Category Archives: Beef

The world’s most incredible steak

Good morning

So, last night A Man and I almost went out for dinner, but then decided to stay in instead and just use the money we would have spent at a restaurant to cook something incredible.  Rib eye steak was on offer at the supermarket, but still more expensive by weight than a rib of beef joint.  We went mad.  We bought a single rib joint and A Man took his cleaver to it when we got home.  2 enormous steaks and a couple more in the freezer.  Excellent!

I forgot to take any photos of A Man butchering the joint, but I’m sure you can guess what it looked like.

As far as I’m concerned, the key to cooking great steak is to ensure that it’s properly seasoned, and to make sure it’s nice and dry before you cook it.  If the meat has a ton of moisture on the surface, the steak will essentially steam, which is just what you don’t want.  The method below worked fantastically, and I’d recommend it.

Much love

Gemma xx

Great steak with baked chips, mushroom sauce and peas

2 steaks
Olive oil
3 large cloves garlic
Dried thyme
About 100g butter
1 white onion
1 large punnet mushrooms
A couple of tablespoons of rum or brandy
100g crème fraîche (I used Yeo Valley Organic half fat)
A small amount of stock, preferably home made
Frozen peas

  1. Crush and chop the garlic finely.  In a large bowl, mix around half of the garlic with a good glug of olive oil, about 1 tablespoon of thyme and some salt and pepper.  Dry the steak if necessary with a clean tea towel or kitchen roll, and marinate in the oil mix.  Turn the steak over and rub it around to ensure that the whole steak has had the oil treatment.

    The steaks sit and wait, poised to jump into the frying pan, and into my eagerly awaiting mouth.

    The steaks sit and wait, poised to jump into the frying pan, and into my eagerly awaiting mouth.

  2. Heat about 1 tablespoon oil in a frying pan with the butter, until the butter starts to bubble.  Finely slice the onion and add this with the remaining garlic to the pan.  Stir regularly and cook until the onion is soft.
  3. Slice the mushrooms and add these to the onions.  Continually turn them over, so that they are evenly cooked.  Cook the mushrooms until they are soft and have started to reduce.
  4. While the mushrooms are cooking, prepare your potatoes.  You can peel them if you like, but I prefer not to.  Cut them into chips of fairly even size, and then rinse the chips in cold water.  This will remove some of the starch from the surface and help to make a crispy chip.  Mix in a bowl with a touch more olive oil, and some salt, pepper and any herbs or spices you wish to add to your chips.  My favourite is smoked paprika.
  5. Turn the oven on very high, and place a baking tray in to heat up.
  6. Add the rum or brandy to the mushrooms and stir vigorously.  It should sizzle a lot.  Stir through the crème fraîche and stock and allow to bubble for a couple of minutes.  Season the sauce to taste, and add a little water if it is too thick.  Remove from the heat – you can warm it through again just before serving.
  7. Cook the chips on the preheated tray.  Depending on their size, and how crowded they are on the tray, they should take around 30 – 45 minutes.  Warm the plates if possible.
  8. A few minutes before serving, heat a dry griddle on the hob until it starts to smoke.  Put the peas on to boil (they really only need the water to boil, then they can be switched off).  Add the steaks to the griddle and watch them carefully.  Cook to your liking.  We usually have ours rare, but these came out slightly more on the medium side because I cooked them a little too long, but they were so tender it just didn’t matter.  Warm the mushrooms through at this point.

    Everything on the go.  I have to say, it was somewhat extravagant having steaks that only just fit in the griddle...

    Everything on the go. I have to say, it was somewhat extravagant having steaks that only just fit in the griddle…

  9. Once the steak is cooked, immediately plate up everything  Pour any juices from the steak pan back over the meat.  Revel in just how incredible your dinner is going to be.
Incredible steaks, delicious mushrooms, perfect crispy chips and, well, peas.  What an amazing Saturday night dinner!  Over the top, yes, but still better value for money than going to a restaurant or getting a takeaway.

Incredible steaks, delicious mushrooms, perfect crispy chips and, well, peas. What an amazing Saturday night dinner! Over the top, yes, but still better value for money than going to a restaurant or getting a takeaway.


This is a tasty burger


Yesterday, A Man and I went to have a look at how our wedding rings are coming along, and was that ever exciting!  This meant that we were out of the house half of the afternoon, and didn’t want anything too labour-intensive for dinner.  This wasn’t too time consuming (especially for me as I didn’t make it!) but absolutely delicious.

Earlier on, I had caught the scent of a BBQ blowing on the breeze, and realised just how long it’s been since I had a homemade burger.  A Man was put in charge and the result was amazing.  Honestly, I’m seriously considering having another one for breakfast.  It was goooood.

I leave you with the recipe, and the wise words of Samuel L Jackson (aka Jules Winnfield).

Love love

Gemma xx

A Man’s Tasty Burgers

Good quality beef mince
Fresh breadcrumbs
Fresh basil leaves
Half an onion
One fat clove of garlic
Salt and pepper
1 egg

  1. Finely dice the onion and garlic.  Place all of the ingredients in a bowl together.
  2. Mix everything together really well with your hands.  Add more breadcrumbs or egg until the meat stays together well.
  3. Shape into burgers and leave to rest until ready to cook.  Cook under a medium grill or on a BBQ for a few minutes on each side.  You can leave it slightly pink in the middle if you like.  I melted some mild cheddar on top of my burger just prior to serving.
  4. Serve with your preferred side dishes.  We had toasted ciabatta bread, homemade baked chips, corn on the cob, tomato, lettuce and thinly sliced red onion.  My favourite way to eat my burgers was with a scrape of mayonnaise and a dollop of sweet chilli sauce.  Om nom nom nom nom nom nom.

There’s also a rather attractive photo of me attempting to stuff this in my gob. For some reason I don’t seem to have uploaded that one…

A meal fit to make you explode

Hi there!

Yesterday was A Man and my anniversary.  It’s now 6 years since we’ve been engaged, and our wedding is finally less than a year away! As I had the day off and he was working I decided to cook a yummy 3 course dinner, complete with actually setting the table nicely, with a tablecloth.  I must admit to going a little over the top.  I bought fillet steak when rump would have done the trick, but the steak was short-date so substantially reduced.  There was also no need to make quite such an enormous dessert, but I’ve only got one spring-form tin and it’s that big.  It’ll hopefully get eaten during the week.

I set the table before A Man got home and then banned him from the kitchen 🙂

My menu was:

Starter Home-made duck liver parfait with a side salad and herb ciabatta toasts
Main Peppered fillet steak with baked potato wedges, tomatoes and flat mushrooms, served with a peppercorn sauce
Dessert Vanilla cheesecake with fresh raspberries, blueberries and mango

Yum!  The starter and main turned out very well.  The dessert, though tasty, looked like an absolute unmitigated disaster.  I shan’t be following that recipe again!  And I’m determined not to think about how many weeks’ calories must have been involved in this single meal.

Love love

Gemma xx

I prepped as much as I could before-hand, so the actual cooking primarily consisted of ‘turn oven on’

Duck Liver Parfait with a side salad and herb ciabatta toasts

Duck livers (or chicken livers if you can’t find duck)
Red onion
Ciabatta roll
Pine nuts
Grana Padano cheese
Pine nuts
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

We actually shared one ramekin of parfait rather than having one each. I think I succeeded in actually plating up an attractive starter!

  1. I made the parfait more or less like this, but without the port and cranberries and with a splash of brandy to deglaze the pan after cooking everything off.
  2. Take a herb and onion ciabatta roll and slice it as thinly as possible.  Place the slices on an oven tray and bake in a medium-high oven for a few minutes until they are crispy.  Be careful not to overdo it or they’ll burn.
  3. Plate up some rocket leaves.  Toast some pine nuts in a dry frying pan until they start to darken (be careful, they burn very easily) and sprinkle over the leaves.  Use a vegetable peeler to get some shards of cheese and sprinkle over the top.  Dress the salad with a small amount of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Peppered fillet steak with baked potato wedges, tomatoes and flat mushrooms, served with a peppercorn sauce

Black peppercorns, salt and sugar
Tomatoes on the vine
Flat mushrooms
Red onion
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Crème fraîche

The peppercorn sauce was in a jug. I decided it would make a better photo before it has been poured on.

  1. Remove the steak from its packaging and dry the surfaces with kitchen roll or a teatowel.  Coat both sides liberally with freshly ground black pepper and season with a little salt.  Leave to come up to room temperature.
  2. Slice the potatoes into wedges (leaving the skin on) and boil until soft.  Remove from the pan and arrange on an oven tray, cut sides facing up.  If you like you can season them with your chosen flavour, an cook them in oil or fat to make the crispier.  I decided that with all the other calories in this dish, just baking them au naturel made the most sense!
  3. Place the tomatoes and mushrooms on an oven tray.  Cut the onion into quarters and add to the veg.  Season well with salt, pepper and a little sugar on the tomatoes.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Cook the potatoes and veg in a hot oven for around 30 minutes, or until the wedges are browned and the veg is soft.  Turn the oven off and place some plates to warm.
  5. Melt some butter in a frying pan on a medium-high heat.  When it is bubbling and starting to brown, add the steaks to the pan with a few peppercorns.  Cook them on both sides until they are cooked as desired.  I only cooked mine for a minute or two on each side, as we like ours very rare.  Scrape some of the pepper off of the steak into the butter and remove the meat from the pan, placing it on the warmed plates.
  6. Deglaze the pan with a couple of tablespoons of brandy, scraping up any crispy bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add a spoon or two of crème fraîche and cook for a couple of minutes until the sauce has reduced.  Serve as quickly as possible, to ensure the steak is still warm.

Vanilla cheesecake with fresh raspberries, blueberries and mango

I used a Jamie Oliver recipe and followed it to the letter.  It ought to have been beautiful but somehow the cream cheese seemed to melt everywhere as soon as I topped the cheesecake with the raspberry sauce.  Sadface.  At least it tasted good!  And I suppose there had to be a disaster somewhere…

Perhaps there was too much raspberry sauce? I don’t know, except that it made a huge mess!

Spicy Roast Beef with Tamarillo Sauce and Plantain Chips


I’ve been a very naughty blogger over the past couple of weeks and I’ve just not had any foodie inspiration.  I’ve just been rehashing the same tired old meals and not doing anything of any interest to the internet at all.  I felt this needed to stop, and decided to have a go with some of the exotic fruit and veg we’ve been getting in at work.

I’m not particularly good at remembering to lubricate our meals, so decided I’d make a concerted effort to actually produce a sauce tonight.  Enter the tamarillo.  It’s a fruit I hadn’t cooked with before, but had eaten.  It’s somewhat sour and I thought it would probably mush down nicely.  As it turns out, I was really pleased with the outcome.  Really simple, but very punchy.  Yum!  I love the fact that this dinner seemed pretty impressive (probably because of the unusual ingredients) but mostly just cooked itself.  The preparation and involvement was really minimal, which is just dandy in my book!

Much love

Gemma xx

Spicy Roast Beef with Tamarillo Sauce and Plantain Chips

Rib of beef joint
Mexican spice mix (yes, I cheated and used a packet mix.  You can mix your own if you like)
Vegetable oil, salt and herbs
Tamarillo (I only used 1, but obviously use more if there are lots of you)
Brown sugar

  1. Rub the beef all over with the spice mix and leave to sit for a couple of hours.  Preheat the oven to 150OC/300OF/Gas Mark 2.  Cover the beef with tin foil and cook for a couple of hours, until it is cooked through but still pink in the middle.
  2. About half an hour before serving, peel your plantain (this is easier if you just run the knife down the edge, rather than trying to peel like a banana) and slice into thin discs.  Place the slices into a bowl with some vegetable oil and season well with salt and herbs.  I didn’t really use enough salt, so don’t be shy here.  Place onto a tray covered in baking parchment and place in the oven.
  3. Remove the beef from the oven to rest for 20 minutes and turn the oven up high.  Keep checking the plantain to ensure it doesn’t burn.
  4. Peel and chop the tamarillo and place in a small pan with enough water to cover.  Bring to the boil and stir, until the fruit has broken down into a mush.  Add any juice from the beef pan, stir well and taste.  Sweeten with a little brown sugar at a time until of the desired sweetness.
  5. Serve the beef sliced thinly, covered in tamarillo sauce.  Serve with the plantain chips and a salad.

Leftover Beef Burritos with Homemade Guacamole

Greetings earthlings!

I was a massive glutton yesterday.  I had what seemed like the universe’s biggest roast dinner for lunch and nothing but jam sponge and custard for my tea and despite being so full I could barely move, immediately started considering what to do with the leftover meat.

Some of it went into A Man’s sandwich (dubbed “definitely within the top 2 sandwiches I’ve ever eaten”) for lunch at work today, along with the leftover mushroom stuffing and some lettuce.  The rest I decided to make into yummy burritos/fajitas/something Mexican.  Does anyone know the difference between the two? Because I have no clue.  They’re both stuff in a tortilla, and that’s the important thing.

I love how fajitas are communal food.  You bring everything to the table in bowls, people choose what they want and leave what they don’t, and chat to one another.  Not to mention the fact that the combination of of spiced meat, meltingly soft onions and crunchy salad is one of my absolute favourite things to eat.  Yum!  It looks like there are tons of ingredients here, but most of them are the spices I used, which are infinitely interchangeable – use whatever is your favourite, or a pre-mixed blend if you prefer.  You can use this method for cooking steak (rather than leftover meat), pork, chicken or veggies – lots of peppers, courgettes and butternut squash are a good combination for a veggie version.

What’s your favourite food?  Are you a spice-head or do you like it more mellow?  And does anybody know the difference between a fajita and a burrito?!

Love love

Gemma xx

Leftover Beef Burritos with Homemade Guacamole

A Man is proud of his handiwork, bearing in mind that I managed to make the tortillas unnecessarily (and unintentionally) crispy.

Cold roast beef, shredded into fine strips
1 onion, cut into fine slices
Green pepper, cut into fine slices
1 fat clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp onion granules
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Schwartz Cook Art Chilli Cocoa Bean Spice (don’t worry if you don’t have this – use 1/2 tsp ordinary cocoa powder instead)
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Couple of twists from a chilli flake mill
1 tsp sugar
Pinch Salt
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Zest and juice of a lemon

For the Guacamole

Ripe avocado
Tomato, finely diced (optional – technically, guacamole should have tomato in, but I prefer it without.  Add it if you like)
1 onion, finely diced
1 chilli, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Zest and juice of a lime

Flour tortillas
Preferred side dishes and burrito fillings, to serve

All of our ingredients, ready to be demolished.

  1. If your meat is very fatty, fry it on a low heat in a dry pan to render some of the fat out and pour it off.  Remove the meat from the pan.
  2. Fry the onion, garlic and pepper, stirring occasionally.  You want it to gain some colour, so start it on a medium-high heat, then turn it right down once the veg has started to brown.  Keep stirring regularly until the onion is very soft and sweet.  Switch the heat off once it is cooked.  It could take a while, so do your other prep in the mean time.
  3. Place the beef in a bowl with all of the spices, sugar and lemon zest and juice and stir really well.  If possible, leave this to marinade for a couple of hours.
  4. Cut the avocado in half and twist to separate the halves.  Remove the flesh from the skin and mash until it is as soft as you like.  Some people like their guacamole smooth, but I prefer mine with some texture.  Stir in the onion.  Purée the garlic and salt together with the flat side of a knife and stir into the avocado mix.  Add the chilli a little at a time, tasting regularly, until the salsa is as spicy as you like it.  Stir through the lime zest and juice, adjust the seasoning as necessary.  Place the avocado stone into the bowl – for some reason, this helps to prevent the salsa from going brown.
  5. Prepare your other side dishes.  My absolute favourite is very simply finely shredded white cabbage dressed with lemon juice.  Other popular ones include grated cheese (we had edam), sour cream, tomato salsa, coleslaw, grated carrots, sliced peppers, rice, sweetcorn and finely sliced cucumber.  Use whatever you fancy having with your meat.
  6. Warm the tortillas shortly before serving.  Add the marinated beef to the fried onion and pepper and cook gently until warmed all through and sizzling.  Serve immediately at the table so that everyone can help themselves.

Again, due to the somewhat crispy nature of the tortillas, it was impossible to roll. This one ended up like some kind of bastard son of a fajita and a calzone, with some piadina ancestry.

Dinner of kings! And somewhat soporific. Time for a post-lunch nap!

I tried Roast Beef and Garlic Mushroom Stuffing again today, with a couple of key changes. The joint was a piece of boneless rib of beef, roasted for only around 45 minutes before being taken out to rest. The stuffing was simply put in an oven-proof dish and baked by itself for around half an hour. All served up with roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, runner beans and leftover marrow and cauliflower cheese.  And of course lots of horseradish sauce and yummy gravy made with mixed meat stock from the other day.  Pudding to follow later on, if I can get up…


Happy Sunday, everybody

A Man and I are going on holiday next week (hooray!!!) and so made quite a specific shopping list before buying food yesterday to make sure we didn’t have loads left in the fridge.  We decided we’d have a roast today, and I could make soup tomorrow, my intention being to make stock from the bones.  Somehow we came back with a boneless rump of beef.  Not quite sure how, but never mind!

You won’t get a beautiful, easy-to-carve joint after stuffing it like this unless you’re a wizard at butchers’ knots and have a much longer joint that we did (ours was a tiny 2-ounce piece, but that suits us fine) but you should get one that’s lovely and moist and flavoursome.  The advantage we did have by having a little joint was that it doesn’t take long to cook, and you can chuck your potatoes…

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Return of the Beef with Creamy Mushroom Sauce


If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for steak in creamy mushroom sauce without any pictures.  Yesterday, I made something very very similar to be heated up tonight, but with a few key differences.  I won’t bother posting a detailed recipe, but here are the highlights:

  • I used a combination of oyster, shiitake and portobello mushrooms in the sauce
  • Rather than use a cream base, I made a simple white sauce to which I added some white wine, lots of black pepper and the fried mushrooms
  • My meat wasn’t steak, but rather leftover roast beef.  I roasted a rib of beef yesterday for dinner and the beautifully rare meat was lovely and tender in this sauce – I just stirred it through the sauce to warm through
  • Rather than new potatoes and cabbage, I served it this time with ribbon pasta and a carrot and fennel salad which cut through the sauce a treat.  The salad was very simply a couple of grated carrots and half a grated bulb of fennel, dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice

Love love

Gemma xx

Excuse the crappy photography. Yet again, I used my phone and yet again it served to disappoint in its photo-capturing capacity.