Week Forty Eight

Well goodbye to the Summer… hello Autumn!.. I must admit, I’m not so keen to be saying goodbye to the warmer months, particularly this year, as like many of you, we didn’t get the chance to holiday abroad so endured the rather disappointing British summer. So as a ‘pick-me-up’, to raise my spirits, I’ve been out buying new cookbooks – whilst some people indulge in new gadgets, shoes or clothes to lift their mood, my weakness is cookbooks, although admittedly I am also prone to buying the odd new dress! Sitting down with a new cookbook and perusing all the recipes that I could potentially cook is one of my favourite things to do…and now that I have MenuMistress I really do have a reason to try as many as I can. ‘French Countryside Cooking’ by Daniel Galmiche is one of my latest acquisitions and one that has become a new favourite, I have already cooked a couple of the recipes and they have received positive feedback from my ‘recipe tasters’, Nick and Felix, so I will definitely be sharing them in the future – watch this space! In the meantime, talking about ‘pick-me-ups’, I couldn’t resist the idea of sharing a Bloody Mary with you this week – not only am I sharing the recipe for the cocktail but also a recipe for steak with a sauce inspired by it. ‘Bloody Mary Steak and Avocado’ is a fantastic recipe from Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, the recipe uses a piquant ‘Bloody Mary’ dressing for an avocado salad which makes a delicious, tangy accompaniment to a quickly pan-fried steak, it is particularly good served with Homemade Oven Chips. Menu Two is Lamb Fricassée, a beautiful mustardy lamb dish; now that the evenings are drawing in, it seems the perfect time to share this comforting recipe which is simply prepared on the stove. I am also sharing this recipe on my  MenuMistress@Uni page as it is not only super easy to cook but also freezes well. If you make this dish you’ll have a jar of capers in the house to use up…so, for Menu Three I thought I’d share a wonderfully simple recipe for ‘Lemon Sole with Lemon & Caper Butter Sauce’, this is a recipe that will be on the table in minutes, all you need is some steamed potatoes on the side and a good green salad. Finally, a fourth recipe – yes I’m sharing lots of treats this week(!) – if like me the idea of going into the colder months makes you feel a bit lazy, this ‘Blast from the Past’ recipe is the perfect solution; ‘Penne with Pea and Mascarpone’ will be on the table in 15 minutes! I first shared this recipe in July 2020, you may have already tried it (hopefully it’s stayed on your itinerary), but if you haven’t, I urge you to now! You can always rely on a pasta dish to give you some comfort at the end of the day and this one certainly does the trick!

Enjoy your week and most of all enjoy cooking!…See you Tuesday for my ‘Tuesday Treat’!…

Menu One

Bloody Mary Steak & Avocado (Serves 4)

In this recipe from Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s cookbook ‘Light & Easy’, the flavours of a ‘Bloody Mary’ cocktail are used to inspire a delicious sauce for steaks. The tangy flavour of the piquant, tomatoey dressing complements the meaty steaks wonderfully. I have used sirloin steaks here but rump steaks would work just as well. This recipe is particularly good with Homemade Oven Chips (recipe here!)

 *If you are gluten free note that Worcestershire sauce may contain traces of gluten from barley.

2 large, ripe avocados

300g cherry tomatoes, quartered

Large bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves chopped

4 sirloin steaks at room temperature

A little olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

For the Bloody Mary Dressing:

100ml tomato juice

4 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon celery salt

10-15 drops Tabasco sauce to taste

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (see note above)

A good squeeze of lemon juice to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Firstly make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined – tasting to adjust the seasonings, the lemon juice will temper the heat.
  2. Halve and stone the avocadoes and cut into 3cm chunks. Place them in a bowl with the tomatoes and parsley, add about two tablespoons of the dressing and mix lightly.
  1. Lightly brush the steaks with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and a little black pepper.
  2. Heat a frying pan until very hot. Place the steaks in the pan and cook for about 1½ minutes of each side for rare or a little longer depending on your taste. I also like to turn the steaks on their ‘fat’ edge, for 30 seconds to crisp it up.
  3. Remove the steaks to a plate to rest for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Arrange the avocado salad on plates. Slice the steak thickly over or alongside the salad and trickle over any of its juices from resting. Serve with the remaining dressing spooned over.

Menu Two

Lamb Fricassée (Serves 4-6)

This is a beautiful mustardy lamb dish; a wonderful comforting recipe which is simply prepared on the stove. This dish is even better reheated, when the flavours have had time to develop, so it’s worth making ahead of time if you can. It is delicious served simply with rice or alternatively with roasted potatoes, also some green beans on the side would be good!…

900g lean lamb (leg steak or boned chump chops) cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

250ml lamb or chicken stock

150ml dry white wine

3 tablespoons baby gherkins, chopped

3 tablespoons capers in brine, rinsed and drained

2 sprigs rosemary

1 generous tablespoon Dijon mustard

30g chilled butter, diced

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Add the oil to a large frying pan and fry the lamb in two batches over a high heat, stirring for 5-8 minutes, until browned all over. Set aside on a plate lined with kitchen roll.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the onion and garlic to the pan, fry, stirring for 5 minutes until softened. Pour in the stock and wine, bring to a simmer.
  3. Return the lamb to the pan with the gherkins, capers and rosemary. Stir, then partially cover, cook for 30 minutes on a low heat so that it is barely simmering.
  4. Remove the lamb and set aside, discard the rosemary. Turn up the heat and allow the sauce to bubble to about 3 minutes to reduce a little. Stir in the butter and mustard, taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Return the lamb to the pan, reduce the heat and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve with rice or roast potatoes and green beans.

Menu Three

Lemon Sole with Lemon & Caper Butter Sauce (Serves 4)

This lemon & caper butter sauce will be ready in minutes. Here I have served it with lemon sole, but in all honesty, it would work with any fillet of fish you like. Serve with steamed new potatoes and a good green salad.

50g unsalted butter

1 lemon, zest and juice

2 tablespoons capers, drained

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

4 lemon sole fillets (*see note above)

2 large knobs of butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil to fry the fish

  1. To make the sauce, heat the butter and lemon zest in a small pan, stir until the butter has melted and turns a light nut-brown colour. Remove from the heat and stir in the capers, lemon juice and parsley. Keep warm whilst you cook the fish.
  2. To cook the lemon sole, melt a knob of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a medium-high heat, add two of the fillets, skin side down, cook for 3-4 minutes. Carefully turn the fish over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  3. Remove to a warmed plate whilst you cook the other 2 fillets in the same way.
  4. Serve the fish with the warm lemon & caper butter sauce spooned over.

‘Blast from the Past Recipe’

Menu Four

Penne with Pea and Mascarpone Sauce (Serves 4)

This is a recipe from my beloved cookbook ‘A Passion for Pasta’ by the late Antonio Carluccio. You could cook this dish with your eyes closed, it really is that easy, and will be ready to eat in 15 minutes! For those of you who are vegetarian you can leave out the smoked bacon – instead add a pinch of paprika to give a little smokiness.

50g unsalted butter

150g smoked back bacon, cut into strips

450g tomato passata

200g frozen peas

8 basil leaves

150g mascarpone cheese

375g penne pasta

75g freshly grated parmesan cheese

Sea salt and black pepper

  1. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the bacon strips, cook until beginning to crisp.
  2. Add the tomato passata and the peas, cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the penne according to the instructions on the packet, until al dente.
  4. Add the mascarpone cheese and the basil leaves to the sauce, stir until warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain the penne, add to the sauce, finally mix in the parmesan cheese.

And…A Little Treat…

A Bloody Mary Cocktail (Serves 1)

After trying more than my fair share of Bloody Marys over the years, I have concluded that this is the winning recipe – it’s the addition of the ‘fino sherry’ that really gives it the edge.

35ml vodka

10ml fino sherry

170ml tomato juice

½ teaspoon finely grated fresh horseradish

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce

¼ teaspoon celery salt

Large pinch caster sugar

A sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper, to taste

A squeeze of lemon juice, to taste

A slice of lemon, halved to garnish

A celery stick to garnish


  1. Put some ice in a cocktail shaker and add all the ingredients except for the lemon slices and celery stick and give it a good shake. Check the seasoning, adjusting to taste.
  2. Strain into a glass and top with some fresh ice, finally garnish with the lemon slices and celery stick.

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