B is also for Beef Wellington

To salivate the taste buds this weekend in preparation for the previously blogged Brownies, I invited a couple of friends round for Sunday dinner, where we indulged (even if I do say so myself) in individual Beef Wellingtons with porcini mushroom sauce and roasted new potatoes.

The mushrooms can be prepared in advance, so if you’re cooking for others, you just need to fry the beef and then it’s a quick assembly job before leaving to cook in the oven.

Beef Wellington - prepped for the oven

Beef Wellington – prepped for the oven

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45-50 minutes


  • 500g puff pastry (and plain flour for dusting)
  • 4 x 180-200g fillets of beef
  • 20g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 500g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 large onion (or 4 small shallots)
  • 300ml double cream
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Oil (anything flavourless in which to fry the meat)
  • Knob of butter
  • 1 egg
  • Olive oil
  • A good pinch of salt
  • A few twists of freshly ground pepper
Porcini mushrooms

Porcini mushrooms


These steps are for the mushroom mixture and can be prepared in advance:

  1. I prepare the pastry first, by cutting the block of defrosted puff pastry into 4 equal squares and then rolling out into equal-sized squares about 15cm x 15cm. Dust with a bit of flour and place on a tray and leave in the fridge.
  2. Place the porcinis in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. They take about 20 minutes to soften properly. Whilst they are softening, finely chop the onion (or shallots) and lightly fry in a large frying pan.
  3. Chop the chestnut mushrooms as small as you can and add to the onions. Sprinkle with a teaspoon of thyme.
  4. Drain the porcinis (keep the liquid as a stock for another dish later on), chop finely and add to the onions and other mushrooms.
  5. Add a big knob of butter and fry until nearly all the moisture has disappeared.
Mushrooms and onions

Mushrooms and onions

When you’re ready to cook the main dish, the following steps remain:

  1. An hour before you’re ready to eat, preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut up the new potatoes, put in a baking tray and sprinkle with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Drizzle over 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Approximately 30 minutes later, turn the oven up to 200°C. Put a griddle pan on a high heat. Whilst it’s getting warm, get the beef fillets out their packaging and rub all over with the oil. You oil the meat rather than the pan to stop it smoking too much.
  3. Fry the beef for about 4 minutes on each side.
  4. Whilst the meat is cooking, take the pre-cut pastry out the fridge, and place a large spoonful of the (now cooled) mushroom mix in the middle of each square.
  5. Once the beef is cooked, put each fillet on top of the mushroom mix on each pastry square. Fold each corner of the pastry into the centre, then the next fold in the newly formed corners again to seal the package. Flip over and place on a baking tray.
  6. Lightly beat the egg and brush over each beef wellington package. Add some artistic slashes into the top of each Beef Wellington and put into the oven for 15-20minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
Roasted new potatoes, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme

Roasted new potatoes, lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme

Beef Wellington - frying the fillets

Beef Wellington – frying the fillets

Beef Wellington - assembly

Beef Wellington – assembly

Beef Wellington - prepped for the oven

Beef Wellington – prepped for the oven

Whilst the Beef Wellingtons are in the oven, reheat the remaining mushroom mix, and add the double cream. Leave to bubble away until the sauce is slightly thicker and it’s ready to serve alongside the Beef Wellingtons.

Once the Beef Wellingtons and roast potatoes are ready (which should be the same time), take the out of the oven and serve up with steamed green beans.

Beef Wellington with porcini sauce and roasted new potatoes

Beef Wellington with porcini sauce and roasted new potatoes

B is for Brownies

This week I’ve got two courses beginning with B lined up. It may not be traditional, but I’m starting with dessert this week. Here’s my basic recipe for the ever-popular chocolate Brownie. The recipe makes about 12-14 depending on the size of your baking tin and your portion size. Brownies are really easy to make, so a great one to try if you’re new to baking or if you want to make a quick tasty treat.

Brownies - ready to eat

Brownies – ready to eat


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


  • 150g butter (unsalted) – cut into small cubes
  • 200g dark chocolate (I’d recommend 70% cocoa solids) broken into small pieces
  • 250g sugar
  • 100ml milk (both full- or semi-skimmed are fine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 100g plain flour


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease a baking tin with butter.
  2. Create a bain marie by putting a bowl over a saucepan of just boiling water (turn the heat down once it’s boiling). Into this tip the butter and chocolate and leave to melt – this will take a few minutes.
  3. In the mean time beat the eggs in a separate bowl and weigh out the sugar, milk and flour.
  4. Once the chocolate and butter have melted,  beat in the sugar and milk. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes and then mix in the beaten eggs (if you mix the in whilst the mixture is too hot, it may curdle).
  5. Finally sieve in the flour and fold into the mixture.
  6. Pour into your greased baking tin and put in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes. You can test when the brownies are done by sticking in a knife. With a normal cake, it’s ready when the knife comes out clean, but with brownies you want a little bit of chocolate goo to stick to the end of the knife.
  7. When done, leave to cool for 10 minutes before attempting to cutting, serving and eating.
Brownies - melting chocolate and butter

Brownies – melting chocolate and butter

Brownies - melted chocolate and butter

Brownies – melted chocolate and butter

Brownies - fresh from the oven

Brownies – fresh from the oven