Its Saturday night (or at least it was when I started this post), Ryan is out with the boys and Rory is tucked up in bed. My initial plan was to order Chinese food and snuggle up in front of the TV with a large (Ok an extra large) glass of wine. However we haven’t lived in our current house all that long, and I have yet to scope out a Chinese which lives up to my very high takeaway standards. As I’m too tight to risk spending money on food I may not enjoy, I decided to cook my own dinner.
I’m the cook in our house, although this doesn’t mean that I always have the final say on what we eat. I wouldn’t say Ryan is a picky eater, maybe just that his palate is not as refined as mine. For example he hates garlic (try to smuggle even a single clove into his spag bol and he’ll have you running for the hills) but strangely enough he loves garlic bread!
So with the choice entirely my own I opted for one of my all time favourites…macaroni and cheese! Its one of those meals I find simple yet satisfying. It can be enjoyed as basic side or an indulgent meal in its own right. But because of Ryan’s unrefined palate, it isn’t something I get to eat very often. What’s that I hear you ask? Who doesn’t like mac ‘n’ cheese? Well Ryan’s logic behind this one is that although he likes cheese (all be it ‘none offensive’ cheese like mild cheddar or mozzarella) he only likes it melted on toast or pizza. Obviously the cheese in mac ‘n’ cheese is melted but this goes against his no cheese sauce on pasta rule! Pasta in our house is always cooked in a tomato based sauce, if I’m feeling daring we might try tomato and mascarpone but chances are it’ll go down like a led balloon!
With mac ‘n’ cheese on the menu, I got to thinking that as its a Saturday night, I should push the boat out and go the whole hog! Pasta needs protein and what better protein to accompany my favourite dish than fillet steak! The king of all steaks! Last Saturday we went out to celebrate Ryan’s new job. I took him to an Italian which we went to the first Christmas eve that we were together. We hadn’t been back since but we were both really excited to sample some amazing food, similar to what we had enjoyed previously. This time however the meal left a lot to be desired. I opted for the fillet steak, cream mushroom sauce and wilted spinach but was left rather disappointed. The whole meal felt as though it was lacking a lot of seasoning and certainly didn’t live up to my expectations! So having not had my needs met last weekend and my craving for a delicious steak still strong, today we made a pit stop at Aldi on the way to do the weekly shop.
If you’ve read my last post (here it is) then you can probably guess that Aldi isn’t my first choice of supermarket. When I write my shopping list, I visualize the inside of ASDA and write my list in order of the isles. I’d like to think its not just me that does this but I know Ryan would say its my OCD (I don’t actually have OCD but Ryan likes to wind me up when I obsess about cleaning in a specific order, another story for another day). I don’t like change and learning the layout of a new supermarket would just be an unnecessary stress in my life. However I am a firm believer that Aldi sells the best steak! I’ve bought a selection of meat from Aldi in the past and I haven’t been disappoint yet, this week was no exception!
Once back home and with Rory bathed, fed and snug in his bed (I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it) I set about creating my culinary delight! Back in my single, pre-boyfriend/pre-baby days, cooking was something I would do to unwind and distress. It isn’t something that I’ve ever seen as a chore, but as a mommy and a partner its easy to get into cooking rut. Cooking becomes a necessity not an enjoyable past time and you find yourself making the same four meals over and over (ours are chicken fajitas, spag bol, stew and KFC….ok I don’t cook KFC but we eat it a lot!). It made a nice change to take the time for myself, to do something which I really love and that gives me a great sense of achievement. It may sound silly, after all it is just steak and chips, but when you spend 90% of your time over analysing every decision your make, its nice to do something which makes you feel good.
So here it is, in all its glory! My fillet steak, on a bed of wilted spinach. Served with sweet potato fries, onion rings and the best ever mac ‘n’ cheese. Un-pictured was also a creamy, white wine and mushroom sauce.
Now the mac ‘n’ cheese is from my favourite chef Mr James Martin and can be found here. I’ve made this recipe a couple of times since I first saw it on his show last year – Home comforts at Christmas. I would class this recipe for mac ‘ n’ cheese as a luxurious dish. It includes lots of yummy verities of cheese including gorgonzola, a firm favourite of mine. One thing I have learnt is the mac ‘n’ cheese freezes very well, so if your the only one in your house who’s partial to cheesy pasta you can always whip up a batch then freeze the left overs for a lazy day.
As for the steak that’s simple. I season my steak and rub in olive oil, then leave to sit at room temperature for at least half an hour before cooking. I like my steak medium rare, so for a fillet steak I cook it in a hot dry pan for about three minutes each side. Its important to rest your steak when it leaves the pan, this helps the meat reabsorb its juices making it more tender and juicy. I try to rest my steak for the same amount of time as I’ve cooked it, on a warm plate covered loosely with kitchen foil. This also gives you a little time to finish your sauce and plate up your sides.
So here’s to yummy food and my first attempt at sharing a recipe online! Apologies in advance if its a little rough around the edges, like everything on this blog I hope it will improve over time!
With Love xx