Steak Frites

Steak Frites

The epitome of French brasserie food – Steak Frites is a firm favourite for a weekday supper.

Sirloin steak which has been dry aged, on the bone for 35 days by my butcher is served with double cooked fries and garlic and black pepper butter.

A quicker version of my perfect fries makes this an ideal weekday meal. The butter can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer for when needed.

Steak Frites
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Steak and Butter: 4 Sirloin Steaks (Preferably Rib End, Well Trimmed), Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, 10ml Rapeseed Oil, 60g Unsalted Butter, 1 Garlic Clove (Finely Chopped), 1tsp Sea Salt, 3tsp Cracked Black Pepper

For the Fries: 8 Large Maris Piper Potatoes (Peeled and Chipped and Stored in Water), Sea Salt

Method:

1) Prepare the butter by allowing the butter to come to room temperature and placing in a small bowl. Add the garlic, 1tsp sea salt and 3tsp cracked black pepper and mix well to combine. Transfer to some cling film and roll tightly into a sausage, winding both ends to compress. Transfer to the freezer until ready to serve.

2) Pre heat a fryer filled with vegetable oil to 160c. Drain and dry the chips from the water and fry in batches for 4-5 minutes until just starting to turn colour. Remove from the fryer and drain, storing on a large flat baking tray until ready for the final fry.

3) Turn the fryer up to 190c. Fry the fries again, in batches, for around 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Remove, drain on some kitchen towel and season with sea salt. Keep warm until ready to serve.

4) Meanwhile, place a large frying pan over a high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Season each steak liberally with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Fry for around 3-4 minutes each side until cooked to your liking – this will depend entirely on thickness. Set aside and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

5) Serve the steaks with a slice of the garlic and black pepper butter and a good amount of fries.

Enjoy!

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Venison Loin and Parsnip Chips

Venison Loin and Parsnip Chips

Roasted venison loin simply drizzled with a little olive oil and smoked sea salt pairs deliciously with parsnip chips which have had a light dusting of cayenne. This dish would make a great weekend supper or could be scaled up for an impressive dinner party!

I served the venison and chips with a watercress salad and mini pancetta dauphinoise.

Venison Loin and Parsnip Chips
Serves 2

Ingredients:

500g Venison Loin (In the Piece, Fully Trimmed)
1 Sprig Rosemary
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Smoked Sea Salt
6 Parsnips (Peeled, Cut into chips and store in water)
1/2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Vegetable Oil
Small Handful Chopped Parsley
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

Method:

1) Pre heat the oven to 220C. Place 4 Tbsp of vegetable oil into a large baking tin and place into the oven to pre heat.

2) Meanwhile, place the parsnips in a large pan and fill with cold water. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Once boiled, drain the parsnips and dry thoroughly with kitchen towel.

3) Place the parsnips in a large bowl with the cayenne pepper and toss to combine. Add the parsnips to the baking tray and roast for around 40 minutes, turning occasionally – until golden brown. Once ready, remove from the oven and toss through with the chopped parsley and some sea salt before serving.

4) Meanwhile, season the venison loin with black pepper and sear in a little olive oil with the rosemary in a hot pan for around 4 minutes each side. Place in a dish and transfer to the oven to continue cooking to your liking – around 2-5 minutes (I look for an internal temperature of 54-56C).

5) Once done, remove the venison from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Drizzle with olive oil and a little smoked sea salt before serving with the parsnip chips.

Enjoy!

In Search of the Perfect Fries

 

I’m going to stick my neck on the line here – McDonald’s fries are good. So good in fact that I just had to attempt to recreate them at home.

Fries just don’t get much better – crisp and fluffy with a big smack of salt. Not only do they retain their crispness for a commendable time after frying, they are heavenly moreish. For me, they are the perfect fries.

I am making a big distinction here between fries and chips – it is best not to get the two confused. Fries are the skinny ones, chips the fat. Fries are best with a burger and chips (especially triple cooked) best with a steak. Nothing will ever beat the satisfaction of tucking into a large bowl of chips. Sometimes; however, fries are the best option.

First and foremost, the star of the show – the potato. With a myriad of varieties on offer it is sometimes impossible to choose. But, of course, only certain varieties are perfectly suited to ‘chipping’. We need a potato which is widely available and has a fairly high dry matter content – meaning there is less moisture in the potato which may turn the fries limp! Maris Piper fit the bill. For those that are interested, The European Cultivated Potato Database is a fantastic online resource.

Now that we have the potato, it is all down to the cooking. Searching for those elusive McDonalds fries, it struck me, why not do as they do? A quick search and all questions were answered. Firstly this article, in part by a former McDonalds employee, explains the factory procedure the french fries go through before reaching the restaurant freezers. Daunting at first, until I found this little gem – an article by Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt. An amazing step by step guide on creating the perfect McDonalds french fries at home – if you haven’t already read, I urge you to.

The perfect fries, much like the perfect chips, is a three-step process. First the cut potato must be poached in water for 15 minutes at 76.5C – the perfect temperature to par-cook without breaking down the starches. After being dried, the chips are then fried at 182C for 50 seconds. I then froze the chips at this stage before the final frying. Before serving, fry at 190C for 3 ½ minutes, then drain and salt.

Stage One Complete

I am fortunate to have a Sous Vide Supreme in the cupboard to poach the chips at exactly 76.5C. However, I revert you to the Serious Eats article for a more conventional first step! Don’t scrimp with the salt (I doused mine in Himalayan pink salt) and you will have the perfect batch of french fries to savor.

Why not make a big batch to stage 2, freeze, then pull out the freezer for their final fry when required!

French Fries
Serves 4
Ingredients:
750g Maris Piper Potatoes, Peeled and Chipped
Vegetable Oil
Sea Salt

Method:
1) Store the fries in cold water between peeling and chipping. Poach fries in a water bath (loose) at 76.5C for 15 minutes. Remove and drain.
2) Pat the fries dry with kitchen towel before frying in vegetable oil at 182C for 50 seconds. Probably best to complete this stage in batches. Drain the fries.
3) Freeze the fries at this stage for use later. Alternatively, continue to the next step.
4) Fry in 190C oil for 3 ½ minutes, or until very lightly browned. Drain and season liberally with salt.

Enjoy!

Triple Cooked Chips

 

You’ve all heard of them by now, Heston Blumenthal’s triple cooked chips have taken the world by storm. It seems every restaurant is serving up a rendition of this modern classic. To mess with the mighty chip was a brave move, but it paid off. This recipe is truly worth the hype.

I was fortunate to try these delights at Heston’s ‘pub’ in Bray – the Hinds Head. They were delicious, but perhaps a little undercooked for my liking – I thought I would try them at home.

It may seem like a lot of effort for a measly chip, but please make the effort, you will be truly rewarded.

Triple Cooked Chips

1kg Maris Piper Potatoes, cut into chips of equal size.

3 Liters Groundnut or Vegetable Oil

Sea Salt

Method:

1) Soak the chips in running water for 20 minutes to remove some of the starch.

2) Simmer the chips in salted water until just cooked, they shouldn’t be completely falling apart but should break with ease.

3) Lay the chips on a baking tray and transfer to the freezer for 1 hour.

4) Fry the chips in batches at 130C for 5-7 minutes until they are slightly ‘crunchy’ on the outside – they should not colour.

5) Lay the chips on kitchen roll on a baking tray and transfer to the fridge. They can be kept here for up to 3 days before serving.

6) Fry the chips at 180-190C until golden brown, approximately 7-8 minutes. Drain and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Eat them quick – they won’t last long!