Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

No Mr. Bond, I Expect You To Dine!

Written By: Tracy - Feb• 06•16

My husband is one of those guys who is picky, discerning (whenever I point this out, he always points out that he married me, so being choosy isn’t a bad thing). 

So Christmas is always a nightmare challenging.  What do you get for someone who is very selective in his wants, and could pretty much buy whatever his heart’s desire (within reason, he’s not yet getting a Breitling).

But there are a couple ways I can’t go wrong:

1. He likes the buildup to opening the gift (sometimes more than the actual gift.)

2. He likes to watch moves. 

3. He likes good food. 

This year I planned a gift that sits right in the middle of that venn diagram. I planned 12 dinner and a movie dates. 

Remember the old TBS show dinner and a movie? Where the hosts cooked a themed dinner around the movie they played? This is something like that. 

So for our January date, I planned for us to watch Thunderball. (James bond date night in January is a bit of a theme for us.  The year after daughter was born, we dressed to the nines, got PF Chang takeout, ate it on the wedding china  and watched Casino Royale. last year was Dr. No.)

So this time around, the parameters were 1. Extravagant food (in the books, James Bond likes caviar, eggs and champaign at breakfast). 2. British theme.  The challenge being that hubby is not a drinker.  So the traditional martini, shaken, not stirred is out. 

Fauxtini.jpgMartinis weren’t a problem.  I made a reasonable facsimile of a dirty martini with sparkling soda water, cocktail olives and olive juice. Served in martini glasses for effect.  Hubby ate the olives and left the drink.  Oh well, they can’t all be winners. 

When I think of British food, I think of fish and chips, or Harry Potter’s treacle tart. (Whatever treacle is. In Alice in Wonderland, there is mention of a treacle well, and in the Discworld books, there is Treacle Mine Road.  I think Brit Lit is not a good source for answers to my treacle based questions. ) And something called Beef Wellington.  Which sounds British.  It shares a name with my favorite gardening boots, so it must be ok. 

So Beef Wellington. And custard tart.  Which is really just the egg custard pie like my grandma used to make.  Easy easy peasy  lemon squeezy.

 The menus set, I wrapped the gift. 

Hubby opened his January present, and immediately requested a menu change.  He’s had my grandma’s egg custard pie, and isn’t a fan.  So we switched to his favorite dessert: creme Brûlée.  Cest la vie! 

Oven_wellingtons.jpgI didn’t quite realize how complicated Beef Wellington is.  You take a piece of tenderloin, roll it in a mix of chopped mushrooms and onions, and then wrap that in prosciutto and wrap it in puff pastry.  Then you try to bake it so that the meat cooks just enough and the pastry neither burns, nor gets soggy from the meat juices. 

Gordon Ramsey likes this dish.  In fact, he verbally guts lesser chefs for messing it up.

So, yeah.  There’s that. 

And because I can’t do things halfway, I also decided to make my own puff pastry. 

Wellington.jpgSo after a week’s worth of research (cook all the moisture out of the mushroom mix, wrap the package in phyllo dough to make a moisture barrier between the puff pastry and the meat. Bake according to internal temperature, not time) and three days of preparation (puff pastry isn’t hard, just long and involved), I pulled the whole thing together.

If you are interested, here is the recipe I used for Beef Wellington 

And just for fun, Gordon Ramsay losing his temper over a beef Wellington on Hell’s Kitchen

Et Voila: 



 

 

 

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