Apart from a few days before its annual service, when the AGA has to cool down for the engineer, the cooker is never turned off. During this time I feel bereft as I miss its constant gentle heat.
So to cheer myself up I welcome the chance to try a new recipe and so much the better if we can eat outside in the garden. As much as I love cooking for friends and family gathered around the kitchen table, during the short summer months there is something magical about feeling the grass under your toes whilst enjoying a freshly cut salad from the potager. Or lingering beside a smouldering fire pit after dusk and listening to the barn owls in the distance.
This month’s Dorset Magazine recipe can be cooked ahead of time or is ideal for the barbeque. If the weather changes, we can relax knowing that it can easily be cooked inside if it starts to rain.
Serves four as part of a ‘pass and share’ platter with other dishes or two generous portions.
You will need:
A griddle pan suitable for conventional or AGA cooking or a BBQ
2 x 225g (8oz) Rump or rib eye steaks
Allow the steaks to come to room temperature and rub a little rapeseed oil into the steak
For Thai dressing:
2 red chillies – cut in half, seeds removed and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic finely crushed
1 bunch coriander roughly chopped (approx 3 tablespoons)
3 stalks of mint- stems discarded, leaves removed and roughly chopped (approx 1 teaspoon mint)
3 cm (1”) fresh root ginger finely grated
1 tbsp fish sauce
Fine zest and juice of a lime
2 tsp soft light brown sugar
4 stalks lemon grass, outer leaves removed and finely sliced
4 lime leaves finely shredded
Try a crisp salad of Chinese leaves or pak choi, with toasted peanuts and thinly sliced red pepper or noodles dressed in sesame oil with fresh chopped coriander.
Allow the steaks to come to room temperature then preheat griddle on AGA boiling plate or light barbeque.
When griddle or pan is smoking hot, sear them one at a time and continuing cooking. Allowing 2-3 minutes per side. If you have an AGA you may want to finish cooking on floor of roasting oven.
We prefer beef rare and recommend for this recipe that you do not cook any more than medium rare.
Rest steaks for at least 10 minutes and then carve across the grain in even slices.
Meanwhile mix the marinade together or if you prefer combine the ingredients in a food processor.
Check for seasoning and add more lime juice or fish sauce if needed.
Twenty minutes before you eat, pour marinade over beef. Wash salad, toast peanuts and cook noodles if you are serving some.
Arrange everything on a beautiful platter, garnish with fresh herbs and serve at the table.
Try using a teaspoon to peel ginger, scrape rounded edge along skin at an angle of 45 degrees and it should come away easily.
Do not add the marinade too early as it will continue to ‘cook’ the beef making it look grey and unappetising.