Thursday, 12 April 2007

Steak & Stuff

Well, James slept through the night again - things are looking up! Now that he seems to be established in 'the boys' room', Karl and I decided it was time we finally reclaimed our bedroom. The cot has been in there for months and we'd had to move quite a bit of furniture around to make room for it.

We ended up rearranging some of the furniture from its original layout. After a bit of thought, my darling hubby came up with the idea of shifting my dressing table to the other side of the chimney breast and relocating the row of small chests-of-drawers that had been there to the front of the room, beside the window. This created a space we'd needed for a long time; to accommodate my beloved dolls house. I always dreamed of owning a 'proper', wooden dolls house when I was a child and a few months after we'd got engaged, Karl gave me one for my birthday! He'd also gotten my brother involved, so I had a 'basement' section to attach to it, thanks to Graeme. It's a 'Classical' model from the Dolls House Emporium and is very much still a work in progress (one day I'll have some time for hobbies again, I promise). Christopher is enchanted by it, though, and often asks to have "a look inside the little house".

After all the kerfuffle of moving furniture, we needed something effortless, but satisfying for dinner. At half-past-four I shoved some potatoes in the oven to bake, then just before six I got some salad organised and mixed up some chive and horseradish cream, before slapping a couple of steaks on the griddle.

Christopher is not too keen on steak (too much chewing, I think) so he ate a 'lid potato' with tuna fish for his dinner. We encouraged him to have just a small piece of steak, which he did happily.

Lid Potatoes

This is something I used to eat as a child - an idea which originally came from a Milly Molly Mandy story.

one largeish baking potato per person
the filling of your choice (grated strong cheddar is the best, but it works with other cheeses too, or other favourites chez Homer are tuna-and-sweetcorn or corned beef)
fresh chives or parsley

Bake your potato (I cook them for 1½ hours at 180°c). Slice the top off and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Mash with a knob of butter, some seasoning and the filling of your choice, then pile it all back into the potato skin. Scatter over some chives or parsley if you like, then top with the 'lid'.

For James, I mashed a little bit of potato with some butter and a tiny bit of flaked tuna (tinned in spring water). As usual, he wolfed it down as quickly as quickly as I could feed it to him, then sat on his Dad's lap for the rest of dinner, trying to grab his fork. We told him he was too small for steak, but he kept on whingeing. I don't know if he's jealous that we're still eating, or what.

I love tracklements, condiments and relishes of all sorts, not least because I have always liked to play with my food. I am always penking around making bits and bobs to accompany meals. I adore horseradish with all sorts of things (traditional or not), but it is, of course, at its sinus-clearing best with a nice piece of beef. This chive and horseradish cream is one of my favourites, great with steak (of course) but also with ham or smoked mackerel. I like it as a 'dip' with crunchy vegetables, too.

Chive & Horseradish Cream

I use The English Provender Co's grated 'Hot Horseradish', in jars. I keep trying to get horseradish roots started in the garden, but to no avail.

125g crème fraîche (or use soured cream)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1-2 tbsp grated horseradish, according to your taste
2 tbsp snipped fresh chives, 1 tsp reserved

Mix all the ingredients together, then garnish with the reserved chives.

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