thyme and a few thyme leaves / 12 large Charlotte potatoes, peeled / 150g unsalted butter /16 medium shallots, peeled / 285ml port / 285ml red wine
Preheat the oven to l80°C/350°F/gas 4. Season the sirloin well, then heat some olive oil in a frying pan and brown the meat all over. Transfer it to an ovenproof dish. Add the garlic cloves, a sprig or two of thyme and a little fresh olive oil. Cook in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, then remove the dish from the oven and set aside. With this timing the sirloin will be nice and rare — cook it for longer if you prefer.
Meanwhile, in another pan heat some more olive oil and colour the potatoes all over until nice and golden. Add a few more sprigs of thyme and the butter and cook slowly until they are soft in the middle — 15-20 minutes.
In a small pan, sauté the shallots in olive oil until slightly coloured. Drain off the excess oil and add the port, red wine and thyme leaves. Simmer until the liquid has reduced and the shallots are cooked and glazed like rubies. Cut the beef into generous slices and arrange in a serving dish with the potatoes, shallots and garlic.
BANANA STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING
This is a real old-fashioned favourite. Usually it’s made with sultanas, but we’ve created a really modern twist by using bananas. Steam or bake the mixture in moulds in a bain-marie (see page 244). Best served with a sweet sticky toffee sauce. This pudding is also lovely with fresh custard or creme fraiche.
170g unsalted butter/180g soft brown sugar/2 small eggs/180g plain flour/12g baking powder/ 200g chopped banana / butter and caster sugar for the moulds
250g soft brown sugar / 140ml double cream / 65g unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to l80°C/350°F/gas 4. Cream the butter and the sugar together in a large bowl, then slowly beat in the eggs. Gently fold in the sieved flour and baking powder, then mix in the chopped banana. Grease 6 baking moulds with a little butter and a sprinkling of caster sugar. Divide the mixture between the moulds, until each one is three-quarters full. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to l50°C/300°F/gas 2 and cook for a further 1 hour and 20 minutes.
While the puddings are cooking, make your toffee sauce. Place the sugar, cream and butter in a pan and bring to the boil. When all the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat. Remove the puddings from the oven and leave to rest, then turn out of the moulds and serve topped with the toffee sauce.
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