Individual fillet of beef en croute (beef wellington) and seabass for Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Beef en croute
Last year I was asked to make beef wellington for a special birthday meal which they wanted to cook and serve themselves. 4 out of the 6 guests were vegetarian, so it seemed most sensible to make just 2 individual beef wellingtons (aka beef en croute). Such was the glowing response the Monday after that I had had it in mind to prepare again - it does make the perfect english dish for a celebration. And what better day to celebrate than St. Valentine's Day?Fillet steaks are cut from the centre of the fillet so they are small in diameter, but thick in depth. I seal these on the bar grill - so you get the grilled taste on the outside, but the inside is left raw - that cooks when you put the finished beef en croute in the oven.

For the duxelle mushroom I use Oakfield organic portobello mushrooms. Because of the water content in mushrooms, these are cooked for around 30 - 45 minutes on a low heat to reduce as much of that water content as possible and then chilled. If this were not done that water would turn to steam while the beef en croute cooked in the oven - and that would break the pastry apart, it would burst and be ruined.
Beef is put on a disc of puff pastry, mushrooms on top. It is egg washed around the bottom to so it attaches to the lid.
Another disc is cut slightly larger than the bottom. This is place on top, crimped and trimmed. On Valentine's Day it was finished with - what else? - a pastry heart shape in the middle.

Fillet of seabass and mussell paella
If the beef en croute is one dish fit for a celebration, the other certainly has to be paella. You know how closely you are held in regard of my grandmother if you have been invited for paella. Few have - and those few are lucky I can tell you. Hidden deep in her recipe drawer is a dusty and splattered authentic recipe taken down from her spanish friends over 50 years ago who had served it for her, and she was instantly taken.

It's a recipe I'm still working on - the most important change being I use arborio rice - close to spanish rice - now rather than the long grain rice.

This particular time I had reduced chicken stock made from the bones left from the grilled chicken a couple of days before. The mussells I cooked with white wine, onion, garlic and a little cream. This liquor was also added to the cooking paella, adding a depth of flavour.

To accompany this I made some more of the salsa verde - it makes a light accompanying sauce.

Strawberry and mango cheesecake
A delivery version of the cheesecake seen last year. Strawberry coulis and candied orange zest was also provided.

Trio of chcolate desserts

The only part of the chocolate trio that was snapped during the rush that was Valentine's Day was the white chocolate sauce.

Other elements have been seen before though:
Chocolate tart with gold leaf (part of - for this trio)

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