Beef olives on the November menu

I’m having a foodie month and sharing recipes and food to do with November. Towards the end of Modern Practical Cookery, published in 1934, there is a section on monthly menus for small dinner parties. After oysters – allow six oysters per person and serve in the deep halves of their shells, arrange them on a plate with chipped ice and garnish with lemon… accompanied by brown bread-and-butter, cut as thin as a wafer and formed into rolls – the guests are treated to beef olives, served with mashed potatoes and peas:

Beef olives

1½ buttock steak (cut thinly) – I think we would call this rump! – cut into pieces 4×3 inches, then beaten flat with a cutlet bat
½ gill tomato purée
butter or dripping
1¼ pints stock
2½ flat tbsp plain flour


1 level tsp mixed herbs, finely chopped
2½ level dsp chopped parsley, finely chopped
3 oz breadcrumbs
1 egg
1½ oz suet, finely chopped
½ lemon zest and juice

  1. mix all the dry stuffing ingredients thoroughly
  2. mix in the egg and lemon juice
  3. spread the beef slices with stuffing, roll up and tie but not too tightly (you don’t need to use all the stuffing)
  4. roll in seasoned flour and fry in hot fat to seal the outside, then place in a casserole
  5. pour off excess fat from pan and stir in remaining flour
  6. cook for a moment then stir in the stock, bring to the boil and add the purée, season to taste
  7. strain gravy over the olives, cove with lid and simmer for about an hour
  8. make forcemeat balls from the left-over stuffing, dipping in egg and flour and frying
  9. to serve, untie the olives, place on some of the mashed potato, pour round some gravy and garnish with the forcemeat balls

I’ve only ever had been olives once, when I was a teenager, and was so disappointed there were no actual olives!


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