Peppercorn sauce for steak

Peppercorn sauce for steak

This was improvised so quantities are approximate. And largely using what I had to hand. In this case I had some red wine left in a bottle but usually I have a wine box of red wine and a wine box of white wine in the fridge for cooking and when we run low we do another trip to France.

Ingredients

  • 80ml red wine
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp red peppercorns
  • juices from cooking mushrooms
  • meat juices from cooking steak

Instructions

  1. place wine in saucepan and boil until reduced by 1/3
  2. let cool slightly and slowly add cream mixing in well (if it starts to separate cool wine some more)
  3. Add cooking juices from mushrooms
  4. Heat slowly for 5 mins
  5. lightly crush peppercorns in pestle and add to the sauce
  6. When you’ve cooked the steaks and removed from pan stir cream sauce into meat juices and heat through well
  7. Pour over steak
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Sardines and Rice

Sardines and Rice

Our eldest is getting ready to leave home, he’ll be working for a year before going on to university so I’ve been thinking a bit more about frugal eating as he won’t have a lot of money. We used to make this a lot when we were first married as we had very little money left after the mortgage. It is very tasty and quick to make from store cupboard basics.

Quantities below feed 2-3 depending on appetite.

Ingredients

  • 2 Onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tins (2 x 100g approx) sardines in tomato sauce 
  • 1 tin (400g) chopped tomatoes 
  • 250g basmati rice

Instructions

  1. Cook rice according to instructions
  2. Whilst rice is cooking saute onions, add crushed garlic
  3. Add tin tomatoes to onions and bring to a simmer
  4. Season well with black pepper and any herbs to hand
  5. Mash up sardines roughly and add to pan, mix well 
  6. Add rice when cooked and mix well. Warm through and serve
  7. Add chilli sauce to taste (optional)

French Fruit Tart – James Martin Desserts

James Martin Fruit tart

I’ve neglected this blog lately, partly because I’ve been finding it harder to fit in trying new recipes but also busy. I really felt this tart was worth writing up. It’s a rubbish photo but it gives the idea of how nice this tart looks. We’ve started doing a regular neighbours dinner party where different homes contribute different courses and it was my turn to make dessert. It needed to serve 10 people but not with huge portions and I didn’t have very much time to prepare it and my time was going to be 10mins snatched her or there during the day. I love the James Martin Desserts book. It was a present from my cousin Shanaz who also loves to bake and cook. This looked impressive, wasn’t difficult to make (although the chocolate step was a faff see below) tasted lovely and was perfect quantity for 10.

This would make a lovely dessert for a country themed dinner party as it would easily adapt to a variety of flag designs with appropriate fruit.

Ingredients

  • 350 g puff pastry plus plain flour, for rolling out
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 85 g white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 a vanilla pod, seeds only (optional)
  • 200 ml double cream, half whipped
  • 100 ml fresh custard
  • small punnet of medium-sized strawberries, hulled and halved
  • small punnet of blackberries and raspberries
  • 1 large banana, sliced
  • small bunch of seedless green and/or black grapes, halved
  • 4 tablespoons smooth apricot jam (I used my own plum jam and sifted out the fruit pieces)

Instructions

  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and cut out a rectangle measuring 36 x 20 cm. Place on a baking tray. Using a table knife, score a 1 cm border around the edge, making sure you don’t cut the pastry all the way through.
  2. Brush the border with egg wash, taking care not to allow any to dribble down the sides because this will prevent the pastry rising evenly. Prick the base of the tart (not the border) with a fork and chill the pastry for 20 minutes.
  3. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Bake the pastry for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Slide onto a wire rack to leave to cool. Once cooled, gently press the centre of the pastry down to leave the frame around the edge. [When I did this I had a lot of crumbs and flaky pieces, next time I’ll brush these off]
    James Martin fruit tart pastry
  4. Melt the chocolate and brush over the bottom of the pastry [this step was a bit of a nightmare because of all the flaky pastry crumbs. I used 200g white chocolate and had two attempts and as you can see below it looked a mess. I assume the chocolate is to seal the base so the custard mix doesn’t make it go soggy]. Leave to set.

    James martin fruit tart chocolate

  5. Add the vanilla seeds to the cream and fold in the custard. Spoon and spread the cream mixture over the pastry base.
  6. Draw shallow lines in the cream mixture to create even sections of the fruit, and arrange the fruit on top so that each section is a contrasting colour. [There was something terribly satisfying about arranging the fruit]
    James Martin Fruit tart almost finished
  7. Heat the jam and, using a pastry brush, glaze the fruit. Allow to set before serving.