“Steak with Mustard Butter and French Fries” from “My Paris Kitchen”

IMG_8403Steak Night!
I can’t tell you how much our family loves steak night. But the family member who loves it most is our (newish) dog Buddy, who goes out of his mind when I’m cooking these glorious slabs of red meat.

(Fun fact: Buddy also gets super excited when he sees the small white bags from our butchers Drings. Because we get his weekly bone from there, he thinks every bag from there must be for him. Buddy is awesome because his happiness and enthusiasm for life– for white bags from the butchers or tennis balls or belly rubs– is infectious.*)

But I digress. Back to steak night. I realised as I was cooking the steaks they are the ultimate in quick delicious dinners. If you were only going to have  steak and a side salad, your dinner would be ready in 10 minutes. Take THAT Jamie Oliver.

However, in this case, I also made the french fries, which took much longer. I was skeptical that any fries I could make would be good, but alas, I was wrong. I followed the instructions carefully and actually, it wasn’t as big a faff as I thought it would be. While preparing the potatoes it helped that I got fully distracted by listening to a debate on Radio 4 about Brexit while I was cutting all of the frites, so that helped enormously, as that’s the most fiddly part of the process.

Be warned, though: If you want to make these fries, start well in advance, as after you’ve done all the peeling and the chopping, you have to soak out the fries for one hour in cold water, and then bake them for another 45 minutes. This is not a speedy process, but the end result was a delicious tray of frites. So much so that I was worried that they would never make it to the table, since everyone seemed to be stealing them off the baking tray while I was finishing the steaks.

The mustard butter was a triumph, but only if you happened to be over the age of 17. The boys were not at all tempted to use it, let alone try it. Perhaps they didn’t want their steaks to be adulterated in any way. Who knows. But we didn’t care, because that meant there was more for us.

All in all, steak night was a resounding success. Or, to be more accurate, it was a resounding success for everyone who got to eat it. For Buddy the dog, he was left to lick his lips and give us mournful eyes during dinner. Better luck next time, Buddy.

To make this yourself, click through this link to find the recipe on Tastebook.

*For the dog fans among you, [non-dog fans can skip this addendum] here’s a recent snap of Buddy in his favourite place in the whole wide world. Greenwich Park. Luckily, he goes there every day, which means his infectious happiness level is maintained. He’s a lab-cocker spaniel mix. His tongue really isn’t that big, it just looks enormous in this particular picture because he was trying to catch his breath during our morning run.



“Steak with Mustard Butter and French Fries” from “My Paris Kitchen”

“Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter” from “Simply Nigella”

IMG_7879Maureen: Meat free Monday! Featuring a dish from the new cookbook.

Tim: What is it?

Maureen: She calls it Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter.

Andrew (16): Why pasta snails?

Maureen: Look at the shape of the pasta.

Andrew: Got it.

Maureen: Nicholas, this might remind you of the escargot you tried when we went to Paris.

Andrew & Tim: Nicholas tried escargot?

Maureen: He did. [Nicholas makes gagging noises.] To be fair, the escargot was not the best I’d ever had. The restaurant was highly rated on Trip Advisor, but it was rubbish. The waiter literally raised his eyebrows in surprise when I ordered the escargot. Either he wasn’t used to tourists ordering escargot, or it was a subtle warning to stay away. We’ll never know. What do you think of this?

Nicholas (12): Unlike the snails, I like this.

Andrew: Me too. I would happily eat this again.

Tim: So would I. What’s not to like? There’s loads of garlic butter in here.

Maureen: I’m not even going to tell you how much butter each person was apportioned [Editor’s Note: 25 grams per person. That strikes me as a lot.], but I think that’s why it was so good. This is a great meal for when you’re short on time. Easy to prepare, no exotic ingredients, delicious. I will definitely be making this again.

Nicholas: Unlike escargot, which I’m not in any hurry to try again.

“Pasta Snails with Garlic Butter” from “Simply Nigella”

“Rib-Eye Steak with Stilton Butter” from “Mary Berry Cooks”

CBAMSteakMaureen: Steak night!

Nicholas (10): Are we celebrating something?

Maureen: We are celebrating the fact that it’s Tuesday. Go Tuesday!

Nicholas: I thought we were celebrating that Jamie got into M.I.T.

Maureen: No. He won’t know that until Friday. But if he does get in, we will celebrate for sure. So what do we think?

Andrew (14): It’s steak night. What’s not to like?

Maureen: True. You can’t go wrong with a Dring’s steak. But what you really ought to be eating is the stilton butter.

Andrew: I like my steak plain.

Nicholas: Me too.

Tim: Is this your Grandma’s blue cheese butter?

Maureen: No. Not my grandma, but the nation’s grandma: Mary Berry. What do you think?

Tim: It’s good, I guess.

Maureen: It’s fine, but I like the one I usually make with stilton, walnuts and butter better. Yum. Butter on steak is definitely a special treat.

Tim: Did you do anything special with the steak?

Maureen: No. In fact, I didn’t follow Mary’s directions at all on the steak. I did it like I usually do, on the grill pan. In the book, she tells you to start by searing the steak two minutes on each side, and then finishing them off in the oven. On her show the other night, she seared them, put them in the refrigerator to cool down and then finished them off in the oven. She was making them for a dinner party, so didn’t want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking the steaks on the hob. Neither system made sense to me.

Tim: I agree.

Maureen: I had a long discussion with Michael at Dring’s and he said you could do it that way, but there would be a real chance that you would overcook them, which would be a real shame when you’re talking about steak.

Tim: So in the end, you didn’t follow Mary’s instructions, did you?

Maureen: No, but it’s still steak night, which is ALWAYS FTW.

“Rib-Eye Steak with Stilton Butter” from “Mary Berry Cooks”

“Red Wine and Chorizo Risotto” from “A Taste of Home”

Judy: Yum, yum, yum.

John: You have to say more than that.

Judy: It’s very moreish. Fantastic flavours.

John: It definitely needs an intercourse interval though.

Peter: Boom boom!

John: Because it’s heavy and rich. Like an Italian princess.

Peter: Are you just back from the northern club circuit?

John: I have nothing against Italy, just the Bunga Bunga…..

Judy: It’s definitely not Bunga Bunga.

Anna: I’m lost now.  It’s very winterish I think, quite heavy.

Judy: It’s not heavy, it’s light. I think risotto is always light, at any time of year. The textures are wonderful. The al dente rice, with the crunchy onion, and the chorizo.

John: It is quite regal.

Judy: Like the Italian princess.

John: It would go well with a Verdi opera.

Anna: Which one?

Judy: Il Trovatore.

Peter: Well I thought it was unctuous.  It had a refreshing blend of large bits of chorizo and small bits of chorizo. I think it was the surprise and delight of the dish.

Judy: I agree with that. At first I thought there were only small bits and then I found the large bits.

Anna: That was by accident rather than design. The chorzio fell apart when I was cutting it up.

Peter: Did you like the way she structured the recipe? It looks quite simple to me.  Compared to, say, Jamie’s 30 second Whatsits…..

Anna: It was great. Easy to follow, easy to make, delicious to eat. Though a bit hot to make on a hot, muggy night. But well worth it. I will be making this again.

Judy: And I will be copying the recipe from you!

“Red Wine and Chorizo Risotto” from “A Taste of Home”