Well it has taken me a while to get started on the recipes for March. I have been wanting to get in and get everything done but the days just seem to fly by and I keep putting things off. I was even late going through all of the magazines for the month and picking out recipes. I did, however, borrow the scanner from work last weekend and scanned all the magazine covers for the month rather than having some rather dodgy photographs of them.
Hopefully after today my photography will improve a bit too as I finally got my new camera, the Panasonic Lumix FZ35. I decided to go with one of the super zoom cameras rather than a DSLR as there is so much more involved in being a DSLR owner, like all the lenses, flashes etc that go with it. After a month of stuffing around from the place that I bought it, it finally arrived today and after only using it to take about 20 pictures this evening I am already in love with it. I cannot wait to get started photographing some food with it. Hopefully that will happen tomorrow.
I have to admit that I struggled to find something that I really wanted to make from this issue. I am not really sure why, initially I thought it was the mood I was in when looking through it but I looked through it a number of times. There is some wonderful looking food in it but nothing jumped out and grabbed me and screamed "make me, make me now". The scones with jam and cream on the cover look really nice but it is a recipe that involves rubbing in butter but since I have been converted to making them with cream and lemonade I will never make them any other way. When all you have to do is mix 3 cups of flour, 6 tsp baking powder, 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of lemonade and press out, cut out and bake for 15 - 20 minutes why would you bother rubbing in butter and all the mess that involves? Jill Dupleix's Crash Hot Potatoes are very good. I make them regularly and really this is all about going back and making different things.
There is a feature on the delicious staff's favourite Nigella recipes. The Anglicised Involtini sounds really nice but it seemed to be one that would be a bit difficult to cut back. I came very close to making Jill Dupleix's Hash Browns with Bacon Rolls, as it just sounds so good and the picture of it looks divine. However, in the end I decided to go with the very last recipe in the magazine as recipe by Ian Parmenter. Aussies might remember Ian Parmenter from that wonderful little show on the ABC called Consuming Passions. It was only a short show, before the news if I remember correctly, and he was a colourful character. He made interesting food and he made an good impression on me. I count him as on of the foodie influences on me.
The recipe is Individual Beef Wellington. I had never made Beef Wellington but I was quite interested, I mean meat and pastry in one meal. I decided that to make it properly I would have to have some really good meat. I am quite spoilt for choice where I live for butchers, there are quite a lot and most of them are very good. There is one however who is extra special (and not just because they used to purchase pigs from my family when we had a pig farm). Their meat is always wonderful. About 6 weeks ago the building where their shop was burnt down. It was one of the oldest buildings in our town and housed 6 business and 13 people in the flats upstairs. It was and continues to be a sad and sorry site.
The butcher shop was on the very corner and there has been a butcher in that shop for the past 60 or so years. The latest one having taken over the business a number of years ago now but he had worked there for the previous owner. A couple of weeks ago, they reopened their business in a new temporary location so I decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to support them and get some great meat. I got two of the biggest and best looking pieces of eye fillet, 300g each. The recipe only asked for 150 g pieces so I cut the both in half and now I have some wonderful eye fillet in the freezer for use at a later date. The recipe also called for pate. I was hesitant to use this and in the end only used a tiny little bit as the smell was very off-putting and I was worried about ruining such a wonderful piece of meat. I did quite enjoy the meal but to be honest I think that the eye fillet didn't really need the flavourings and it would have been just as good (if not better) seasoned and pan-fried until medium rare. Oh, and I overcooked it, it was still nice and tender but not as good as if it had been medium rare.
Individual Beef Wellington
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 generous pieces of beef fillet (about 150 g each)
- 2 tbsp brandy
- 150 g mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped spring onions
- 4 sheets puff pastry
- 4 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs
- 50 g chicken liver pate
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- Sear fillets on all sides using half the oil. Pour over brandy and ignite. Once extinguished set aside.
- Fry mushrooms and onion in remaining oil but do not allow to sweat.
- Pre-heat oven to 200 C.
- Sprinkle some breadcrumbs in the middle of the pastry sheets. Top with beef, pate and mushrooms.
- Fold pastry up and seal to enclose, trim and garnish with trimmings and brush with egg yolk.
- Bake on a tray for 20 - 25 minutes.
I served it with peas and steamed spaghetti squash.