The Musette: speedy Sunday roast

It’s possible to have a roast lunch within 45 minutes of returning from a Sunday morning ride. I admit that it’s a pared back version with few of the typical British trimmings but to be honest my beloved much prefers it this way. I appreciate that this probably amounts to sacrilege to those of you who think no Sunday roast is complete without roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and oodles of gravy but this is my healthy version which relies, as always, on the very best ingredients treated with the utmost, love, care and attention.


French butchers will typically have a photo of the cow from which their beef comes. Mine is no exception and this well-hung and well marbled 500g (1lb) piece of beef from the ribs (côte de boeuf) came from a cow with a twinkle in its eye. Obviously, he had no idea what was in store for him. Probably thought he was going on an away day. This joint served three hungry cyclists.

Well hung and marbled beef and a magic touch of truffle flavoured salt (image: Sheree)


1. As with so many things in life, a bit of planning and preparation the night before pays dividends. Blanch your vegetables firstly in boiling salted water for two minutes and then refresh in iced water to retain the colour. Drain, dry with kitchen towel and place in the fridge.

2. Before leaving for your ride, take the beef out of the fridge and leave in a cool spot to come to room temperature so that it’s ready to cook when you return.

3. On your return, pre-heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas mark 7 (425°F/400°F fan) while you’re having your post-ride shower.

4. Season the meat, rubbing it all over with plenty of salt – in my case one flavoured with truffle – and especially into the fat, place on a trivet in the roasting tray and cook for 20 minutes for medium rare (15 minutes for rare).

5. Cut the panisse (recipe below) into fat slices, toss in 1 tbsp olive oil and season with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Place on a baking tray (half sheet pan) in the oven at the same time as the beef. Take the haricot beans out of the fridge.

6. Finely chop half a fat shallot and gently fry in 1 tsp olive oil until translucent.

Allow beef to rest for at least 15 minutes (covered in foil) then carve on diagonal (image: Sheree)

7. Take the beef out of the oven, cover with aluminium foil and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, turn over the panisse and switch off the oven.

8. Add 1 tsp unsalted butter to the shallots then add the haricots, warm through for ten minutes before serving.

9. Discard the fat and the bone  – I give the bone to a neighbour’s dog – and slice the beef on the diagonal. Serve with the crisp green beans and panisse, which should be golden and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy inside – just like roast potatoes. Serve with the juices from the meat and enjoy.

Sunday roast is served (image: Sheree)


Panisse ingredients

  • 1 litre (4 cups) filtered water
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 285g (2¼ cups) finely ground chick pea (garbanzo) flour


1. Lightly oil a 23cm (9 inch) square cake tin and line with cling film (plastic wrap).

2. Bring the water, oil and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan. Don’t let it boil!

3. Whisk in the sieved chick pea flour and continue whisking, to avoid lumps, until it thickens – about three minutes.

4. Switch to a wooden spoon and continue to stir until the mixture becomes very thick. This generally takes around ten minutes and helps you work up a bit more of an appetite.

5. Pile the mixture into the oiled and lined baking tin, smoothing the surface with a pallet knife and leave it to cool.

6. Once cold, tip out onto a chopping board and cut into servings and cook as suggested above.

7. In Nice panisse are shaped a bit like flying saucers because they pour the mixture into saucers to set. They’ll keep for a week in the fridge but I generally freeze any excess for up to three months.

Sheree’s handy hints

1. It’s important to cook meat from room temperature otherwise the centre of the meat won’t be sufficiently cooked. We’ve all been served wonderfully caramelised steaks and burgers only to discover when we cut into the meat that it’s cold and raw on the inside – send it back!

2. If you prefer you can cook the beef by initially browning it well on both sides in an oven-proof frying pan (skillet) and then popping into the pre-heated oven for a further 5-10 minutes depending on how rare you like your meat.

3. Obviously, you can serve the beef with whatever you want but choose side dishes that you can easily prepare in advance and then pop into the oven with the beef to reheat or finish cooking on the hob.

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