“Steak Mock Frites” from “NYT Cooking App”

Here in London, we’re experiencing something that suspiciously feels like summer. I say it’s suspicious because I’m doubtful it will last. It never does. But in the meantime, we’re maximising our enjoyment of it while we can, which includes eating in the garden under the setting sun eating simple dishes that we love.

To wit: steak. Takes minutes to prepare, is delicious and we love it. As this is a rib-eye steak, it’s definitely a treat and not in the regular rotation, but still… full of yum. Also, we have a friend staying with us from the U.S. for the next week, so we wanted to treat her to one of the legendary steaks from our local butcher, Dring’s.

I’ve cooked steak enough times that I’m pretty confident on how to do it. But this recipe helpfully included a method for Maître d’Hôtel butter, which is pretty simple (butter, thyme, shoot, lemon juice & a splash of white-wine vinegar), but the real revelation was the recipe for “Mock Frites.” For this, you basically just boil new potatoes, dry them and smash them on a greased baking sheet and then bake them some more.

They. Were. Delicious. And so easy! Sam Sifton says in the introduction that the potatoes have “a terrific quality of French fry-ness, supreme crispness, with soft and creamy flesh within.” They really did all of those things. I plan to make these mock frites again. And again. And again.

If you’d like to make this yourself, click through this sentence to see the original recipe in the New York Times. 

 

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“Steak Mock Frites” from “NYT Cooking App”

“Dirty Burgers with Secret Sauce and French Fries” from “My Street Food Kitchen”

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Burgers have seen a bit of a renaissance in London the last few years, between the huge success of Meat Liquor (well deserved; their burgers are delicious), the ubiquity of the Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Byron chains (both are in Greenwich and I can attest to their lip-smacking goodness), not to mention the invasion of American chains Shake Shack and Five Guys.

Needless to say, we love them.

For whatever reason, I don’t often make them at home, maybe because we have two really good chains just a 10-minute walk from our front door. But on one night during the recent Easter break (with Andrew diligently studying for his GCSEs), I decided what we all really needed was a really good burger.

We were not disappointed.

To be fair, this recipe for the hamburger itself does not deviate from the traditional hamburger recipe. Where it does deviate, however, is in the secret sauce, which was a big winner. I would tell you what’s in the secret sauce, but I signed an NDA [non-disclosure agreement]. Ha! I kid. The recipe is actually below.

I also wanted to try her recipe for french fries, having tried the same thing in our previous book. This one was slightly better in that the instructions didn’t tell me that I had to soak them in water for an hour (like in the previous one). But as a result, these chips were slighly floppier than the previous version. Not better or worse, just floppier. So maybe soaking the potatoes will be a matter of whether or not you’ve got the time.

In any case, burger night was a huge success. I suspect we will be having them again soon.

Go to page 7 to this edition of Issuu to see the full recipe for burgers and secret sauce. As a bonus, I won’t have to violate the NDA I signed.

“Dirty Burgers with Secret Sauce and French Fries” from “My Street Food Kitchen”

“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.

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