Seared beef with cucumber and seaweed

This salad makes a satisfying cold main course, served with some warm or cold vermicelli rice noodles. Bits of meat left over from a Sunday roast would work perfectly well. The cucumbers are easiest to peel with a mandolin. I highly recommend investing in one - they're very versatile and will come in handy for many of the recipes in this supplement. Just watch your fingers - I suggest gripping the vegetable you are slicing with a cloth. You can substitute the sunflower oil for rapeseed oil.


Serving size


500g striploin of beef, fat and sinew trimmed off
Sunflower oil for rubbing
Salt and pepper
2 cucumbers, skin removed
10g dried wakame seaweed 
3 mild red chillies, deseeded and cut into thin strips

For the sauce:
5 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2-3cm length of fresh ginger, grated

To serve:
45g coriander, roughly chopped
30g watercress
2 tbsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6. Rub the meat with the oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Sear on a piping-hot griddle so that it's dark brown all over, and criss-crossed on every surface with black sear-strips from the pan - 3 minutes each side should do it. Now roast in the oven (15 minutes for medium-rare, or longer if you prefer it well cooked). Let it rest until close to room temperature.

  2. While the meat is cooking, peel the cucumbers and cut into thin strips using a mandolin or peeler. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Leave to sweat for 30 minutes, pat dry, then place in a large bowl.

  3. Soak the seaweed for 10 minutes in plenty of cold water, drain and rinse. Pat it dry, then tear into small pieces and add to the cucumber. Slice the beef into 1cm slices, cut into thin strips and add them, too, along with the chopped chillies. In a little bowl, mix the chilli sauce, sesame and sunflower oils, soy and ginger.

  4. To serve, pour the sauce over the beef, cucumber and seaweed. Add the coriander and watercress and toss together gently. Pile up in a serving dish and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.