Skippy

Hitting the new year resolutions head on. Felix is studying Australia at school at the moment so it seems fitting to cook him some kangaroo.

I’ve eaten it in Australia before, but I don’t believe I’ve ever actually cooked with it.

We’ve managed to source some leg steaks and the plan is to give them 3-4 minutes each side on a stinking hot griddle pan. Most importantly, the steaks are going to get a good rest for 5-10 minutes under foil as I’m expecting the meat to be relatively tough due to all the work those muscles do.

High in protein, low in fat and just a touch gamey (I’d say it has the slightest ‘liver’ flavour to it).

Surprisingly good and a definite thumbs up from all the family.

Felix eating Kangaroo

Given we’re on the Australia theme we may as well do it properly and open a bottle of Peter Lehmann Shiraz. Stunning, stunning wine that certainly stands up to Skippy.

Barossa Shiraz

Valentines

February Challenge #1 for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Ambassadors: Cook for loved ones this Valentine’s day.

Easy!  That was always going to happen.

Our morning started with a little surprise for the children at breakfast with homemade cards and a chocolate heart treat – it was the weekend after all.

Chocolate Heart treats

Breakfast was a baked blueberry sharing pancake which was rather predictable for us other than using a square tin.  Crème Fraîche is essential to cut through the sweetness. We always have the ingredients for this to hand as it’s mostly store cupboard staples and I also pop spare blueberries in the freezer before they turn.

Valentines Baked Blueberry Pancake

Eating Baked Blueberry Pancake for Valentines

Lunch comes around so quickly, especially following lazy mornings.  A bit of spare ham we roasted a few days back and a couple of mushrooms.. Oh what to make?

Thankfully, the friendly freezer contains all sorts of good stuff; homemade chicken stock, peas, broad beans, spinach etc. Combined with a little pasta, a potato, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and we’re away: Hearty Winter Minestrone.

Felix eating MinestroneNow onto the main event.  Felix has become obsessed with fish. Today he decided on a beautiful Plaice from the counter which we dusted in seasoned flour and fried in butter for a total of four minutes:

plaice: before and after

For us, it has to be steak for Valentines (or any other good excuse). Unfortunately we only had sirloin to hand, but at least it was excellent quality:

sirloin steak

A classic Prawn Cocktail spiced up with grated horseradish and Rose Harissa:

Classic Prawn Cocktail

A mushroom sauce, a tarragon dressing to smother the steak, deliciously crispy oven roasted chips, rocket and a bottle of Argentinian Malbec Bonarda:

Oven Baked Chips

steak dressingfresh rocket saladcreamy mushroom sauceArgentinian Malbec

Good honest food and the love of my life.  Bliss. Even if I did forget dessert.

Mrs Wifey on Valentines Day

Happy ‘Eating Nice Food’ Day. x

Steak Tartare

This has become a birthday ritual for me.  Not that it’s my birthday; not for ages.  I’m hoping that the younglings will adopt it so that I can guarantee making it at least 3 times a year.

This dish is all about the beef. ALL ABOUT THE BEEF.  Like sushi, it needs to be excellent quality, from a reputable source and trimmed of any fat or sinew. I always use beautiful, delicate fillet, chilled and cut by hand as the texture is everything – you certainly don’t want to end up with a burger patty.  You can of course use rump or sirloin if you prefer more flavour and bite. I’d recommend about 150g per person.

Beautiful Fillet of beef

I think everyone that makes Tartare for themselves has their own style and particular way of preparing it.  Your biggest concern will be whether to incorporate the condiments or not.  I have to admit that it can look less appealing (and more like an uncooked burger) without.  Although I’d still eat it of course.

Once you have your beef diced to your liking, mix in chopped capers, shallot, flatleaf parsley, gherkin, Worcestershire sauce, Tobasco sauce, extra virgin olive oil and season it with salt and pepper (rough quantities below if it’s your first time). As I say, you can always serve these condiments on the side and let people mix them in to taste. Form it by hand or use a little mould/ring.

Finally, make a tiny well in the centre and adorn your creation with the freshest free range egg yolk you can lay your hands on.  Raw of course.

Close up of Steak Tartare

I seem to remember TV shows like ‘Mr Bean’ giving Tartare a bad reputation. Meat and egg, raw, are you mad? Trust me, you’ve not lived until you have eaten Steak Tartare.

steak tartare, chips and condiments

Here’s the solution if you’re like me and can’t decide on the condiment front – have it all.  Serve with a few chips, maybe some chives and Dijon mustard; whatever you like.  I’ve gently persuaded plenty of friends to try it, and all have fallen in love with this almost sensual dish.

steak tartare with raw egg

Ingredients: (per person)

  • 150g Steak
  • 1/2 tsp Capers, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 tbsp Flatleaf Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 1 Gherkin, finely diced
  • Dash of Tobasco Sauce
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • Dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Flaky Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.