Thursday, January 08, 2009

Challenge Book #29 and #30 - Spicy Butter and Potato Swirls

When I was a tutor at University I always knew when one of my students was coming in to ask for an extension. There was a certain walk and nervous twitching of the eye that gave them away every time. Well that is me right now. My left eye is going crazy.

I had set a deadline of 23 February for the KJ wants a Kitchen Aid Challenge. This was a year from the date of my original resolution. However, the months I have had to spend out of the kitchen has now well and truly put me behind. I'm only about half way through. Plus I also have a stack of cookbooks given as birthday, christmas and get well presents to add to the mix. So I have decided to give myself to the middle of the year - 30 June.

And so now to get on with it - Book #29 Coming Home by John Burton Race and Book #30 Popular Potato Recipes from Family Circle.

I loved the TV series French Leave. I used to watch it green with envy. I mean spending a year in the French countryside eating fantastic food and playing in village boule tournaments. It would be too wonderful for words. I also enjoyed the follow up series Coming Home. A bit less so when all Mr Burton Race's grubby behaviour came to light. Those children did not deserve that.

Anyway, I snapped up Coming Home in a second hand store quite a few years ago. I had only ever gotten around to trying the shortbread recipe. It was quite nice. But I decided to go for something really different and decided to try the recipe for spicy butter to be served with steak.

The butter is not hard to make, but the list of ingredients is long and involved. It takes longer to gather them all together than actual cooking time.

As for the end result, well it was quite nice. I can't say I was blown away or anything. It was just nice. And I think the whole guilt thing kind of tarnished the experience. There I was with a perfectly nice piece of healthy lean steak and I was liberally smothering it in butter. It kind of went against the grain. I prefer any overindulgent intake of saturated fat to be conveniently hidden away from me in pastry or some other discreet vehicle.

To go with the steaks I decided to make some potato swirls. They sounded great - mashed potato mixed with parmesan and mustard. These were a bit disappointing. Somehow they turned out a bit dry.

Still they sound so promising I will try them again. If at first you don't succeed yada yada yada.

Spicy Butter
(adapted from Coming Home)

250gm unsalted butter
1 sprig thyme
1/2 bay leaf
1 sprig tarragon
2 shallots or 1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
30ml white wine
1 tspn madras curry paste or powder
30gm parsely, finely chopped
1 tspn capers, chopped
3 small gherkins, chopped
3 anchovy fillets, chopped
2 large egg yolks
1 pinch cayenne pepper
juice 1/4 lemon
salt and pepper

Beat the butter until it is soft and white. Finely chop the leaves from the thyme sprig and the bay leaf. Blanch the tarrgon leaves in boiling water for 10 seconds. Refresh in cold water. Cry on kitchen paper and finely chop.

Melt a spoonful of the butter and fry the sallots and garlic for about 5 minutes. Watch that they do not colour. Add the wine and boil until it is completely evaporated. Stir in the curry paste/powder and cook for 2 minutes.. Add the thyme and bay leaf. Remove from the heat and cool.

Add the parsely, capers, gherkins, anchovies and tarragon to the beaten butter. Beat together. Add the egg yolks one at a time, then the cayenne and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and add the shallot mixture. Beat together.

Use 1 tbspn for a 200gm steak. Pan fry steaks. Place on a baking sheet and top with the butter. Put under a grill to glaze. The butter will melt and turn golden.

Potato Swirls
(adapted from Popular Potato Recipes)

4 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tspn dry mustard
freshly ground pepper

Cook potatoes in boiling water. Drain and mash and leave to cool slightly.

Beat yolks, cream, cheese and mustard together. Beat yolk mixture into the potatoes. Seaon with pepper to taste.

Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. Pipe swirls onto a tray. Bake in a 210C oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


At 6:15 am, Blogger Amanda at Little Foodies said...

Yet the potato swirls look beautiful and you'd think with all that cream they wouldn't be dry.

At 11:14 pm, Blogger grace said...

meh, there's nothing wrong with a little deadline extension. :)
there's also nothing wrong with anything potato-related. i love the swirls!

At 8:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is an excellent recipe thanks for posting it. A must try in my eyes.

At 10:45 pm, Blogger The Paraplegic Chef said...

Potato swirls!!! They look delicious.


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