Steak Dinner

When cooking a steak, simplicity is key.

– Chef Vic, 2019.

Prior to 2017, I didn’t know how to cook a steak.

At least not one I was ever satisfied with.

It either turned out being over-seasoned, or overcooked.

But then, that year for my birthday, a dear friend of mine took me to a cooking class where we were taught the perfect way to make steaks.

And sweet heavens above, since then my steaks have turned out PERFECT each time.

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Ingredients used:

  • Rump/Sirloin Steak
  • Sweet Potatoes, sliced into thin chips
  • Broccoli, top cut into small florets
  • Seasonings
    • 2 tsp Rapeseed Oil
    • 2 tsp Sea Salt
    • 1 tsp Crushed Black Pepper
    • 2 Garlic Cloves (see below for how to make garlic paste)
    • 3 knobs of Butter, room temperature
    • 1 tbsp Mixed Herbs

Prep time – 5 mins

Method (garlic paste):

  1. Peel the skin from the garlic and place on the chopping board.
  2. Sprinkle some sea salt on the garlic cloves and using the flat part of the blade, crush the cloves and drag across the chopping board.
  3. Scrape the paste using the knife and place in a bowl with the butter and mix well.

Prep time – 5 mins

Method (sweet potato fries):

  1. In a bowl, drizzle 1 tsp of rapeseed oil on the sweet potatoes and add in the mixed herbs.
  2. Toss to ensure all of the potato is covered.
  3. Spread out on an oven tray.

Cooking time – 35 mins

Cooking (sweet potato fries & broccoli):

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4)
  2. Place the tray of potatoes and leave to bake for 30 minutes, turning regularly.
  3. Additionally, blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 4 minutes and drain well.

Cooking time – 2 to 6 mins

Cooking (steak):

  1. Season the steak with salt and pepper.
  2. Put a griddle pan on high heat on the hob.
  3. Depending on how well done you like your steak, as a general rule of thumb add 2 minutes to the cooking time for each side (e.g. 2 mins per side for rare steak, 4 mins per side for medium, 6 mins per side for well-done).
  4. A trick I learned from the class is to flip the steak every 30 seconds, to ensure even cooking throughout the steak.
  5. Once the steak is cooked, serve with the sweet potato fries, broccoli and a dollop of garlic butter.
  6. Enjoy!

Extra tip: pair with a glass (or bottle) of good red wine and honestly live your best life.

Lamb Ribs

For several reasons, lamb just isn’t one of my favourite meats out there.

Like, it’s very much towards the bottom of my list.

I’m just not a fan of how overpowering the taste of the meat can be, I dislike how not versatile it is but most of all I HATE how it can only be eaten fresh and hot. Once lamb cools and the fat congeals on it, it makes me feel sick.

[I do not claim to be the authority on lamb, and obviously you may have experienced differently, but for the most part, I said what I said]

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There are only two times when I can be quite partial to lamb: Turkish (or other Middle Eastern) cuisines and in Caribbean food.

Man, I could really eff up a lamb shawarma right now…I really shouldn’t blog whilst hungry.

I used to live in a part of London that is notorious for its abundance of Turkish restaurants. During one of my numerous visits to the establishment that was at the top of my road, I begged the chef (who I was on friendly terms with) to give me the recipe for their Lamb Ribs and despite how much I shamelessly flirted, pouted and batted my eyelashes, he refused to part with it, stating “if I gave it to you then you’d never come back”.

Whatever.

I’ve since moved from the area and haven’t had a chance to eat Turkish food in a little while. So I really wasn’t all that surprised when I got a craving recently for Lamb Ribs. I just knew I’d have to recreate it as best as I could given the circumstances. They taste nothing like how the Turkish do it, but they were still pretty damn good if I do say so myself.

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Ingredients used:

  • 600g – 1kg Lamb Ribs (a visit to your local butchers is your best bet)
  • Broccoli, top cut into small florets
  • Seasonings
    • 2 tsp Olive Oil
    • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped finely
    • 1 tsp Crushed Chilli Flakes
    • 1 tsp Smoked Sea Salt
    • ½ tsp Ground Cumin
    • ½ tsp Mixed Spices
    • ½ tsp Paprika
    • ½ tsp Thyme
    • ½ tsp Oregano

Prep time – 10 mins

Method:

  1. Make a paste with the seasonings.
  2. In a bowl, place the lamb ribs and cover with seasoning paste.
  3. If you have enough foresight to plan ahead, I’d leave the ribs to marinate overnight. If you’re like me and you do not possess such, leave to ribs to marinate for 30 minutes.

Cooking time – 40 mins

Cooking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4)
  2. Place the ribs on a foil-lined oven tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the ribs over and leave to cook for a further 15-20 mins until it’s cooked through and browned to your liking.
  3. In the meantime, blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 4 minutes and drain well.
  4. Enjoy!

Extra tip: as an extra step, season the ribs with some of the garlic and salt and sear them under high heat on a griddle pan before rubbing the paste on them and putting them in the oven to finish cooking.

Vic-terranean Salad

Do you know what else I love?

A really good lunch.

Once, at a work meeting, the venue we went to supplied us with a very fancy lunch and on that day I had the most incredible Mediterranean Salad. It took me like three days to stop talking about it and even longer to stop thinking about it and I knew it was only a matter of time before I attempted to recreate it with a twist of my own.

[Enter: meat, meat and more meat]

Honestly, can you really say you’ve eaten anything if there’s no meat inside? 
(Please vegetarians/vegans shouldn’t come and kill me- you don’t have to add meat to this salad)

If you do decide to add meat, however, I’d suggest white meat or fish. The venue served the salad with salmon (which was delicious) and it also went really well with the pork belly I made (even though pork is technically red meat). I imagine it would also go very well with chicken or turkey.

The thing that excited me the most about this recipe was the use of nuts!

I usually only eat nuts on their own as a snack, or in food like cereal or chocolate but other than in a few Asian dishes, I’ve never really eaten nuts as part of the main meal. So this definitely added to the appeal of trying to recreate the recipe as it would be something I hadn’t cooked before.

And let me tell you; it was sensational.

And super quick to make!

salad

Ingredients used:

  • Pork Belly, cut into bitesize chunks
  • Broccoli, top cut into small florets
  • 25g Sundried Tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 50g feta cheese, crumbled
  • A handful of mixed nuts, ground in a pestle and mortar briefly to break up into smaller chunks
  • Seasonings
    • 1 tsp Rapeseed Oil
    • 1/2 Garlic Clove, chopped finely
    • Rosemary, sprinkle
    • Black Pepper, using a mill
    • 1 seasoning cube (Maggi/Knorr)
    • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
    • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 tbsp Manuka Honey
    • Italian Herbs

Prep time – 10 mins

Method:

  1. In a bowl, place the pork belly and season with rapeseed oil, garlic, rosemary, black pepper and seasoning cube.
  2. Mix together and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
  3. Prepare the salad ingredients as listed above (do not mix together yet).

Cooking time – 25 mins

Cooking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees (gas mark 4)
  2. Place the pork belly on a foil-lined oven tray and leave to cook for 15 minutes, then turn the pork belly and leave to cook for a further 10 minutes.
  3. In the meantime, blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 4 minutes and drain well.
  4. Mix the broccoli together with the sundried tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese and mixed nuts in a bowl.
  5. To create the dressing for the salad, mix the balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, manuka honey and a pinch of Italian herbs.
  6. Once the pork is ready, serve with the salad and drizzle the dressing on top.
  7. Enjoy!

Extra tip: if you like sweet meats as I do, when you take the pork belly out of the oven to turn over, glaze with some honey for an extra kick.