With Christmas fast approaching, we asked our friends at Seasoned Cookery School for some festive ideas to get the taste buds tingling.
They suggest, for the main course, a lighter and fuss-free version of a traditional beef Wellington, which still retains all the flavour.
The tenderness of the fillet and the richness of wild mushrooms and prosciutto are a match made in heaven, and it’s perfect for Christmas as it can be prepared ahead then cooked on the day.
See also: Delicious game recipes
For dessert, here’s a way of making the most of clementines because Christmas, after all, wouldn’t be the same without this tangy fruit.
Fillet of beef with prosciutto and wild mushrooms
- Serves 4 (and can easily be scaled up to serve more)
- Preparation time 1 hour
- Cooking time 25-40 minutes
A good handful of fresh wild mushrooms (or you can use rehydrated dried wild mushrooms)
A generous helping of thyme and rosemary
A large knob of butter
Sea salt and ground black pepper
16 slices of prosciutto
900g Hereford beef fillet (from the middle to the tail end)
1. Remove any grit from the mushrooms and chop finely. Or, if using dried, hydrate these in hot water for 5-10 minutes and then pass through a sieve to remove the liquid and any grit.
2. Heat a non-stick saucepan with some rapeseed oil and fry off the mushrooms until cooked. Add the finely diced herbs, butter, salt and pepper. Taste, adjust the seasoning, remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
3. On a piece of baking parchment, lay out the sheets of prosciutto in a square. Place half of the cold wild mushrooms over the centre of the ham and then top with the beef fillet and place more mushrooms over the beef.
4. Roll up the beef carefully and tightly in the prosciutto, securing together with string. (The beef can be prepared and chilled in the fridge for up to 12 hours at this stage.)
5. Remove from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature, while you pre-heat an oven to 200C. Place the beef in a roasting tray and bake for 25-30 minutes (rare) or 40 minutes (medium).
A good way of checking whether beef is cooked is with a meat temperature probe – the beef should be at 50C (rare), 56C (medium rare) or 60C (medium).
6. Remove from the oven and place on a chopping board to rest for 15 minutes. Cover it with foil to keep it warm.
Serve with roast potatoes, truffle pea mash, carrots and red wine gravy.
Clementine and spiced berry tarts
- Makes 4-6 small tarts
- Preparation 2 hours
- Cooking time 30 minutes
For the curd
- 8 clementines
- 1 lemon
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g butter
- 4 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
For the pastry
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 140g unsalted butter (cold and cubed) plus a little extra for greasing
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2-3 tbsp cold water
- 50g icing sugar
- The seeds from 1 pomegranate
- 100ml of Bottlegreen spiced berry cordial
1. To make the pastry, place the flour, salt, icing sugar and cold butter in a bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the eggs then the cold water a little at a time until a ball of dough is formed.
Tip the dough out on to a lightly floured surface to knead a little to bring the dough together, before wrapping in cling film and placing in the fridge to rest for 15 minutes.
2. Grease your tart cases very well with butter (we recommend 3-4ins in diameter, but vary this recipe according to the tart cases you already have).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to the thickness of a £1 coin and carefully place in the tin.
Gently ease the pastry into the corner of the tin (where the base meets the side). Trim the edges of the pastry then place in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes while you make the curd.
3. To make the curd, grate the zest of the clementines, before juicing them. Do the same with the lemon.
4. Over a bain-marie, melt the caster sugar and the butter. Pour in the clementine juice and zest, followed by the eggs and the egg yolks.
Stir from time to time, making sure the bottom doesn’t catch, gradually after 10-20 minutes the eggs will start to cook, causing the mixture to thicken.
When the curd gets to the desired thickness, remove from the heat. (The curd doesn’t need to be as thick as it would be for preserving in a jar, as it will be baked again in the oven).
5. To blind bake the pastry tart cases, cut squares of baking parchment for each tart tin, place on top of the pastry and fill with rice/baking beans to weigh down. Bake in a hot oven (180C) for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the baking parchment and beans and bake for another 2-3 minutes until the base of the pastry is almost cooked.
6. To construct, place a few tablespoons of the curd into the pastry tart cases and bake for 10-15 minutes until just set.
7. To decorate, remove the seeds of a pomegranate and place in a small saucepan with 100ml of Bottlegreen spiced berry cordial.
Heat until simmering and then allow the cordial to reduce and thicken (this will take 5-10 minutes).
You should have a lovely rich syrup which coats the pomegranate seeds (the mix will solidify more when cool, so be careful not to over reduce the syrup).
8. Remove the tarts from their cases when cooked and drizzle with pomegranate seeds and syrup.
Serve with ice cream or whipped double cream.
Seasoned is owned by dairy farmer’s wife Clare Major in the grounds of the beautiful Catton Hall Estate in Derbyshire.
It operates more than 100 different cookery and baking courses taught by some of the country’s best chefs, some of whom are BBC Masterchef and Great British Bake Off finalists.
To find out more visit the Seasoned Cookery School’s website.