Forget calorie counting for a day and indulge in two wonderfully yummy flavour-packed dishes
When I opened my first restaurant, Braeval, in the 80s, steak Diane and beef stroganoff were hugely popular. There’s been a revival of these wonderful dishes and my modern version, beef strips with a whisky and mushroom sauce, served with home-made chips and a rocket and parmesan cheese salad is utterly delicious. I put it back on the menu at Native in Aberdeen and it sells really, really well, customers just love it.
Instead of using oil, I cook the chips to go with the steak in beef dripping which gives them a wonderful flavour. When making chips it’s important not to use a straight sided pan because when you put the potatoes in the hot fat, they release water which bubbles up, but if you cook them in a wok, it has a bigger surface area which lets the steam escape.
Today’s dessert, butterscotch and honeycomb pots, are dreamy, creamy and very yummy. Effectively it’s a caramel creme brulee and very rich but a little goes a long way. It’s served with a version of puff candy which again is really easy to make and older kids will love helping you make it as when it all bubbles up, it makes you feel a bit like an alchemist!
NICK’S BEEF STRIPS WITH WHISKY AND MUSHROOM SAUCE, CHIPS AND PARMESAN SALAD
- SERVES 2
- 360g beef fillet tail
- Olive oil
- 40ml whisky
- 120ml chicken stock
- 50ml double cream
- 150g brown mushrooms
- Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
- Sea salt
- 30g butter
- TO SERVE
- Rocket leaves
- FOR THE CHIPS
- 3 red rooster potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunky chips
- Beef dripping for frying (or veg oil if you prefer)
- 1tsp sea salt
First prepare the beef. Cut the beef fillet into 30g pieces. Place the pieces end-grain face down on a chopping board, cover with cling film and use a steak mallet to beat them flat to the thickness of a beer mat. Generously coat each piece in black pepper. Stack up the pieces and wrap in cling film until ready to cook, but don’t refrigerate. For the mushrooms, cut into quarters or sixths, depending on size.
Heat a large frying pan until hot. When hot, season the beef pieces with salt and add 25ml olive oil to the pan. Immediately place the beef pieces in the pan, keeping them separated. Scatter over the mushrooms and cook hot until the meat is browned (three-four minutes). Keep moving the mushrooms around the pan. Add the butter.
Turn the meat, and continue cooking for another three minutes, while still moving the mushrooms around until caramelised and dark. Now work fast. Add the whisky (this may cause flames!), and then the stock and reduce until nearly all the liquid is gone, now add the cream and reduce until thickened, but not too thick.
To serve, tip out the beef, making sure you scrape out all the sauce and mushrooms from the pan – the sauce is the key part of this dish. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water in the pan and stir over the heat to loosen the sauce. Serve with the chips and salad on the side.
For the salad, toss the rocket in olive oil and grate parmesan over.
For the chips, carefully heat the beef dripping in a wok to 120C (we use deodorised beef dripping sold in blocks, which makes the chips taste amazing but you can use veg or sunflower oil if you prefer). Place the cut potato chips in for eight minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and pat dry with a tea towel.
When almost ready to eat, reheat the dripping or oil to 190C. Place the blanched chips back in for two minutes, until golden. Remove, drain on absorbent cloth, season immediately with salt and pepper
BUTTERSCOTCH AND HONEYCOMB POTS
- SERVES 6
- 1 x 200g tin sweetened condensed milk
- 6 free-range egg yolks
- 375g double cream, plus extra to serve
- FOR THE HONEYCOMB
- Butter, for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 5tbsp golden syrup
- 2tsp bicarbonate of soda
- TO SERVE
- 100g double cream, lightly whipped
- Chocolate shavings
Place the unopened can of condensed milk in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer for three hours, topping up the water every now and then so it always covers the tin. Leave to cool in the water. Alternatively, use preheated sweetened condensed milk, which is now available and already formed into a toffee sauce.
Preheat the oven to 150C/
300F/Gas 2. Open the can of ‘toffee’ and scrape it into a bowl. Stir in the egg yolks and gradually stir in the double cream until you have a smooth mixture. Strain it into a jug and pour evenly into six 7.5cm ramekins. Place these in a small roasting tin and pour in boiling water until it comes half way up the sides of the ramekins. Slide the roasting tin onto the middle shelf of the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until just set but still a little wobbly. Remove the ramekins from the tin, leave to cool and cover and chill for at least two hours.
For the honeycomb, grease a 20cm square tin with the butter. Mix the caster sugar and syrup in a deep saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar has melted (145C on a thermometer).
Once completely melted, turn up the heat a little and simmer until you have an amber coloured caramel (this won’t take long), then as quickly as you can turn off the heat, tip in the bicarbonate and whisk in thoroughly until it has all disappeared and the mixture is foaming. Pour into the tin immediately but be careful as the mixture will be very hot. It will continue bubbling in the tin. Leave it for an hour until the honeycomb is hard enough to crumble or snap into chunks. Yum!
Serve the pots with extra lightly whipped cream on top, chunks of the honeycomb and chocolate shavings if