As I have mentioned in several posts, I spent a couple of weeks in the States at the beginning of the year and my great friend Peg and I made a Standing Rib Roast for New Years Eve dinner which was superb. As there are no photos of this great meal, you are getting recipes for a Beef Filet dinner I made in May which was also superb and for which I do have photographs! We had Beef Filet, blue cheese Endives and Mash Potato with carrots and pumpkin and here are all the recipes. But first the stories…
One of the reasons for my visit, was to sort out our boat. Boat might be an exaggeration as boat implies water and this baby has been on land since the day we bought her 4 years ago. If you’re a boater you’ll be familiar with the expression, “there are two good days in a boaters life – the day you buy a boat and the day you sell it.” And we are no exception to this rule! We did spend a few months in Florida though over a couple of years, so some good did come out of it. We even met a movie director while there, but you shall have to keep reading my blog to find our more about this wonderful and famous man. And all the great meals we had…
But all this aside, I did also get to spend time with my beloved American sisters and friends. I started my tour off in Worcester with the divine Peg and Tim the day before New Year. (Peg is in the above photo with their German Shepherd, Tucker, and Gracey the kitty.) We decided to make a Standing Rib Roast with roast potatoes, green beans and asparagus, all of which turned out really well. Our trouble started with our desire to be P.C. (politically correct for those of you who don’t know this) and then Stork arrived… Let me explain.
In our attempt to be politically correct, and with me being South African and European, and my sister living in New Zealand, we felt we had to celebrate New Year globally, enjoying the festivities one country at a time. So we had our first glass of bubbly at 11.30. That’s a.m. we’re talking, not p.m. Actually it’s our handsome mate Stork’s (it’s a nickname, not a parental misadventure) fault as he arrived in the morning with wonderful Linda Three (all the women in his life of late just so happen to be called Linda!) and considering that I met her for the first time and immediately adored her, we just had to celebrate.
By the time I called Joerg in Germany at 6pm our time, to wish him Happy New Year his time, we were all already well on our way (poor boy was slightly overwhelmed by our level of joy so early in the evening). At around 7pm, the awesome, fun and crazy Pam (the authoress of the original Fish Chowder recipe in the post “Fish Chowder made the Narragansett way”) and Mike arrived with (yet another) bottle of bubbly to invite us to another party, which we were unable to make for some reason or other…
I am very glad though that we decided to celebrate everyone else’s New Year as none of us reached our own. I lasted the longest, reaching 11.30pm after Tim and I had put the world to rights for a couple of hours. This is something we do regularly, as much because it is always necessary and also because we can’t quite remember the next day what our great solutions were!
So New Years Day found Peg and I on the couch watching 12 back-to-back episodes of the series “Weeds”. And then we HAD to watch “Sex and the City – the movie” AGAIN (three times lucky being the motto). I’m just amazed that we didn’t get bed sores!!
But now the time has come for today’s recipes. We have friends who sneak in to the country laden with South African Beef Filet. You may think that your country produces the most tender and delicious Beef Filet, but you are unfortunately wrong. South African beef is the best in the whole wide world!! The meat is not hung long enough here in France, so it is never as tender as SA beef. I put butter knives on the table when I serve SA beef as it sooooo tender. And it’s full of flavour. No idea where you will find SA beef, so enjoy your not quite as good beef anyway, hee hee!!
I use MILD wholegrain mustard / coarse French mustard / moutarde ancienne as it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the meat. Thanks Mark for the idea!
I added Pumpkin and Carrot to the mashed potatoes after having tried this in a restaurant in February – you will hear all about this as I work my way through the months. It lifts the potatoes to another level and I highly recommend this. Add whatever root vegetable are in season, for example, carrots, turnips, Swedes, pumpkin, parsnips (yuck!). You can more or less veggies to the potatoes – experiment a little!
ROAST BEEF FILET
1 ½ kg beef filet
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp MILD wholegrain mustard / coarse French mustard / moutarde ancienne
1. Season the beef with salt and pepper and spread liberally with the mustard. Use more or less mustard according to your taste. Place in a preheated 180C oven and bake for:
15 minutes per 500g for rare (500g is about 1 pound)
20minutes per 500g for medium
Thereafter, switch off the oven and leave it for 15-20 minutes more with the oven door ajar.
2. Spoon any juice over the meat. Carve, serve and enjoy!
BRAISED BELGIAN ENDIVES WITH BLUE CHEESE
4-8 Endives (also called Belgian endives)
2 tbsp butter or oil
Blue cheese (e.g. Roquefort, Gorgonzola)
1. Cut the endives in half lengthwise and cut out the bitter core. You can leave this in, but we find it sometimes a little too bitter. Brown them cut side down in the hot butter or oil and then turn them over.
2. Put slices of blue cheese on top of the endives, put in a ladle of water, put the lid on, turn the heat down and simmer till done, about 10 minutes. (I haven’t given a quantity for the cheese as some like more cheese than others. Go easy to start as some blues are quite strong!). Deelicious.
MASH POTATO WITH CARROTS AND PUMPKIN
8 potatoes, peel and chop
4 carrots, peel and chop
2 cups of pumpkin, peel and chop
2-3 tbsp butter
125-250ml (1/2 – 1 cup) milk
Salt and pepper
1. Place all the vegetables in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook till all the veggies are done.
2. Pour off all the liquid, add the butter and milk bit by bit and mash everything together. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg and mix thoroughly. Add as much milk as needed to get the mashed potato consistency that you like.
3. Serve with any roast meat or stew. This is so tasty you probably won’t want your mashed potatoes without a root vegetable anymore. Eat and enjoy!!