Beef is our number one seller in the restaurant and we sell more fillet than any other cut. However, I’ve recently discovered the blade of beef – which has an excellent flavour and offers great value. First we braise it before shaping and leaving overnight to firm up, which creates a lovely round for presentation


  • 4 x 175g (6oz) dry-aged beef fillets
  • 1 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 15 g (1/2oz) butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tblsp rapeseed oil
  • 400 g (14oz) piece of beef blade, well trimmed
  • 2 carrots, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 900 ml (1 1/2 pints) beef stock
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) red wine
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp softened butter
  • 1 smoked streaky bacon rasher, rind removed
  • 1 slice of white bread, crusts removed and very finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp snipped fresh chives
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1/2 celeriac
  • 1 tsp softened butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 large spinach leaves
  • celeriac purée, to serve
  • 4 tblsp mushroom foam, to garnish
  • 675 g (1 1/2lb) shin of beef, cut into pieces
  • 675 g (1 1/2lb) marrow bones or knuckle of veal, chopped
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 celery stick, sliced
  • 1 tblsp tomato purée
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) red wine
  • 1 small garlic bulb, halved
  • 1 bouquet garni (parsley stalks, sprigs of thyme and bay leaf tied together)


Beef is our number one seller in the restaurant and we sell more fillet than any other cut. However, I've recently discovered the blade of beef – which has an excellent flavour and offers great value.

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
  2. To prepare the braised blade, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large casserole dish with a lid. Add the beef blade and brown all over for 3–4 minutes, turning regularly with tongs. Transfer to a plate. Add another tablespoon of oil to the casserole, reduce the heat a little and add the carrots, onion and garlic. Cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring, until golden brown.
  3. Return the beef blade and any juices to the casserole and pour over the beef stock and red wine. Add the herbs and season to taste, then bring to the boil. Cover tightly with foil and a lid. Cook for 3 hours, until the beef is meltingly tender. Carefully remove the beef from the braising juices and leave to rest on a warmed plate covered with foil.
  4. Strain the braising juices into a clean pan and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25–30 minutes, until reduced by half to a sauce consistency. Leave to cool and place in an airtight container in the fridge until needed.
  5. When the beef blade has cooled slightly, shred it into pieces on a double layer of clingfilm, removing any fat, and make into a thick sausage shape. Roll up tightly to create a sausage shape about 5cm (2in) thick, tying the ends really tightly to make a good, firm shape. Place in the fridge overnight to firm up.
  6. To prepare the garnishes, heat a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the bacon and cook until crisp and golden, turning once. Drain on kitchen paper and then dice very finely and place in a bowl. Next add the bread dice to the unwashed bacon pan and sauté until golden. Tip into the bowl with the bacon and add the chives, then mix well to combine. Set aside until needed.
  7. Using a small melon baller (2cm/3/4in), make 8 balls of the carrot and 16 balls of the celeriac. Using a mandolin, cut the rest of the celeriac and carrot into thin slices and stamp out 8 x 2.5cm (1in) rounds from each. Place the carrot and celeriac balls in a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 4 minutes, adding the thin rounds for the last minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain, then quickly refresh under cold running water. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and add the vegetable balls and rounds for 1–2 minutes, until heated through. Season to taste.
  8. Take a 2.5cm (1in) straight-sided cutter and stamp out 12 circles of spinach. Arrange on a plate and cover with clingfilm. Chill until needed. This will be used as a garnish for the beef.
  9. To cook the beef fillets, allow them to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
  10. Heat a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat and add the rapeseed oil and butter. Season the steaks and once the butter stops sizzling, add them to the pan. Sear for 2–3 minutes on each side, then transfer to the oven for 5 minutes for medium or 10–12 minutes for well done. Leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, finish preparing the beef blade. Trim off the ends and then cut into 4 even-sized pieces that are each about 2cm (3/4in) and carefully remove the cling film. Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil and the butter. Once the butter stops sizzling, add the pieces of beef blade to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy and completely warmed through.
  12. Place a spoonful of the reserved bacon and crouton mixture on top of each beef blade piece and keep warm. Place the reserved reduced braising juices in a pan and allow to warm through for the sauce.
  13. To serve, spoon some celeriac purée into the centre of each warmed plate and add a piece of the garnished beef blade and the beef fillet to each one. Garnish with the celeriac and carrot balls and rounds and the circles of spinach. Spoon over the sauce and mushroom foam.
  14. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7). Place the shin of beef and marrow bones or knuckle of veal in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 30–40 minutes, until well browned. Drain off all the excess oil and discard.
  15. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté for 6–7 minutes, until just beginning to colour. Stir in the tomato purée, then pour in the red wine and allow it to bubble down for 1 minute.
  16. Add the roasted meat bones to the vegetable and wine mixture along with the garlic and bouquet garni. Pour in 1.75 litres (3 pints) water and bring to the boil. Skim off any scum, then partially cover and reduce the heat to simmer for 4–5 hours, until you have achieved a well-flavoured stock, topping up occasionally with a little water – you'll need to add another 1.2 litres (2 pints) in total over the whole cooking time.
  17. Strain the stock and leave to cool completely before chilling down. Once it's cold, remove any trace of solidified fat from the surface using a large spoon, then cover with a lid and return to the fridge until needed. Use as required.
  18. To cook ahead, this stores very well in the fridge for 3 days or freeze in 600ml (1 pint) cartons and defrost when you need it.


The braised beef blade can be made up to 2 days in advance but must be prepared at least 24 hours in advance to achieve a good shape. The sauce can also be prepared at the same time. For a fillet of beef, choose the best bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon-based Claret from Bordeaux or a great bottle of Syrah from Hermitage, Rhône Valley.