Roast Beef for the Soul

I read about the slow-cooking movement that has been around for a while. I am a big fan of slow-cooked food for two reasons – one it’s loaded with flavours, and two, it saves you a great deal of time in the long run. When you’re a busy mom, time is your friend.
On Saturday night I prepared a simple Roast Beef and ‘chucked’ it in the oven, thinking that I would just roast a few potatoes and veggies the next day and Sunday lunch would be ready. Simple as that!
My daughter has nagged us to go to the Park Acoustics for weeks now. Some good bands were playing – Die Tuindwergies and Die Heuwels Fantasties. I love the Tuindwergies’ sound. Very reminiscent of our 70’s and 80’s South African bands. So Sunday, beautiful sunny Pretoria day outside and I decided, let’s do it. Why not?
Off we went to get some fresh rolls at Food Lover’s Market – no paninis this time of the morning, but we got some fresh out the oven crispy loaves.

I sliced the roast beef into thin slices, cosied them into the loaves (sliced in half), and finally added some tomato slices and loads of gravy. That took care of the ‘main course’. I stuffed some Lammingtons from Woolies into the picnic basket and that was dessert.

Food for the soul.

Voortrekker Monument here we come! For a change we didn’t pitch up there with tons of bags and baskets full of food. The event was supposed to have taken place at the Botanical Gardens but due to logistics, the venue was moved to the monument. So off we went with no expectations but to just chill for the day. The most memorable moments come from spontaneity.

View of 'Park Acoustics' from the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.

Next to taking food photographs, I love music concerts and I love to take photos of events. Where there is a concert, you will find me in the front row. Not this time though! My daughter decided she was going to annex my camera and that was that! But you know what, that didn’t phase me at all. The vibe was great. There was a relaxed mood, stunning view of Pretoria, a few drinks and good food and most importantly – all shared with family.

Lovely view of Pretoria through the mountains.

I love acoustic music where every fret you play is interpreted in your ears. Then you add the unmistakable South African sound….just awesome! Food too is like music. Simply ‘slowww-cooked’ – you can taste every fibre of the meat like a soulful tune in your mouth.

The vibe at Park Acoustics.

I guess I will have to invest in a new camera because I don’t think this one will be mine for much longer. The ecstatic look on my daughter’s face makes it all worth it.


And in true Pretoria tradition….the rain came down just as the event came to an end. Certainly didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit.
What a fantastic Sunday. This will not be the last Park Acoustics for me.

And the rain came tumbling down!

Yep, everything runs full circle, even the music is back to pure sounds and melody. Music and Food go hand in hand for sure.

Here is my rendition of Roast Beef with a Dijon gravy on the side.

Slow-Cooked Roast Beef with a Dijon Twist

1.5 kg Aitch-bone cut of beef
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 tomato, chopped
2 Bay leaves
2 cloves
Salt and Pepper
1 cup red wine

For the optional gravy:
½ cup of fresh thick cream
1 Tsp of Dijon mustard

• Brown one chopped onion and garlic in a pot with some olive oil.
• Sear the beef on all sides till golden brown. This improves the flavour and appearance of the meat.
• Add the tomato, bay leaves and cloves.
• Pour in the wine.
• Sprinkle the top of the roast with the salt and pepper and add some salt to the liquid as well.
• Cover the pot with a lid.
• You can cook this on the stove top or in the oven. I cooked mine in the oven for about 2.5 hours at 180 degrees Celcius. The success of a beef roast lies in the slow-cooking. What I like about cooking it in the oven is that you can prepare it and forget about it until done.
• Remove the roast from the oven and let it lie in the covered pot for about 30 minutes.
• Drain the juices into a bowl and use them for gravies.
• I add quite a bit of liquid to the roast because I like to use the gravy to make two variations.
• I use the juices as is and add a bit of corn starch to thicken if necessary and to the second gravy I add some cream and Dijon mustard. I prefer the one with mustard.
• Slice the roast beef into very thin slices.
• Serve with vegetables and potatoes or use the meat for sandwiches.


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