Christmas in the Knowles household has always lasted the full 12 days, not least because slap dab in the middle of it is my Mumâ€™s birthday. In the last few years weâ€™ve taken to celebrating in style, with an afternoon at the ballet, followed by dinner and presents back at home.
Sarah brings the wine, and I make the dinner â€“ Fillet of beef with a red wine sauce, red cabbage, beans and some kind of starch â€“ dauphinoise potatoes one year, celeriac puree another.
Now fillet of beef is a Not Screwing Around kind of celebration dinner. Itâ€™s expensive, yes, but itâ€™s reliably delicious, and easy to cook when you get in from the theatre and want to put elegant, special food on the table with minimal fuss and hanging about.
Hereâ€™s what you do:
- Buy a fillet of beef. Tell the butcher what you need, how many people you are cooking for, and chose one that looks lean and dark.
- Let it sit out of the fridge for half an hour before you want to cook it.
- Pre heat the oven as hot as it will go â€“ 500F
- Smother the beef in a mush of butter, grain mustard and thyme leaves. Season really well.
- Put on an oven tray and put in the oven for 22 mins (rare) 25 mins (medium to well). Let it rest, covered, for at least 5 mins. Slice and serve.