February 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — ros @ 11:33 pm

 …quick, easy, weeknight food. It’s just not like me is it? What happened to the days of the lemon and rose glazed lamb leg and the duck, pomegranate and blueberry salad  or the three hour marathon cooking sessions that resulted in these chilli tortillas. I miss those days.

In fact, I think two things happened……

Firstly, I left the foodie heaven that was West London. You might think it strange that I say this but, given that I have no car, the resources for food experiments were so much better in Hammersmith than they are here in Hackney. I remember the days when I felt aggrieved at not finding fennel on my way home on a Sunday afternoon and moaned about not having access to decent raspbery liqueur*. Now,even on a weeknight, I’m stuck with whatever the near empty shelves Holloway Waitrose can provide at 8pm and it has to be something I can cook quickly so I can get a reasonable amount of sleep before my 6am start the next day .   

And, speaking of the early starts, I knew there’d be dry posting periods during termtime but I wasn’t quite anticipating the extended periods of blogging silence that have occurred since I started at Highgate. But then, when you’ve got to the stage where you arrive home so tired you can’t even eat, let alone cook, the idea of maintaining a food blog seems downright insane.

The problem is that things went a little bit wrong for the maths department this term. A colleague left us, which we were expecting. What we weren’t expecting was the sudden resignation of his replacement shortly before the return to school. Needless to say, this has left us all a little stretched.

In theory, compared to some of my colleagues, I got a fairly good deal. I picked up one new class: the brightest of the GCSE year with some really lovely kids**. That meant only four hours extra teaching per week ( read that as approximately 7 hours work per week). However the timetable also had to change, cramming 80% my fortnight’s teaching into 4 days. Precisely two weeks ago, I was in the middle of that 4 day stint AND trying to write reports for all of my four sixth form classes.

I was exhausted. I had an impossible workload to complete before the next day. I left work at just past 8pm*** having arrived at 8am and with a 75 minute commute each way. I was promised dinner when I got home and, unsuprisingly, Goon found an excuse as to why he had forgotten to make it by the time I arrived. So, barely awake, and in an extremely bad mood, I rushed to the small Tesco Metro, picked up the best steak I could find and invented something suprisingly good given the limit on the lack of marinating time and ingredients. If I’d had the foresight**** to keep a marinating steak prepared in the fridge, this would have been absolutely perfect.


Spice Marinated Sirloin Steaks with Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges and Coriander Pesto

spice marinated steak, sweet potato wedges, coriander pesto

Serves Two

For The Steak Marinade

  • 100ml chilli oil
  • a tablespoon finely chopped coriander
  • 2 large cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 cubic inch ginger, peeled and crushed
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground coriander
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

You’ll Also Need

  • Two hefty sirloin steaks
  • two medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 50g coriander
  • 50-100ml of chilli infused olive oil
  • 1 green chilli
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic

Mix together all the marinade ingredients. Score the steaks in a criss-cross pattern. Brush all the marinade over the steaks and leave to marinate  (I fell asleep for two hours at this point which seemed to be just long enough. Overnight woud be better)

Peel the two sweet potatoes and cut into wedges. Coat with the olive oil mixed with the paprika and roast at gas mark 7 for 20 minutes or until tender.

Put 50g of finely chopped coriander in a blender jug with 50 ml of chilli infused oil, with the chilli and garlic. Blend until smooth, adding more oil if necessary.  Heat through in a small saucepan for around 5 minutes. Serve the steaks and wedges with the coriander pesto.


* Yes, yes, I was spoilt. 

** and a few nuisances who make life difficult for me and the rest of the class, but such is life.

*** This is partially my fault. I started talking to one of the brightest year 11s about various maths-philosophy type things for an hour. But then, he’s one of those, intelligent personable students that genuinely makes teaching worthwhile, even if he is too polite to tell you that you’ve held the entire conversation with a streak of board pen across your face.

**** well, psychic ability I suppose


  1. Things get better towards the end of the summer term … and in the meantime, 1. your students are VERY lucky to have you, and 2. this looks really really good

    Thanks for posting

    Comment by Joanna — February 10, 2008 @ 11:53 pm

  2. Wow - given your constraints, I think that’s a pretty damn fab meal. I hear you loud and clear on the difficulties of easily-accessible premium foods once you leave west London… If you go digging, I guess you can find independent shops, but Whole Foods it ain’t… Hope things improve at work so that we can get back to your usual exotic meals :)

    Comment by Jeanne — February 11, 2008 @ 12:37 am

  3. I agree! The meal is marvelous, judging from the saliva puddling in my mouth as I look at the picture. Now I’m starting to go into steak lust, but it has to have that marinade.

    Comment by sher — February 12, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  4. When you get to know them a bit better in Holloway Road Waitrose you’ll find you can pop in or call and ask them to put some things aside for you to collect on your way home. I’m still wondering how I’m going to survive without the place when I move up north later this year.

    Comment by Mike (Trig's dad) — February 14, 2008 @ 10:35 am

  5. Hi Ros

    Great food’s never far away in Hackney. You’ve got The Grocery down on Kingsland road for hippy fodder, Islington’s just a few bus stops away for butchers and fishmongers, Stoke Newington has it’s weekly farmer’s market as does Islington and then there’s amazing Vietnamese supermarket on Mare Street and all the African, West Indian and Turkish food of Dalston.


    Comment by Joshua — February 20, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  6. coriander pesto, i love it!

    Comment by michelle @ TNS — March 12, 2008 @ 4:53 pm

  7. I’ve just done the opposite and have moved from North London to SW London (Battersea).

    There’s great options in East London too, I am sure you’ve been exploring :-)

    Comment by Niamh — April 29, 2008 @ 9:48 am

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