Well aware that I've been a bit lax in my blogging lately, I dragged out my Edmonds book at work today to plan some meals for this week. I ummed and ahhed and finally settled on having steak this evening: while the steak itself isn't an Edmonds recipe, it's a good excuse to make mushroom sauce (p186).
You couldn't have paid me to eat mushroom sauce 10 years ago, but tastes change - I quite like mushrooms these days. And since I hadn't cooked much with mushrooms before this year, each mushroom dish I come across is new and interesting.
Just steak and mushroom sauce by itself is not a meal - I needed veges. There's plenty of quick and easy vege in my freezer, but why not take the opportunity to knock off a recipe from the vegetable chapter as well? After some perusal, I decided to have a go at cooking beetroot (p158).
With a couple of stops on the way home, I supplied myself with the necessary beetroot, mushrooms and a piece of porterhouse. Of course, by the time I'd got home, put away the groceries, watched Masterchef and gone for a decent walk, it was nearing 7pm before I could even make a start on my dinner.
Which wasn't the best, considering I was cooking beetroot: they take 30-60 minutes to cook, and I had to get this done before I could make a start on my steak. Having cleaned the beetroot and put them on to boil, I pacified my complaining stomach by feeding it an early dessert - a little Greek yoghurt with honey and walnuts.
The beetroot were on the stove for 50 minutes before I was convinced they were properly cooked - since this is the first time I'd cooked beetroot by boiling them, I wasn't certain what they were supposed to look like when they were done. The next step was to rinse the beetroot under cold water, then "slip the skins off". Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? So I thought until I found the skin flaking under my fingertips, the beetroot slipping around and splattering bright red juice all over the kitchen..
Eventually I had the skins off, and sliced the beetroot, placing the slices in a dish. I then mixed up the dressing: sugar dissolved in boiling water, mixed with vinegar and seasoning. When I'd poured the dressing over, I put the dish into the fridge to cool, and made a start on the mushroom sauce.
The sauce was very straightforward: cook sliced mushrooms in melted butter, then the now-familiar process of stirring in flour and gradually adding milk to make a thick sauce.
While the sauce was cooking and the beetroot chilling, I saw to the steak - a process I don't excel at, but am able to produce a result satisfactory to my own undemanding tastes. I let the steak rest while I cooked up some beans from the freezer, then - finally, at 8.25pm, I had my dinner ready.
I was pleasantly surprised at the beetroot - it had a mild sweet and sour tang to it, and more texture than the canned beetroot we're all familiar with. True, it's probably not the best to be pouring a sugary syrup over your veges, but the beetroot itself has got to be pretty healthy - packed with antioxidants if that rich, dark colour is anything to go by.
Hang on, I'll check Google ... yep, antioxidants for Africa. And other stuff, but you can do your own Googling if you're interested. Health benefits or otherwise, it was tasty, and I'll probably make it again.
As for the mushroom sauce, it was deliciously creamy, very filling, and went well with the steak. I'd usually be just as happy to eat the steak by itself, but I quite enjoyed the variety of a sauce. It's easy to make - have a go sometime.
So here I sit, pleasantly full of steak, mushrooms and beetroot, but well aware that as soon as I finish this blog entry, there's a kitchen full of dishes awaiting me. Never mind, it was worth it.
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