Recipe: Asian Steak Salad

When I’m trying to be healthier, my go-to flavours are Asian; Thai, Vietnamese. Fresh, vibrant and aromatic. They instantly brighten up what should be a dull plate of veg, add life, and make things ten times tastier. I always find they fill me up a lot more too.

 photo 2015-01-10 20.10.13_zpsn6lc6hz5.jpgThis salad was inspired by wandering around the aisles of Morrisions (seriously, the one kinda near me is amazing!) for nearly an hour. Their fresh produce was amazing, and after a carb-laden lunch (read more on Saturday) we wanted to lighten things up. The steak came about because chicken  (free range, that actually tastes of something) is expensive. Turns out that with the right ingredients, the thin cuts of cheaper frying steak are more than delicious. I’ll definitely be picking up more of these.

 photo 2015-01-10 19.54.37_zpsenqrwzl9.jpgSteak is also a lot, lot quicker to cook than chicken. These only had a minute on each side, and to be honest I wouldn’t even give them that next time. You can have this salad ready within about 15 minutes of walking through the door. And the dressing? Add noodles and leftover salad – there’s lunch for tomorrow. It also works perfectly to add extra zing to a noodle soup.

Ingredients (for 1, but makes extra dressing)

  • Frying steak
  • 1/2 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 red chilli (check the heat by tasting a little bit, and adjust the amount accordingly)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • A splash of soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Squeeze of honey
  • Coriander
  • Salad – we went for julienned carrot, watercress and a small amount of onion
  • Sesame seeds – optional, only to top the salad, but we really enjoyed them

 photo 2015-01-10 19.54.57_zpsupq9ewg4.jpgBegin by making the dressing. Finely chop the ginger, chilli and garlic together. Add to a small bowl or mug, then pour over the sauces, lime and honey. Mix together, taste, and add more of an ingredient if you think it needs it.

 photo 2015-01-10 20.01.22_zpsith0jknh.jpgToss your salad together with your coriander.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, with a teeny amount of oil. Season the steaks with salt and pepper, and flash fry extremely quickly until just cooked.

Cover the steaks with foil to rest briefly, and tip any sauces from the pan into the dressing.

 photo 2015-01-10 20.08.46_zpsqci8hzwi.jpgToss the salad in the dressing, top with the steak, sprinkle over sesame seeds and serve. I added a teeny bit of rice to mine (and a lot of rice to W’s) but it honestly didn’t need it.

 photo 2015-01-10 20.09.54_zpsyk0ey3wo.jpgThe perfect diet meal!

What’s your favourite healthy recipe?

Restaurant Review: Steak & Co, Covent Garden

I love London. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a countryside girl at heart, but London gives me a real buzz, and more than anything it excites the foodie in me. I try to be relatively adventurous when eating out – recently I’ve had fabulous meals in a vegetarian pay-by-weight buffet place (I loved it, my boyfriend wasn’t convinced), a charming little Swiss place in Soho, and of course my go-to is the utterly delicious Wahaca. But this time we decided to follow up a recommendation and go pay to cook our own dinner…

 photo 2014-10-11185939_zps266fe77c.jpgWe had decided what we were eating before arriving; steak cooked on a hot stone. The only decision to make was the cut, the butter, the salt, the sauce and the sides. In the end we both went for a (massive) 8oz Rib-Eye. I had garlic butter, mustard salt and pepper sauce, he had chilli butter, chilli sauce and pepper sauce.

 photo ebcb545d-e1dd-42b3-ad6b-b835aa9cd6a8_zps23360018.jpgThe idea is your steak comes underdone – so as I like mine rare it comes to the table blue. You then cook slices to your liking on the hot stone provided, using your flavoured butter, sprinkling with the salt, and dipping into the sauce. A bit theatrical, but the steak is good quality and well-flavoured, and it’s not ridiculously expensive. Our bill came to around £40, which really isn’t bad for central London steak. Mustard salt is delicious, the mushroom sauce I ordered originally should be avoided (the pepper one is lovely!). I’d possibly suggest not getting rib-eye if you like your meat rare – its a cut better suited to being more cooked so the fat renders down.

 photo ff7cc94a-1b61-4889-aa8a-f3fb71fdaf74_zpse56743d0.jpg photo 7f9f8dbf-a96c-401b-891c-a332cffaff06_zps247ae66d.jpgSides were garlic mushrooms for me, sweet potato fries for him. The mushrooms were spectacular, garlicky and cooked to perfection. Only issue was there were so many I couldn’t possibly finish them all. I stole a few sweet potato fries, and surprisingly enjoyed them. Still a little over sweet for my tastebuds though.

 photo 2014-10-11160243_zps52409faf.jpgWe weren’t impressed with the desserts menu at all, instead opting for a wander to Ben & Jerrys at Leictester Square. We had eaten a massive brownie from Borough Market before dinner though!

Have you ever been to a restaurant where you cooked your own food? What do you think about the concept?

Recipe: Steak in a Mushroom & Brandy Sauce

 photo 2014-05-02200146_zps460760ac.jpgBit of a quick recipe here for you, as I was never planning on posting it. But then it looked really photogenic on the plate, and it was a really yummy dinner, so I decided to go with it!

I love a good steak, but so often they aren’t that great. It needs to be tender, no chewy bits, and perfectly cooked and rested. There’s no point cooking a steak to perfection and then not resting it! I’ve pretty much given up ordering it when I’m out, as I always end up a little disappointed, and I do think its overpriced on menus, but I’m partial to a bit of homecooked steak. Or at least, I am during the holidays when someone else is paying for the food shopping…

This is my family’s go-to recipe when it comes to steak, quick and simple, and we usually have everything in the fridge. The sauce is a dream, and I really should make it more often as it goes perfectly with chicken!

Ingredients (for one)

– Steak, whatever cut you like. We usually go for sirloin when cooking at home, and if I’m honest steaks from Aldi are the best bet unless you have a good butcher!

– A good amount of (preferably freshly) ground black pepper

– One handful of mushrooms

– Splash of something alcoholic – brandy works best, failing that use white wine or even sherry

– Around 100ml of cream

Now let’s cook a steak!

 photo 2014-05-02195659_zps581ce4e7.jpgAbout half an hour before cooking, cover your steak (on both sides) in the pepper. I like my steak really peppery, but adjust this to your own tastes. When ready to cook, heat some fat in a pan over a high heat, until foaming. We normally use butter here, but my boyfriend has used cocoa butter before which works amazing well! Cook the steaks quickly on both sides (see here for a rough timing guide). Throw on a pan, cover with foil, and pop in a low oven.

 photo 2014-05-02195622_zps65f624e0.jpgThrow your sliced/whole mushrooms into the pan (with a little extra butter) and quickly fry until golden brown. Add the alcohol and cook off, then stir in the cream, turn down the heat, and simmer until thickened.

Serve the steak, topped with the sauce, alongside your favourite accompaniments. Can’t go wrong with chips and peas in my opinion!
 photo 2014-05-02200141_zpse369b03f.jpg

How do you like your steak?

Ready Meal Review: All Steak Pukka Pie

 photo IMAG0931_zpsj16olj2q.jpg

I don’t think that much beats a good pie. I like making my own, I really do, but sometimes you just don’t have the time. I also don’t have the patience to fully encase my filling in pastry and sometimes I just want the stodge. Sometimes you just want to buy a ready made pie and devour it.

Chicken pies are all very well and good, but steak pie is just better. Unfortunately I’m really limited on the steak pies I can buy being allergic to tomatoes. Reliably I can buy Waitrose’s and Pukka’s, although I’m told Morrison’s are me-safe too. When I noticed Pukka All Steak Pies were reduced to £1 in Tesco over the weekend I simply had to buy one. It ended up photographing quite well, so thought I’d review it too!

After 30 minutes in the oven (from chilled) you have what is to me a perfect pie. Crispy pastry on top, but stodgy and almost soggy underneath. Filled with a thick gravy and properly big chunks of meat. Served with plenty of veg and a little extra gravy, its my perfect meal. Normally I wouldn’t serve mash with it, but I had potatoes to use up.

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I personally think that, although people frown on them (they are sold in chip shops after all!), Pukka pies are really good quality. I’ve never had any fatty or grisly meat in there, just decent chunks of what actually looks and tastes like steak. The pastry isn’t crisp all the way round, but I kinda like that. Its comforting! I can’t say I’d necessarily spend more than £1 on one of these, but I’m happy to treat myself if I spy these on offer. I’m a girl who likes pie, and this girl says that a Pukka Pie is a pie worth the buy!

On that cheesy note, what’s your favourite pie?