Venison Wellington

Now its time for the main event. The main course needs to be impressive and this really fits the bill. Take this to the table and carve a piece of tender meat wrapped in crispy pastry and its sure to seduce. The rest is up to you.

The second of our classic dishes is a take on beef wellington. I love the original made with a whole fillet of beef and carved at the table in front of everyone it’s a real showstopper. I have made this with a piece of venison fillet which has a more interesting flavour than the standard beef, and will give you and your partner something to talk about for weeks to come.  (Honestly, the Photographer won’t shut up about it now!)

Serve this with the two veg of your choice and the only other thing it needs to go with it is some more wine to help set the mood.

Venison Wellington

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 10oz venison fillet
  • 1 Savoy cabbage
  • 30g butter
  • 100g button mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ tsp thyme chopped
  • 500g puff pastry
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 6 slices Parma ham
  • 1Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Seasoning

Method

  1. Sauté the mushrooms in the butter along with the thyme. Season, then whiz in a food processer till it makes a coarse mushroom pate. Leave to cool.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan until very hot. Season the venison fillet and sear on all sides until browned. Place on a plate to rest.
  3. Remove 4 large leaves from the cabbage and cut out the stalks. Bring a pan of water to the boil then blanch the leaves for 1 minute.  Refresh in cold water. Remove from the water and place on kitchen paper to dry.
  4. Pull out a length of cling film. On it lay the cabbage leaves. They need to overlap to form a sheet longer than the fillet and wide enough to roll round it. On to the cabbage lay the slices of ham in two rows of 3, making one large sheet of ham.
  5. Take the mushroom pate and spread it over the ham. Place the fillet on the middle of the sheet of ham.
  6. Now lift up the edge of the cling film furthest from you and fold the cabbage and ham over the venison. Roll it up in to a sausage and twist the ends. Place in the fridge while you roll the pastry.
  7. Roll the pastry out into the thickness of a pound coin, making it longer than the cling-filmed parcel and wide enough to wrap round it.
  8. Un-wrap the parcel and place in the middle of the pastry.  Brush the edges of the pastry with egg then roll the pastry over, folding in the sides to form a neat little package.
  9. If you have any excess pasty you can use it to decorate the top of the wellington.  Something romantic and heart shaped should do the trick.
  10. It can now be chilled until you sit down for your starter. When you are ready, brush the top with egg and bake at 200’c for about 20 minutes then allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  11. You can cook it to the same level you like you steak, and the best way to do this is to invest in a digital meat probe. It might sound fancy, but they are quite cheap now, and available even from some supermarkets.  Cooking temperatures are as follows:
  • Rare 52–55 °C
  • Medium rare 55–60 °C
  • Medium 60–65 °C
  • Medium well 65–69 °C
  • Well done 71-100 °C

Let the romance continue……

Scotch Broth

On the 25th of January it’s Burns Night, and there are lots of traditions associated with it.  Haggis, I think, is delicious – but I can understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Smoked salmon is a bit of an expensive treat this soon after Christmas, and lets’ not mention the whisky after overdoing it a few weeks ago!  I think this year we will celebrate with something simple, healthy, cheap and quick to prepare.

Scotch broth is normally a soup of lamb and vegetables, and needs to be cooked for hours to tenderise the lamb. By using just veg, it makes this much cheaper, quicker to cook and with a lot less fat in it, making for perfect detox food after all the over-doing it!

You could make your own vegetable stock to use in this, but there are some very good powdered ones available, and continuing the theme of cheap and easy that is what I have used for this.

This is a lovely chunky, hearty soup, making it a great lunch on a cold January day as it is raining outside. A bowl of this with some nice bread sounds like the perfect way to warm up.

Scotch Broth

Serves 4/6

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 turnips, diced
  • 2 sticks of celery, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small swede, diced
  • 1 leek, split and sliced
  • 75g pearl barley
  • 75g split green peas, soaked in water overnight
  • 2ltr vegetable stock
  • ¼ Savoy cabbage, shredded
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

Put all the vegetables, apart from the cabbage, in a pan with the peas, barley and stock. Bring it to the boil, and simmer for 50 minutes. Check it to see if the barley and peas are cooked. If they are, stir in the cabbage and cook for 5 minutes more. If not cooked, check again in 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, ladle into bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

That’s it, its all over for another year. I hope you all had a great time. I know I have spent even more time in the kitchen then normal and have eaten far more than usual, so I thought we’d keep things nice and simple this week. Who doesn’t like things on toast?  This is a bit more exciting then a tin of beans, but won’t take much longer to do. I think we are all allowed to be a bit lazy this week!

Garlic Mushrooms on Toast

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 800g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 30g butter
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1Tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 4 slices bread
  • seasoning
Method
  1. Melt the butter in a pan and fry off the mushrooms, seasoning them as you do.
  2. As the mushrooms are cooking toast the bread.
  3. When the mushrooms are nearly cooked add the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the cream. Let the cream reduce until the mushrooms are coated in a nicethick sauce. Stir in the parsley and check the seasoning. Divide the mushrooms between the slices of toast, and tuck in.

Told you it was quick and easy!