Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Melbourne suffers severe climate change; Kitchen Hand reverts to winter favourite.

The US Chief Weather Forecaster and part-time filmmaker, Al Gore, is in Melbourne again and to honour his visit this week we have put on EVERY kind of weather. He'll go home either very happy or very confused.

(Mr Gore informed The Age newspaper that Nuclear is Not the Answer. Sixty years after bombing the crap out of Japan, the US tells a small foreign country that nukes are not the answer for non-military purposes? The Japanese would be amused.)


Meanwhile, over at Kitchen Hand's place, it was dinner time. It had been raining and hailing and sleeting and snowing all day, as if it couldn't make up its mind what it wanted to do. And it was cold, the mercury hovering around nine degrees celsius. Just the right weather for:

Steak with Green Peppercorns.

Take two steaks - porterhouse is ideal but I used eye fillet - and sear them in a little olive oil and butter to your preferred doneness. I like mine blue, so thirty seconds either side on a very hot pan or grill is enough. Tracy likes hers well done. I try to explain to her what damage she is doing to the environment - all those carbon emissions! - but she won't listen, so I just have to char the thing and to hell with the environment.

Now comes the fun part. Take some brandy and slosh a tablespoonful or so into the pan. Shake the pan back and forth, tilting it slightly, and the brandy will ignite. (KITCHEN HAND HINT: Don't tip the brandy straight from the bottle.) I was out of brandy so I had to use some cognac (Camus, which is so good, the French named one of their best writers after it) but oh! the aroma! and oh! the curtains nearly caught fire. But not quite.

Now remove the steaks to a warming platter. Throw a can of those dear little green Madagascar peppercorns into the pan along with their vinegar, closely followed by a good glob of thick cream: the real stuff, not the type with gelatine and thickeners in it.

Shake the pan to combine the peppercorns and their vinegar with the cream. It will start reducing straight away. Pour over the steaks.

Serve with garlic mashed potatoes and a simple salad of greens dressed in a nice vinaigrette and some finely chopped parsley stalks. And a glass of red. Just to warm you up.


Sara said...

Steak and Cognac is one of my new favorites. They go so well together. Hmm, I may have to use the bbq this weekend now!

lucette said...

Isn't it supposed to be the equivalent of our June there?
Here in Cleveland, Ohio, we have a milky cloudy sky with a little breeze--cool, but you don't need more than a light jacket outside (where we were raking leaves).

neil said...

It would seem the French have a better opinion of their writers than generals, I'm thinking Napoleon here. I haven't seen the green peppercorns from Madagascar, only a lion, giraffe, hippo and zebra that were looking a little lost. The green ones from Thailand are rubbish.

kitchen hand said...

Sara, I did this on a cold night indoors, but I imagine it would be even better on the barbecue and the flames could go as high as you want.

Yes, Lucette, we are heading for mid-summer right now. Tomorrow will be 36 degrees celsius. The weather is all over the place. Your autumn sounds nice.

Neil, I wish writers were as exalted here. And yes, the Thai peppercorns are not great.