Food from a Physicist who loves to cook

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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


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.

So for a couple of days now, I’ve been hankering to cook chicken livers, I’m not sure why it might be this post on Flavourgasm But I wanted to cook them, so I wandered down my village to my butchers and got myself half a pound of chicken livers, it was 77p, SEVENTY SEVEN PENCE, I was amazed. Another amazing cheap meat available at my butchers is Lamb neck, at £2.99 for 3 it was great value and they braise very nicely.

Now what to do with them? I liked the idea of the risotto but I don’t have truffle oil, so I looked around and found an interesting recipe in an old good food for Baby spinach and chicken liver salad. I moved some bits around and this is what I got.

Chicken Liver and Rocket salad

  • half pound of chicken livers
  • 3 rashers of bacon, or pancetta
  • 2 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander, cinnamon and garam masala
  • sherry vinegar
  • white wine
  • 3tbsp oil
  • fresh rocket
  1. Trim the liver of any sinews and cut into bite size pieces. Heat oil in a large frying pan. Add bacon and fry for a few minutes, add the finely chopped garlic and cook for a further 2 mins. Add the spice, and fry for another minute.
  2. Reduce heat and add the chicken livers, season and cook till crusty on outside and pink in the middle.
  3. Add the sherry vinegar and stir, in then add a splash of wine, simmer to get a thickish sauce. Place the livers and bacon onto the rocket and reduce the sauce down further. Then drizzle over the top.

Liver salad

Enjoy as a light bite or a side dish on a warm summer night like tonight. Liver is lovely and cheap but this meal makes it seem expensive.

Though I’m saying hello to you all here for the first time, I had to say goodbye to a lot of people this week. You see I’m currently doing a summer project, and living up to the 2nd part of my name, being a Physicist, a lot of my friends were also doing projects this summer, and many of them finished on friday, so I had to say good-bye to a lot of them for two months.

Though this was saddening, it did had some benefits, namely the redistribution of food that occurred. People were leaving flats and didn’t want to leave stuff that would go off, so I managed to get myself almost a weeks worth of veg, onions, garlic, cucumber, spinach and cabbage. Oh cabbage, as a kid I never used to have an opinion of cabbage, it was just a vegetable my mother occasionally gave us, but now I quite like it, which is why I’m going to be daring and feature it in my first recipe.

Flavoursom puy lentils

Terrible name for a recipe I know, now this is based on something i cooked this week, something I cooked for my parents wedding anniversary, and something that was cooked for me during a charity Come Dine With Me.


  • Puy lentils (as many as you like, scale up or down to match your proportions)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • A few cloves of garlic chopped (I like lots but I know some people aren’t so keen.)
  • Half a cabbage chopped
  • A few rashers of smoked bacon
  • small knob of butter
  • oil
  • vegetable stock
  • Marmite or similar concentrated stock
  • red wine
  1. Measure out your desired amount of lentils and boil them according to the instructions on the packet, if you want them to be full of flavour add some stock.
  2. When the lentils have about 10-5 minutes left to cook, start to heat the butter in a little oil in a seperate pan. To this pan, add the onions garlic and bacon, cook until the bacon has browned a little and the onions and garlic has softened.
  3. Transfer the lentils with a bit of the stock into the pan with the onions and add the Cabbage, leave this to simmer for a little while.
  4. Now add the Marmite (I’m a sucker for its rich flavour) or your substitute, stir it in, and then add a little wine to give the dish depth.
  5. Once the lentils seem to be in a thick rich source, season to taste, and serve.

I like this on its own, or as a packed lunch or with something relatively light, though it works as a side to almost anything.

Well there you have it, my first foodie post, sadly without pictures as I didn’t take any, but if i cook this again I promise to upload them.

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