Perfect Rare Roast Beef

DSC_0037When I think of roast beef, I imagine rare, juicy, perfectly seasoned slices. Too often the commercially available reality is a dry, overcooked, under-seasoned disappointment.

Making the perfect roast beef isn’t difficult, but requires a few important steps. First, select a small, long thin roast, 2-3kg. Rub your roast with a generous amount of kosher salt and spices the night before and allow it to sit uncovered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. This will help dry out the roast a bit to ensure a good sear and allows the seasonings to penetrate the roast properly. If you season immediately before cooking you’ll end up with a bland hunk of meat and an over-seasoned exterior. The salt will also help draw the flavorings into the meat.

Let your roast come up to room temperature by allowing it to sit out for 1 to 2 hours before cooking. This is very important for getting it to roast evenly. Sear each side well in a heavy skillet over high heat and then finish in a 425F oven. Finally, allow to rest before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.

The earthy seasonings used in this recipe are in my opinion, absolutely perfect. They are minimal but effective, allowing the flavor and texture of the meat to shine through.

Perfect Rare Roast Beef Rub

1 small roast, 2-3kg
2 T kosher salt
2 t fresh black pepper
2 T mustard powder
1 t celery seed
1 t ground rosemary
1 t ground thyme
1/4 cup olive oil

Mix all ingredients and rub into roast. Allow to sit uncovered in fridge for 24 hours. Allow to come to room temperature for 1-2 hours. Sear each side in hot oil over high heat until well browned. About 4 minutes per side. Warning – this step will smoke up your kitchen if you’re doing it right. Transfer to a 425F oven and roast for 4 minutes per 500g. Remove, cover with a foil tent and allow to rest for minimum 20 minutes to 1 hour. Slice and serve, hot or cold.

White Squabs Move In


You can see the bruising on her beak, she’s the one on the left

Sometimes I get a sixth sense when it comes to the farm. This morning I woke up at 8am after just a few hours of sleep. Very unlike me.

I went outside to put out the trash and noticed a little white body in a puddle at the bottom of the chicken coop. Assuming it was an escaped quail, which does happen sometimes, I brought the trash to the curb and entered the coop to put the quail back where he belonged. Once inside I realized it wasn’t a quail, it was one of the white squabs. She was cold, muddy and had been pecked by the chickens. She had bloody bruises on her beak and the tip of the beak appeared to be fractured. I put her back in the nest beside her sibling and was going to go back to bed, when I decided she was just a little too cold and could probably use a little more help. I didn’t want to risk losing her. I brought her inside, washed her under warm water and wrapped her in a little towel. Then I put her in a plastic dishpan lined with newspapers in the bathroom with a hot water bottle beside her. Then it was back to bed.

Later once I woke up again, she had come out of her towel and was clean, warm and dry. Her beak was damaged, but not too badly. I checked my calendar and found that they were now three weeks old, which is pretty close to weaning age. I decided that this must be the sign that I should take them in for a little hand-taming. I went and retrieved the other squab and set them up both together in an unused rabbit cage in my kitchen. I made sure that the healthy squab got one good last feeding from his mom, and fed the injured squab some whole corn and wheat as they are used to eating in the coop. I also gave her a few syringes of water, which she drank slowly. I’m hoping that these two will help each other to learn to eat and drink on their own quickly and I will still hand feed them a few times a day if I don’t see them eating and drinking much on their own. It’s not too difficult or time consuming to hand feed baby pigeons.

After just one day, they are both already much more comfortable inside and the interested kittens aren’t stressing them out too much. Since I kind of wanted to hand raise them at about this age anyway, I’m pleased to have an excuse to do so. My goal is to have hand-tamed birds that I can handle without stressing them for when I train them for release. Since my flock of pigeons are all loose inside my chicken coop right now, it’s tough to catch any of them without causing a freak-out.

If I had put the trash out the night before as I usually do, I don’t think this baby would have survived. She was probably about an hour away from death when I found her. It occurred to me that if she had been a wild pigeon, simply falling out of the nest at that age is pretty much a death sentence.

Fred Has to Go

DSC_0031In many ways, Fred is the perfect cat. He’s playful, funny, gorgeous, well-behaved and so friendly and loving. However there is one problem. He thinks it’s fun to scare my girl cats. For the past while, I’ve been keeping Fred and the two kitten boys upstairs and my three girl cats downstairs. This was initially due to my girls beginning to spray and not feeling comfortable when Momma cat and all her kittens were here. This worked well for quite awhile as Fred gets along wonderfully with the two little boys and is their “Uncle Fred”.

However lately anytime Fred has been able to sneak downstairs or outside he is dead set on terrorizing my girls. Today after doing some laundry I heard cats screaming from the basement and realized Fred was down there. I opened the door and Mushrooms came streaking out and immediately climbed to the top of the cat tree in my spare room, growling like crazy. She had urinated all over herself from fear. I grabbed Fred and tossed him outside. When I went back to pick up Mushrooms and put her back downstairs, she was so afraid that she grabbed my hand and sliced three big holes in, right on the veins. Immediately I screamed and ran for the bathroom with blood pouring out in a trail behind me. I grabbed a towel and pressed it to my hand to stem the blood. Poor Mushrooms was beyond terrified now and I carefully herded her back downstairs to relax. It’s probably the worst cat attack that I’ve ever experienced save for one time as a very young kid. It’s also not like Mushrooms at all.

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It’s hard for me to make the decision to let Fred go. He came here as a very thin, neglected, abused and dirty stray months back, and I nursed him back to health. He’s in great shape now and unfortunately with health came attitude. I love Fred very much and he is my loyal buddy when I do the farm chores, always inspecting everything I’m doing and waiting patiently at the coop door when I feed the chickens. He often gets called “Friend” instead of Fred. I love how well he plays with the boy kittens and I love his predominantly low maintenance attitude. However, my three girl cats were here first. They are already unhappy enough that two of the kittens still live here, and I am unwilling to put them through being constantly chased and attacked by Fred. Fred needs a new home.