To Bake a Buttock Piece of Beef

(From the Reading MS. 1765)

‘Take a thick peice of buttock beef, lay it to soake in a pint of claret wine and a pint of wine vinegar, the beef being first seasoned with peper nutmegg and salt and soe let it lye two days, then take the beef and put it in a pasty well seasoned with nutmeg and salt.’

This is a rather robust early version of the Duke of Wellington’s fillet of beef, but it is very good.


  • lb. ( k.) rump steak, cut for roasting
  • ½ pint (3 dl.) red wine and ¼ pint ( dl.) wine vinegar
  • nutmeg, pepper and salt
  • 1 lb. (½ k.) short pastry (may be frozen)
  • yolk of an egg
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour


Marinate the beef 24 hours in the liquids and seasoning. Drain well. Roll out the pastry, lay the beef in the middle, season with fresh nutmeg, salt and pepper, and draw up edges of pastry to meet along the top in an ornamental roll. Gild with egg yolk. Put in the oven preheated to 400° F., gas mark 6. Cook for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° F., gas mark 4, and cook for a further 30 minutes. Cover the pastry lightly with foil if it is browning too much.

Meanwhile reduce the marinade by rapid boiling, thicken with a tablespoon of cornflour, stirred into cold water and added to the boiling liquid, add the juice of half a lemon and check seasoning. Place the beef on a hot serving dish and serve the sauce separately.