RECIPE Ramsay the Beagle braaied peppered fillet

Some of you may be on the mailing list of the Main Ingredient newsletter from John and Lynne Ford’s gourmet-goodies-one-stop-shop in Sea Point. I loved hearing about their kitten Hamish the Greedy Guts Gourmet, who had allegedly “sampled (and, mostly, enjoyed) mange tout, wasabi, sushi ginger, broccoli, pork crackling, Laksa coconut soup, a corner of the Cape Times, smoked salmon trimmings, roast potato and some tomato”. They reported that he wasn’t - yet - keen on wasabi.

Recently pet-sitting two Terriers (one tall, one short) and a somewhat grumpy cat, I was delighted to make the acquaintance of the neighbour’s puppies. A Weimaraner called Chilli, and my favourite – a Beagle called Ramsay! I never asked what inspired the latter puppy’s name, but its owner lived in London so I’m assuming that a certain foul-mouthed Michelin-starred chef had something to do with it.

Ramsay is at that wonderful puppy stage of all paws. I noted on her frequent inquisitive visits into the kitchen that like some chefs I know, there is always tummy space for a little something extra. Chefs I know don’t have ears that drape into the food bowl though…

Our impromptu pet-sitting braai recipe for peppered fillet has been dedicated to the ever-expectant appetite of Ramsay the Beagle.

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RECIPE RAMSAY PEPPERED FILLET
serves 5 or 6

1.2kg beef fillet, trimmed
olive oil
black peppercorns, coarsely crushed in a pestle and mortar
freshly ground salt
7 fresh rosemary sprigs

1.Rub the fillet with olive oil on all sides. Sprinkle with crushed peppercorns and salt. Using toothpicks, fasten rosemary sprigs into any folds, securing them in place with toothpicks.
2.Cook the fillet on a braai grid over hot coals (wood and charcoal mixed) for 20 minutes. Cover with foil in a warm place off direct heat while the meat rests. Serve slices of rare meat.

MUSHROOM SAUCE
½ packet of 20g dried chanterelle mushrooms
Approximately 250ml boiling water
⅓ cup butter for frying
1 pack portabellini mushrooms, sliced
a splash of white wine
250ml cream

1.Hydrate the dried mushrooms in a cup of boiling water. Strain and reserve the water.
2.In a saucepan, melt the butter and sauté the sliced fresh mushrooms for about 10 minutes. Add the drained mushrooms and strained water. Cook at high heat to reduce the liquid. Add a splash of wine while doing so.
3.Add the cream and keep reducing the liquid while stirring. The sauce should thicken slightly after about five minutes.
4.Serve warm with the peppered fillet.