Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
A nice slab of eye fillet makes a great alternative for the Christmas spread. And it’s usually devoured in minutes meaning you don’t have to face the days and days of omelettes, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, pastas, bubble n squeak and rotation of ham leftover dishes that hang about until new years when the ham is finally beaten. Even better it requites a lot less time in the oven – perfect for those of us far more concerned with the location of the champagne than the cooking come Christmas day. For this beef marinade I’ve incorporated Lapsang Souchong tea – ground to a powder and rubbed all over the beef. It imparts a delicate smokiness without the hassle of smoking paraphernalia and works really well with the mustard and jam flavours.
The cooking is absolutely straightforward, but I will throw in a few words of caution
- For a tender roast, the piece of beef eye fillet must be properly aged. Be careful the meat isn't too fresh, otherwise its likely to be tough.
- Get involved. Really massage in the marinade for best results.
- A good piece of meat should be rare, too cooked and the hedonist pleasure is lost. And really, after that, what is the point.
- Make sure the meat is at room temperature when it goes in the oven
- Make sure your oven is hot and has reached the right temperature before it goes in. Some prefer to blister it at the highs of 220+ then turn the heat down. Here I prefer a more sedate approach.
- After cooking, allow your beef to rest. At least 20 minutes
- Use a warm plate to serve.
1.25kg beef eye fillet
3 heaped tsp lapsang Souchong tea ground to powder
6 tbsp good quality plum jam
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic crushed
Aioli and coriander leaves to serve
Place the tea, jam, mustard and garlic in a bowl and stir to combine and until the jam has softened and you have a thick sauce consistency.
Smear the piece of beef in the marinade, working it into the meat. Season with salt and pepper then cover and refrigerate for two hours for the flavours to develop.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove beef from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the piece of beef on top and cook for 17 – 20 minutes for rare. This can vary with the oven and also the thickness of your piece of meat, check on it regularly if you need to. Remove, cover with foil and allow to rest before slicing.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
A little while ago I put together some party food recipes for the fantastic James Halliday Magazine and thought you might like to see them for any last minute Christmas inspiration. The wine suggestions are stellar - tempting to take all the guess work out of Xmas that's for sure.
If you haven't seen this magazine on the shelves - snaffle it up. I've got a subscription on my wishlist for Christmas - its a great base for learning about wine and beer. And of course food and travel. A wee word of warning - the smoked cheddar and chorizo croquettes are the kind of thing you overeat, can't stop, burn the roof of your mouth and keep going sort of bites. You've been warned.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Back in the golden years of my youth, my parents and grandparents would host these dinner parties and without fail, the “after dinner” mints would emerge, usually with plunger coffee if things needed to wrap up or nips of scotch and/or port if the night was getting started. It was all so sophisticated and those after dinner mints of days gone by were a surefire signal of guests ie the ultimate people watching for 8 year olds and dinner, generally a much improved one, with the almost guaranteed leftovers for picking through the next day.
I remember hanging about the kitchen for days, trying to snaffle the after dinner mints then hiding under my bed, precariously lifting them out of their little envelopes and melting them all over my hands as I tried to lick the chocolate off first. These candy cane chocolate truffles are my Christmas equivalent of the after dinner mint – a version that can be eaten out in the open rather than under the bedded confines of your Sealy junior single. Slightly naff candy canes are crunched up in delicious dark chocolate and dusted in cocoa. They are “fancy” enough to mark the occasion and definitely tasty enough to sustain the child within. The best bit, the candy cane chunks soften in the ganache, tasting like some kind of lustrous minty nougat. Should someone wonder if you had, in fact, been toiling away in the kitchen making mint nougat before rolling it into ganache in preparation for their arrival, well your secret is safe with me. I just can’t promise any leftovers.
Makes 20 – 25 (depending on how much mixture you eat)
100g candy canes
225g dark chocolate, chopped
150ml pouring cream
Good quality dutch cocoa powder for dusting
Break the candy cane into pieces and transfer to a food processor. Blitz the candy canes – you want them to be tiny little chunks rather than ground to a powder style consistency. Set aside