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Some of the best dishes I make are those where I have no original plan, I just walk into the kitchen, see what’s around and see what flavours and aromas inspire me. A look in the fridge to see I had some rocket and cherry tomatoes instantly made me want beef. It is a classic combination so I went out and bought a nice piece of beef fillet, a little treat for myself as I don’t buy it very often.
I actually wanted a Carpaccio but the shape of the beef fillet wasn’t really right for rolling up so instead I thought I would sear it. Eyes wandering to a sample of Fennel Pollen led me to the spice rack. Adding some mustard seeds, black onion seeds and black peppercorns, I ground these up and mixed with a teaspoon of fennel pollen. Adding this mix to olive oil and cherry vinegar and I had a great marinade for the beef. I coated the beef, wrapped in cling film and left it in the fridge overnight.
I pan fried the beef fillet on a medium heat so the coating didn’t burn; it needs to be seared only for a minute or two either side and then left to rest. The beef should be very rare in the middle. The kitchen by this point smells fantastic and just makes you smile; this is food that gets me excited. I get the salad ready, coating the rocket in cherry vinegar and olive oil dressing, leaving the cherry tomatoes on the vine and serve. I think this is a lovely dinner that makes you want to rush home from work to enjoy.
For a small fillet of beef I used the following: (serves two)
If you want something more substantial, try adding boiled new potatoes with a herb butter. I make a butter with fresh thyme from the garden and mix it into the butter before letting it melt over the potatoes.