Tag: walnut butter

Fillet of Beef, Walnut Butter and Beetroot and scrumptious menus for Christmas

Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas

There are many ways to celebrate the holidays and a lavish feast is my way of creating a festive culinary frame when the Christmas bells start ringing. To fill the bowls and platters with roast and gravy, stuffed duck or goose, dumplings and various cabbage dishes may take some time, but these hours spent in the kitchen are so precious to me, that I gladly dedicate a few days to the preparation of some of the most unforgettable meals of the year.

But I’m honest, this year is different, this year used up my batteries. As much as I enjoy every second of shopping for the ingredients for any meal, cooking, baking, and waiting for my creations to be done, I know when I have to slow down. Even if it’s Christmas. A meal isn’t special just because of the money that’s spent on it, or the time put into its preparation. A meal is special when it sparks a firework in the mouth; when we enjoy smelling it, looking at it, and tasting it so much, that we almost feel like children again. Memories and traditions turn a meal into something greater that sets it apart from our everyday foods. The cookies baked on December’s snowy weekends using trusted family recipes are different to the sweets that we stir up during the rest of the year. The beloved duck served on Christmas Eve tastes better when the room is lit up with countless candles and the smell of fir is heavily hanging in the air. I love my traditions and I hold them dearly, but Christmas 2016 calls for a break: lots of time for myself and my loved ones, no plans, no duties, just the pleasure of a little laziness at the end of the year. Cooking is fun and it should always reflect the mood that we’re in, and now, I’m going to be as slow as a sloth.

Last week, I kind of unfurled my Christmas menu from the end, starting with the dessert as I shared my Crème Brûlée Tangerine Cheesecake in a Jar. It’s a dish that can easily be prepared a day or two in advance, meaning more time on the sofa, unwrapping presents, eating cookies, and listening to Christmas carols. My main dish doesn’t need elaborate preparations either, it’s a rather minimal composition of honest, pure flavours. The most tender fillet of beef topped with a slice of walnut mustard butter, served along with sweet and earthy beetroot cubes. The red root is cooked al dente, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with Mr. Cini’s flaky sea salt from Gozo. Sometimes, simplicity tastes best.

To finish my Christmas menu, I should share a starter with you next week, but I will allow myself to take a few days off and stay offline. As I don’t want to leave you and your guests hungry, I have a few recipe suggestions for you from the blog and from my cookbook, not just for starters.

I wish you a peaceful Christmas! Enjoy this precious time with the ones you love!

Meike xx

Here’s some more inspiration for your Christmas menu:



Parsnip and Sweet Potato Soup with Caramelized Plums and Whipped Gorgonzola Mascarpone (Eat In My Kitchen book, page 75)

Sicilian Blood Orange, Olive and Red Onion Salad

Celeriac Salad with Caramelized Honey Kumquats and Walnuts

Sautéed Belgian Endive wrapped in Prosciutto

Chickpea Potato Soup with Rucola Pesto, Lemon and Fried Chickpeas

Artichoke Ricotta and Orange Ravioli (this dish is time consuming, but can be prepared in advance and then frozen)

Potatoes with Cinnamon Hummus, Basil and Prawns

Herbed Polenta with Parsnip Chips and Maple Butter

Saffron and Mussel Tomato Soup

Mediterranean Octopus with Fennel and Orange

Main dish


Slow Roasted Duck with Ginger, Honey and Orange (Eat In My Kitchen book, page 171)

Beef Shank and Caponata Stew (Eat In My Kitchen book, page 169)

Salt Baked Salmon Fillet with Dill, Black Pepper and Juniper

Duck Confit with Roast Potatoes, Chestnuts, Plums and Star Anise

Thyme and Lemon Ricotta Stuffed Pork Roll

Lamb Chops with Orange-Herb Crust

Seared Tuna with Ginger, Lemon, Butter Beans and Onions

My Granny’s Beef Rolls with Potato Dumplings

Vegetarian main dish


Pumpkin Gnocchi with Roquefort Sauce (Eat In My Kitchen book, page 100)

Potato and Apple Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter and Gruyère

Farfalle Pasta with Figs, Mozzarella di Bufala and Honey Butter

Pumpkin Crespelle with Ricotta and Sage

Orange and Fennel Couscous

Spinach Gnocchi with Creamy Mushrooms



Bittersweet Chocolate-Olive Oil Bundt Cake with Candied Orange Peel (Eat In My Kitchen book, page 221)

Pomegranate Pavlova Tart with Rosewater

Provençal Pine Nut, Date and Honey Tart

Crêpes Suzette

Apple Strudel

Maltese Ricotta Pie with Lemon Syrup and Pistachios

Cherry Chocolate Tart with Cardamom Whipped Cream

Marina’s Lemon Marmalade Ice Cream with Caramelized Pistachios


Lemon Meringue Pie

Austrian Crème Malakoff

Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas

Fillet of Beef, Walnut Butter and Beetroot

Serves 4

fillets of beef, trimmed, 4 (each about 140g / 5 ounces and 4-5cm /1 1/2-2″ thick)
olive oil
unsalted butter 2 tablespoons
flaky sea salt
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the walnut butter

shelled walnuts 50g / 2 ounces
butter, at room temperature, 50g / 2 ounces
Dijon mustard, about 1 teaspoon
fine sea salt

For the beetroot

large beetroots with skin 2
bayleaves 2
flaky sea salt
olive oil
shelled walnuts, broken into pieces, a large handful

Take the meat out of the fridge, rinse and pat it dry, and let it come to room temperature.

For the walnut butter, finely grind the walnuts in a blender or food processor, add the butter, mustard, and a little salt, and pulse until combined. Adjust the seasoning. Scrape the butter onto a piece of cling film, roll into a thick sausage shape, and keep in the fridge (or in the freezer for just a few minutes until hard).

For the beetroot, bring a large pot with salted water to the boil and add the bay leaves and beetroot. Close with a lid and let it simmer for about 50 minutes or until the roots are al dente or tender, depending on your preference. Rinse with cold water, peel, and cut into cubes.

In a large, heavy pan, heat a generous splash of olive oil over high heat and sear the fillets for 1 minute on each side. Take the pan off the heat, lower the heat to medium, and add the butter to the pan. Put the pan back on the heat and cook the fillets for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side (for ‘medium rare’), spoon some of the butter over the meat a couple times. Season the fillets with flaky sea salt and crushed pepper, wrap in aluminium foil, and let them rest for 2 minutes. Set the pan with the juices aside.

Divide the beetroot cubes between the plates, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with walnuts and flaky sea salt. Cut the walnut butter into thick slices. Transfer 1 fillet of beef to each plate and lay a slice of walnut butter on top. Drizzle with the juices from the pan used to cook the meat, serve immediately.

Merry Christmas!

Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas


Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas


Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas


Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas


Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas


Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas


Beef Filet, Walnut Butter and Beetroot for Christmas

Potato and Apple Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter and Gruyère

Potato and Appel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter

Here we are again: I’ve reached that critical time of the year – as always in February – when it’s still all about cabbage and roots at the market, but my mind starts dreaming of juicy tomatoes and cucumbers, sweet berries and peaches, and seafood dinners at the sea – basically my summers in Malta. Luckily, February is quite a short month, then we have March, which at least offers ramps towards its end. In April I can feel the sun getting warmer, the sky becomes brighter, and the produce on my counter tops slowly starts to look more colourful. But for now, I must be patient and enjoy what I’ve got – a beautiful crisp head of cabbage.

I blanched the large outer cabbage leaves and stuffed them with boiled potatoes, sour apple, fresh thyme, and a few spoonfuls of mascarpone, instead of sour cream, to bind the mixture. My personal highlight was the topping of crunchy walnut butter and freshly grated Gruyère. Any aromatic hard cheese would work here, but there’s something about this combination of the roasted nuts and this slightly sweet Swiss cheese that fits perfectly to these little wintery cabbage packages.

Potato and Appel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter


Potato and Appel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter

Potato and Apple Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter and Gruyère

For the cabbage rolls

large white or green cabbage leaves 8
peeled potatoes, boiled and chopped, about 250g / 9 ounces
small apple, peeled, cored and chopped, 1
fresh thyme leaves 1 tablespoon
mascarpone (or sour cream or ricotta) 3 tablespoons
organic egg 1
nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
fine sea salt
ground pepper
white wine

For the walnut butter

butter 60g / 1/4 cup
walnuts, roughly chopped, 25g / 1 ounce

For the topping

Gruyère, or any aromatic hard cheese, finely grated, about 2 tablespoons
a few fresh thyme leaves
black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar

For the cabbage leaves, take a large cabbage head and trim the bottom. Carefully peel off 8 large outer leaves. If they tear a little, it’s fine. You’ll only need 4-5 blanched leaves, blanch the remaining leaves to cover torn patches in the leaves that you use for the rolls.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F.

In a large pot, bring salted water to the boil and blanch the cabbage leaves for about 4-6 minutes or until tender. Rinse quickly under cold water, drain and cut out the hard stalk (in a slim triangle-shape).

For the filling, in a large bowl, combine the boiled potatoes, apple, and thyme. Whisk together the mascarpone and egg and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add to the potato-apple mixture, stir to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Lay 4-5 cabbage leaves flat on the kitchen counter and cover torn parts with soft pieces of the remaining leaves. Put a generous tablespoon of the filling in the middle of each cabbage leaf, fold up the sides and roll it up, starting from the side of the stalk. Don’t worry if they don’t look perfect, mine didn’t either. They can all have their individual shape.

Transfer the cabbage rolls to a baking dish and cover the bottom with a splash of white wine and some water. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes or until golden and firm.

While the cabbage rolls are baking in the oven, prepare the walnut butter: In a small saucepan, melt the butter on high heat. When it’s sizzling hot, add the walnuts and turn the heat down to medium. Roast for 10-20 seconds or until golden but not dark. Take the saucepan off the heat.

Divide the cabbage rolls between plates and drizzle with a little butter. Sprinkle with the roasted walnuts, fresh thyme, Gruyère, and crushed pepper.

Potato and Appel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter


Potato and Appel Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Walnut Butter