Steak and chips
I always thought I knew how to make steak and chips and then every three months or so I would try it and fuck it up. Usually the steak. But now, through spying on my dad and learning some basic cookery skills, I think I’ve got it. This won’t be perfect, but it will be what it will be.
Get some potatoes, wash ‘em and cut them up like how you want to eat them. Some people like them more cuboid, some like them flat and thin. Just don’t cut them too thin. This is more the bratkartoffelen style - how the Germans do it - than French fries or pub chips or anything like that. I’ve heard my dad’s friend say that the best way to make chips is to freeze the potatoes, because that removes the starch. But I don’t like to think about things too much in advance. It’s just not how the world is. You should be able to see some potatoes in the morning and be cooking them by the evening, even the afternoon if you don’t have too much on. Also, chips are a perfectly fine breakfast lunch and dinner food. Cold chips are especially nice in the morning, with ketchup.
So you have your washed potatoes cut up into chunks. Next, boil a big pot of water with salt and put them in once it’s boiling. They should bob about for a few minutes. I think eight is probably the right amount, but you can tell by getting a sharp knife and attempting to skewer one of the chunks with it. It’s kind of a fun exercise, like apple bobbing or spearfishing. If your knife can sink into a chunk of potato with ease, then they’re done.
Drain the water and put the potatoes onto some kitchen towel or a towel, something to soak up the moisture. Pat them a bit.
Put a pan on medium heat, pour enough olive oil in so that the bottom of the pan is oily, so that the potato chunks will be not submerged but not just paddling: they would be up to their potato chunk waists.
Hold a potato chunk tween your thumb and forefinger and dangle it towards the oil. If when then chunk comes into contact with the oil it makes that satisfying sizzle sound, then it’s game on! Drop it in and all the others along with it. If not, then have patience and try again in another couple of seconds, minutes.
The potatoes are in an sizzling. Leave them. Leave them for a good four to five minutes. Then it will come time to turn them. Tilt one up on its axis with whatever spatula or spoon you are using. Not your fingers this time. Things are hotting up. If it’s brown on the underside, you can flip ‘em. Flip ‘em carefully. We don’t want any unevenly cooked chips now.
Leave them for another five minutes or so and then when they’re brown on both sides turn the heat right down and allow them to just stay warm.
Take your chips out and rest them on some more kitchen towel to soak up a bit of the oil (though I like oily chips). Then serve them with your steak!
I don’t know about cuts. Just get something that looks good and isn’t too expensive. I’d say rump, tenderloin or sirloin or ribeye. The important thing is to leave it out of the fridge for at least two hours before you cook it. That’s really important and something I always forgot. While the chips are cooking, take your steaks and lay them out and hit them a bit, just light taps to tenderize the meat.
Then drizzle a little olive oil on them, rub in some salt and black pepper. Turn them over and do the same on the other side.
Once they’re ready, put a frying pan on high heat. Don’t put anything on the frying pan, just leave it until it starts smoking.
Then you want to place your steak onto the frying pan – it should sizzle very nicely – and leave it for one minute. As soon as the minute is up, cut the heat and turn the steak over and leave it for another minute. You can shorten this part by thirty seconds if your steak is particularly thin or you like it very rare in the middle. Once the minute is up, take you steak off the frying pan and onto the plate and rest it for a couple of minutes.
Serve together with your chips and maybe a bottle of red wine and you are laughing.
Ideal scrambed eggs
- 2 large eggs per person
- Tabasco sauce (optional)
- Italian herbs (optional)
- Crack the eggs into a bowl or a cup. Add the smallest drop of milk possible. (Also add a generous sprinkle of Italian herbs if you’re making Italian eggs) Whisk with a fork until there’s no clear goop and just a uniform yellow liquid.
- Melt a big knob of butter (double as big as you’d think appropriate) in a medium-sized saucepan until the butter starts to bubble and turn golden-brown.
- Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. It should hiss.
- After a couple of seconds, start to fold the egg mixture when it begins to turn opaque and solidify – but while it’s still goopy. Try to fold the egg as much as you can into layers and gently cut with your spatula anything that is threatening to look too omelettey. This should take no longer than two minutes.
- That’s it. You know you’re done when the egg is wobbly but not watery and definitely before it has browned. It should glisten and look moist, and it’s better that the egg is underdone than overdone as it will keep cooking while you butter your toast.
What you really want to avoid is: watery/spermy eggs; cold eggs.
- Serve on buttered toast. Add salt and pepper. (Add a generous splash of tabasco sauce if you’re making Angry eggs).
- Sort of 1.5 to 3 eggs per person. I never understood egg sizes.
- Loads of butter
- Some kind of cream, or even cream cheese (optional but great)
- I guess crack the eggs into a bowl or a cup, just so nothing goes wrong, like a bit of shell falls in the pan and you have to pick it out, while there are still more eggs to be cracked and then they all cook unevenly. But don’t whisk them or anything.
- Melt a huge knob of butter in the frying pan. Using this method, the egg will stick a LOT to some frying pans and only a little to others, but I’ve never figured out why. Take the frying pan you have and try to handle the consequences.
- Once the butter’s melted, on a very, very low heat add the eggs to the pan. Scramble them gently and gradually, breaking up the yolks. As it starts to harden on the bottom of the pan just scrape it and keep mixing it. You can even lift it off the heat every once in a while, to make sure everything happens extremely gradually. I abide by the philosophy that the ideal heat source for scrambled eggs would be a candle.
- Just keep doing what you’re doing until it looks like scrambled eggs, creamy but not slippery. I don’t add milk or anything as I feel it ruins the flavour a bit, and if you’re doing this right there’s probably enough butter in your eggs to keep them smoother than your wildest dreams. However, if you do have some good cream, like sour cream or crème fraiche, or even cream cheese, add a dollop of that. I like loads of salt, my nemesis is basically scrambled eggs that taste like a blanket.
- Now, with the whole timing issue, I don’t know what to say. I can’t help you there. Try and get someone else to butter the toast & make the tea for you, as these eggs require your undivided attention and must be served not a second later than whatever you consider their ‘done’ state.
- Serve on golden, heavily buttered toast and good luck!