Wednesday 22 October 2008

Dinner with friends

Let's start with the less successful element of dinner first, shall we?

I decided that I wanted to make this gorgeous wholemeal salt-kissed buttermilk berry cake from Arika's blog. But instead of following the directions properly I substituted 1 cup of ground almonds for some of the flour, and decided that they would be a cute dessert done in my individual silicon rose moulds.

Fortunately there was too much batter for the rose moulds, so I also made 4 in friand tins, which is the only reason we were able to serve cake for dessert. I swear those rose moulds are getting kicked to the curb. This is the second thing I have made in them and the second disaster. They are not getting a second chance! I reduced the cook time slightly because I was doing smaller cakes, the knife tested clean, and then when I tried to turn them out they splodged onto my cake rack in a puddle of raw batter and dribbly raspberry juices. What a waste of ingredients!

The ones in the friand tin, however, turned out beautifully. The combination of sweet and salt was delicious - although I wouldn't want to eat a lot of it. And if I make it again I am definitely just making one big cake!

And on to better things...

One of our friends is quite a particular eater. She prefers lean meat, well-done, and will turn her nose up at the delicious crispy burnt fatty bits on a barbecued rib eye steak. Weird-o. So Paul decided to get a nice (and just quietly - hideously expensive) piece of fillet and make one of his famous beef wellingtons.
Although I can't quite figure out how he became famed for his wellington when I make the duxelles that makes it good...

So - I sauteed a punnet of chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped, in butter with some garlic & thyme, added some soaked, drained and chopped dried wild mushrooms (a mixture of porcini, chanterelle and a bunch of other stuff) and a slosh of JD and cooked it slowly until it was really dry, cooled it and then blended it to a rough paste with a spoonful of mustard to bind it. I thought it should have been Dijon mustard, but Paul insisted that hot English was the thing. So English it was.

Paul then panfried the piece of fillet really well to get it nicely browned and half cooked. The problem with a wellington is the pastry insulates the meat and it becomes much harder to judge how well done it is - but you don't want a totally cooked piece of meat to go in because it won't exchange flavours with the pastry properly.

The cooled meat went on a piece of all-butter puff pastry, rolled out quite thickly, then it was smothered in the duxelles.

Another layer of pastry over the top, some crimping and a bit of cute pastry doodad on the top and into the oven.

He started it at quite a high heat, then after about 15 minutes turned it down to 160C for another 35 minutes or so.

It was delicious! The meat was buttery soft, the duxelles added a rich foresty flavour and the pastry shows why butter puff beats the weird pre-rolled stuff with all the hydrogenated vegetable fats etc. Our friend totally demolished her portion, so we'd have to say that, despite issues with the dessert, this was a very successful dinner!


Laura Paterson said...

Beef wellington is something I've always wanted to make, but never got round to (partly due to the hideous price of that much fillet!) It looks so gorgeous though - I may just have to bit the bullet!

Natalie Que said...

Sorry about your cakes, they sound really similar to the one I just made for Little Boy's birthday! And mine fared the same, so maybe it wasn't your dish. Mine had almond meal and raspberries and wholemeal, all of which did it in on making the cake stay together, but it did taste INCREDIBLE!

Your wellingtons look GREAT! I want a bite!

NKP said...

I have always wanted to try this dish, it looks so wonderful. My tummy is rumbling for it now.
Sorry about your rose moulds - did you try using baking spray? I find silicone does need spray - even though they say it doesn't.

Sam said...

I'm not keen on silicon bakeware either, I've got a few bits that I've abandoned and swore never to use again!

That wellington looks fantastic, I would love a piece of that!

Darius T. Williams said...

Oh wow...I'm loving the wellington! Loving it!


Alicia Foodycat said...

Kittie - we're planning to do one with venison; much cheaper meat!

Garlic - please to hear it isn't just me!

Natashya - I greased them really well because of the last disaster and it was still a fuckup.

Sam - good to hear! I thought I was just incompetent, so if you don't like it I am given hope.

Darius - it was so delicious! And the leftovers were delicious the next day too.

Esi said...

Well sorry your molds didn't work out so well, but at least you were still able to have a nice meal!

Anonymous said...

What bummer about your molds! I have aheart shaped loaf tube thing that I can't seem to make work properly either. . . I am glad you tried the recipe though! Your dinner looks great!

My Yummy Life

Dee said...

Your beef wellington looks like something out of a cookbook. It's yet another one for the Cowardly Cook to attempt.

I have a rose silicon mold too - a fine-crumbed cake recipe might work. I have a mlk chocolate cake that turned out quite pretty decent - do you want the recipe? If all else fails, it makes a lovely jelly mold :)

HH said...

Both the Beef Wellington and the cakes look great FC! Shame about the Rose moulds though :( The friands look lovely though, must get myself a Friand tin.

kat said...

wow, what a dish, it just looks amazing

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Foodycat, how clever you are. Excellent way to make the wellington. Great tip. Thanks. Everything looks scrumptious.

mscrankypants said...

I think we need a Foodycat vs Paul cook-off -- I can feel the heat in the kitchen from here! :-)

The cakie thing looks like a cute piglet snout that's been truffling in a dish of sugar :-).


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