Happy Bloody New Year

Happy Bloody New Year

Apparently it is now too late to wish you a happy new year... but all the same, I hope this finds you well as you see the first of the 2018 posts to the #tonightstea blog. After some months off I made a commitment that I would post once a month for 2018, so watch this space for more recipes in due course.

I have, quite extremely, avoided Dry January. As such it is only right that I share a dish that's inspired by a cocktail - and don't worry, it's one where the booze is optional! It's a steak (sorry veggies) and avocado salad, that is complimented by an ever refreshing Bloody Mary style dressing.

The whole dish probably takes about 10 mins to prep and cook., and the above could probably serve 2 as a light salad but I was too hungry to consider saving any for a second portion.

So to start with, what you'll need:
  • 1 medium rump steak (preferably a bit thicker if you like it pink)
  • 1 avocado (cut into whatever chunks you like)
  • 2-3 celery sticks (chopped, but save the prettier ends for your cocktail)
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley (a small handful, but is optional)
  • 150g of cheery or plum tomatoes (quartered)
  • Oil or butter (for cooking the steak)

And, for the dressing:
  • Tomato Juice (50ml)
  • Tabasco (to taste, I use about 5 dashes)
  • Worcestershire Sauce or Henderson's Relish* (again to taste, I use about 5 dashes)
  • Celery salt (a pinch)
  • Black pepper (to taste, a few twists of the grinder)
  • Lemon Juice (a short squeeze, but adding more can also help take spice out if you end up being heavy handed with the Tabasco!)

*shout out to David Bradley who put me onto this northern delicacy! For those not in the know, it's similar to Worcestershire sauce but I think it's a bit richer with tomato flavours so makes a fine alternative in this dish.

I start with the salad prep, which is to chop up the tomatoes, celery and avocado (and parsley if you decide to use it) ready to become the foundations of your dish.

To make the dressing, use a small jar or mixing bowl to bring the ingredients together. at this point, you can add 1 tablespoon of the dressing to your salad and mix gently to get some infused flavours early doors.

Obviously you are at liberty to keep the dressing ingredients out and make a cocktail whilst you are at it. My go to recipe for the cocktail itself is by Jamie Oliver, but everyone will no doubt have their own weights and measures to make it their own signature cocktail!

Once that's done you can heat your frying pan ready to cook the steak. Everyone has their own preferences with regards to cooking steak, for this dish I think it's particularly important that you aim for about Medium-Rare, so for me that's a couple of minutes either side on a high heat, turning twice. Once cooked allow to rest for 3-5 mins and then cut into strips to sit atop of your salad.

Once all of that is on the plate, you can add as much dressing as you like over the dish, and even some of the juices from the frying pan should you wish (if you're feeling particularly indulgent).

Here's a snippet of the chef in action for your enjoyment...

It's quick, refreshing and easy - and a good excuse to have a cocktail too.


King Prawn & Chorizo Linguine

King Prawn & Chorizo Linguine

The debut entry on #tonightstea is a prawn and chorizo linguine. I've been trying to be a bit healthier with my cooking in the last week or so having had a rather (alcoholic) indulgent birthday week recently. Soups have been the order of the day most lunchtimes so I wanted something a bit prettier and generally less wet.

It was actually a colleague's suggestion to have this dish. She'd spotted that one of her friends was having it, and got food envy. So I ventured off to the supermarket to top-up the fridge with prosecco get the missing ingredients. 

I had a general idea of how I wanted to make this dish (actually based on reviewing a recipe for a fennel and feta linguine dish - which I'm sure may well feature on here at some point) and in terms of prep and ingredients, for two servings, you will need:
  • Linguine (obviously)
  • Olive oil
  • 10-15 plum tomatoes, halved
  • Half a chorizo ring, sliced and halved
  • 150g of King Prawns, peeled
  • The tails of 4 spring onions
  • 5-10 basil leaves
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 garlic clove

If you are anything like me I have a host of frozen herbs/spice packs hidden in the depths of the freezer underneath the chicken dippers (who doesn't love chicken dippers?!) and half full bags of sweet potato fries. They are pretty useful to have, as fresh pastes or packs tend to have a pretty short shelf life by comparison. You can even make your own frozen supplies, if you remember before they start to turn!

I digress...

This is a two pan operation, where contents will be combined into a single pan before being served. So to save on washing up, fry in a larger pan in readiness for the pasta addition.

I already had red chilli peppers in thanks to my guacamole addiction so I opted for frozen garlic. If you try and fry them straight from frozen they will burn easily and quickly if the pan is too hot - my tip here is to add the spices to the pan with a little water first just to bring their temperature up whilst you get on with your food prep so they should be a little softer by the time you get cooking.

Get the pasta cooking in a pan of boiling water with a hefty pinch of salt and a drop of olive oil - this adds to flavour and helps the pasta not stick together. Should only need 12 mins or so.

Fry off the garlic and chilli with 1tsp of olive oil on a medium heat and once browned add your chorizo and the prawns. Stir frequently to avoid burnt chorizo (as a slightly healthier alternative you can pre-fry the chorizo to draw out its own fats, then remove the excess oils with a kitchen paper towel and add your less fatty chorizo back into the dish when you add the pasta). I added a splash of lemon juice to take the weight out of the chilli (as they were quite a hot batch) but this is optional.

Once the chorizo and prawns are is nicely browned (probably after about 7-8 minutes) add the tomatoes, basil leaves and spring onion tails. Basil has a nice aniseed quality which helps the other spices and the spring onion tails add a nice bit of colour without too strong a flavour - plus I was able to put the rest of the spring onions (the white bits) into a salad bag for the next day's "healthier" lunch.

When the leaves have wilted it's time to add the pasta. Drain the pasta and simultaneously add a splash of olive oil to the frying pan to help with the mixing. Add the pasta gradually to so as to make the mixing a bit easier, and make sure it is well mixed (otherwise someone gets some pasta and someone else gets the prawns, chorizo and spices). Once well mixed you are good to serve.

Serve in pasta bowls with a bit of mozzarella and a basil leaf garnish and you're on to a winner; visually pleasing and super tasty. 

Enjoy it, I did 🍝😊