Deconstructed Beef Wellington with Red Wine Jus

Deconstructed Beef Wellington

The classic Wellington is a true show stopper where a whole fillet is wrapped in duxelles, foie gras, prosciutto, and finally a crispy, crusty, puff pastry. The classic dish evolved into this easier version, and works perfectly when catering for a large group of people, because everything can be prepared in advance, and can just be assembled before service.

When you start to prepare the dish, start with the pastry shells. This can also be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container.

How to prepare the Pastry Shells:

Roll out the pastry to a square of 25 x 25cm and about 5mm thick. Cut the rolled out pastry square in half, and cut each piece in half again. Now you have 4 squares. Cut each square into 2 triangles. Keep 4 triangles aside. With the rest of the triangles, cut out a small triangle, about 1cm from the sides, this will form the border of your pastry shell. (see picture below).

Deconstructed Beef Wellington
First steps in preparing the shells.

Paint the large triangles that you have set aside with egg wash. Place a border on top of each large triangle and paint the border with egg wash. Lightly score the bottom part of the pastry shell, along the inner edges of the border, with a sharp paring knife. (See picture). Do not cut through the pastry. Use a fork to prick the bottom center of the pastry shells (see picture). 

Deconstructed Beef Wellington
Score the bottom of each shell with a pairing knife

Cut each of the small triangles in half and paint with egg wash. Sprinkle sesame and poppy seeds over them. Place all of the pastry triangles on the prepared baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Deconstructed Beef Wellington
Pastry shells on prepared baking tray, ready to go into the oven

The Fillet:

Tie the fillet with kitchen twine to form a log shape. Rub the fillet with olive oil and generously sprinkle salt and black pepper over the entire fillet. Heat a frying pan with olive oil and seal each side of the fillet, until browned, for about 1 minute.

Deconstructed Beef Wellington
Searing the fillet
Deconstructed Beef Wellington

The rest of the steps are easy enough to follow from the recipe instructions. See the full recipe below.

Ultimate Homemade Burgers

Beef Hamburger patties

We all love burgers, right? Even if you are on a strict eating plan, there is this one day that you have cravings for a juicy, messy burger. If you take a bite from the monster built burger, the Marie Rose sauce (yes, this is the name for the pink mayonnaise sauce) must drip down the sides of your mouth. Yeah! I had those cravings this past weekend.

Since I can remember, I loved burgers. My mother always had to make the Marie Rose with extra tomato sauce… always had a sweet tooth!

So I confessed that I love burgers… who doesn’t? I mean, if you do get vegan patties then I suppose that vegans also love burgers? INDEED! My other confession is that I am in love with a typical country and western scene. The cowboy shirts, boots, hats, belts… Oh, and don’t forget that accent when a cowboy says: “wanna go for a ride, cowboy?”

So this past weekend it was my birthday during the lockdown. Not knowing that Johan planned a surprise picnic in the mountain, I planned a country theme party where all our food was made on the fire, and of course, we had to dress up.

Hamburger Buns grilled on fire
Hamburger buns were grilled over medium heat.

So we took the dogs for a walk, at around 5 pm, and on our way, Johan took us on a detour, not the same footpath we always walk… I immediately knew that something was cooking… what I didn’t know was that somebody did cook something without me knowing what he was cooking. And there, not far from where we took the right turn instead of the left, I saw it. A beautiful setting in the middle of nowhere a picnic blanket and a basket… Now it all makes sense of why he had to go to the venue so often during the day. The basket was packed with crusty frozen ciabatta that was refreshed in the oven (will still tell you about that trick) and cheeses, pâté, figs, AND best of all, a bottle of our favorite wine. Even the dogs were treated with special biscuits.

Beef Hamburger patties
Beef burger served on a fire grilled bun.

When we got back home, we first had to dress… my party, my dress-code. Check shirts, skinny jeans, and South African type of boots (we still need to visit Texas to get proper boots) Then our ritual… an ice-cold Jagermeister to start the fire. The rest is history, first the bread was grilled over low heat (I did bake some in the oven) and then the homemade real beef patties.

South African Braai
Our boots…. not the real cowboy ones, but we will get soon

Follow this link to get the recipe for the Hamburger Buns.

Ratatouille Gratin

Ratatouille Gratin

Potato Gratin taken to the next level.

Bobotie Tortilla with Hollandaise

Bobotie Tortillas

A traditional South Africa favorite served the Mexican way with a touch of French.

Chicken & Date Meatballs filled with Roquefort

Chicken Meatballs

In January 2018 we traveled to Loket in the Czech Republic. During winter and especially a few days after Three Kings, restaurants and shops in these little towns are mainly closed for business and only open over weekends. The weather was not in our favor that specific day and as we walked around this beautiful castle, we saw a fireplace being lit in a restaurant a few meters away from us. We looked at each other and our feet automatically walked that way… probably knew that we needed coffee. Oh, by the way, we are coffee addicts and snobs. Got there, and the fresh, warm smell of Czech Cuisine started tangling our taste buds. For those of you that know us, will know that our favorite country is the Czech Republic. Not only for the breathtaking nature and scenery but also for their food.

Got hold of a waiter, that obviously could not understand why these two South Africans are strolling around a winter ghost town. She gave us the menu and in broken English said: “chicken balls special today”. We did not think twice. Ordered the Chicken Balls (which was served with Czech bramboraky – potato pancakes) and the rest is history… here is my take on the chicken balls.

Creamy Spinach Rotolo

Making your own pasta is so rewarding and it is really easy to do. The pasta dough recipe is one that we have used at the Francois Ferreira Academy during class. You don’t need a pasta rolling machine to roll out this dough – all it takes is a rolling pin and a little bit of elbow grease.

Below is 3 photos to help you rolling and filling the pasta dough.

Pasta Rotolo
Photo 1 – Rolling out the dough
Pasta Rotolo
Photo 2 – Fill the dough
Pasta Rotolo
Photo 3 – Rolling and slicing the Rotolo