From an early age, I was always fascinated with the smells that came from my family’s kitchen. My mother was the cook in our household and was always cooking hearty meals for a family of hungry boys. It wasn’t sophisticated, but it was honest food cooked with love.
This philosophy I carried with me throughout my cooking career – I’ve never tried to overcomplicate dishes, and always let the ingredients speak for themselves.
In this dish (Beef Fillet with Sweet Potato Mash) I have chosen fresh local produce, prepared using simple cooking techniques, keeping it hearty and effortless.
New Zealand has some of the best produce in the world – and now the secret is out!
- Remove beef fillet from fridge and allow to come to room temperature. Season generously with salt and pepper on all sides.
- Heat a large thick-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and place the beef into the pan. Sear evenly on all sides for 2-3 minutes, ensuring good caramelisation.
- Add the butter, garlic cloves and thyme to the pan and allow the butter to become golden and nutty. Tilt the saucepan and spoon the butter over the beef for 30 seconds each side, this will keep the meat juicy and moist. Remove from the pan and allow the meat to rest for 3-4 minutes.
Orange and Ginger Kumara Mash
- In a large saucepan, place the kumara and ginger. Cover with orange juice and bring to the boil.
- Cook for 25-30 minutes or until the kumara is soft and tender. Drain and allow to sit for 5 minutes to steam off any excess moisture.
- Return to the saucepan and with a potato masher, mash the kumara.
- Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Stir through fresh cream to get the desired consistency.
- Remove the top and bottom of the leek. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 5cm pieces and finely slice.
- In a large saucepan, heat oil to 160 degrees. In batches, fry the leek for 1-2 minutes or until golden, remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the leek has been cooked.
- Once cool, sprinkle with salt.
- In a saucepan, place a teaspon of oil and gently fry the shallots until they are golden and caramelised. Add the red wine, redcurrant jelly and the thyme.
- Once reduced to half, add the veal and beef glace. Cook for 1 minute and strain through a fine sieve.
Place a generous amount of kumara mash onto the centre of the plate. Place the beef fillet gently on top of the mash and garnish with the crispy leeks. Spoon over the redcurrant jus. Enjoy!