I have finally reached Z (and therefore the end of this blog). Don’t despair however, as I will be starting a new blog about cooking food that’s in season very soon, so stay tuned.
This week I decided to go all out and cook something I’d never eaten before: zebra steaks, which I found at The Exotic Meat Company in Borough Market. They source their zebra products from a managed ranch in South Africa. It was expensive (~£10 for two steaks), but as this isn’t an everyday meal and has been shipped in, the price is justifiable for a one-off meal.
The zebra steaks I bought were very lean and having done my research, zebra has a delicate flavour for red meat. Therefore I didn’t want to overpower the meat with other intense flavours too much, so I could enjoy it properly. I therefore decided to marinate the meat in a simple marinade, and serve with gnocchi and a crunchy, colourful salad.
The recipes below serve 2.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Half a bag of designer salad leaves (I used watercress, spinach and rocket);
Radicchio – finely shredded;
¼ fennel bulb – finely shredded;
1 stick of celery – finely cut;
2 spring onions – finely sliced;
1 tbsp white wine vinegar;
2 tbsp (extra virgin) olive oil;
a pinch of salt
a squirt of lemon juice
½ tsp Dijon mustard
500g gnocchi (homemade or straight from a packet is fine);
3 tbsp olive oil;
a pinch of salt;
2 twists of pepper;
1 tsp of rosemary – finely chopped;
2 x 150g zebra steaks;
4 tbsp olive oil;
2 tbsp lemon juice;
1 tbsp yuzu juice;
1 tsp salt
several twists of pepper
Firstly prepare all the ingredients for the salad and toss together in a bowl. Then make the salad dressing by combining the white wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon, salt and mustard. The dressing should start to emulsify thanks to the mustard (as opposed to separating). Don’t pour the dressing over the salad until you’re ready to serve.
For the zebra steaks, put all the ingredients in a shallow bowl to make the marinade. Place the steaks in there and leave to stoop for about 5 minutes a side.
Put a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once it’s hot enough (the oil will start shimmering) tip in the gnocchi. They will take a couple of minutes to cook on either side. About halfway through the cooking, add the seasoning (salt, pepper and rosemary) and remember to toss / turn over so they get an even colour.
Whilst the gnocchi is on the go, put a griddle pan over a high heat and leave to hot up, then add the steaks. As always, I oil the steaks (via the marinade), not the pan to avoid the kitchen filling up with smoke. It takes 3-4 minutes to cook on each side if you like your steaks somewhere between medium and rare, although tailor the times to your preference.
Once cooked, take the steaks from the griddle and wrap in tin foil for 5 minutes. This resting time allows the steak juices to settle and makes the meat more tender.
In the meantime, dress the salad and serve up the gnocchi, salad and finally add the steaks to your plate and dribble over the juices.
I’ve been away on holiday for a while, so haven’t had the chance to post the latest blog, but here it is at last….my yuzu and prawn salad. With the temperature reaching the high-teens in the UK this weekend, it’s got me thinking about light and fresh summer food. I hope this dish is just that…it’s very low calories, low-fat but high in flavour and colour. This is a dish for one, but is easily multiplied up if you need to make it for two people.
Some of you may be wondering what a ‘yuzu’ is? Well, it’s a fruit used in east Asia that has a strong citrus flavour that is somewhere between a grapefruit and a lemon. I’ve used it in this dish as it’s a very fresh flavour and compliments the prawns.
I have used Cos (or Romaine) lettuce in this recipe as it is crunchy and will hold its shape under the prawns. You may of course use a softer leaf, but at your own peril.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
180g king prawns – uncooked, frozen or thawed;
1 thumb sized piece of ginger – peeled and finely diced;
1 tsp soy sauce;
1 tbsp yuzu juice (or yuzu seasoning);
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil;
2 spring onions;
zest of ½ lemon;
squirt of lemon juice;
zest of 1 lime;
½ Cos (Romaine) lettuce – torn into small pieces;
½ ripe mango – diced into 1cm pieces;
Pinch of salt.
In a small bowl, make the yuzu dressing by adding the yuzu juice, olive oil, salt, lemon zest and juice and spring onions – finely chopped and give a little stir then set aside.
Put a dribble of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and tip in the prawns. Prawns can be cooked from thawed or frozen, but will just take a couple more minutes if being cooked from frozen. Stir round and as soon as the prawns begin to change from a dull grey to their coral pink colour, add the ginger and lime zest. Keep moving round the pan until the prawns are completely pink and then tip in the soy sauce.
On a large plate (or shallow bowl depending on how much of a messy eater you are – bowl in my case), pile up the lettuce and mango pieces. Then tip over the cooked prawns and drizzle over the yuzu seasoning.
Serve immediately, as although the Cos lettuce is crunchy, it will become soggy if left in the dressing.
It is true, roasting meat does take a long time to do, but I promise this dish takes literally minutes of preparation and then you can leave it to do its thing until it’s ready to eat (if you don’t mind the waiting). I had a couple of friends (“handy volunteers” as they called themselves) round for dinner mid-week. They normally finish work slightly later than me, so this was perfect.
In this recipe for Roast duck with thyme, I use duck legs (including the thigh). This does not compromise on flavour (compared with duck breast) and is cheaper too. You can of course use duck breasts if you wish, just make sure they have the skin on too. You won’t need any extra fat/oil in this meal, as there’s already plenty in the duck, which oozes out, permeating the potatoes and makes everything golden crisp.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1.5 – 2 hours
duck thighs – one per person
baking potatoes – one per person
A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp Olive oil (for the salad dressing)
1 tbsp Cider vinegar
A spritz of lemon juice
A few turns of pepper
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Put the duck thighs in a large roast dish – you’ll need one with nigh sides as lots of duck fat will ooze out. If you don’t have a large enough dish, split over two.
Chop the baking potatoes (skins left on, but given a quick wash) into 2cm squares and scatter around the legs, so they’re a snug fit.
Sprinkle over a large pinch of salt and coupe of turns of freshly ground pepper. Top with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and put in the oven and leave to cook.
After an hour of cooking, I usually take it out for a minute and turn the roasting potatoes around to ensure they’re evenly coated in the duck fat and juices. I also put the oven up to 200° C for the last half and hour of cooking to ensure everything is extra crispy. If it needs a little bit longer, leave it in the oven until it’s crisp enough for you.
I served my duck and potatoes with some shop-bought salad leaves (mid-week time saving). In a small bowl I make a dressing, by whisking together olive oil, cider vinegar, a spritz of lemon and a small pinch of salt.
This could not be easier to make, and I’ve yet to find anyone who can resist duck!