Tag Archives: thyme

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.

Tomato and Ricotta Tart

Colourful, light and really tasty, you can throw this tart together in minutes for a really lovely light lunch, starter or tasty snack when you’ve had enough indulging in really rich food. Very lovely. Enjoy!

Serves 4

 What you need…

 15g butter

2 red onions, halved and sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

500g puff pastry

100g ricotta

250g cherry tomatoes, halved

Olive oil for drizzling

A few fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked

What to do…

Preheat oven to 200°c / 400° / gas 7.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onions, season and cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Lightly flour your work surface and roll out the puff pastry to about 5mm thick. Transfer to a baking tray that has been slightly warmed in the oven but isn’t too hot to handle! Spread over the onion and garlic mix, leaving a 1cm border uncovered. Dollop on the ricotta, scatter over the tomatoes, season well and then drizzle over olive oil, sprinkle with thyme and then pop in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden and the tomatoes are soft and juicy.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly for 5 minutes. Serve your tomato and ricotta tart as a ‘rough cut and share’ snack or starter.

Tip…

Instead of peeling and crushing garlic cloves, use Cooks’ Ingredients frozen, chopped garlic from Waitrose – a quick shake directly into the pan is so much easier!

Goats cheese and olives are a nice alternative to the ricotta.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine (from a long time ago)

How easy…

Dead easy providing you assemble on the baking tray – the original instructions suggested assembling on your work surface and then transferring to an oven hot baking tray – this required me, my cousin and her husband-to-be to achieved. It’s much easier my way and tastes great!