Cottage Pie with Seared Fillet in a Madeira Sauce, Parsnip Puree Croquettes and Horseradish Cream’. Or ‘Beef, Two Ways’

I was watching ‘MasterChef: The Professionals’ the other day. MasterChef is bad enough in terms of the sheer terror those poor contestants go through, but being on the show and being a professional chef as well is even worse.

Having the likes of Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti and Gregg ‘that’s a lovely plate of food’ Wallace tell the head chef of a gastropub in Hampstead Heath that his ‘Pan-fried Duck with Distressed Carrot Salad on a Bed of Infused Cherry Curds with Cognac Reduction’ looks like road kill could do more than dent a bit of pride.

One of the meals prepared was ‘Lamb three ways’. The chef did Shepard’s Pie (in a mini saucepan), a kind of lamb meatball thing (can’t remember exactly what it was) and lamb leg loin. It looked good to me but the judges were harsh and said it didn’t taste of anything much. Of course us viewers wouldn’t know, we just stare at the food whilst munching on nuts and sipping a glass of wine thinking ‘I wish I was eating that rather than these crappy nuts’.

So I decided to do something like what I’d seen. You know ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. I opted for ‘Cottage Pie with Seared Fillet in a Madeira Sauce, Parsnip Puree Croquettes and Horseradish Cream’. Or ‘Beef, Two Ways’.

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Surf and Turf, Atkins Style

You’ll all remember the Atkins Diet craze – eat fat and protein, a few green things, and watch those pounds fall away. And then suffer some unpleasant side effects, which we won’t go into here. Well I am on a diet but to be honest, now that I can fit into my Aqcuascutum* suit, it’s getting a bit difficult to maintain the motivation.

(*That’s not bragging, they’re on the verge of bankruptcy so I’ve heard)

So in order to a) fulfill the need to cook delicious food with b) my desire to pretend that I am still losing weight, I decided to revisit an old favourite – Surf ‘n’ Turf.

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Foolproofed Poached Egg Methodology

I think poaching is the most impressive way to cook an egg . There are many ways to do it – use a poacher, cooking rings, or just put them in water ‘free-form’.

But the problem with these methods is that either the eggs end up looking flat and a bit boring or they try to disintegrate in the water, looking like they’ve blown up. What you want with a poached egg is something that looks like a little white cloud!

Of course I didn’t make a poached egg and then just eat it. I serve it with steak!

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Fillet Steak with Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

As I enter the 8th week of my ‘yes-I-can-lose-weight-and-blog-about-cooking’ diet I suddenly realised I have been neglecting meat. Vegetable soup and the like is all very nice but it doesn’t require a great deal of tearing or chewing.

Although I made this creation a while ago it looks so good to me now (as I chew on my muesli) that I couldn’t resist any longer and so I invite you to join me in an a veritable orgy of virtual mastication.

An object of desire (try and ignore the mushroom and the green thing)…

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