What a load of crepe!


One of the issues I have with a lot of department store restaurants (and visitor attraction restaurants) is that they cook the food in advance and then keep it warm for hours on end… Now that is possible with some dishes, but with others it just means dried out food.

One of the dishes that you can get at my local John Lewis is freshly cooked to order crepes. They make them as and when needed, rather than make them at 9am in the morning and keep them warm till 6pm in the evening!

We had crepes the last time we were there, one with chilli beef and one with mushroom stroganoff; both were served with salad.

The beef chilli was well cooked and nice and spicy. A little too hot for my tastes, but not excessively so.

Crepes

The mushroom stroganoff was really nice and went well with the crepes.

Crepe

The salad though was disappointing, I have had much better salads before at John Lewis, this was in the main lettuce with a tiny bit of red onion and pepper.

Overall for a department store restaurant they were really nice and probably one of the better items available. The fact you can buy wine and beer to go with the crepes makes the place even more attractive as a place to go out and get a quick bite to eat whilst shopping.

Beef Wellington

This is my version of the classic Beef Wellington.

Beef Wellington

I used sirloin steak, which I cooked in a pan until it was cooked medium rare. You can of course cook the steak how you prefer it. Ensure it is cooked to a point before you would call it perfect, as it will cook more in the oven.

I then cut the steak into portions, about two inches square.

The steak was then spread with a mixture of chopped mushrooms and mustard. I used French whole grain mustard.

Using some puff pastry (and I will admit I do buy ready made puff pastry as I have no idea on how to make it).

I cut out some circles, about four inches in diameter. Placed one circle on the baking tray, added the steak. Using beaten egg and a pastry brush I brushed egg around the edges of the circle and placed a second circle of puff pastry on top. This top puff pastry circle was then brushed with beaten egg.

The parcels were then baked in an oven for about ten to fifteen minutes until golden brown.

I served mine with a mix of salads.

Beef Casserole

This was quite a tasty dish, but wasn’t my usual recipe.

Take some braising steak or stewing steak, and in a hot pan, add a little oil (no need for olive oil as the flavour will be cooked out). The aggresively brown the beef. Only brown a little at a time, browning in batches and ensure that the pan is hot so that the beef does brown and doesn’t stew – as you don’t want it to stew at this time.

Once you have browned all the beef, remove the final batch of beef and add some chopped vegetables to the pan. I used carrot, parsnips, leeks and onions. You could also add celery (yuck) or swede or other root vegetables.

Once the vegetables have browned add some plain flour (just a spoonful) and stir.

Once it starts to stick add a splash of red wine and some beef stock, this should deglaze the pan.

Place everything into a casserole dish, lid on and cook in the oven (not too hot) for a hour or so, adding more stock if the dish starts to dry out.

In a frying pan cook some chopped bacon (I used pancetta) and cook off, then remove the bacon and add some button mushrooms and some freshly chopped parsley. Cook for a minute or two, in the main to soak up the bacon flavour.

Add the bacon and mushrooms about thirty minutes before you serve. I also addeda splash of balsamic vinegar as well.

Serve with crusty bread, mash or roasted potatoes with some fresh steamed green vegetables.

Beef in Red Wine

In a previous post I mentioned a dish I had cooked, beef in red wine, however I did not post the recipe. This post was quite popular by people searching for a beef in red wine, so as promised here is the recipe.

Take some stewing steak, and in a hot pan, add a little oil (no need for olive oil as the flavour will be cooked out). The aggresively brown the beef. Only brown a little at a time, browning in batches and ensure that the pan is hot so that the beef does brown and doesn’t stew – as you don’t want it to stew at this time.

Once you have browned all the beef, remove the final batch of beef and add some chopped vegetables to the pan. I used carrot and onions. You could also add celery (yuck) or swede or parsnips or other root vegetables.

Once the vegetables have browned add some plain flour (just a spoonful) and stir.

Once it starts to stick add the red wine and some beef stock, this should deglaze the pan.

Place everything into a casserole dish, lid on and cook in the oven (not too hot) for a couple of hours, adding more stock if the dish starts to dry out.

In a frying pan cook some chopped bacon (I used pancetta) and cook off, then remove the bacon and add some button mushrooms and some freshly chopped parsley. Cook for a minute or two, in the main to soak up the bacon flavour.

Add the bacon and mushrooms about thirty minutes before you serve.

Serve with crusty bread, mash or roasted potatoes with some fresh steamed green vegetables.

Beef in Red Wine

Tonight I had a meal I had cooked and put in the freezer just for these kinds of nights when I come back late from work and really don’t feel like cooking. I had let it defrost and then heated it in the oven (rather than the microwave) and served it with some gnocchi. Gnocchi was decided upon because it only takes two minutes to cook (yes it was from a packet, I don’t have the patience (or the skill) to cook it from scratch, especially on a week day evening.

Originally it had taken a few hours to cook, time I had then, but on an evening tonight would have been impossible.

The art of cooking something like braising steak or stewing steak is long slow cooking, cook it too fast or not long enough, you will get something very tough and chewy and rather tastless.

The beef I cooked was tender, melt in the mouth tender, and a very rich sauce.

Excellent.