Thursday, December 30, 2010

What We Ate On Christmas Day...

And it's not what you think!  For the first time in thirteen years, we got to spend Christmas Day home alone - no having to call to all and sundry, no cooking for other people - it was all about us!  So, I asked The Hubs what he would like for Christmas Dinner (yes, it merits capital letters...) and he asked for beef.  So I ordered a 2kg bone-in Rib of Beef from Taylors CraftButchers in Bray - my parents have been buying their meat there for years and it's consistently good.  Despite the heavy snow which cut us off from the outside world for 2 days (and caused us to miss a wedding), I managed to collect it and bring it home intact.  It wasn't cheap - I may have winced when the price of it was called to me - but it was worth it because it tasted sublime.

So, after a lazy lie-in on Christmas morning, The Hubs suggested making some toast for breakfast.  I was horrified - it's the one day we have a really special breakfast... Eggs Benedict.  I do take shortcuts and use ready-made Hollandaise Sauce because I couldn't really be bothered making it from scratch.

Once you have all the components ready, it's really just an assembly job... toasted muffin, smoked ham, soft poached egg & hot hollandaise sauce - all served on a warmed plate, so it doesn't cool down too quickly.

Eventually, I made a start on the dinner preparations - Mustard-rubbed Beef with Hasselback Potatoes, Sprouts with Lardons & Shallots and Buttered Leeks. I also made some absolutely gorgeous gravy, the precious remains of which The Hubs threw down the sink after dinner, which resulted in an almighty meltdown the next day when I found out.

Firstly, I put the oven onto its highest setting (240c/Gas Mark 9), patted the beef dry & coated it in Dijon mustard & lots of freshly ground black pepper.

I halved two onions & put them in the base of a big roasting tin to act as a trivet for the beef.  They also make a superb gravy base.  The beef was roasted for 15 minutes at this temperature, then I turned the oven down to 190c/Gas Mark 5 & let it cook away for 80 minutes, basting occasionally with the juices in the roasting dish.  Then I loosely covered it with foil & let it have a nice little rest while I got on with the rest of the meal.

The sprouts were peeled, trimmed halved & steamed for 3 minutes.  I sauteed 100g of lardons & a handful of thinly diced shallots in a large frying pan until the lardons started to crisp up and added the sprouts, cooking for 2-3 minutes.  I finished them off with some grated lemon zest & a squeeze of lemon juice, just to lift the flavour.

Buttered Leeks are easy - finely shred leeks, melt some butter in a pot.  Add the leeks & some black pepper & allow to sweat away gently for 10-15 minutes.

I've covered Hasselback Potatoes before - ultra easy & they cooked away in the oven underneath the beef.

The starter was a very lazy affair - Coquilles St Jacques using a can of readymade Coquilles which I bought in France on holidays.  I decanted the contents into two ramekins & topped them with parsley breadcrumbs & a knob of butter.  10 minutes in the oven and they were ready!

Oh, and there was some mash too...


  1. mmm sprouts sound lovely and zingy. I always thought Hasselback potatoes looked like hassle and bring on a cringe as the name reminds me of The Hoff but with your assurance that they are easy I've looked up your recipe and yum, can only imagine how much flavour cutting them open exposes them to.

  2. wow, quare lump of beef.....looks delish....happy new year btw....