It isn’t always necessary to have wildly creative ideas in order to make food interesting. It can be enough to simply have a bit of variety. And sometimes, it’s really nice to have food that reminds you of your childhood. This can be especially gratifying if you serve an old childhood favourite to guests who respond with rave reviews to something they’ve never had before. I know that sounds slightly odd, but I live in a different country from where I grew up, so utterly ordinary things frequently turn out to be ‘new’.
For example, we recently had out-of-town guests coming for Sunday dinner. I wasn’t going to have much time to prepare the meal after church, and precise timing wasn’t going to be an option because they were travelling on the day. So I planned an easy oven ‘pot’ roast, which can be forgiving if the meal is delayed, and in the end it was. But because it was so delayed, there wasn’t much juice left in the pan to make gravy. So I scraped the few drippings into a small saucepan along with a stock cube and a little flour to start gravy and added milk for volume. We always had milk gravy when I was young; my guests had never seen it before. Job done!
So, here’s a few simple ideas for a week’s menu with beef in the summertime:
Day one: Pot roast beef with potatoes and carrots, flavoured with onion and mushroom; milk gravy on the side.
Day two: Sliced beef sandwiches on nice bread (choose a special loaf you don’t have very often) with leftover gravy as a dip if you serve them hot; green salad.
Day three: Chinese noodle salad with shredded cabbage and scrappy pieces of beef, topped with a sweet and sour vinaigrette.
If there’s anything left, you can always make soup, not forgetting to use the bone and any leftover gravy.