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.”
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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Return this to the heat to thicken and add as much pepper as you like, I like lots but I know some prefer less.
- 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!
Sorry its been a while, this whole senior honours thing is harder than it looks, plus my camera died as you all know. But its a new year, a new camera (yay!) and another set of exams to procrastinate away from!
So firstly I hope every one had a happy new year, I did, I spent my new year in the lake district eating lots and lots of food, and walking up hills and climbing. I love the lake districts it’s always pretty what ever the season and this winter it was beautiful, as you may recall it was freezing around christmas and this mean that the lakes had frozen over. That is quite impressive I mean 2 square miles of water frozen right across.
So as New year happens you tend to make a resolution, this year I made two, one I intend to stick to, and one I will try my hardest to but will probably only half manage. So here they are:
- To eat better quality meat. That is to say I will get all my meat from butcher or farm shops or if I have to get it from a super market, I will not buy value. This resolution will probably mean I eat less meat but I feel it’s a stepI should be taking.
- To write on here more often, to be honest I don’t think it’ll be every day or even every week but probably every fortnight.
Finally I leave you with an image of whats to come.
So this is the third time I’ve attempted to write a post on here and hopefully it will be a successful attempt, what with uni work and the weather and just general winter blues I haven’t had the motivation to write, and sometimes I haven’t even had the motivation to cook. However, my little sister was visiting this weekend which gave me the opertunity to cook for more than one person, which to me means only one thing. MEAT!! As many of you know I live with a vegan, which means we rarely cook together, so when I do get to cook for other people I kind of go all out and cook a fancy meat dish. This time it was Braised Oxtail, and the recipe was in fact from the times so here it is with a few modifications.
- 4 chunky rounds of oxtail
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- Salt and pepper
- 50ml olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 big carrots, finely chopped
- 4 plump cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 3-4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bushy sprig of rosemary
- 2 large bay leaves (or 3 small ones)
- 1 whole star anise
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 500ml red wine
- Juice of 1 orange
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3. Cut off the larger bits of hard white fat from the oxtail. Put the flour in a bag with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Throw in the oxtail rounds and shake until they are all dusted with flour.
- Heat the oil in a casserole large enough to hold all the meat and vegetables. Brown the meat and then set to one side.
- Add the vegetables, herbs and star anise. Sweat over a gentle heat for about 5 minutes until starting to soften, then stir in the tomato purée. Add the browned meat (plus any accumulated juices), wine and orange juice, then season well. Bring to a gentle simmer.
- Place in the oven. Cook for about 3 hours, stirring halfway through. Depending on the oxtail, it may be ready half an hour earlier or later. Prod it – you want the fat to be soft and gelatinous and the flesh falling off the bones. Check the seasoning and spoon off as much of the fat as you can.
I removed the star anise half way through cooking as the smell coming from the pan was starting to be over powered by its scent, but it is up to your own tastes what you do. I like this recipe as it seemed very festive, the wine and spice mix put me in mind of mulled wine and the combination of flavours is lovely and warming. The Oxtail was from the new farm shop out side of St Andrews, somewhere that is well worth a visit, the butchers is amazing and very reasonably priced, and the veggies are impressive, with onions the size of my head!