<i></i>

A nice slab of eye fillet makes a great alternative for the Christmas spread. And it’s usually devoured in minutes meaning you don’t have to face the days and days of omelettes, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, pastas, bubble n squeak and rotation of ham leftover dishes that hang about until new years when the ham is finally beaten. Even better it requites a lot less time in the oven – perfect for those of us far more concerned with the location of the champagne than the cooking come Christmas day. For this beef marinade I’ve incorporated Lapsang Souchong tea – ground to a powder and rubbed all over the beef. It imparts a delicate smokiness without the hassle of smoking paraphernalia and works really well with the mustard and jam flavours.

The cooking is absolutely straightforward, but I will throw in a few words of caution

For a tender roast, the piece of beef eye fillet must be properly aged. Be careful the meat isn't too fresh, otherwise its likely to be tough.

Get involved. Really massage in the marinade for best results.

A good piece of meat should be rare, too cooked and the hedonist pleasure is lost. And really, after that, what is the point.

Make sure the meat is at room temperature when it goes in the oven

Make sure your oven is hot and has reached the right temperature before it goes in. Some prefer to blister it at the highs of 220+ then turn the heat down. Here I prefer a more sedate approach.

After cooking, allow your beef to rest. At least 20 minutes

Use a warm plate to serve.

Sticky tea, plum and mustard beef

Serves 6

Ingredients

1.25kg beef eye fillet 

3 heaped tsp lapsang Souchong tea ground to powder

6 tbsp good quality plum jam

2 tbsp  Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic crushed

Aioli and coriander leaves to serve

Method

Place the tea, jam, mustard and garlic in a bowl and stir to combine and until the jam has softened and you have a thick sauce consistency. 

Smear the piece of beef in the marinade, working it into the meat. Season with salt and pepper then cover and refrigerate for two hours for the flavours to develop.

Preheat the oven to 200C. Remove beef from the fridge and bring to room temperature. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the piece of beef on top and cook for 17 – 20 minutes for rare. This can vary with the oven and also the thickness of your piece of meat, check on it regularly if you need to. Remove, cover with foil and allow to rest before slicing.