Sunday, 17 August 2014

Steak Bearnaise

Fillet steak with a Bearnaise sauce

This is such a luxurious, indulgent dish. Like all the recipes in this blog; sensational results from embarrassingly little effort. And all the emphasis is on flavour not poncy presentation.This dish was always a favourite of my father's. He used to be a roofer. So Dad, if you're up there.... (I love that Stuart Francis joke).


4 matured, pedigree herd fillet steaks (better still get your butcher to give you a whole fillet and you cut your own steaks to the thickness you want. I love them about 1 1/2 inches thick)
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of double cream
1/4 teaspoon of salt
A pinch of cayenne pepper
1 table spoon of white wine vinegar
150g softened butter cut up into tiny cubes
1 teaspoon of chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon of finely chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon of finely chopped chives

The cooking

Start by making a bain marie; find a heat proof bowl that is wide enough to sit on top of a saucepan of water, and deep enough so that when it is there, the base is just below the surface of the water. Keep the bowl cool and clear of the saucepan when you start your sauce, and heat the water in the saucepan so it is gently bubbling. In the cold bowl, mix your egg yolks, cream, salt, cayenne pepper and vinegar and whisk together so all the ingredients are mixed together. Then, place the bowl onto your saucepan of bubbling water and continue to whisk until it starts to thicken. Then, cube by cube, add your butter and continue to whisk as each cube melts. Continue this process until all the butter has been melted and blended and your sauce has become fairly thick. Add you tarragon, parsley and chives and stir in. Turn the heat off under your saucepan and leave your sauce in the bain marie to rest.

Now fry or grill your steak. Turn the heat up as high as it will go. While you are waiting for the pan or the grill to heat up, pour a dribble of vegetable oil onto your hands and massage it into both sides of all your steaks. Then season with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black or green pepper. Wait until the heat in your pan or your grill is absolutely searing before starting to cook your steaks. Then cook for 1 1/2 minutes on each sides for the perfect, pink in the middle rare steak.If you are frying, prod them occasionally to stop them from sticking. Alternatively, if you wish to ruin them, 2 minutes each side for medium steaks or up to 3 minutes on each side if you want it well done and shite.

Serve with sweet veg such as baby carrots or mange tout peas and crispy, sauteed potatoes or chips.Or if you are feeling really luxuriant, gratin dauphinois.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Silverstone Midnight Burger

The Silverstone Midnight Burger

Here is a must for any BBQ. The story of it's inception gives away how simple it is to prepare and it tastes fantastic. My son and I went to Silverstone for the weekend to watch rich people drive cars really fast, round and round in circles (I can highly recommend it). One evening, it occurred to us round about the time that decent people were going to bed that we had not eaten since lunch time and we were hungry. So this is what I rustled up in the pitch black of night for us to snack on (admittedly; somewhat worse for wear!). If you make one of these in the day light, and you see the size of it, you will realise what a handicap eating it in the dark is. It is a pretty cumbersome thing, especially if you cannot see where it starts and finishes. But very gratifying!


2 decent 1/4 pound steak mince burgers (from your butcher not a supermarket)
4 rashers of thick cut, smoked, back bacon (also from your butcher)
2 squared slices of Emmental cheese (the pre-sliced stuff is perfect)
2 slices of iceberg lettuce
2 thick slices of a beef tomato
2 sesame seeded bread rolls (halved) or 4 thick slices of a soft, rustic style bread (eg bloomer)


Get your barbecue lit and up to temperature and past the point where it is still flaming, and instead your embers are just glowing red (usually takes around 45 minutes). Pop your 2 burgers down and cook for around 13 minutes (or until cooked through), turning over every 2-3 minutes or so, to make sure they are not burning or sticking. For the last 8 minutes, place your bacon rashers beside them, also turning every 2 minutes. Make sure the edges are nice and crispy before concluding they are ready. Finally for the last 2 minutes, toast your bread rolls, flat side down, on the  barbecue and lay a slice of cheese on top of each of your burgers so it starts to melt over the top.
When the time is up, put the whole lot together; lay your 2 bottom halves of each bread roll on a plate or flat, clean surface. Add your lettuce slice as a base to each one, add your cheese smothered burgers as the next layer, then a bacon rasher on each, then your tomato slice, then your personal choice of relish (ketchup, tomato relish, corn relish, mayo or a combination of some or all - its up to you) then crown with the other halves of your bread rolls and serve up. You may want to slice in half with a knife if this meant to be finger food, so your dinners can actually get a mouth around it.
Serve with a nice fresh salad!