Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Waiter my Steak just Mooed at me... Fillet Steak Tartare

Steak Tartare is one of those dishes that divides opinion.  Even amongst the hardiest of meat eaters you’ll still find people that balk at the thought of raw meat.  

If you put a blue steak in front of me I’d struggle to get through it, let alone enjoy it!  On the other hand if you chopped it up and threw in some seasoning?  Well you guessed it; I’d be wolfing it down.

According to Larousse Gastronomique Tartare is a dish of ground beef served raw with an egg yolk and seasoning.

You’ll struggle to find any two recipes that are the same though.  Even the most cursory Google image search throws up a world of variety and one or two worrying interpretations…

This is my recipe; basic and simple as it is I hope you’ll agree it shows the meat the respect it deserves.  This is best eaten as a starter for two or a main for one if you are feeling greedy.

200 grams of Fresh Fillet Steak
1 Egg Yolk
1 generous tsp of Capers – You’ll want a couple for garnish
5 Cornichons – One for garnish as well.
1 half a decent sized Shallot.
Salt and Pepper
HOT SAUCE – Tabasco or Chohula are good (to taste)

You will want to start by dicing the shit out of your ingredients.  The secret of dish is creating a fine texture and everything should be the same size.

Use a knife; this should go no where near a blender.  I might forgive you for using a mincer on the meat but you’d probably have to buy me a drink first…

Stick everything in a big bowl and mix it up.  Chill till you are ready to serve and divide into rings on your plates.  Garnish with the remaining capers and cornichon then eat!

It’s pretty nice served with toasted bread or really crunchy fries as a main but I just love it on its own.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Dab with Anchovy and Caper Butter

Dab is a small flat fish that until recently a lot of people won’t have heard of. Which is odd considering it’s one of the most commonly found fish in British coastal waters.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver have quite rightly been touting them as a sustainable alternative to the more commonly bought Cod and Haddock. When you consider the price I definitely think it’s one we should all be eating more of.

Only problem is no one really sells them and I’ve only just found some in my local supermarket. It’s a shame really as it’s already a good few months since the fishfight hit our screens.

Unless people start doing fun and interesting things with them public awareness will be on the wane. Hopefully though demand will pick up and we’ll see a bit more of this tasty little fish!

Like most white flat fish it’s loves the heat of a grill or oven and is best served on the bone. I’ve trimmed and descaled my Dabs though, simply taking off the fins with kitchen scissors and then removing the heads and guts with a knife.

Cooking them couldn’t be easier really, I throw mine in a hot oven at 250c for about 10 minutes with a little olive oil and a squeeze of Lemon. You’ll know when they are cooked as the flesh comes away from the bone with the gentlest of touches.

To make your Anchovy and Caper butter simply mix a tin of anchovies, a handful of capers and a half a block of butter together in the blender. Serve on top of your fish and let it’s richness melt down onto the plate.

This works well with almost all fish but especially so with Dab, Sole and Plaice. The salty anchovies and the tang of the capers just lift the gentle fish to another level and it's well worth a try. Serve with fresh vegetables and enjoy!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

You want Sauce? Dirty Kebab House Chilli Sauce

If you are anything like me you are probably not much a stranger to the humble Kebab.  It’s a long standing favourite of mine and the combination of meat and spice satisfies like nothing else after a few drinks.

This is my recipe for a quick and dirty kebab sauce that’s guaranteed to get your arse twitching.  I’ve spent years trying out different combos and ingredients but to get proper kebab house sauce you need to keep it simple and HOT.

It’s all about the speed for me when I’m in the mood for a post pub snack and this couldn’t get any easier.  Chop six whole red chillies and an onion; add these to a pan with a splash of oil on a medium heat.  Soften for a few minutes to release the natural chilli oils and then add your tin of chopped tomatoes.

Turn up the heat and let it reduce for a few minutes till the sauce thickens up nicely.  Add a punch of salt and a pinch of sugar and you are done.  Perfect Kebab House Chilli sauce every time!

This makes quite a bit of sauce but it keeps well and is quite versatile.  I love how well this goes with creamy Feta and juicy Chicken but it would work well with fish or tofu.  Perfect to mop up some booze at the end of the night!


6 whole Chillies
1 Small Onion
1 Tin of Tomatoes
A Punch of Salt
A Pinch of Sugar


This continues to be my most popular post ever so I thought I'd add some useful kebab and hot sauce links:
Food Stories - Hot Sauce: My Top 4
Best Kebab in London - Cyprus Mangal, Warwick Way, SW1
The Guardian - The DIY Doner

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Ginger Power Shandy and the Turbo Mule

What would you do if someone asked you to create a dish that used Crabbies Ginger Beer as the main ingredient?  I’ve got to be honest I gave it a go and the results weren’t that pretty…

So I decided the use it the way god intended and drink the fucker!  In the interest of science of course I thought it only fair to give The Hollows from Fentimans a try as well to check out their take on alcoholic ginger beer.

My Ginger Power Shandy is simply half Crabbies and half Lager.  To recreate this at home fill a glass with some ice, pour in some Crabbies and top it up with Lager.  Then drink…  It’s refreshing, easy to drink and a couple of them will see you well on the way to inebriation.

It’s an excellent way to use it as for me on its own the Crabbies is over sweet.  It has a good ginger note but that sweetness becomes overpowering and cloying on the palate if you are having more than one on its own.

The Hollows on the other hand feels much more like an adult treat.  The strong ginger flavour and dry edge with out the sweetness makes this well worth a punt as it is!

It works really well as a mixer and when combined with lime and vodka makes a frankly lethal Turbo Mule!  Why turbo?  Well a normal mule only uses ordinary ginger beer so this is my powered up version.

At the end of the day both make great summer drinks and with the sun shining down on us right now it’s the perfect time to give them a try!

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Hangover Diet...

It’s Sunday morning and light is pouring in through the window like an unexpected golden shower.  My eyes, half sealed, seem to be telling me I’m swimming through Vaseline...  I’ve got one or two seconds before I realise what’s going on and the pain hits. 

In my mind it’s at this point the Gin soaked tramp that is my brain bungees off a bridge called shame into a river of broken glass.  Each and every hang over is unique it seems.  They range from the gentle dull thudding mid week headache of one too many after work drinks.

Moving through to that violent shuddering nausea induced by a Stag do that ends in noiseless retching.  The type of horrible dry heaving that leaves you gently hugging the toilet bowl till you fall into sweet welcome unconsciousness.

Eventually I realise food is my only hope.  When my stomach stops threatening me and those hastily swallowed painkillers start to take the edge of the pain I begin that slow shuffle towards the kitchen.

Normal food conventions go out of the window when you are hung-over.  When your dietary requirement falls simply to what can be kept down and what takes the least effort to make your choices tend to be fried and wrapped in bread!

For me the kill or cure breakfast has to be the Sausage sandwich.  The Effort vs. Speed ratio dictates cooking them in an oven.  Somehow though this simple technique is often forgotten due to the alcohol or the lack of sleep and I’ll spend the next 30 minutes running between the stove and the smoke alarm.

Banger sandwich done and it seems perfectly logical to follow it with sleep.  Occasionally waking up only to shout for tea!  Every year I get older the hang-overs get worse and I think I'll need to start being careful one of these days...  

What gets you through those dark times though?  If you've got any tried and tested remedies let me know!