Tag Archives: mushrooms

The Most Sensational, Naughty Sauce for Steak

I watched Michael Caines do this a couple of weeks ago and just had to give it a go. It is soooooo much more than the gloriousness that it looked on telly. It really is the most sensational sauce to serve with steak and has a taste and texture that simply evoke ‘naughty!’ Michael did his with Madeira but our bar was not forthcoming but seemed heavily stocked with sweet sherry, so that was substituted – it worked REALLY well. But finally, a word of caution: don’t try and rush the ‘reduction’ elements of this sauce – I know from experience that the sauce then ends up thin and that the flavours aren’t of the full intensity assures this recipe is right at the top of our favourites list!

Serves 4 (I’ve doubled up on the sauce quantities because we do enjoy lots of sauce, so you may not need the quantities that I have listed, depending on your own sauciness)

What you need…

4 x 200-250g sirloin steaks

Olive oil

300ml boiling water from the kettle

1 chicken stockpot (I use Knorr)

50g butter

6 shallots, thinly sliced

150g button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

220ml sweet sherry (I use Harveys Bristol Cream)

300ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, make your stock by dissolving ¾ chicken stockpot into the boiling water, using a balloon whisk to help the process. Set aside.

Over a moderate heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook until the shallots are transparent.

Add the button mushrooms and continue cooking until they are slippery in texture. Stir in the thyme.

Slosh in the sherry and simmer until reduced by half.

Pour in the chicken stock and reduce by half again.

Gently pour in the cream and reduce by half yet again – you will then have a lovely thick, opulent sauce. Add a little black pepper, taste (chef’s privilege) and adjust the seasoning to taste. Make a resolution not to keep on tasting until it’s served! Keep warm on a low heat, stirring occasionally whilst you cook your steaks.

Onto each steak, massage in 1 teaspoon oil. Then season to your liking. Flip the steaks and give them the same treatment on the other side.

Heat another frying pan over a hot heat. Pop in the steaks and cook for 4 minutes on each side, depending on how you like your steak. Remove the steaks and serve them onto warmed plates, allowing them to rest for a couple of minutes.

Decant your luscious sauce and pop it into the middle of the table to allow your fellow diners to help themselves – remind them about the need to share: they’ll want the lot to themselves! Indulge and enjoy! Serve with a bit of greenery, maybe some exotic mushrooms and Hasselback potatoes. Simply scrummy!

Inspired by…

Michael Caines

How easy…

Very easy as long as you take your time and allow the reductions to work their magic.

Beef Fillet with a Fricassee of Mushrooms and Asparagus Purée

A rather lovely treat. In the name of this blog, I had to insist that we tried this recipe, mainly because the mushrooms sounded interesting! So, we got to have beef fillet – yipppeee! The fillet came from a great butcher and I did very little to it other than emphasise its natural flavour with seasoning. The mushrooms were quite a revelation – I’ve never even thought to do them like this before but they were absolutely lovely – we’ll be having them again. And then there’s the asparagus…it’s in season so we’ve been having lots of it so I wanted to do something different – hence the green blobs! Despite being potentially pretentious (if they’d been a bit tidier) the process really intensified the flavour and I would definitely give this ago again and not just with asparagus! If you fancy treating yourself to a nice bit of fillet, then I would wholeheartedly recommend this recipe.

Serves 4

What you need…

4 gorgeous beef fillets, about 3cm thick

Olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

for the mushrooms

100ml boiling water from the kettle

½ beef stockpot (I use Knorr)

100g unsalted butter

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 shallot, finely chopped

200g assorted mushrooms

2 tablespoons Madeira

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tomato, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped

1 teaspoon tarragon, chopped

for the asparagus

250g asparagus, trimmed

Knob butter

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons double cream

What to do…

A couple of hours before you want to eat, prepare the beef. Fillet doesn’t need tenderising. Instead, put a teaspoon of olive oil onto one side of each steak, spreading it evening over and then, using the heel of your hand, massage the steak – it needs no more than this. Season with salt and pepper, flip and repeat on the other side. Cover your steaks with cling film and set aside until you’re ready to cook them.

Next, the asparagus purée! In a medium-sized deep frying pan, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain (retaining a little of the water). Return the asparagus to the dry pan, add the butter, Dijon and seasoning stirring together until the butter is melted and the other ingredients evenly incorporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Tip the whole lot into your blender with a tablespoon of the retained cooking water. Whizz until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick for your liking. Pop the asparagus purée into a plastic bottle (to create the blobs) and keep warm until serving.

To the mushrooms! Use a balloon whisk to mix together the boiling water and beef stockpot to create 100ml beef stock. Set aside.

Melt 20g of the butter in a pan, add the garlic and shallot and cook until transparent. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for 3 minutes. Add the Madeira to the pan, turn up the heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the liquid has reduced by half. Stir in the mustard and then the rest of the butter. Season and then tip in the tomato and tarragon.

Meanwhile, cook your fillets. Place your lovely fillets into a dry frying pan over a moderate heat. Cook for a few minutes on each side until they are cooked to your liking. Allow them to rest a little before serving.

Serve your beef fillet with a goodly portion of the wonderful fricassee of mushrooms and either a few blobs, a smear or dollop of the beautifully intensely flavoured asparagus purée together with a wonderful glass or two of a great red wine (a good claret perhaps?) Just yummy!

Tip…

I use Cooks’ Ingredients frozen chopped garlic and frozen, chopped shallots from Waitrose, preferring a quick shake of the packet rather than all the peeling and chopping.

Inspired by…

Michael Caines on Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Very easy – I knocked this up in just a few minutes having all afternoon in the kitchen creating the wonderful but time-intense Chocolate, Orange and Cardamom Diva cake, so I was knackered when I started – this was an absolute sinch and the perfect end to the day.

Hake with Mushrooms and Soured Cream

I love hake and try to incorporate it into my fish recipes where possible – it seems to be an under-rated fish – not only is it really tasty and firm enough to hold its shape during cooking but it’s also inexpensive – what’s not to like? This recipe is delicious and also has a really distinctive flavour – it didn’t taste like I expected it to but was a very happy surprise. The whole lot got devoured very quickly anyway! Easy and with hardly any mess, it’s a perfect weekday supper dish for the family.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x large baking dish (mine is 20 x 30 x 7cms deep), lightly buttered

1kg hake fillets, skinned and cut into chunks (5cm x 5cm-ish)

2 tablespoons flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon paprika

Knob butter

Splash rapeseed or olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

300g mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 teaspoons soy sauce

250ml soured cream

5 teaspoons sherry

Large handful grated Parmesan cheese

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Mix the flour, salt and paprika in a bowl and dust the fish on both sides. Then place them in your baking dish so that they fit snugly together.

Heat butter and oil and soften the onion and mushrooms. When just beginning to shrink, remove from the heat, mix in the soy sauce and then spread over the fish. Using the same saucepan, mix together the soured cream and sherry and then dribble over the fish.

Sprinkle over the Parmesan and then pop the dish into the oven uncovered to bake for 40 minutes.

Serve your delicious hake with mushrooms and soured cream together with green vegetables (asparagus works well). Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Lynn Bedford Hall, New Creative Cuisine

How easy…

So relaxed, it’s practically horizontal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coq au Vin

 

This is an oldie but a goodie: rich and flavoursome – perfect for a winter supper. The basis for this recipe was pulled from my dad’s ‘Supercook’ collection. Anyone my age will remember this phenomenon that went through the very hot year that was 1976 through until 1979. The weekly (I think) magazines were collected and ultimately inserted proudly into the white and gold Supercook binders. My dad loved to cook and experiment and Supercook was the source of many of his weekend recipes. Try this one – it’s another of those that I love – you pop them in the oven and they finish themselves off whilst you make the kitchen tidy again.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 x baking dish (mine is 30cm x 20cm x 7cm deep)

10 – 12 chicken thighs

4 tablespoons flour, well seasoned with sea salt and black pepper

Splash of rapeseed oil

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

200g lean bacon, chopped

12 shallots

1 teacup parsley, chopped

2 bay leaves

½ bottle red wine

125ml boiling water

2 x Knorr chicken stock pots

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

200g button mushrooms, cleaned

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Make some chicken stock by popping the stock pots into a jug and then filling it to 125ml with boiling water, dissolving the stock evenly into the water using a balloon whisk.

Coat the chicken thighs with the seasoned flour.

Heat the oil in a deep-sided frying pan. Add the chicken and fry on a medium-high heat until gold brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken pieces and pop them into your baking dish – they’ll fit nice and snugly.

If the frying pan is dry, add another splash of oil and when hot, add the garlic, onion and bacon, frying gently until pale gold.

Stir in any leftover coating flour (this will make the sauce lovely and thick), and then add the shallots, parsley, bay leaves, wine and stock.

Bring to the boil, stirring, then taste. Season. Taste. When you’re happy, carry on.

Tip the mushrooms into the baking dish over the chicken and then pour over the sauce from the frying pan. Cover with foil and pop in the oven for 1 hour until the chicken is tender.

Serve your lovely Coq au Vin with green vegetables (we favour broccoli) and potato – baked or sautéed if you fancy. It’s lovely, definitely French and just perfect for a winter family supper! Enjoy!

Inspired by…

Supercook

How easy…

Very easy. The only bit I don’t like about this is the prep of the onions and shallots, which instigates a bout of violent sneezing and then mascara-ruining crying. But once that’s out the way, a simple but lovely dish!

Chicken with Mushrooms and Soured Cream

I did this for friends who were coming to supper. The original plan was to have fish but their son, Ali (you know who you are!) doesn’t eat fish so our planned meal had to be quickly revised. I found this recipe and just wasn’t sure about the soy sauce and sherry thing going on – I couldn’t imagine how it was all going to taste. Persuaded by John and the fact that we had all the ingredients, I went ahead, somewhat apprehensively. Imagine my delight when it turned out simply wonderfully. My only problem that evening was that I hadn’t cooked enough – we all wanted seconds. Never one to be accused of small portions, the following recipe will feed four hungry people. Try it, love it and add it to your autumn and winter favourites list!

 Serves 4

 What you need…

 1 large baking dish (mine is 30cm x 20cm x 7cm deep)

1 kg chicken thighs

2 teaspoons paprika

Splash rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 tablespoons plain flour

500ml hot chicken stock (I dissolved 2 Knorr stock pots into 500ml water)

300g brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

150g wild mushrooms, rinsed

5 teaspoons sweet sherry

4 teaspoons soy sauce

125ml soured cream

 What to do…

Preheat oven to 170°c / 325°f/ gas 3.

Lightly butter (going off the word ‘grease’) your baking dish.

Sprinkle the paprika evenly over the chicken thighs.

Heat the oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan and fry the chicken on both sides until lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, remove to the baking dish, fitting them in together snugly in a single layer. Season lightly.

To the frying pan juices, add the onion and garlic and sauté lightly. Tip in the flour and mix it in evenly. Slowly add the hot stock, stirring continuously. When thickened, remove from the heat and then add the mushrooms, sherry and soy sauce. Add the soured cream slowly (to avoid curdling).

Pour over the chicken and bake, uncovered, for 90 minutes or until the sauce is a lovely, thick and bronzed. It’s quite simply gorgeous!

Serving suggestion…

Chicken with mushrooms and soured cream goes really well with boiled, seasoned basmati and wild rice

 Inspired by…

Lynn Bedford Hall, New Creative Cuisine and Helen, who introduced me to this old but fabulous book.

 How easy…

Really, really easy with the added benefit that you can clear up the cooking pots whist it does it’s thing in the oven – very relaxed cooking for superb results.