I made this meal a few weeks ago. I had invited our new neighbour over for dinner, with the idea of getting to know each other. She seemed like a very sweet lady and I thought we’d get along very well. And her boyfriend was away, so she was home alone in a new neighborhood. But unfortunately something came up and she had to cancel at the last minute. I didn’t blog this before because I was quiet disappointed, I really wanted a different set of tastebuds to try my food. Obviously getting to know her as well. But we( my husband, son and I) still enjoyed the menu I had planned!
The original plan was a 3 course meal, but I’m not sure we have enough stomach capacity for all that food. So it’s coming down to starters and mains now. I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen today, my limit is 45 minutes. So my starter is shop bought, haven’t tried making my own sushi yet but definitely on my to do list!
My mains were inspired by one of my patients? He works as a chef for the military at our base, and he had been recently crowned the military chef of the year in a cooking competition at Head Quarters. He tells me for the finals, they were instructed to cook a Spanish dish for 100 army dignitaries. He didn’t know much about the Spanish cuisine but he still had to impress. He was inspired to make stuffed beef and believes Spanish food has loads of garlic, so that’s where he started. Anyway, his menu and food won the annual competition. Quite an interesting consultation we had.
Starter: Sushi with salmon; sashimi, California rolls, fashion sandwich and roses.
Main: tenderized beef fillet stuffed with goats cheese and basil, served with my roof top garden English spinach on a bed of pepper and mushroom couscous, sweet carrots and green beans.
What do you need?
- For the beef fillet – beef fillet, fennel powder, goats cheese, basil leaves, whole grain bread, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano.
For the couscous- 1/2 cup of couscous, 1/4 of green pepper, red pepper and yellow pepper, handful of brown( portobello) mushrooms, 1/2 cup of beef stock, salt, white pepper.
Veggies- green beans, baby carrots, 2 tbs of honey, 1/2 cup of white wine, salt, pepper.
Red wine reduction- cup of red wine, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 bay leaves, salt, pepper
What to do?
- Start with the fillet. Butterfly the cut, then tenderize. You can use anything that’ll apply enough pressure to flatten the meat. But I bought my meat tenderizer for very cheap at the ‘Crazy stores’.
When relatively thin and flat, season with salt, pepper and fennel powder. Then place 5 leaves of basil with a knob of goats cheese and wrap, folding the sides in. Like a spring roll.
Prepare your ‘dips’;
eggs- beat 2 eggs, add salt and 1/2 tsp of oregano;
the flour- 1/2 cup of flour, pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon;
The bread crumbs- in the food processor throw in 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 1/2 tsp of cayenne, pinch of salt. And pour into a plate or large bowl.
Dip the tenderized and rolled beef firstly in the flour, then the egg( sealing the roll), the bread crumbs, then into a hot pan with olive oil. Brown each side, Then pop into a preheated oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes for medium rare. Then wrap in foil to rest.
- The couscous- this is similar to the couscous I’ve made before. In a hot pot with a drizzle of olive oil, add finely chopped peppers, then after 2 minutes, 1 tbs of garlic or 2 cloves, handful of chopped mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes before adding the couscous and stock. Mix well, and frequently stir. It should take about 10-15 min, then season with salt and pepper. The consistency we are aiming for is moist but fluffy.
The veg- blanch the green beans in boiling water for 2 min, Then remove from the boiling water to cool and stop the cooking process.
Throw baby carrots in a hot pot, with 50ml of white wine and 1 tbs of honey, pinch of salt. Remove and drain the white wine after 3 minutes.
- The red wine reduction- in a hot pot add 1 cup of red wine, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce down to half, then add 25 ml of berry juice.
- The English spinach- in a hot pot add a handful of spinach. Remember to taste your spinach before cooking, mine is bitter so instead of stock I’ll idea berry juice to balance the bitterness, season with salt to taste.
All the components of your dish are complete. Slice your stuffed beef, dish up and serve. Try make your plating pretty, we have a lot of brown colors today.