Sunday, 18 March 2012

Orient Express

Involtino di Manzo con ripieno di Couscous Speziato & Carote Marinate
Steamed Beef Roulade with Spiced Couscous and Marinated Carrots

Some meals are complicated to put together, daunting and difficult to make and quite frankly, a little bit frightening and off-putting for a lot of people. But I say- be fearless! Go ahead and have fun with your food! There is only one way to learn how to cook- and that is to get up, get into the kitchen and just do it!

It is fine reading a recipe from a cook and following it parrot-fashion, to the "t" and then patting yourself on the back when it turns out ok. But it is a little bit like learning a language from a tape and then never having a real conversation in that language with a native speaker. I think it is great to pick up ideas, have thoughts of your own- and get out there and cook up your own meals. That is what my blog is trying to help you all to do. Have some fun!  No exact measurements, just descriptions, ideas and food for thought so that you might prepare some food for friends!

This is actually a very simple little dish to put together. The only real work, which is very minimal in fact, is in preparing the couscous- so let's start with that. Finely chop cilantro, mint, parsley, chives or onion and some grated fresh ginger and put them into a bowl along with your couscous. I also added some dried dates which I cut into slices- but you could use figs or raisins, or some similar dried fruit- just to give it a little exotic sweetness. I then added a whole, heaped tablespoon of Ras el Hanout "rouge", some salt, pepper and a little cayenne. Cover with boiling water, stir well and allow it 5-10 minutes to absorb it and for the flavors of the herbs and spices to infuse it.

Next, let's marinade our paper-thin steak slices in a little sesame oil, some crushed garlic, a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, a little pepper and a trickle of honey. The couscous needs to cool slightly, before we can form the roulades, so lets make use of that time to slice out carrot into the thinnest slices you can manage. Add a couple of slices of ginger, a splash of Cointreau and a squeeze of lime juice and you have a wonderful flavor combination to sautée those carrots with in just a while... but let's get back to the meat first.

Now that the couscous is "cooked" and cool, spoon some onto the meat and then carefully form little roulades, wrapping it up as tightly as possible. It will be a little messy with the meat marinated and all... but it will be worth it! Once you have shaped the little roulades, wrap them tightly in Ceran wrap. Place the rolls into your steamer, close the lid and kiss them goodbye for 10 minutes- it's as easy as that!

After 10 minutes, remove them from the saucepan and carefully snip open the Ceran wrap to release the meat juices- pour these over the carrot slices and turn on the heat. Wrap the rolls in aluminum foil to keep them warm. Whilst the meat "rests" for 5 minutes,

the carrots can cook gently in their marinade and the added juices from the meat, which will reduce down to a nice dressing sauce.

Serve the roulades on a bed of carrot slices, with a little fresh cilantro and a little of the sauce... and enjoy!


  1. Wow - such a pleasure to get and see your wonderful ideas. Thank you maestro!

    1. Awww... Thank You Ilse, you Queen of the Country Kitchen! Glad you are liking it! Love your wonderful style too! Vive le différence, eh?! :-)