Food from a Physicist who loves to cook

Tag Archives: dinner

So unless you have been living in a cave, or have taken the shunning of valentines day to the point where you deny it happens, you’ll know it was valentines day last Thursday. This year, I decided to forgo cocktails with the girls because we’ve scattered to the 4 winds, Germany, US and China, and cooked a valentines dinner, because I love to cook, also any excuse for steak!

I’m just going to give you my recipe for peppercorn gravy, because people like to cook their steaks differently  and though these were extra tender possibly due to the garlic and time butter, you don’t need another person saying room temperature steaks, dry, hot pan, turn frequently, let it stand for at least 5mins after, it’s out there already. I’ve made this gravy a number of times, and it’s always got a good reception, the comedy soc guys seemed to enjoy it when I cooked it for steak night and here is what the boy thought.

“That steak was so good, one of the best I have ever had, I mean wow, my only worry is that after that other meals just wont taste as good.”

The classic cuts of beef taken from delicious magazine

The classic cuts of beef taken from delicious magazine

Creamy Peppercorn Gravy

  • 1 pint of boiled water
  • 2 beef oxo cubes or possibly a beef gravy pot.
  • The juices from the steaks
  • Double cream
  • Ground black pepper or Crushed pepper corns
  • plain flour
  • butter

Not exactly a heart friendly list there, with double cream and butter, but okay as a treat once in a while as long as you don’t eat it out of the pan with a spoon like me.

  1. This sauce has a Roux as a base, so start by melting a knob of butter approximately 25g-50g in a non stick sauce pan over a low heat. Stir in the flour to make a smooth paste, start with a tbsp and then add a little at a time until you have a smooth paste. Keep this on the heat stirring it a little until the flour is cooked.
  2. Take the roux of the heat. Dissolve both the beef stock cubes in a pint of boiling water. Slowly add the stock to the roux, add a little and stir until you have a slightly thinner smooth paste, continue adding a little and stirring till smooth until all the stock is mixed in and you have a light brown thickish sauce, with no lumps.
  3. Return this to the heat to thicken and add as much pepper as you like, I like lots but I know some prefer less.
  4. As you take the steaks out of the pan to rest, add the cream to the sauce about 1/4 of a tub or more if you like a creamier gravy. Bring this gently to the boil, and once boiling remove from the heat, and at this point add in the meat juices. Taste and season if needed.

Serve with your steak, I like lots of Gravy but I know others who don’t like loads, so just have a little or as much as you like. Now enjoy!


I never thought I would love anchovies, I mean the first time I tried them on a pizza I thought they were overly salty and overpowered everything else. Someone should warn you, that anchovies on a pizza are not like anchovies in cooking, anchovies that you have cooked into a meal are silky smooth, tangy and add so much depth to a meal.

Plus they come in a gorgeous can

A gorgeous can of anchovies

I first used anchovies when making the spicy topping for Jamie Olivers cauliflower risotto (fantastic by the way), made by frying anchovies and bread with garlic and chilli, I knew I liked three of those ingredients so I thought why not. I loved it. This then grew into a pasta sauce, having bought anchovies to use with the risotto I then realised I wanted something quick, so using the three best ingredients from the topping, anchovies, garlic and chilli along with red wine and a tin of tomatoes I made a sauce that will knock your socks off. The anchovies and garlic give it depth and the chilli adds a fiery heat, and then the wine softens it back down. I cannot do it justice in writing all I can say is make it yourself.  My sister loves this sauce so much that when she once came to visit me in St Andrews, we went to every shop searching for them, we went to Aldi, Morrisons and Tesco, No Luck. We went to the delis, Mitchells, Butlers, Tail end, NO LUCK. Finally we went into kerachers fish and game shop, and there we bought a small Styrofoam cup of fresh anchovies! I’d never used fresh anchovies before but I persevered on and it made 5 Tupperware’s of fantastic sauce. So Laura this recipe is for you.

Anchovy pasta sauce

Ingredients

makes enough sauce for 2-4 people depending on how much you love it

  • one tin of anchovies, or about half a jar if you buy them like that
  • Three cloves of garlic crushed
  • Chilli flakes
  • A tin of tomatoes
  • one large glass of red wine (Something you might drink yourself)
  • Parmesan
  • Pasta tubes, or something with ridges that hold the sauce.
  1. Start off the pasta, the sauce takes as long to make as the pasta takes to cook.
  2. Tip the anchovies oil and all into a non stick sauce pan and separate, allow these to melt down to nothing, add the chopped  garlic and the chilli flakes as much or as little as you like. Be warned it may spit at this point.
  3. After the garlic has softened add the tin of chopped tomatoes and stir well. Allow to reduce slightly then add the glass of wine, stir again.
  4. Allow the sauce to reduce down by about a third or a half, if it seems too dry add more wine or some of the water from the pasta, it should coat the pasta with a thick layer of sauce.
  5. Serve by mixing with the pasta and adding a generous grating of parmesan. Enjoy.


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