When we were young, we had the traditional roast joint on Sunday; we weren’t served  great slabs of it but beautifully thinly carved slices. Thin slices were more economical, and there were always plenty of home-grown vegetables and lashings of gravy ( my dad’s phrase – except he would have called it ‘gyppo’, a word I think he picked up in the army) and there was always dessert to follow, home-made by mum or very occasionally ice-cream. We didn’t have a fridge at that time, and nor did most people, let alone a freezer, so the block of ice-cream would have been bought at the newsagent, and kept wrapped in newspaper in the coolest place there was.

Left over meat was used throughout the week… we only had a small joint, so maybe we would get two extra meals from it, a shepherd’s or cottage pie, cold with jacket potatoes, or my favourite, made into rissoles… My mum’s rissoles were made from minced cold beef, left over cooked carrots, onion, and a dash of tomato ketchup; the mixture was formed into patties, dipped in seasoned flour and fried – they would have been fried in dripping because we didn’t have cooking oil in those days.

In the National Mark Calendar of Cooking, there is an April recipe which sounds very similar except it has the addition of potato and bacon and is seasoned with nutmeg as well as salt and pepper… sounds delicious! They are called beef cakes, not rissoles, and this is what the authors of the little book, Ambrose Heath and Mrs D.D. Cottington Taylor says about them: When the piece of cold bacon shows signs of becoming all fat, bear these little beef cakes in mind. I think by bacon they might mean a boiled or roast ham joint.

  • ¾ lb cold roast beef, minced
  • ¼ lb fat boiled bacon, minced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • onion, chopped
  • 3 potatoes, baked in their jackets and the insides removed
  • butter
  • nutmeg
  • salt and pepper
  • parsley
  • tomato sauce to serve
  1. fry the onion in butter but don’t let brown
  2. mix the minced meats, mashed potato, seasonings and onion
  3. add the egg and make into ten little flat round cakes
  4. fry and brown on both sides in butter and serve with tomato sauce

I like the recipe, but I think I would perhaps coat in seasoned flour like my mum did with her rissoles… although, I guess burgers aren’t floured before cooking!

One thought on “Beef cakes… or rissoles as we called them…

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