By Charlotte Hope, @charlottehope
If you managed to look at the cover picture on this article without salivating then you’re probably one of only a few, but if a despondent glare started to creep across your face as you contemplate the time and effort that goes into making such a meal then you’re certainly not alone. But as I was about to find out, cooking nice meats doesn’t have to be a time and labour intensive endeavour.
On a pleasant Thursday evening at Flemings Mayfair Hotel I was invited along to a cocktails and canapés evening courtesy of The Meat Elite, the customer facing side of Simply Beef & Lamb. There to provide the cocktails was Simon Difford, of Difford’s Guide, a global authority on cocktail making. We were treated to a little information about Simply Beef & Lamb and how the high quality of the meat is ensured and delivered every time through rigorous standards and checking by the in-house meat expert, Hugh, who talked us through each canapé.
First up was a roast beef canapé with horseradish and dill, which was paired with probably the best Bloody Mary I’ve ever had (the secret, it seems, is to infuse your vodka with horseradish then strain it out. Genius). The crumpet the canapé was served on was a little on the dry side but this was made up for with a dollop of hummus – not something I’ve ever paired with roast beef but tasty nonetheless. This was followed by beef on white bean purée matched with a lime and basil gin-based cocktail. Much like before, the cocktail was delicious but the white bean purée didn’t add much to the beef – it was so perfectly cooked, however, that it didn’t seem to matter.
Next we were treated to a veal terrine with juniper and pomegranate coupled with a gin, Madeira and pomegranate cocktail. Gin gets my vote every time so it was a given that I would enjoy this offering and this canapé was, in my opinion, the star of the evening. I’ve featured the link to the recipe page of Simply Beef and Lamb’s website below for anyone who is interested in making them at home; I highly recommend this one. Next: spiced beef and chilli blinis with a Thai green curry cocktail. An interesting combination – the beef was topped with guacamole and sat on a bed of salsa – that just about worked. Thankfully the next canapé was also the last as my memory starts to falter around this mark. We were served curried lamb skewers with a mango purée cocktail. What a lot of accented ‘e’s in this article. The cocktail was like a delicious alcoholic dessert and the lamb was beautiful – such a shame it was the only lamb based canapé of the evening, especially given the resident meat expert’s testimony that British lamb has ‘never been better’.
Another point of interest is the ‘mini roast’ that The Meat Elite were championing: little cuts of meat that you can roast in under an hour. These are being touted as the perfect midweek dinner for two, which actually seems like a very good idea, particularly as we move into Autumn and nights are darker and colder. There are already a few ideas for mini roast recipes on the website, featured below, and I’m sure there are many more to come as more people try it out. Why not pair it with one of the THREE THOUSAND cocktails on Simon Gifford’s site and see how that goes? That’s my plan, anyway.