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Salsa Verde

There is something amazing about Salsa Verde. Perhaps it’s the versatility of it; it really does go with everything from meat and fish to vegetables and potatoes. The perfect accompliment to a summer barbecue. It’s a recipe that packs a punch, so if you appreciate strong bold flavours, you’ll fall in love with it for sure.

Salsa Verde translates simply to ‘Green Sauce’. There are literally millions of versions out there, Italian, French, Spanish, Mexican. You name it, almost every country appears to have their own version incorporating different herbs and cold raw ingredients. The recipe below is my perfect balance of flavours.

A small amount of this Salsa Verde will totally transform any dinner into something truly remarkable. It keeps well in the fridge and even gets better with time. That’s if you have any left; it was so popular with my barbecue guests I had none left to save. Much to my disappointment.

You can keep it refrigerated for about a week and a half, or you could freeze it. Pop it into ice-cube trays and use them to jazz up pasta dishes and soups.

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Fillet Steak with Whisky Peppercorn Sauce, Creamy Mustard Mash & Wilted Spinach

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One thing I really missed when I was pregnant was steak, since I won’t eat it unless it’s very rare (practically blue), I didn’t really eat it at all. So last week when Richard asked for fillet steak, I was more than happy to oblige.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t choose fillet; I find the fatter cuts have much more flavour, but I must confess this particular steak was utterly delicious and really melted in the mouth. It was also reduced to about £2.50 per steak, a real bargain not to be missed. I have a slight obsession with the reduced section of the supermarket.

I’ve been making the same whisky and peppercorn sauce for some years and it never fails me. Rich even said that he had never really liked peppercorn sauce until he tasted mine – high praise indeed. I’ll take that.

So I figured, if we were pushing the boat out and having fillet steak, we should serve it with the whisky peppercorn sauce and not worry about calories, hence the accompaniment of creamy mustard mash. The spinach adds a much needed touch of colour to the dish as well as offsetting the sweetness of the mash.

For the peppercorn sauce:

In a small saucepan, heat 300ml of beef stock and 1 tbsp of freshly cracked black peppercorns over a medium heat, allow to simmer (stirring frequently) until it has reduced by a third. Add 60ml of whisky and 100ml of double cream continue to simmer until it has reduced by a third again. Do not boil.

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For the mustard mash:

Place the cooked mashed potatoes into a bowl; add 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard, a pinch of white pepper and 60ml of double cream. Stir well to combine and ensure the mashed potato is a very smooth texture.

Serve with wilted spinach and steak cooked to your liking.

This recipe would make a lovely dinner party dish over the festive season, perhaps for that New Year’s eve dinner?

Now, you may have noticed an improvement in the quality of my photographs, well I certainly hope you have. I finally got round to buying an SLR camera (I’ve only wanted one forever), I just need to learn how to use it properly now. I’ve often thought that a photo doesn’t do a dish justice, so hopefully now I have more chance of truly capturing the deliciousness of my recipes and enticing you to cook them yourself. That, after all is the purpose of this blog, to get others cooking and sharing recipes.

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Mustard & White Wine Sauce for Pork or Chicken

Pork chops have never been my favourite cut of meat, especially from the supermarket, they are always far too small, and to be honest can be a little tasteless. However, I bought some really decent sized ones from the butcher a couple of weeks ago and was determined to find a recipe that would change my opinion of the humble pork chop.

I wanted to cook them in a mustard sauce, but that boyfriend of mine was adamant he didn’t want the sauce with his chops. “I just want them plain” he groaned; it can be a struggle to get him to try something he isn’t sure about. So having moaned that he didn’t want sauce, I decided I’d serve it with his meat in a ramekin so that he could at least try it. Once he had scoffed his way through most of the chops and a whole ramekin of sauce he looked at me a rather wistfully and said “Is there any more of this sauce”… need I say more.

The sauce has a beautiful creaminess and the mustard seeds pop in your mouth creating little bursts of flavour. It works wonderfully with pork chops, but equally as well with chicken breasts (as in the pictures), and I dare say there are many other ways to enjoy it. But do try it, like Kieren, you might just be surprised.  

120ml white wine
60ml chicken stock
120ml double cream
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a saucepan combine the white wine and chicken stock and bring to a boil; allow to reduce by half. Add the mustard and black pepper stirring continuously. Whisk in the butter and cream, heat through for a further 5 minutes. You want the cream to thicken the sauce, but not to boil.

Serve with your chosen meat. For a thicker sauce (as shown with the chicken above) just add a little more cream.