Well, maybe not, but this is as close as I’m likely to get.
So here we have some beef fillet steak, seared until just cooked on the outside as an attempt at beef sashimi, a hot peanut dipping sauce, tangy mango and papaya salad with lots of lime and a soothing contrast of coconut rice.
Many of the best meals I have made have come from absolute necessity. The realisation that you have a couple of pounds left in your bank account and only a few storecupboard staples can work wonders for your cooking inspiration. It was a similar mindset I had when creating the meal above.
No, I’m not for a second pretending that anything in the meal pictured above is a budget item but, at the end of a particularly long and tiring week, they were almost all sitting in my fridge and the fillet steak in particular needed to be used fast.
So how did I come to have some ’spare’ fillet steak sitting in my fridge. Exhaustion, that’s how.
Parents’ evenings are always tiring. The parents’ evening of the upper sixth year is the last one before the kids sit their A2 exams that determine which university, if any, they can attend. When you teach BOTH bottom sets in a subject like mathematics, you know you’re in for a long evening that will involve dealing with some emotionally fruaght parents.
In a school like mine, you can be sure that not even the bottom set kids are going to fail their A2 maths. However they are mostly B and C grade candidates trying to get into some very good universities to read subjects like medicine and engineering. They REALLY need As and Bs. Their parents by this point are getting more than a little anxious about their child’s future and in particular their apparently incurable inability to do any work.
I actually had one parent, scratching his head and looking perplexed saying, “Well he’s never done any work. He’s not going to start now but he needs an A in maths. So how do we make sure he gets it?
Ummm…… tricky one…… getting me to dress like a boy and sit his exam might work but unfortunately that’s called fraud.
Anyway, after three and a half hours of trying to console around 20 pairs of very worried parents, I left, just caught Sainsbury before it shut and grabbed some fillet steak. Then I got home and passed out on my sofa before I even thought about what I was going to do with it.
A few days later, the steak needed to be used. Fortunately I had a little more time on my hands so I made up a dish inspired by a salad I’d had at my favourite local Thai restaurant which conveniently used up some of the exotic fruit my parents sporadically give me.
Beef ‘Sashimi’ with Mango and Papaya Salad, Coconut Rice and Peanut Dipping Sauce
Quantities for One Person
For the Beef
- 150-200g filet steak in one piece
- A little vegetable oil or groundnut oil
- Salt and pepper
Rub the steak with the oil so it is is just coated. Season with salt and pepper and sear over a high heat for 45s per side or until it is just cooked on the outside. Wrap in foil and leave to rest.
For the Rice
- 2 handfuls of basmati rice
- half a can of coconut milk (keep the rest handy in case you need some extra
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water. Bring the coconut milk to a boil, stir through the rice with a teaspoon of salt and bring back to a gentle bubble. Stir frequently until the rice is cooked (about 8 minutes) - test a grain to see if it is cooked. Drain off any excess coconut milk and add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
For the Peanut Sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted peanut butter
- 1 chopped red chilli, deseeded
- a quarter can of coconut milk
- half a tablespoon chopped coriander leaf
- fish sauce- just a little
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat through for a few minutes until the peanut butter thickens the sauce. Taste and season.
For the Salad
- half a ripe mango, peeled and thinly sliced
- half an under-ripe (green) papaya, peeled, deseeded and thinly sliced
- juice of 1 lime
- a few drops of fish sauce
- half a teaspoon of sugar
- 1 small clove garlic, pasted
- 1 small green chilli, deeeded and finely chopped
- finely diced red onion- mi just used a heaped tablespoonful and kept the rest to use another time.
- a tablespoon of coriander leaves
Mix the fish sauce, lime juice, sugar, chilli and garlic paste. Toss this through the rest of the ingredients.
Slice the beef fillet thinly and serve with the accompaniments.