Happy New Year! I know a huge number of you will be looking at diet plans and thinking salad, water and courgette spaghetti but quite honestly, when I look out of the window all I can think about is how much I want a warming plate of comfort food.
What to do? Well, here in Perthshire we’re blessed with Borland Farm’s amazing Highland Beef and as a lifelong fan I thought this just might be the answer to our January dilemma. Highland Beef is significantly lower in both fat and cholesterol than traditional beef and has higher levels of protein and iron (both of which you need for a healthy mind and body.)
Vegetarians should look away now, as this the bit where I explain why this beef tastes so darn good! These gorgeous big Highland Coos are hardy animals who are unselective in their grazing and foraging habits. As well as providing the natural diet, conservation authorities have confirmed this also enhances the flora on hill ground, improving the habitat for wildlife.
At Borland Farm in Perthshire, the Highland Cattle selected by Ken Headsbeath are reared outdoors all year round without prophylactic chemicals or intensive practices. He allows them to mature at a much slower rate than those destined for the commercial markets and this, along with the ability to roam freely, ensures their meat is remarkably lean and well-marbled providing a delicious taste, tenderness and succulence.
We’ve selected a sirloin roast which is amazing as a mid-week or Sunday dinner but can also be served cold with salad and fermented veg if you’re determined to do the January thing!
You can buy your Highland Beef from Highland Drovers at their butcher shop in South Street, Brig Farm Shop and Perth Farmers Market on the first Saturday of every month.
As always, please do send us your photographs and share your ideas for adding to Gill's recipe. We'd love to use them in our new Perthshire gallery section. Tag them #PerthLoveFest and we'll scatter them around our own social media.
Take the meat out of the fridge at least an hour before you want to put in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/Gas 8 or use the top (hot) oven if you have an Aga.
Season the beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sear it in a hot roasting tin on the hob - turn the meat until its browned all over.
Slice an onion and place in the tray with the red wine; lay the beef on top and sprinkle with chopped fresh rosemary. This will add flavour to your gravy later on.
Transfer to the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes for a medium Rare result; leave it for another 10 minutes for medium, and if well done is your choice, leave it another 20 minutes. (Highland Beef cooks in a shorter space of time than traditional so please do trust me on this one!)
Whilst the meat is cooking, baste it two or three times with the meat juices to seal in the flavour and keep it moist.
Take the meat out of the oven, remove it from the roasting tin and place it on a warmed serving dish, covering loosely with foil to rest for half an hour.
Serve as a traditional roast dinner or slice cold with salad and a healthy dressing for a great January alternative.
If you'd like the gravy (why wouldn't you?!) pour all the juices, fat and wee bits of meat and onion into a sauce pan and 100mls of beef stock (or more red wine if you prefer)
Strain the gravy to remove the fat, meat and onions and whilst stirring pour in the cornflour mix until it seems thick enough.
Bring the contents of the pan to the boil.
Meanwhile, in a seperate jug mix a tablespoon of cornflour with enough cold water to give it a pouring consistency.
Taste and then season with salt and pepper or a dessertspoonful of redcurrant jelly.