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...