Tag: steak

A simple September feast

Lately we have been enjoying more vegetables than ever thanks to the season’s harvest. Tomatoes, zucchinis and pumpkins are part of our everyday meals, and I have been enjoying coming up with new ideas on how to cook them. It brings such a sense of achievement to have grown, picked and cooked food that is so fresh, and it’s been nice to take a break from meat. However, yesterday, my appetite screamed for a juicy entrecôte steak. Sometimes a sublimely grilled steak is unbeatable. Teamed with a ballon de rouge (glass of red wine), I can’t think of a more utopian meal. Simple and perfect.

As a side dish, I usually prepare a Béarnaise sauce and french fries, or steamed spinach drizzled with olive oil and lemon. Since I am cooking in a pumpkin themed week, I wanted to make an opulent classic pumpkin gratin with Comté cheese (just like my grandmother’s version), but I also wanted to try a very simple roasted version with olive oil, rosemary and garlic. They are very easy to prepare so I made both. The kids preferred the roasted version, the adults loved the gratin version. I loved both.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

2-3 good-quality entrecôte steak – (my cuts are very large, so 2-3 are enough)

Pumpkin gratin with Comté cheese:
600 g pumpkin (deseeded, diced in cubes and peeled)
2 eggs
150 g grated Comté cheese (or any of your favourite cheese)
3-4 tbsp crème fraîche
1 small clove of garlic
A pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Wash, peel and deseed pumpkin (if you want to save time just boil with the skin on and slice off when cooked – it will be much easier). Dice coarsely in cubes and place in a large pot of salted water (1 litre). Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes or until pumpkin is tender. Drain and mash with a potato masher. Return to pot and ‘dry’ out the mash on a medium heat stirring constantly for 3 minutes. This will dry it out and prevent it from being too watery when baked as pumpkin is a very watery vegetable. Place mash in a bowl, add eggs, 1/3 of the cheese, crème fraîche, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Rub garlic all over roasting pan. Place mash in the roasting pan. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake in a preheated oven (200°C) for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden on top.

Roasted pumpkin with rosemary and garlic:
500 g pumpkin (sliced in a crescent shape, skin left on)
A bunch of rosemary
Olive oil to drizzle
5 cloves of garlic (unpeeled and cut in two)
Coarse sea salt and pepper to season
Parchment paper

Wash pumpkin, slice in a crescent shape and deseed. Line a roasting pan with parchment paper and place sliced pumpkin. Drizzle with olive oil, season with rosemary, salt and pepper. Cook in a preheated oven (200°C) for 30 minutes or until golden, turning them over midway.

Cooking the entrecôte:

Fry your steak on a griddle or frying pan. Heat a frying pan or griddle on a high heat, and when the pan gets very hot, add a tsp of oil. Fry steak on both sides – I like mine medium, so about 2 minutes on each side.

Here are three golden rules when cooking steak: 1) Always take out the meat from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. 2) Salt the steak before cooking it. 3) Do not move of touch the steak when cooking. Just let it sizzle.

Farkas, our latest baby (Smooth Fox Terrier).

Steak and Béarnaise sauce

If I didn’t live in France anymore, and came back as a visitor, what would I want to eat? I like to play these little ‘short-listing’ games – favourite dishes, restaurants and cities. One of the winners would be steak, French fries and Béarnaise sauce. This is my feel-good Friday night kind of meal – a juicy steak, covered in the best golden sauce, and finger licking good French fries with a beautiful glass of Bordeaux. What more could I ask for?

As I am a red meat fan, I love ‘Le Severo’ in Paris (8, Rue des plantes 75014 Paris). Owned by William Bernet (he was a butcher at the ‘Boucherie Nivernaises’, one of the best butchers in Paris), Le Severo is a red meat temple, serving the best steak-frites in Paris. He is also famous for a superb wine list. I once asked Bernet what was his secret for cooking the meat so perfectly. His answer was simple – ‘I use peanut oil’ (huile d’arachide). Now that is a good tip.

Can you believe Béarnaise sauce was a glorified mistake? The scene takes place in the kitchens of the ‘Henri IV pavilion’ in St-Germain-en-Laye in 1837. A cook by the name of ‘Collinet’ overboils a shallot sauce by letting it reduce too long. He decides to save it by adding egg yolks and herbs. When asked the name of his sauce, Collinet tries to find a name and gets inspired by Henri IV who came from Béarn province. The Béarnaise sauce was born!


4 faux-filets (sirloin) steaks (this is my preference, but you can obviously choose your favourite type of steak)
250 grs butter
50 ml white wine
30 ml white wine vinegar
4 tsp water
4 egg yolks
2 shallots (chopped very finely)
salt and pepper
1/2 bouquet chervil (chopped)
1/2 bouquet tarragon (chopped)
Dash of peanut oil

Clarify your butter – melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat. Simmer gently until the foam rises to the top. You should see the milk solids separating. Set aside to cool slightly, discard the foam, and pour the clear clarified butter in a bowl. You only want to keep the ‘clear’ butter which is perfect for cooking on high temperature and making sauces. You might want to use a strainer if you wish.

Chop the shallots and herbs very finely. Set aside

In another saucepan, boil the vinegar, white wine, finely chopped shallots, half of the herbs, salt and pepper until it has reduced and turned slighty syrup-like. Remove from heat, add the 4 egg yolks and the 4 tsp of water and whisk continuously. Return to a low heat, continue to whisk, and remove from heat every 1 minute – repeat this process for 10 minutes, constantly whisking until the sauce becomes frothy and starts thickening. By now your sauce should have reached its goal. Remove from heat and add the cooled clarified butter, continue to whisk, (just as if you were preparing a mayonnaise). You should obtain a beautiful thick yet smooth sauce. Add the rest of the chopped herbs. The key is to constantly whisk the sauce, alternating on/off the heat.

Fry your steak on a griddle or frying pan. Heat a frying pan or griddle on a high heat, and when the pan gets very hot, add a tsp of oil. Fry steak on both sides – I like mine medium, so about 2 minutes on each side.

Here are three golden rules when cooking steak: 1) Always take out the meat from the fridge 1 hour before cooking. 2) Salt the steak before cooking it. 3) Do not move of touch the steak when cooking. Just let it sizzle.

Serve with French fries.

Steak, Mushroom and Guinness pie

Tonight is the big premier league game between Manchester United & Manchester City – it’s a potential title decider. Tensions are running high. I can feel the electricity running through my husband’s head so I decided to bake a good old steak, mushroom and Guinness pie to make him happy! It’s the perfect football meal, served with a potato salad. Win, lose or draw, this dish won’t let him down!

Ingredients (for eight slices)

800 grs steak trimmed and cubed 3cm
1 large onion (chopped)
2 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 chopped carrot (chopped)
1 bay leaf
A dash of thyme
200 grs coarsely chopped large white mushrooms pre-fried in 15 grs butter
400 ml beef stock
200 ml Guinness beer
40 grs flour
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 egg yolk for glazing pastry


2 X 230 grs puff pastry ready-rolled sheet

Pre-heat oven 180° celsius

In a large pan, brown the cubed steak for 5 minutes or until brown on all sides, add the flour and stir well. In another pan, fry the onion and garlic until golden, then add the chopped carrots, thyme and bay leaf for 10 minutes on a low heat. Deglaze with the Guinness beer and Worcestershire sauce and reduce till it becomes thick and glossy. Add to the big beef pan, add the beef stock on cook on a low-heat for 2 hours. Add the pre-fried (in butter) mushrooms 15 minutes before the end. It’s very important to let the beef cool down before pouring in the pastry.

Roll out the pastry and line your pastry dish. Pour the beef mixture (make sure it’s cool) in the pie dish. Cover with your second pastry disc and seal together by pressing firmly on the side of the dish with your thumbs. Cut off excess pastry dough and re-roll to create 8 leaves to decorate the pie (8 is my lucky number). You can use a knife and cut out leaf-shaped figures and using the tip of the knife, draw the lines of a leaf. Finally, brush the pie with the egg yolk to give it a nice golden hue in the oven. One last thing, take a stick and prick the centre of your pie – so your pie won’t puff up from the middle.

Cook approx 30 minutes – it’s always good to check during the last five minutes – all ovens have different strength.