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Wednesday 15 August 2012

Real or Fake? . . . and How to cook a steak!

Technique: Cooking Steak

Before I say anything don't forget it's our 1st Birthday Party on the 31st Aug, let us know if you fancy joining the party!! back to the post . . . check the photo below!!

Hereford is well know for its cattle - 'bos taurus' to the scientifically minded - the Hereford breed originating in Herefordshire in 1742!

Recent traditions (this century) would have farmers bring their livestock into the centre of Hereford on a Wednesday (market day) to sell their livestock. I remember the market as a busy, noisy place with a host of animal noises and the constant background rhythm of the auctioneer rattling off unintelligible numbers, seemingly without pause for breath. (which might explain why the auctioneer always had a bright red, verging on purple, face!)  There was also, as one might expect, a wide variety of food places, fishmongers, and, of course butchers, I loved it!

It transpires that there used to be a china shop on the High St in Hereford which was only a few hundred yards from the old cattle market. I remember going to the market to see the animals as a young child - I'm telling you when you're 3ft tall a fully grown hairy tusked pig is terrifying! With slobber hanging off its tusks these bristly beasties can let loose a blood curdling cry, I'm avoiding saying 'squeal' because that really doesn't do it justice!! Anyway, I digress. It turns out that every now and then a bull would get loose and hot hoof it up Blackfriars St. and along Widemarsh St. to the centre of town!! Some how, I just can't imagine the 1970's Herefordians legging it down the street like a frenzied Pamplonan! More likely to get a raised eyebrow from one of the farmers eating a bag of chips! Just to prove a point here's a photograph of one of the escapee bulls posing in said china shop!!!

I love this photo, it's so Monty Pythonesque, what a fantastic expression our would be Graham Chapman has on his face. (I swear it's him!! Open the link in a different window and compare!!!!)

So, the question is:  Is the bull real, or a fake?? Leave your comments at the bottom I'd love to know what you think!!

Well, with such a worthy beef heritage it would be criminal not to know how to cook a steak!! Here's how!! : )

ingredients (serves 1)
for the steak
1 ribeye steak (or whichever cut you prefer)
extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

for the sauce/garnish
extra virgin olive oil or single cream

Leave steak out so that it's at room temperature, warmer still if possible, better up to 35C.

When picking your steak, look for steak that's well marbled, that is, has thin flecks of fat running through the meat. These will render as the steak is cooked, enriching the flavour of the meat! My favourite cuts are hanger steak and rib eye, and if I'm honest I wouldn't turn my nose up at a bone-in, fore rib either!! (for pay day anyway!!)

Get you pan hot so that it would be smoking if it had oil in it, season and oil the steak and put it in the pan.

Once you have a nice golden crust formed, turn the steak and cook the other side. Once it's ready remove it from the pan and put on a warm plate to rest.

Deglaze the pan with a touch of water (100ml) or white wine and once half has evaporated add a tbsp of extra virgin olive or single cream, add the juice from your rested steak, mix and pour this cracking sauce over it!!

Serve immediately!!

wait a minute, how do I know when it's ready?
Couple of options here, you can probe it with a temp probe: 45C for rare, 55C for medium  and 65C for well done!
You can give it a prod and see how cooked it is by how much the meat resists, this comes with experience but a good guide is to compare how it feels with how the base of your thumb feels when
your thumb is touching the tip of one of your fingers:

 If you want your steak closer to medium-well than medium, turn it more often and cook on a lower heat!

schools of thought on oiling!
1. Oil & season your steak, not your pan:
    Advantage: creates less smoke
    Disadvantage: Can't flambé, less satisfactory deglaze

2. Oil your pan and season your steak:
    Advantage: You can flambé your steak to add a nice smoked flavour, better sauce
    Disadvantage: Turn your extractor on because it's a smoky old business!! ; )


knackered! err . .  I mean well done

I did the blue rare a touch over on the right hand side!! Pay attention!!

You need to be cooking with gas to flambé!!
thinking ahead
Don't forget, cook the steak last!! Once it's rested you want it on the table ready to eat as soon as possible!!
So get those chips, or baps (bread rolls), or salad, or whatever you're having with it (see suggestions below) ready ahead of time!!

what could go wrong?
I like my steak rare, but if I cook it so it comes out rare it's always cold by the time I sit down to eat it!! Bring it up to room temperature before you cook it. If you cook it straight from the fridge the centre will almost certainly be cold, and the thicker the steak the worse the problem! I pre-heat my grill, then turn it off, then put the steaks in there to warm up a little more before I cook them. Also, don't forget to serve on hot plates - obvious, I know, but also essential!

I set my hair on fire flambéing my steak!! Stick to school of thought 1!

Interesting read "Why you should have your steak rare" by Dr Quincy, with whom I wholeheartedly agree!

now that looks like a real bull
You can see the reflection in the eye! But I don't think this is the same bull, it doesn't have the studs in the nose band for a start!! But the nose on that first bull does look real!!!

Steaks that will happily be cooked like this: Rump, Sirloin, Fillet, Hanger(recommend medium-rare), Forerib, Ribeye amongst others!

Hanger Steak - Medium Rare

Marbled forerib

Flash Seared Fillet Steak w/ Roast Baby Peppers & White Tomato Emultion

1 comment:

  1. The bull in the china shop is real. Its handler is my Uncle, Bob Powell. The bull was actually lead around the shop a couple of times because the first time it wanted to relieve itself so Bob managed to get out to the gutter.


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