Christmas Dinner 2011

I was ill for several months this year and have not cooked for a long time, so I guess I needed a challenge. I wanted to cook Christmas dinner for mum and sis but her goddaughters were present when I asked, therefore, in a fit of insanity, I also invited the two girls with their parents to Christmas dinner.

Angsty teens: what was I thinking?

My first Beef Wellington

Fortunately, half of my problem was solved when Jac the 15 year-old asked if I could do a Beef Wellington. Jac is often frustrated where she loves her steak medium-rare but often has to share it with her father who prefers it well-done. It’s nice to be a teen where all your angst are mainly First-World problems.

I was hesitant about agreeing to the Beef Wellington because I’m no good with pastry. But I was up to a challenge. The best puff pastry recipe and technique I found was in Jacques Pepin’s Complete Techniques. Also in that wonderful book was an easy recipe for Duxelles.

Duxelles have got to be the most aromatic and delicious stuffing ever. I invested in a rather large quantity of dried Porcini mushrooms and soon my home was filled with a heady aroma of mushrooms and butter.

And as a cook’s treat, I used the leftover Duxelles and puff pastry to bake me a nice snack. 🙂

Mushroom Duxelle

The result was outstanding, even if I do say so myself. Crisp pastry from which a deliciously heavy gravy flowed out when cut open. The trick, as Chef Pepin teaches, is not to squeeze-dry the Duxelles too much. I was a little worried about slathering too much hot English mustard on the beef filet as it might be too spicy but my fears were unfounded as it all went into the gravy. And there’s nothing quite like gravy-soaked pastry to go with a nice piece of beef.

Anyway, it was a simple Christmas dinner of Beef Wellington, Roasted Potatoes, Ricotta & Petit Pois salad and a Avocado & Gula Melaka Caramel Ice Cream for dessert. The grin on kids’s faces were a delightful reward for all that hard work. I sliced Jac an extra large (about 3 fingers thick) piece which she gobbled up so quickly that her plate was empty before I finished serving the others.

I was delighted that I managed to get my sis and Jac to eat the petit pois; they don’t like green peas but who can resist the Ricotta cheese eh?

As I have a fear of under-feeding people, I made two Beef Wellingtons, so in the end, the girls got to take the spare Beef Wellington home. All in all, it was a splendid dinner as we chatted the night away over food, wine and really good whisky. To cap it all, I got a message the next day saying that the spare beef welly caused a little domestic strife. It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. 🙂

I'm actually quite pleased with this little domestic strife.

Posted on 4th Jan 2012 in Dinner Book, Food and Drink


There Is Only 1 Comment So Far


M commented on January 5, 2012 at 8:30 am

Aww, that last graphic is what cooking for your loved ones is all about, isnt it? At least it is for me. Well done!

Merry Xmas and happy new year again!

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