December 15, 2019 – Published in Design & Decor Winter 2019 issue
Planning Christmas lunch
Words: Liz Said
Photography: Nikki Arnett
(All ingredients in the recipes may be purchased from Scotts Supermarket)
I love Christmas! I like the planning, the preparations, the decorations and the big day itself. I take so much pleasure in seeing the dining table laid out with all the good Christmas food.
Starting Christmas lunch with a soup, seems to be a must and the Brussels Sprout and Stilton soup makes a change from the usual beef broth. For anyone who does not fancy soup however, the Ricotta Puddings are light enough to start with. Meat lovers will surely love the Fillet of Beef stuffed with Mushrooms and Liver and Pate – a sort of beef Wellington but with rashers of bacon instead of pastry. Whilst the Poached Salmon with the Cucumber Scales will go down a treat with those who prefer fish.
Crispy Potato and Coriander cakes and Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake compliment the meat as well as the fish main course. Both desserts are rather light especially the Meringue Christmas Tree which is made of layers of fluffy meringue sandwiched together with chestnut cream. The White Christmas Log is so different to the traditional one. The filling of mixed berries gives it a tangy taste and also makes it look very fresh.
The beauty of these recipes is that they can still be enjoyed all throughout the year and not just at Christmas time.
FILLET OF BEEF WITH MUSHROOM AND LIVER PATE STUFFING
1.5kg piece of beef fillet – ask the butcher to open it out for you
150g liver pate
12 slices pancetta
5 sprigs of thyme
6 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tbsp olive oil
For the stuffing:
25g dried porcini
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
6 sprigs of thyme, leaves chopped
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
28g parsley leaves chopped
To make the stuffing, cover the porcini with boiling water and stand for 30 minutes or until soft; drain, reserving the liquid then squeeze and finely chop.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the shallots, garlic and thyme, plus a pinch of salt; cook gently for 5 minutes until soft; add the chestnut mushrooms and porcini; cook for 10-15 minutes until they are soft and no liquid remains, cool and stir in the parsley.
Preheat the oven to 220˚C/Gas7. Open up the beef and flatten it slightly; season well, then spread the liver pate all over it; fill the middle with the stuffing; bring the fillet around the filling so it is sealed in.
Use the back of a knife to stretch the pancetta slices; lay them on a sheet of baking paper, slightly overlapping, to form a rectangle the same length of the filled; season with pepper and add the chopped leaves from 2 thyme sprigs; lay the fillet at the long edge of the rectangle and roll the pancetta slices around it, using the paper to help; tie the fillet every 2cm with string to form a sausage shape; tuck the bay leaves under the string.
Put the fillet in a large roasting tin with the garlic cloves and remaining thyme sprigs; drizzle with olive oil, roast for 30-35 minutes or rare to medium-rate or 40 minutes for medium; remove the beef from the tin, cover with foil, leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.
Serve the beef thickly sliced with its own gravy.