Nick loves his steak medium rare and served with pepper sauce. I, on the other hand, am not a big fan of steak. I detest rare meat but innevitably make it tough if I cook to the point of hiding the blood. Due to my poor steak-making ability we rarely eat it at home but Nick often orders it if we are out.
I have learnt not to order steak in restaurants. Once, upon ordering a meal and requesting the meat well done, the waitress returned from the kitchen stating “the chef takes no responsiblity for the quality of the dish if she cannot serve it rare.” Clearly she couldn’t cook meat properly either. And as for people ordering steak blue, that method was obviously invented by someone wanting to end a bad date quickly, “Give me a steak as quick as you can so that I can get out of here.” The things people do to get out of a bad situation!
However, having said that I don’t make steak, I was again inspired by the royal wedding edition of the Australian Woman’s Weekly (note to self: take out a subscription to this wonderful magazine). Our copy of the latest Woman’s Weekly has provided us with hours of entertainment, mainly laughing at Eugene and Beatrice, but also in the form of recipes. Today’s recipe is from Julie, aka Mrs MasterChef (or should it be MistressChef?); Creamy Pepper Steak.
The tiny can of green peppercorns called for proved elusive. No sign of it in Coles or The Cooking Company (how posh am I looking for supplies in a gourmet food shop?) but I did manage to track them down at our local IGA supermarket. The 55g can is so cute it looks like it belongs in a toy kitchen.
So with supplies at the ready (sort of, but more about that shortly) I left home to take 9 year old Holly to her horse riding lesson and retrieve a trailer load of horse poop for the garden (as you do).
Upon returning home I expected The Slow Chef to be contemplating the recipe but instead he was in the office on the phone. I started to prepare the vegetables (broccoli and beans plus potatoes to mash) to be served with the Creamy Pepper Steak, ready to hand over to the Slow Chef at any stage. But such is the nature of a home-based business, he soon poked his head out and announced that he had another call and wouldn’t be able to cook the dinner.
As quick as Prince Harry is rumoured to bag a skirt, I assumed the role of Chief Cook.
As usual, I butchered the recipe (sorry, Julie). Without the recipe on hand, I shopped by (poor) memory. I bought the green peppercorns and cream but forgot the brandy (I’ll use whiskey) and beef stock (I’ve got chicken). With my iPod on and listening to my hero Richard Adey on Life Matters I prepared ingredients, mixing whiskey and cream in a jug. Oops.
The brandy (read whiskey) was to go in the pan on its own and be mixed with the pan juices once the meat was cooked. So, after frying the steaks for 5 minutes each side – Julie suggested 3 minutes but I was too busy listening to Richard and forgot about them – I placed the steaks on a plate, covered them with foil and put them in the oven to keep warm. I then threw the beef (read chicken) stock into the newly vacated pan, reduced it slightly then added the cream, brandy (whiskey) and peppercorns to it. Thank God there are no judges in our kitchen!
The result was superb. All three kids were in attendance but Nick, still on the phone to a client, suggested we eat without him. We all rated the meal well – at least a 7. The steak was cooked perfectly (for me) and was still tender.
As for Nick’s meal…it is never as good reheated but he said it was delicious and didn’t even notice the ingredient exchanges. We don’t call him the Slow Chef for nothing.