This month we had a very special London Cooking Club event to celebrate the Best of British food and wine. We had the pleasure of welcoming chef David Gillott, who devised a fantastic British menu for the occasion, and assisted us throughout the evening with the preparation of the dishes as well as giving us a cookery demonstration.
David trained at Bournemouth College, completing the Specialised Chef Course, graduating with distinction. He worked at various London locations including The Greenhouse and One Lombard Street, both of which have Michelin-Stars.
After years running his own catering company in London (David Gillott Private Chef), David is now moving to Surrey and expanding his business by opening Four Gables Fine Dining.
His new company specialises in fine dining, weddings and other events. Having had first-hand experience of David's cooking and professionalism throughout the months we took to organise the event, Four Gables Fine Dining is top of my list should I need to hire caterers.
If you would like to join us at one of our events, visit the London Cooking Club page on this site for more information. There are no fees to participate in any of our London Cooking Club events. Altenatively, you can subscribe to The London Foodie for updates via e-mail or RSS and be the first to learn when new dates are released.
Many thanks to David Gillott for making this such a special evening and to all members for their contribution and great company.
This is Dr G's signature dish, and one that we love making for special occasions. This recipe is not nearly as hard as it seems and can be prepared well in advance, making it perfect for dinners with friends or family. Don't be put off by the addition of pancakes in this recipe, these will ensure that the pastry will not get soggy as the dish is baked, and I really recommend using them even if you purchase them ready-made as we do. We like serving it with a creamy mushroom sauce poured over the meat as it is cut.
1.6kg piece fillet of beef (see note 1)
15g dried porcini mushrooms
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
350g large flat mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
375g ready-made "All Butter" puff pastry
A few fine, large pancakes - optional (see note 2)
1 large egg beaten
Thyme sprigs to garnish
Served with Creamy Mushroom and Wine Sauce (see note 4)
1. Heat the butter in a frying pan. Once foaming, add the beef and brown all over. Place on a grid over a roasting tin and roast at 220°C for 20 minutes; leave to cool.
2. Soak the dried porcini in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes. Keep the soaking liquid (ensure there is no grit in it, if there is, pass it through a fine muslin).
3. Melt the butter in a pan, add the shallots and fry for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Stir in all the mushrooms, and add a 1/3 of the soaking liquid. Cook for 5 min until dry. Add the thyme, season, and let cool.
4. Roll out a quarter of the pastry to a rectangle 2.5cm larger than the beef, this will be used as a base for the meat. Prick with a fork and bake at 220°C for 10-12 min until crisp and golden. Allow to cool, then trim to the size of the beef and place on a baking sheet.
5. Roll out the remaining pastry to a rectangle about 30 x 40 cm. Cut a small square off each corner; keep trimmings for decorating the beef later on.
6. This is the messy bit - season the beef and spread the mushroom mixture all over it. Wrap up in the pancakes (if using, I really recommend you do!), and brush with egg. Place the meat on the cooked pastry rectangle (point 4). Wrap the uncooked pastry around the beef, tucking it under the pastry base. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
7. Make a slit in the top and brush the pastry with beaten egg. Decorate with shapes cut from the pastry trimmings; brush with egg. Bake at 220°C for 35 min for medium rare, 40-45 min for medium (see note 3). Leave to stand for 10 min before serving. Garnish with thyme and serve accompanied by the creamy mushroom sauce (see note 4).
1. Use an even-sized piece from the centre of the fillet. You may need to tie the beef at stage 1 to keep it in shape during roasting.
2. We bought Waitrose ready-made pancakes, and they worked perfectly well for this recipe.
3. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the beef; the timing in the recipe is for a piece about 10 cm (4 inches) across.
4. Recipe for Creamy Mushroom Sauce
30ml olive oil, 2 shallots or 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped, 175g button mushrooms, thickly sliced, 150g mixed wild mushrooms, thickly sliced, 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, 150ml white wine, 200ml creme fraiche, 100ml of water ( porcini mushroom soaking liquid from Beef Wellington), Salt and pepper.
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the shallots and cook gently for 10 min. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook over a high heat for 4-5 min until tender and all the moisture has been driven off. 2. Pour on the wine, bring to the boil and bubble until reduced by half. 3. Add the creme fraiche, soaking liquid and seasoning. Bring to the boil and bubble for 5 min or until the liquid is slightly thickened and syrupy. Add the thyme, adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.