Thursday, December 15, 2011

tournedos of beef

This dish seems to be a favorite of a Betty Neels hero -- appears in many of her novels.



4 slices, country-style bread
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place bread on a work surface and using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cut a round crouton from the center of each piece of bread. Brush both sides of the croutons with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the croutons on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Tournedos and Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 beef fillet steaks, about 6 ounces
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 pound shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 shallots, finely diced
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over high heat. Season the fillets with salt and press the coarsely cracked black pepper onto 1 side of each fillet. Place the fillets pepper-side down into the skillet and sear until golden brown, turn the fillets over and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes for medium-rare doneness. Remove the steaks to a plate. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of the fat in the pan and return to high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown and their liquid has evaporated. Add the shallots and cook until soft. Add the red wine and reduce by half. Add the broth and cook until reduced by half. Whisk in the mustard and butter and cook for 30 seconds. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place each fillet on top of a crouton and spoon some of the sauce over.


Scalloped potatoes

Servings: 6

4 cups thinly sliced potatoes

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 dash cayenne pepper

1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup grated cheese, to sprinkle on top



1 In a small sauce pan, melt butter and blend in flour.

2 Let sit for a minute.

3 Add all of cold milk, stirring with a whisk.

4 Season with salt and cayenne.

5 Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk.

6 Reduce heat and stir in cheese.

7 Place a half of the sliced potatoes in a lightly greased one quart casserole dish.

8 Pour half of cheese sauce over potatoes.

9 Repeat with second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce.

10 Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

11 Top with some paprika for color.

12 Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350F.


grilled asparagus

french bread
scoring nil

french bread2 -scoring not right yikes!

still workin' on the pockets. :(

better now.


Victoria Sandwich Cake

Also called Victoria sponge cake, this is a cake that a Betty Neels heroine or her mom will have handy for afternoon tea at home. Back home, I had made this for my brother's birthday, a long time ago. Of course, I do not think it crossed my mind then, that  it was a Neels staple. A basic, easy cake that can be dressed up or down ( try different fillings, icings, decorations) and which tastes wonderful.


8 tbsps unsalted butter ( 1 stick)
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup castor sugar (powdered, not confectioner's)
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
whipped cream - 4 tbsp
raspberry jam -- 3-4 tbsp

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Sift flour+baking powder + salt in bowl.
Combine butter + sugar in mixer.
Add eggs and vanilla. Mix. Low speed.
Add flour mixture. Combine. Do not overbeat.
Transfer batter into two 7"x 1½" round, greasedcake pans lined with parchment paper.
Spread it evenly with a spatula.
Bake 20-25 minutes until tops are golden.
Let set for 2 minutes in the pans. Then, cakes onto racks. Cool.
Place one cooled layer on a serving plate and spread whipped cream within half inch of edges.
Spread jam on the other layer. Invert and place it on top of the first layer.
Sprinkle top with sugar.

Note: The size of the cake pan--shouldn't be too deep.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lamb chops with watercress-grapefruit slad, potatoes Dauphinoise

I couldn't get noisettes of lamb that Betty neels mentions in her books, hence, lamb chops. :)

Lamb chops

Serves 3


8 lamb rib  chops (or ask the butcher for  double cut lamb rib chop to get thicker chops)
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4  sprigs fresh thyme, crushed
1-2tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
1/2 - 1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic paste/crushed

 Mix all the ingredients together in 2 tbsp olive oil  and marinate the lamb chops for an hour (or more).
Heat the rest of the olive oil plus  butter in a skillet. Add the chops. Brown on both sides.
Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes on each side.
Remove cover and brown for a minute or less.
You may make a gravy from the drippings. Saute some onion in the drippings. Deglaze the pan by adding some red wine vinegar plus chicken/lamb stock and scraping the skillet. For thicker gravy, add a tablespoon of flour and cook thoroughly.
Serve lamb chops  with the salad below and potatoes Dauphinoise ( au gratin). Add a few  fried tomato slices, if you like.

Watercress and Pink Grapefruit Salad:

1 bunch fresh watercress trimmed
1/2 pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented
1 small bunch freshly chopped mint

Vinaigrette dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2-1 tsp sugar


Make the dressing. Toss the trimmed and washed watercress and mint together with the dressing.Add  pink grapefruit pieces.

Potatoes Dauphinoise


5 Yukon gold potatoes

3 cloves of garlic

2-3 sprigs of thyme

3 0z Gruyere cheese, grated

1/2 pint whipping cream

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 3 - 4


1.Preheat oven to 300°F.

2.Finely chop the garlic and thinly slice the potatoes (the skin can be left on or peeled off).

3.Put the cream, milk, garlic, rosemary and thyme in a saucepan. Season with salt & pepper, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat.

4.Rub the inside of a oven-proof dish with butter and place a layer of potato in the bottom of the dish. Lightly season the layer with salt & pepper, add cheese all over the potatoes,  and continue to layer and season until the dish is full. Then pour the milk mixture over the potatoes.

5.Put the dish into the oven for 40 minutes.

6.Check the potato is cooked by sticking a knife into the middle, the potato should be soft and offer no resistance.

7.Cut out portions and serve.

Source: which I modified.
I found the recipe for the salad here, but I have modified them :