Ask the chef

Since I started this column a few months ago, I have had a few culinary questions e-mailed to me, and I have decided to start up a new feature on the food and wine page, Ask The Chef. If you have a chef question that you would like an answer to, no matter how trivial, please e-mail me on [email protected] and I will endeavour to help you.

This week, Hilda has e-mailed me with a question. She wants to know how to cook the beef joint ‘eye of the round’. It always turns out tough when she cooks it and she wants a foolproof way so she is not wasting meat or money. Great question Hilda, I know many chefs who have the same problem with this cut of meat. Eye of the round is a cheaper cut of beef and full of flavour if cooked properly. Most restaurant kitchens have a combi oven that helps tougher cuts of meat by cooking with 80 per cent steam, very slowly on a medium heat to get a tender and flavoursome result.

At home, we do not have this luxury, so this is my unconventional and foolproof way. First set your oven to the highest setting, about 250°C. Season the joint with sea salt and cracked black pepper and place on chopped vegetables in a roasting tray. Putting the meat on a bed of garlic, fruit or vegetables, ensures an even cooking above and underneath the meat. Add a pint of water to roasting tin and put it into your preheated oven. Allow seven minutes cooking time per pound of meat (21 minutes for a 3lb joint ), and then turn off the oven and leave the meat to cook inside for about three hours, without opening the door. This allows the joint to cook the way we do in a professional kitchen. If you open the door you will lose the heat and the meat will be tough, but if you follow this method you should end up with a lovely tender joint of meat. Let the roast rest for 10 minutes before carving it into thin slices and use the liquid in the tray to make fantastic gravy. Thanks for the question, Hilda. I hope that you found this helpful. Contact me at [email protected] if you want any advice on any food related questions and I will do my best to answer it.

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