As regular readers of this column will know, I am dyslexic, so reading has never been a priority in my life, nor has writing long passages of prose. I save my creativity for the kitchen instead.
There are quite a few of us dyslexic chefs: Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein, to name two others, and an impressive list of celebs, including Johnny Depp and Dustin Hoffman.
Being dyslexic hasn't stopped me from doing what I wanted; in fact I have even written several cookbooks, and am actually getting to grips with poetry. I recently discovered Byron. OK, I know he's nothing new, but I have fallen in love with his work. I love the image of this aristocratic libertine with such a way with words (and women).
Dyslexia, though, meant that I did poorly at school, but of course back then no one had heard of dyslexia. I am worried about my son, though, even nowadays. He sadly also has dyslexia, but maybe he will be able to overcome it more easily with the help schools offer now.
Having said that, I think we are what we are in part because of the pain we go through, and I wouldn't change a thing.
To continue on a literary theme, the recipe this week is a bit of a classic. The steak should be the best quality you can find, as always when cooking my recipes. There is no point in starting with a low-quality product, because whatever you do to it, it will always remain just that.
The accessory, so to speak, is the Café de Paris butter - an almost legendary concoction and very fitting for our Literary Issue, originating as it does from the cafes of Paris, where many a much-quoted word has been written. I have always loved the idea of intellectuals sitting around Paris drinking strong coffee, smoking Gitanes cigarettes and spouting nonsense.
Anyway, back to our recipe. The secret with the butter is in all the bits. It might look complicated, but it's not, and it's completely worth it. Think of it as a novel with all the different plot strands coming together to create a most satisfying ending.
That sounded good, didn't it? I'll be off to Paris next...
MAKE IT YOURSELF
Grilled Angus strip loin and Café de Paris butter
For the butter:
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 anchovy fillet
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 small bunch fresh parsley, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 sprig fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1 tsp ground black pepper
Zest of half a lemon
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp curry powder
500g softened butter
For the steaks:
6 Angus strip loin steaks, 300g each
Oil as desired
Sea salt to taste
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
TO MAKE THE BUTTER
1. Mix all of the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and place in refrigerator overnight.
2. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the butter for 4-5 minutes on medium.
3. Blend the refrigerated ingredients in a blender to make a smooth paste, then fold into the whipped butter.
4. Form the butter into logs about 1.5 inches in diameter. The best way is to spoon the butter onto a piece of plastic wrap, roll tightly and tie the ends. It is best to make three or four shorter rolls. Freeze the butter until needed.
1. Season the steaks with the oil, salt and pepper and place on a hot grill. To achieve medium rare, cook 3-4 minutes on each side for a one-inch steak.
2. As the steaks cook, unwrap the butter and cut three medallions for each steak.
3. Once the steaks reach medium rare place the butter medallions on top and flash under a hot broiler just until they start to melt. Serve immediately.