Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas - the same old thing

Evolution of a Beef Wellington. Contained within the pastry case is a duxelles of mushrooms with virtually all the moisture removed, as recommended by Gordon Ramsay. This is held against the 2½ lb fillet steak by strips of parma ham. The steak is seared then flamed (using Tesco Value French brandy at less than £10 a bottle - ie, (to foreigners) couldn't be cheaper). When cool the steak is encased in pastry decorated with "My luve is like a red, red rose..." by Rabbie Burns. Cooked in the oven for 20 min. at 200 deg C and 15 min at 160 deg C.

Served with Sauce au poivre, as mentioned.

YSABELLE IN FLIGHT Mrs BB has been doing this at Christmas for thirty years with a short break which so outraged granddaughter Ysabelle. And it is Y who should have the last word or the last act. In her youth she was the pickiest eater known to man and many a French waiter has she enraged: BB: Et pour la petite, une assiette de frites. C'est tout. Waiter: Mais, monsieur, un peu de chou-fleur, peut-etre? Une saucisse? BB: Comme j'ai dit, une assiette de frites. Waiter: Mais monsieur....

However a year at uni, and an unremitting diet there of pasta, has sharpened her sensitivities. In the phot0 she is on her fourth slice of BeefWell.

Novel progress 28/12/09. Ch. 9: 2190 words. Chs. 1 - 8: 36,852 words. Comments: Edited and re-edited Ch. 8. Still not right. Opting for a little writing instead. That was yesterday and I'm still writing.


The Crow said...

I sincerely appreciate the step-by-step photos and instructions, BB. I intend to try this dish (when my ship comes in, that is). I've never had it, nor attempted to make it before. Looks delicious.

Anyone who can eat like Ysabelle, and still be as trim as she, has a metabolism worth bottling and selling to those of who cannot/aren't!

What exactly is Boxing Day, by the way?


Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: It's a fairly simple dish since Mrs BB buys the pastry (all-butter puff pastry); the problem, a you have guessed, is paying for the fillet. I should have mentioned that, given its price, there's none of this pussy-footing about "medium-rare". It's got be rare and no question.

I hope Y maintains her sylph-like figure because she is eating more these days. In fact it was, she said, a dream day for her since we had Eggs Benedict for our brunch.

You're only about the hundredth American who's asked me that question. It is December 26 and dates back to pre-commercial Christmas times when it was the day people gave each Christmas presents (called Christmas boxes then, a phrase still used in my youth). It is a recognised bank holiday in the UK and in the commonwealth counties, so see what you missed by kicking us out.

The Crow said...

"...see what you missed by kicking us out."

Hmm-m-m...but see what you gained by leaving?


Rouchswalwe said...

Ach, das sieht aber lecker aus!
Isn't it nice that "the same old thing" for one family is an exotic tempting dish for another? I especially appreciated the Beef Welli exposé since our Christmas Day dinner was a tray of hospital food. I'm not even telling you what was on it, for I fear that you would pity me so that added to my own wallowing in food hell, it would become sad enough to sing the Blues.

Do you sing, BB?

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (zS): Let me tell you a seasonal romantic story involving hospital food. I had met Mrs BB some months previously. She was a state-registered nurse working at Charing Cross Hospital ("One of the great London teaching hospitals" - the attached phrase is, I'm afraid, mandatory) and she'd drawn the short straw over Christmas. So rather than going back to Bradford I stayed in my London flat and on Christmas Day I walked to the hospital for afternoon tea on the ward where Mrs BB worked, the invited guest of the ward sister. Screens divided off this subfusc gathering from the patients which was just as well. They weren't in fact patients but deadbeats brought in off the streets, washed and manicured (the toes were a particularly gruesome task I was told) to provide a frieze for our celebrations. As far as I can remember we had Shippams meat-paste sandwiches (almost as gruesome as the nail clipping), biscuits and tepid tea. But it was a meal fit for a king; I was in love and eventually the hospital released the object of my love and we walked alone through a predominantly deserted city.

Sing? Yes, repeatedly, when I come down to make my brunch because the kitchen acoustics are superb. Hymns (but without religious conviction), the trickier bits of the Ode to Joy, the already mentioned "My luve is like..." and the song that for me is its twin "Believe me if all those endearing young charms", Rogers and Hart songs including the introductions; all rendered in an inadequate voice that is one of my great tragedies. Once I sang effortless treble in a church choir but when my larynx broke it never re-mended itself.

I'm sorry you're having what sounds like an unfestive Christmas but at least your Mama is benefiting from your presence.

Plutarch said...

When I was a child I believed that alll over the country boxing rings were set up so that young men could work of steam pummelling each other with padded gloves.

Professional Bleeder said...

Oh Plutarch - you remind me of thinking that all pubs labelled "Free Houses" were just that (why did anyone go anywhere else my 10 year old brain wondered. More poignantly, I can remember being given a ticket saying "Strictly no readmission," I spent a very long time looking at everything very carefully because I thought I could never come back

Rouchswalwe said...

BB! Thank you for the story! My Mama and I have been telling each other some wonderful stories (future blog posts forthcoming), which is the good thing about this hospital Xmas ~ we were able to spend quite a bit of time together. Since we live about an hour apart, it's rare that we spend so much time together, and sad that it took a major operation to realize that we should make more time for one another. So it has been festive in its own way. My plastic elf ears helped, too.

Lucy said...

Young women who have lived on pasta all term can only benefit from large amounts of very red meat wrapped in butter pastry... Looks fabulous, does it all get eaten up, or do you get to eat any cold? It doesn't reheat so well I fear.

I love but had forgotten about 'Believe me if all those endearing young charms'. It also is rather well twinned with 'I dreamed I dwelled in marble halls', I think. Do you sing that too?

Barrett Bonden said...

RW (sZ): Something similar happened when my father - with whom I'd always had an off-on relationship - was in his final illness. He said to me, exactly as I would have done if the positions had been reversed, "Don't come if it's a burden". I was surprised and moved to find myself replying quite truthfully, "It isn't a burden." Why moved? Because this was a rare occasion when I appeared to have changed for the better. Thankfully you have time and you're using it well.

Lucy: You know me too well. There was only a small nobby left and I was told I could have it for my brunch the following day. So I microwaved it. Seeing the result Mrs BB asked in a neutral voice (always a bad sign) how long I'd done it for. When I replied "Three minutes." she said, even more neutrally, "You do know it will no longer be rare." I ate it well-cooked, bathed in shame. And now I've felt compelled to confess this over the airwaves.

Songs. Whenever I make jokes about, or even references to, the lavatory Mrs BB says it's evidence of my public-schoolboy humour. You hardly need me to tell you how "marble halls" got me into one of these invidious situations and why I don't sing it these days.

ArtSparker said...

How far we have from the caves and roasted mastodon...

Barrett Bonden said...

ArtSparker: I think roast mastodon went out of favour when someone calculated how much pastry would be needed to turn it into mastodonte Wellington.