Would anyone these days go to the trouble of preparing collared beef as is described in the 1930’s cookery booklet, the National Mark Calendar of Cooking? it is described as an excellent way of using cheap cuts of beef – “and is very delicious served cold with salad for luncheon, supper or breakfast!. This isn’t a dish you’d prepare for guests, it’s a dish to be eaten at home… and how may of us would eat beef for breakfast?

Should you be tempted, here is the recipe:

  • 4lb salted flank of beef
  • 1 small onion
  • bunch of herbs including parsley, thyme, a little sage and marjoram
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 3 blades of mace
  • 2 cloves
  • 20 allspice
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp celery seeds
  1. wipe the meat and remove any bones and gristle
  2. place it flat on a plate, and sprinkle with a little of the chopped herbs
  3. roll it tightly and tie the ends ad middle with string
  4. cove with a pudding cloth, put it into a saucepan with the remaining herbs and the spices
  5. cover with sufficient water and simmer for 3½ – 4 hours
  6. when cooked, place the meat in a meat press or press with a heavy weight – one means of doing this is to place it on a pastry board with a flat piece of wood on top and on this place several flat irons or heavy weights
  7. leave for 24 hours, remove the pudding cloth and brush over with meat glaze
  8. decorate with piped butter and garnish with parsley

meat glaze:

  • good beef bones
  • a little meat free from fat
  • vegetables but not potatoes
  • seasoning
  1. simmer everything very slowly for several hours
  2. remove the fat
  3. return to pan and reduce to the consistency of glaze

I’m not sure that with 4 lbs of meat, 2 cloves and a bayleaf would make much impact on the flavour at all! I’m also not sure whether the plate is involved in the cooking, is it put in the pan with the meat on it, covered in the pudding cloth? And does ‘cover’ mean just drape over the top or actually wrap round the whole joint? Who knows! Would this be a suitable recipe for a Nottingham jar? Maybe!

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