We’ll meat again

[Recipe 1] ROAST BEEF FILLET and ASPARAGUS with SWEET POTATO CHIPS transforms into
We’re right in the middle of asparagus season – one of my favourite vegetables. Stinky wee is such a tiny price to pay for something so delicious. They were $1 a bunch at the market recently, which helped alleviate my guilt from lashing out on a whole beef eye fillet. Yikes.
If you’ve not roasted a whole beef fillet before, I highly recommend you do. It’s the most beautiful, tender meat imaginable, and so easy to cook. It’s simply seared and tossed in the oven. I served it with sweet potato chips, although I do think ‘chips’ is a slight misnomer as they’re not exactly crunchy. They are however, absolutely scrumptious! The brown sugar is optional, but it does help the sweet potato caramelise nicely.
Reserve some of your roast beef fillet (look for the ♦ orange diamonds for quantity/instructions), and you can conjure up Vietnamese beef coleslaw with kaffir lime dressing for dinner later in the week. It’s actually a bit of a Thai/Vietnamese fusion, and it’s zingy and pretty fabulous. We ate ours outside on a beautiful balmy Melbourne evening, with a glass or two of Coopers ale. Bliss!

Roast eye fillet[Recipe 1] Roast beef fillet and asparagus with sweet potato chips

Ingredients (beef serves 4 for 2 meals):
1.65kg (3½ lb) beef eye fillet, trimmed and tied (see this youtube clip for method)
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing asparagus
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches asparagus spears, ends trimmed
Spiced sweet potato chips (serves 4):
750g (1½ lb) orange sweet potato, peeled and cut into chips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon raw sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 220°C (425ºF).
Heat a large heavy-based pan, add the olive oil, and seal the beef on all sides until browned. Place prepared beef fillet into a shallow baking pan.
Lightly brush the asparagus spears with olive oil. Place onto a large baking tray, lined with baking paper.
Place sweet potato pieces into a large bowl, add oil and shake well to coat. Mix all dry ingredients together, add to the bowl and shake or stir to coat evenly. Arrange the sweet potato chips next to the asparagus spears.
Place beef and vegetables into pre-heated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the asparagus spears. Turn the sweet potato chips over and continue roasting along with the beef for a further 15 minutes. Sweet potato and beef will need a total of about 30 minutes cooking time. Remove beef, cover loosely with foil and rest for ten minutes. Remove string.
Reserve about 400g (14 oz) of the beef fillet for the Vietnamese coleslaw with lime dressing. Don’t be tempted to slice the beef for the salad now – it will be much easier to slice thinly when cold.
Carve the remaining beef into thick 1cm (½ inch) slices. Serve with the asparagus spears, sweet potato chips and a simple green salad.

Vietnamese beef coleslaw

[Recipe 2] Vietnamese beef coleslaw with kaffir lime dressing

Ingredients (serves 4):
½ wombok (Chinese/Napa cabbage), finely shredded (about 4 cups)
2 medium carrots, cut into fine match-sticks
1 cup bean shoots (mung bean sprouts)
3 spring onions (scallions), white parts only, thinly sliced (reserve dark green parts for serving)
1 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 cup chopped fresh mint (or Vietnamese mint)
400g (14 oz) reserved roast beef fillet, very finely sliced
1 cup (150g) unsalted cashews, roasted, crushed with a mortar and pestle
Kaffir lime dressing:
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice (from 2 limes)
6 kaffir lime leaves, very finely shredded
3 small red birdseye chillis, de-seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil (or olive oil)
2 tablespoons Japanese rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce

Make dressing by combining all ingredients in a screw-top jar. Shake until combined.
Place all salad ingredients (except beef and cashews) into a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss to combine.
Arrange reserved sliced beef fillet on top of salad.
Serve, scattered with chopped green ends of spring onions and cashews.

  • Fussy kid tip: You can make a kid-friendly version of this salad by combining thinly sliced beef, carrot matchsticks and chopped avocado. Serve in soft wholemeal rolls with mayo or relish. If your kids are coleslaw fans, you could make them a traditional coleslaw, using some of the shredded wombok and carrot, with a spoonful of mayo.
  • Leftover Vietnamese coleslaw with lime dressing is lovely for lunch the next day. If you’ve used up all the beef, it’s equally delicious with leftover chopped roast chicken.
  • This salad is easy to very – stir through snowpeas, sugar snaps, celery or sliced cucumber. Cashews can be replaced with crushed roasted peanuts.
  • Kaffir lime leaves are available fresh, dried or frozen from Asian food stores. If unavailable, substitute with 2 tablespoons lime zest. You may be lucky to find kaffir limes at your market – the juice is too sour to use in cooking, but the leaves can be picked and frozen for up to 3 months. I always have a bag of them in my freezer. They’re beautifully aromatic and an essential ingredient for Thai recipes, particularly green curry and tom yum soup.
  • Japanese rice wine vinegar is readily available from large supermarkets and Asian food stores. Supermarkets often sell ‘sushi seasoning’ which is a good replacement.