Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Chargrilled Steak with Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges and Tomato Salsa, plus a Giveaway

Hi there readers ;) I know you're out there because, even though not many of you comment on the blog, you comment in real life to my face, and that is very encouraging! But a comment on the blog would be tremendously exciting for me, so go on, don't be scared of the comments box; embrace it, it's your friend... and mine! And to make it even more appealing, I have decided to try out using a random number generator (which may result in pulling names out of a hat if all else fails!) to choose a winner to be the lucky recipient of a freshly baked loaf of bread made by my fair hand! It could be from a recipe you've seen which has intrigued you, or one you've seen here on the blog which has appealed to you, or you can leave it up to me. This giveaway is obviously only going to be of interest to you if you live fairly locally and can appreciate it in its freshly baked state, but even if you're not local, please leave a note anyway, as it would make my day. Oh, and by the way, Facebook doesn't count for this exercise, my friends! Though a sincere thank you to all of you who do comment on Facebook, I know it's a medium everyone is used to and is therefore far less intimidating. The closing date will be in a week's time, Wednesday 17th June 2015, at 10pm.

I also need to apologise for my lack of posting over the last week. We've had a particularly hectic weekend and week beginning, including our wedding anniversary which we spent at the stunning and outrageously expensive Llangoed Hall in mid-Wales, eating the kind of food which you will never in a million years find on this blog! Miniscule portions of beautifully presented delicacies, including a rack of lamb consisting of one rib measuring approximately seven centimetres at its longest point, and no more than four centimetres wide! I also sampled beef tartare which I have never tasted before, although Husb had the misfortune to be served with a rather large plate of it in Tokyo and was repulsed, as many a man would be when proffered a plate full of raw beef! This serving, however, was, in accordance with the standard serving size of the establishment: miniscule, not even a mouthful. It was also served with capers and other minute... err... things(!) so I couldn't actually tell you what the raw beef tasted like as it was rather unidentifiable amidst the other competing flavours. It was an experience more than anything, but also the kind of meal where you eat as much bread as possible because you know you'll still be hungry at the end of it.

So this week, I'm feeling the need to eat rather more substantial meals to ward off that not-quite-satisfied feeling (although perhaps I should actually take a tip out of their book, since portion size is one of the things I find hardest to control). Tonight we had a delicious pasta bake which I cobbled together with storecupboard finds and the help of Rumney Forum once again. I did photograph it, but I'm not going to share it with you on this occasion, as I have another recipe which is just dying to be posted, and which I photographed quite some weeks ago. I do feel the standard of my photos has improved minutely since I made it, so it's another reason to show you all, before it looks like a glaringly obvious "old recipe", taken back in the early days of the blog. I know, these are still early days.

This recipe is one I discovered many years ago on my old friend BBCGoodFood. After many years of it being available on the website, it was removed, along with many other delicious offerings, and I kept receiving warnings to print out or lose quite a few of my saved recipes. I possess a folder, which has become legendary to a couple of my friends (you know who you are!) in which are collected about a ream of recipes which I have printed out from Good Food over the years, beginning with the time when I first started to cook in earnest. To one friend in particular, it is the pinnacle of domesticity, and an aspiration for which to reach (said with tongue firmly in cheek!) This makes me chuckle, and we do indeed chuckle about it together. So I am going to share with you tonight, "The Folder." A rather unattractive ring binder in which are collected years worth of mainly printed out Good Food recipes, plus a smattering of recipes pulled from magazines which have mainly ripped at the punched holes due to being pulled across the metal stands so many times.

The poor Folder is somewhat neglected nowadays, however, since I usually cook from cookbooks or my tablet. Every so often though, when I sit down on a Sunday afternoon to complete the task of assembling The Shopping List, my mind will wander back to those old days of printed out recipes and no such thing as tablets (can the really be such a recent invention?) and I will wander purposefully to the kitchen cupboard in which it is stored and pull it out to pore over at the dining table.

Today,I'm going to delve into the depths of The Folder to share with you this yummy scrummy and, as usual, very simple recipe which includes that old favourite of mine, paprika roasted sweet potato wedges. I know that that may seem somewhat unimaginative to you, which is kind of another reason why I want to get this post written and published, so I can move on to more interesting and experimental recipes, but please humour me because this is a great weeknight meal which is great for all the family, especially the men who so crave their MEAT! I have very slightly altered a couple of aspects of the original recipe, mainly concerned with quantities, but I have specified smoked rather than sweet paprika as it is just so much more flavoursome and works especially well with every part of this meal (it is actually added to each part).

Ingredients (for two adults)

2 sirloin steaks
2 sweet potatoes
Smoked paprika
Punnet of cherry tomatoes
1/2 a red onion
A handful of fresh coriander
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Extra-virgin olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to fan 190C.

As usual when cooking a meal containing root vegetables, prepare those first. Peel the sweet potatoes then cut lengthways in half, then cut each half into quarters, also lengthways. Place in a large saucepan, bring to the boil and, once boiling, simmer for 3-4 minutes until only just starting to soften. Drain and arrange in a large baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil, season and generously shake the paprika over the potatoes until they are as covered as you like them. I love them to be generously coated.

Put in the pre-heated oven and set the timer for 45 minutes.

Prepare the salsa.

On a chopping board, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and place in a medium-size bowl. Cut the red onion in half, put one half back in the fridge, peel the other half and finely chop it before adding to the bowl. Using a chefs knife (for ease) chop the coriander and add it to the bowl. Add the red wine vinegar, 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and a nice shake of paprika, to your taste. Season then mix well and refigerate until the meal is ready to serve.

Prepare and cook the steak (around 15 minutes before the potatoes are ready)

Place a griddle on the hob and heat to medium/hot. If you don't possess a griddle, an old fashioned frying pan will do just as well, although you won't achieve those delicious, charred horizontal ridges.

Here is a tip for you. If you aren't using a whole pack of meat, but only a couple of pieces, and if they don't need to be chopped up, prepare your cooking apparatus, be it frying pan, grill or casserole, then prepare the meat whilst still in its packaging. It's only a minor thing, but I hate surfaces which I know have had meat lying on them, so the less of those surfaces, the better. With this particular recipe, drizzle the steaks you are using with olive oil and rub in, then rub into this a good shake of paprika and some salt and pepper.

The unused steak or whatever other meat you've used can now be frozen, and you can save on raw meat washing up!

Using tongs (or your hands if you don't care) place the steaks on the preheated griddle and griddle for around six minutes on each side for medium to well done (that's how we like it; cook it to your own taste if you prefer it less or more done).

Remove the potatoes from the oven.

Arrange the steaks, sweet potato wedges and tomato salsa on plates and serve with some good quality barbeque sauce.

 Mmmm, lovely steak juices!

I must tell you that I have a delightful photograph of Husb holding his impaled steak aloft, a grin of delight upon his face at the joy of being served steak, a reasonably rare occasion in our house, but it was censored, so I shall have to leave that to your imaginations. I am so sorry... Haha!

Well I promised you a much lighter post following my last mammoth offering, and I do hope it's been a little easier to get through. As usual, do let me know if you make this and share your photos in the Your Photos album on the Facebook page. And don't forget, if your mouth is watering for a fresh loaf of interesting bread, leave a comment below ;)

Thanks for taking the time :)

xxx Sam

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