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!
So I have been struck down with freshers flu! Nooo, seriously every year I get it, I don’t think it is fair. I mean I’m not even a fresher I’m a third year, but sadly I’m not immune- there is something about coming back to university that breeds germs. All those people from different places, coming together getting packed in small bars and lecture theaters, it’s bound to happen. And I’m guessing the cold weather up here doesn’t help either.
I Can’t really remember freshers flu last year, so it must have been pretty mild, which is something, saying last year was the swine flu scare. I guess working in summer camps means you’re pretty much immune to anything by the end of it. But first year when I was actually a fresher, that was spectacular, I fell asleep constantly! I remember sitting down in a lecture and suddenly realising there was no way I was going to concentrate, sadly the lecturer arrived before I had a chance to leave. The rest of that weekend was spent sleeping and drinking JD from a hipflask. Not the best idea but awesome all the same.
So food, that is what this blog is supposed to be about isn’t it. Well this week I haven’t eaten that many interesting meals hence the lack of posts, sorry guys. Today I decided to fight the cold with fire and spice, in soup form of course because my throat is sore. I’ve been told spicy food is good for a cold and I have to agree, it definitely perks you up.
Spicy Parsnip Soup
- Parsnips (2 makes a big bowl of soup for one – scale up from that)
- an onion chopped
- Ginger (I used ginger paste but fresh works equally well)
- chilli flakes or crushed chilli or garam masala
- stock approx 1 pint
- a little oil
- Chop the onion into thin slices and fry until it starts to soften, then add the ginger and the chilli. Be generous – you want the flavour to be intense to cut through the cold. As I was using crushed ginger paste and crushed chilli paste which are both quite potent I used a teaspoon of each.
- Finely chop the parsnips and add to the onions, fry for a short while then add the stock. Bring this to boil then leave simmering for about 20 mins, until everything is nice and soft.
- This is one of those soups I like to blend, so once the veg has softened I allow it to cool a little then blend with a hand blender.
- Add a generous amount of cinnamon approx 2 tsp, and stir in, season to taste and consume.
A little side note on parsnips: Parsnips are in season at the moment, so are cheap to buy, which is always a plus. They’re also so versatile, I tend to buy a bag of them at the beginning of the week, and will have used them all by the end of it. They’re great for sneaking veg into a meal try;
- Parsnip curry
- parsnip mash ( mix a few in with your regular mash, to give it some extra flavour, apparently great on shepherds pie)
- Parsnip chips (great with garlic mayo)
- Honey roasted parsnips (par boil them then liberally baste with a mix of 1 part oil to 2 parts honey, then slow roast. Great with your sunday lunch.)
So I’ve been in the bubble now for 7 Days. For those of you who don’t inhabit it yourselves, the bubble is St Andrews. I guess it’s called the bubble for a few reasons, it’s pretty secluded for one, everybody kind of knows everybody else and it’s got it’s own microclimate. Very Bubble like.
So I’ve been back a week, freshers last week, and so hectic and busy and mad. Today Lectures started again, and since I’m in senior honours they have piled on the work, with online lectures and tutorials and books to look up in the library. All very scary. Plus with this being my third year here, I’m allowed to adopt my own little academic children to mess with, so far I have two little American children – yay!
Anyway, back to the food. Today has been a hard day, only one lecture but over 2 hrs of personal study already and that’s scary. Plus I’m really not sure I’ve fully recovered from freshers, so a hearty meal is in order.
Haggis Stuffed Chicken with rich Gravy
- Chicken ( I used de boned thighs but breast would probably be better)
- Haggis (Shamefully mine came from a can but hey it was cheap.)
- De bone the chicken if you are using thighs, and place about a teaspoon of haggis in the middle, roll this into a tube, imagine the haggis is the bone, and tie in place.
- Brown the chicken in a pan with a little oil, then roast in the oven at about 200.
- In the pan you browned the chicken in, add about half a pint of stock, if you like you can add a little haggis to this. To the stock and haggis add some cream, the amount depends on how you like your gravy. Finally add a little whiskey, I used about a tbsp, and then season with pepper.
This was served with cabbage, parsnip and pots, all mashed together, and as per usual when I mash I got the
proportions wrong. Sorry there are no photos of the actual food I have a new camera and can’t quite figure out the flash, so everything is overly bright, plus it’s not the prettiest of meals anyway. Hope you all like it.