The best way to remove redcurrants from their stems is to use a fork - simply hold the end of the stem and push through the prongs, dragging the fork down the stem. Not only does it save time, but it also doesn't damage the delicate fruit. I like the pieces of cinnamon in with the spiced redcurrants, but if this doesn't appeal, just use ground cinnamon.

Ingredients

  • 2 tblsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 2 tblsp black peppercorns
  • 4 x 150g (5oz) lamb steaks, well trimmed
  • Sunflower oil
  • Knob of butter
  • Fresh mint sprigs, to garnish
  • Steamed new potatoes, to serve
  • For the Spiced Redcurrant Compote:
  • 75g (3oz) caster sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed into tiny pieces, or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 200g (7oz) redcurrants, removed from their stalks
  • Good splash of ruby red port

Method

  1. To make the compote, place the sugar in a small heavy-based pan with 2 tablespoons of water. Cook over a gentle heat for a couple of minutes, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  2. Increase the heat to bring it to the boil and add the cinnamon and chilli, then boil fast for 1 minute. Add the redcurrants and the port. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 4–5 minutes, until the berries are starting to soften but are still holding their shape.
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes so that the flavours can combine.
  4. Meanwhile, using a pestle and mortar, grind down the peppercorns – you don't need a fine powder; a bit of texture is good. Rub each of the steaks with a little oil to help the peppercorns to stick, then press the peppercorn mixture onto each steak, making sure they are evenly coated.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and when it is starting to foam, add the lamb steaks and cook for 2 minutes, then turn, reduce the heat slightly and cook for another 2–3 minutes for rare.
  6. If you prefer your steaks medium, increase the cooking time by 1 minute for each side. For well done, increase by 2 minutes for each side.
  7. Transfer the lamb steaks to warmed serving plates and season with salt to taste. Leave to rest for a few minutes, then add a good dollop of the spiced redcurrant compote to each plate.
  8. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve with some steamed new potatoes.