My first sighting of Beef Wellington was on Masterchef Australia. It looked so golden and delicious but not too scarily difficult to actually make yourself. I love anything with pastry so meat plus puff pastry is my ideal meal. It was actually pressed for time while making this because I was making it for a special dinner and I only started it around 12/1pm and didn’t have enough time for chilling. However, it came out surprisingly well and ever more so delicious with that sweet red wine sauce. Check out Gordon Ramsay’s BBC Good Food recipe below.
Cooking and Prep Time 1 hr – 2 hrs / 20 minutes (Sauce)
Serves 6 / 4 (Sauce)
Ingredients (Beef Wellington)
a good beef fillet (preferably Aberdeen Angus) of around 1kg/2lb 4oz
3 tbsp olive oil
250g/ 9oz chestnut mushroom , include some wild ones if you like 50g/ 2oz butter (I used Portobello mushrooms)
1 large sprig fresh thyme
100ml/ 3.5 fl oz dry white wine
12 slices prosciutto
500g/1lb 2oz pack puff pastry , thawed if frozen
a little flour , for dusting
2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water
Ingredients (Shallot & Red Wine Sauce)
250g shallots , sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove , lightly crushed sprig rosemary
5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
400ml red wine
400ml beef stock or brown chicken stock, preferably homemade
knob of butter
Method (Beef Wellington)
1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper, then roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
2. While the beef is cooling, chop 250g chestnut (and wild, if you like) mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.
3. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.
4. Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.
5. Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet.
Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.
6. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.
1. Sauté the shallots in a medium saucepan with the oil over a high heat for about 3 mins until lightly browned, stirring often. Season with ground black pepper and add the garlic and rosemary. Continue cooking for a further 3 mins, stirring often to prevent the shallots burning.
2. Pour in the vinegar and cook until evaporated away to a syrup, then pour in the wine and cook until reduced by two thirds or until it thickens.
3. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds again, to around 250ml. Remove the garlic and rosemary. Add a little salt to taste and finally ‘monte’ (whisk) in a knob of butter. Add any juices from the steaks just before serving.
For my first attempt I think I did a pretty good job if I don’t say so myself. The beef came out pink so it wasn’t overcooked which was my worst fear. However, although the pastry was nice and crispy on top, because I didn’t have enough time to chill the beef before I wrapped it in the mushroom, proscuitto and puff pastry, the juices from the beef still came through when baking it with the pastry. This meant the juices oozed out of the bottom, making the pastry a tad wet and not crispy at all as you can see in my photo of the beef sliced.
Other then that, I was delighted that the mushroom mix was so good and complemented the beef very well. The mushrooms were well seasoned and added fantastic texture to the dish.
My first attempt at the red wine sauce came out slightly too “liquidy”, but I followed the recipe and reduced it by two thirds. I put it back on the stove and let it simmer some more, and finally it was a tad viscous and just like a sauce should be. I must admit this red wine sauce goes spectacularly well with the beef wellington. I really can’t complement these two being together anymore. I can’t see myself having it any other way.
On our first half day to Vancouver, just minutes away from our hotel we found Ramen Sanpachi. We arrived after lunch peak so seating wasn’t an issue and after eating predominantly French and Western cuisine for a week or so we were craving something a bit asian. Luckily, around Robson Street, and the West End there are plentiful Japanese eateries around to choose from.
Ramen Sanpachi as the name suggest, serves up ramen with your choice of soup base. It’s something I’ve never really found back in Melbourne apart from one or two restaurants from my recollection. They have six different soup stocks; Miso, Shoyu, Spicy, Shio, Yatai and Tonkotsu.
I ordered the Gyoza and Ramen with Miso base for something different. I didn’t feel the soup base tasted like Miso but seemed more of the generic ramen soup stock with a tad sourness. It’s a large serve, and luckily I was in a group because I couldn’t finish the Gyoza all by myself. The ramen was nicely cooked, not too soggy and and just enough bite to it. I didn’t really have an opinion either way with this dish, it was neither spectacular or disastrously bad.
The Gyoza was nice and crispy on the outside, had a gingery meat filling inside. The pastry to filling ratio was what I preferred as I don’t like my gyoza/dumplings to be too meaty.
We also ordered the Spicy soup base for Cha-Shu. I actually really loved the taste of the spicy stock base, it wasn’t overwhelmingly spicy but just gently tingles your tongue and adds something extra to the stock which is lacking in the Miso. Maybe adding Togarashi to the soup would have made it better but this by itself was quite delicious.
Also ordered was the Spicy Ramen which has a similar taste to the Cha-Shu ramen with Spicy soup stock and has basically all the same ingredients, corn, slices of pork, Japanese mushrooms. Again, the spicy stock makes the dish. It’s probably because you hardly get that back in Melbourne but might be very common in Vancouver.
Ramen Sanpachi isn’t the tastiest Japanese restaurant I’ve dined in but I didn’t mind the food. As mentioned before, it’s above good. Nearly great, but not quite there. They serve large dishes that would most definitely satisfy you on a cold day and well for the price I believe it’s reasonably priced. There are probably better Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, but I wouldn’t say no to eating there again.
770 Bute Street
Vancouver BC V6E1A6
Whenever I go to Flemington, I usually go to Chef Lagenda or ChilliPadi. For some reason Laksa King never crosses my mind, even though when they were in their old location we used to go there all the time. We ventured here once again to give it another go. I always found Laksa King to be the one more popular with the general public, it always seems to be full around lunch time.
Their Chicken Curry Laksa above, is well known, but also very similar to Chef Lagenda. Many would know the story behind it. Compared to some other Laksa’s both Laksa King and Chef Lagenda lean on the creamier side. I used to find it too creamy, however, on my last outing, I actually didn’t mind it for a change. It also had a nice hit of spice to it. I prefer Grand Tofu in Glen Waverley for my Laksa fix, it’s spicier and less creamy. However, this is just fine once in a while.
Thai Fried Rice is a surprisingly common dish in many Asian eateries. Laksa King’s version isn’t too shabby. It has a nice hit of chilli to it, and has that slight tom yum flavour, which gives it a nice sweet and sourness. The prawns were also perfectly cooked. The wok flavour really makes the dish. Overall, it’s one of the better Fried Rice’s around and I wouldn’t mind eating it again even if it’s on the oily side.
Ah Char Kway Teow. You can’t be a Malaysian restaurant without this. You also can’t have a tasty Char Kway Teow without the devilishly delicious fried pork fat. I know, that sounds hideously disgusting but if you have ever tried it, it just adds something special to it. It’s just crispy, fatty goodness. Obviously, I wouldn’t eat this all the time, nor would I eat all the pork fat in the dish but one or two pieces with the noodles just hits the spot.
One thing I didn’t like was that the fried pork fat wasn’t even crispy! What was the point, it was a total disappointment. The Char Kway Teow was delicious apart from that. It had that special wok flavour and had just enough heat. Again, it was on the oily side, however you don’t order this expecting something healthy in the end. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised and wouldn’t mind ordering it again.
We saw people ordering Ice Kacang and it looked huge and delicious to boot. It’s like this large tower but it was so difficult to mix. Since the ice was quite hard, all the ice basically falls on the table. You basically have to dig sections out and mix it in your own bowl. Note to Laksa King, get wider bowls please.
Compared to my all time favourite Ice Kacang from Chillipadi Mamak, this is nearly as delicious but both are very different in taste. Laksa King’s version uses brown sugar syrup heavily as you can see it has a golden brown colour to it. Chillipadi uses a mixture of rose syrup and condensed/evaporated milk. I think any Ice Kacang with nuts added to it is a plus. It isn’t the same without that crunchiness. Although different, it wasn’t overly sweet and had all the other ingredients added to it, such as jelly, palm seeds, corn and lychee.
I’ve mentioned Laksa King numerous times, but first time I’ve actually given it a review. They serve predominantly Malaysian cuisine and don’t skimp on flavour. YMMV, but with the dishes above, most were winners in my book.
I know Laksa King caters more towards the Western flavours and demographic but it still retains the Malaysian flavour which is what most people seek.
6 – 12 Pin Oak Crescent
Flemington VIC 3031
Phone: 03 9372 6383
Everyday 11:30am – 3pm
Mon – Thu 5pm – 10pm
Fri – Sat 5pm – 10:30pm
Sunday 5pm – 10pm
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