Two astronomers. Separated by only 22 degrees, 58 minutes of latitude, 33 degrees, 29 minutes of longitude, yet seemingly worlds apart. Their common goal: figure out the very nature of the Universe and its womenfolk.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Duke of Wellington

I'm a real fan of Craig's photorecipe series. Since Craig rarely cooks meaty meals I thought I'd have a go at filling in the carnivorous gap. To celebrate Jim1's return to Blighty, I invited him round for a meal. After months of salivating at the memory of the beef wellington that Gordon Ramsay cooked on the F-Word, I decided to have a go. Here's what I did:

Step 1: Roughtly chop 400g of Portobello flat mushrooms. Beware: these cost an arm and a leg at Waitrose!

Step 2: Puree the mushrooms in a blender or food processor.

Step 3: Spread the puree into a hot(ish) pan, in order to remove the moisture. Be careful not to burn them!

Step 4: Season about 500g of beef fillet. Beware: this costs an arm and a leg anywhere! I went with a simple salt and ground black pepper seasoning.

Step 5: Quickly fry the fillet in a little hot oil, to seal in the juices.

Step 6: We'll need some mustard shortly - get a handy sous-chef (Jim1 will do nicely) to mix up some English mustard powder.

Step 7: Lay out some cling film, then make a bed of parma ham (or prosciutto if you prefer), with each slice slightly overlaying the last. Then evenly spread the mushroom mixture over it. Make sure there's no excess moisture left!

Step 8: Spread the mustard over the fillet and then - here's the tough bit - place it on the bed and, using the cling film to help, roll it up. You want to roll it as tight as you can. I confess that this bit didn't go as well as I'd hoped, and in my anguish I forgot to take a photo. Whack the parcel into the fridge to firm up while you go onto the next step.

Step 9: Roll out some puff pastry. If you're a talented cook you can make your own, but being lazy and inexperienced, I went for the Jus-Rol option. Tastes great anyway. Don't forget to throw down some flour!

Step 10: Remove the cling film from the meat and, once again, roll it into as tight a parcel as you can. At this point, I egg washed it and returned it to the fridge. Jim1 thinks now that it might be better to leave the egg washing until you're about to cook it. Anyway - stick it into the fridge for about an hour.

Step 11: You now have some time to kill. Whenever the lovely ladies from French Maid TV have to wait they usually have pillow fights or chase each other with feather dusters. Jim1 and I weren't keen on this idea, so went off to the pub for a pint instead.

Step 12: Upon your return, you might want to consider making some veg, or ideally, have your other half sort it while you're at the pub. Kat made us some fanned garlic new potatos, with carrots and broccoli. Throw the wellington and the potatos in the oven for about 30mins. Why not open a nice bottle of Chilean red at this point?

Step 13: And there's the fruits of your labour. I'm sure you can make a more aesthetically pleasing parcel than I, but boy it tastes good, if I do say so myself. Leave for 10 mins before carving - get your veg steamed while you wait!

Step 14: Eschew dessert; I think a little French bread, Camembert and Beaujolais nouveau set the lot off nicely. If you're an alcoholic, you could have some port too.

I was pretty happy with that!


Blogger CMB said...

Jesus Christ that looks tasty.

Last week I was reading about how to cook steak and found an interesting fact about searing meat to seal in the juices. It is a myth, first suggested by the German scientist Justus von Liebig.

Meat is actually seared so that the Maillard reaction takes place, greatly improving the taste of the meat.

7:01 PM

Blogger Kat said...

It WAS mighty tasty. Highly recommended.

7:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it was delicious!

8:59 PM

Blogger NPR said...


Wow. Looking good. Very good. And the cheeses to finish - what a touch!!

9:09 AM

Anonymous Jim2 said...

Craig, if you're listening, I think both Crainbo and I have shown that these photorecipes work much better when they contain a whole hunk of dead animal flesh.

9:14 AM


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