Justin Woods, head chef at The Castle Green Hotel, Kendal, and Greenhouse restaurant

I’m cooking a meal for a family gathering early in the New Year and I’d like to be a little more creative in what I serve. Any tips please?

Jo Cooper, Bowness

I AM A big fan of slow cooked meats, which are relatively cheap and pairing them with something more costly. For me, the greatest example is pairing some lovely, unctuous, slow cooked beef cheek with some fillet of beef. Buy 2 beef cheeks, they will fed 6 people, from your local butcher and ask for them to be trimmed of most of the fat and sinew. Heat a large frying pan, add 50ml olive oil, add the beef cheeks, season and sear till golden all over. Remove from pan and place in a casserole dish. Add two peeled and chopped onions and 4 cloves crushed garlic to the frying pan, cook for 4-5 minutes, add a few sprigs of thyme, add 350ml red wine, reduce by half, then pour over the beef cheeks. Add enough beef stock to cover the cheeks, place a lid on top and cook at 140C for about 4 -5 hours, they will be incredibly tender when cooked. Carefully remove the beef cheeks and reduce down the cooking juices to make your sauce, passing through a fine strainer to remove any lumps. Buy a centre cut piece of beef fillet, you will need about 125g per person. Season the beef fillet with salt and pepper, brush lightly with olive oil. Sear in a hot pan till golden brown all over, then roast through a very hot oven for about 12 minutes. When cooked, allow to rest. Cut each beef cheeks into 3 pieces and place on a plate with the sliced beef fillet. Serve with some creamy mashed potatoes, some Brussel sprouts and young carrots roasted with little bacon pieces and finished with chopped parsley. Cover your beef fillet and cheeks with plenty of your reduced cooking juices and serve with a large glass of Chateau-Neuf-De-Pape.