Steak with Roasted Pepper corn Sauce
This classic dish is just so delicious it's no wonder that it has lasted the test of time. Use the best dry-aged steaks you can afford and make sure you give them plenty of time to rest before serving them to allow all the juices to settle.
- 1 tbsp white peppercorns
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 4 x 175g (6oz) striploin steaks (preferably dry-aged)
- 2 tsp rapeseed oil
- 50g (2oz) butter
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 85ml (3fl oz) fresh beef stock (from a carton is fine)
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 6 tbsp cream
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp drained green peppercorns in brine, rinsed
- 2 tbsp whiskey (such as Kilbeggan)
- salt, to taste
- roasted garlic mashed potatoes, to serve
- steamed broccoli, to serve
Dry roast the peppercorns for a couple of minutes, until aromatic. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and lightly crush down, then tip onto a flat plate. Pat the steaks dry with kitchen paper and press the mixed peppercorns onto both sides of the steaks using your hands.
If you have time, cover with foil or clingfilm and leave at room temperature for 2–3 hours to allow the flavours to infuse. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Add the steaks and cook for 2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat, add half the butter and cook the steaks for 5 minutes, turning once, depending on how rare you like it. Transfer the steaks to a plate, season with salt and set aside in a warm place to rest while you make the sauce.
Pour away any excess fat from the pan, add the remaining butter and fry the shallots for a few minutes, until softened but not browned. Add the stock and Worcestershire sauce and cook rapidly, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to release any sediment. Stir in the cream, mustard and green peppercorns, then season to taste with salt and just warm through. Heat the whiskey in a ladle over a flame and wait until it ignites, then pour it over the cream, stirring to combine.
Simmer for 1–2 minutes to warm through. Arrange the steaks on warmed plates, stirring any juices from the rested steaks into the peppercorn sauce. Drizzle the sauce over the steaks and serve at once with the roasted garlic mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.
Cappuccino Cream Chocolate Cake
This might look like a very impressive cake that took ages to make, but it’s really only an assembly job. Mascarpone is a rich, creamy cheese from Lodi in the Lombardy region of Italy. It has a sweetened taste and is famously used in a classic tiramisu, which is the basis of this dessert. However, I’ve used shop-bought chocolate loaf cakes instead of the traditional sponge fingers.
- 750g (1 3/4lb) mascarpone cheese, well chilled
- 200g (7oz) icing sugar, sifted
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half and seeds scraped out
- 450ml (3/4 pint) cream, well chilled
- 200ml (7fl oz) freshly brewed strong espresso coffee, left to cool
- 100ml (3 ½fl oz) Coole Swan Irish cream liqueur
- 2 x 380g (13oz) chocolate loaf cakes (shop-bought or homemade)
- 2 tsp good-quality cocoa powder
- 10–12 chocolate-covered coffee beans
Using an electric whisk, mix the mascarpone cheese, icing sugar and vanilla seeds until well combined. Whip 375ml (13fl oz) of the cream until soft peaks form and then fold into the mascarpone mixture.
Pour the coffee into a shallow dish and stir in the Coole Swan. Slice the chocolate loaves. Line the base and sides of a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin with parchment paper and wrap the outside in clingfilm to avoid any leaks. Dip 8 of the chocolate cake slices in the Coole Swan mixture to cover the bottom of the tin.
It’s important to only dip them as you go along so that they are not soaking for long, which would make them difficult to handle. Cover the layer of soaked chocolate cake with one-third of the mascarpone cream and then arrange another even layer of the soaked cake slices on top.
Continue layering in this way, finishing with a mascarpone layer, and place in the fridge to chill for 10–15 minutes. Meanwhile, whip the rest of the cream in a clean bowl and transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle. When ready to serve, carefully remove from the cake tin and transfer to a cake stand. Give the cake an even dusting of the cocoa powder, then pipe 10–12 peaks of cream around the edge of the cake and top each one with a chocolate-covered coffee bean. Place in the middle of the table so that everyone can help themselves.