The way to our hearts

Firstly, apologies for the gap in posts this week. Secondly, apologies for now talking about Valentine’s Day a week late! I’ve been a poorly girl this week (nothing to do with the food I might add), so writing was a bit beyond me (until now) while I wallowed in self pity and ate chocolate.

But I’m better now (mostly) so back to the land of the living and the creating of the food!

As you’ve probably gathered from previous posts, my husband and I are definitely not vegetarians. That being said I do love certain veggie dishes – my ‘Not Quite Saag Aloo‘ for one. But I can confidently say that I’m an omnivore, with predominantly carniverous tendancies.

Give me a rare fillet steak any day and I shall be a happy girl.

Luckily my husband feels much the same way, and so, for Valentine’s Day, for pretty much the last five years, the way to our hearts has been through steak 🙂

A couple of years ago I thought we might be getting stuck in a rut and tried to suggest to dear hubbie that maybe we should do something different. This was met with considerable objection along the lines of ‘so fillet steak isn’t good enough for you anymore, huh?’ Of course, there’s no good argument against that, but on discussing further I have to confess that I did come round to his way of thinking. And here’s why:

  1. Restaurants are generally more crowded on Valentine’s Day, this has the knock-on effect of having a limited time at your table, therefore feeling rushed and often unable to relax and properly enjoy the evening together
  2. More people can also mean poorer service in some places when they struggle to meet demand, especially with lots of small groups all sitting down at the same time
  3. Many places do set menus for Valentine’s Day, often at higher prices than the usual menus – why pay more for less choice?
  4. Unless you’re particularly into cheesy romance (which you can probably tell neither of us are) there’s also the risk factor of going out on Valentine’s Day – being harassed by musicians playing right in your face or people demanding my husband buys me a rose in order to somehow prove himself worthy (huh? am I supposed to be a damsel in distress or something?)
  5. Generally when eating out, you’re more likely to eat additional courses such as starters and desserts – it’s a treat night and someone else is cooking, right? However, that, combined with the invevitable glass or two of wine, leads to being uncomfortably full, and when you’re uncomfortably full your interest in, well, ‘other activities’ shall we say, is somewhat diminished. And to put it quite frankly (apologies to parent types and other PG audiences reading this), I know what I’d rather have for dessert…

So anyway, steak! This year hubbie went to the butchers and bought a whole fillet. Mega treat time 😀 Not only did it serve us both with a couple of hefty steaks for our Valentine’s Day meal, but we still have two steaks for another day and the tail end piece of fillet for something like Stroganoff or Bo Luc Lac, which is a favourite Vietnamese dish of mine, which literally translates as ‘shaking beef’ (more on that coming soon!). All for the princely sum of £24 – not bad at all for six meals! (If we’d have eaten out we’d have spent more than that on just one steak dinner).

The first couple of years we had our steaks with homemade Bernaise sauce, which is one of my favourites, and which hubbie therefore dutifiully recreated at home for me. But we’ve tried to vary things a couple of times over the years. This year, thinking Slimming World friendly, we decided to go with Chimichurri.

Chimichurri is an Argentinian sauce, traditionally made with fresh and dried herbs, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, chilli flakes, paprika and red wine vinegar. It’s very fresh tasting and a perfect complement to soft, rare fillet.

Like many sauces and dressings, traditionally this would be made with two thirds olive oil to one third vinegar/lemon juice. But since I was aiming to keep the Syns down, this was my recipe:

Chimichurri Sauce

Serves 2

3 Syns per portion

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 red onion or 1 shallot
  • Small handful fresh basil leaves
  • Small handful fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp dried Chimichurri spice mix*
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

*I used a Chimichurri Pampeano spice blend I bought whilst visiting my parents out in France, however it’s easy to substitute with the following dried herbs and spices:

  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1/2 tsp dried coriander leaf
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Method

  1. If you have one, pulse the garlic and onion in a food processor or mini chopper until very finely chopped, then add the fresh herbs and pulse again. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to chop everything very finely by hand
  2. Add the dried spices and mix well
  3. Quickly whisk together the oil, vinegar and lemon juice and then pour over the herb and spice mix
  4. Mix well again and taste to check the balance of flavours. The consistency should be similar to a fresh gremolata or pesto (but obviously with less oil) and the taste should be sharp, refreshing and mildly spicy
  5. Serve with seared fillet steak, roasted potatoes and stir fried vegetables for two 🙂

Valentine Steak Chimichurri

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