Monthly Archives: May 2012

Colombian Beer-Marinated Steak with Aji sauce and Colombian Guacamole

The day I made this I had a bit of a steak urge-this happens pretty often.  I have a thing for steak, especially thick rare steak. The ultimate way to fulfil a steak urge is Tom’s mom’s Masonic Steak.  She gets a giant cut about the size of a dinner plate and an inch thick from Elite Meats in Lincoln.  This is marinated up and grilled until medium rare. Served up with some salad and veg it is super super Yum.

So as Tom’s mom was not around I decided to look for a new and delicious steak recipe.  This one is adapted from one of Epicurious’ top rated steak recipes, and after tasting it I can testify that it definitely earned its place on the list. The steak is served with sharp and spicy Aji sauce, Colombian guacamole, and a dash of sour cream- I wouldn’t advise skipping any of the accompaniments.

If you live in Edinburgh and want to make this recipe just head over to Tollcross.  John Saunderson butchers provided an especially thick cut of steak on request, Lupe Pintos deli provided the chilles, delicious set sour cream and some tortilla chips for munching as I went along, and Scotmid across the road had the rest of the veg, pickled onions and beer.


For the Steak:
1 kg inch thick steak ( I used two frying steaks but you could also use flank steak which the original recipe called for but the local butcher didn’t have)
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
Salt & Peps
1 cup sliced spring onions
340ml out of a can of guinness beer
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

Marinated Beer Steak

Marinating the steak.

DO 3 HOURS AHEAD: Lay the steak out in a glass baking dish 2 to 3 inches deep, that the steak fits within comfortably.  Dont use too big of a dish as the marinade is quite runny and you want to make sure the steaks are covered fully. Using a sharp knife, score the steaks on either side in a criss-cross pattern at about 2cm intervals, and 1/2cm deep.  Sprinkle steaks on both sides with oregano, cumin, and a generous amount of salt and pepper.  Drizzle olive oil over the top, rubbing the spices into the meat.  Add both onions, beer, and worcestershire sauce.  Turn the steaks to coat either side. Cover and pop in the fridge, turning occasionally.  You can also do this the day ahead.

While the steak is chilling get your Aji sauce and guacamole ready (see below).  when you’re ready to eat, set the oven grill on high.  Grill steaks for about 4 mins each side or until medium rare.  Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 mins.  Slice up into 1 cmish thick strips and plate up!  Serve with Aji, guacamole and sour cream.

Aji Sauce:
1/2 cup coarsely chopped seeded jalapeño chiles
1/2 cup coarsely chopped spring onions
1/3 cup coarsely chopped sweet pickled onion from a jar
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
3/4 tsp coarse salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or red wine vinegar) Lupe Pintos have these frozen lime concentrate pack for mixing up lime juice for margaritas.  You can mix up a pitcher of limeade or even margaritas and use a splash for the sauce.

Aji Sauce

Sharp and tangy Aji sauce.

Combine jalapeño chiles, spring onions, pickled onions, and coriander in processor; puree until paste forms.  Open it up and give it a stir and a scrape down a few times to make sure all the bits are incorporated.  Add the lime juice and whizz again until mixture is blended but still retains some texture. Transfer to small bowl and add the salt and pepper.  Give it a taste- and add a dash more lime if you think it needs it. Cover and refrigerate.  This lasts in the fridge for a good few days, and also makes an excellent dip for tortilla chips.  If its too spicy on its own, have it with a bit of sour cream.

Colombian Guacamole:
2 small/medium ripe avocados, coarsely chopped (keep the stones)
3 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1 1/2 Tbsp coarsely chopped spring onion
1 1/2 Tbsp coarsely chopped pickled onion
2 Tbsp chopped serrano chiles with seeds
2  Tbsp (or more) fresh lime juice
Coarse salt


Lots of coriander in this smooth Colombian guac!

Combine avocado, coriander, spring onion, pickled onion, and serrano chiles in a processor. Puree until smooth. Add 2 Tbsp lime juice ( taste before adding the second Tbsp) and blend. Add more lime juice if necessary.  You want to process until its quite smooth, but not runny.  Transfer to a small bowl and season with salt, pepper, and a dash of lime.  Cover and refrigerate with the avacado stones so the guacamole doesn’t go off colour.

We had too much, so we used the leftovers with some buckwheat and sweetpotato noodles. I mixed the aji sauce with some sour cream to make a sauce and threw in some peppers and peas.  Yumzo!

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Anchovy Pasta

This recipe comes from The Geometry of Pasta. It is known in France as pasta des anchois.  It’s quick, easy, yummy, and costs nothing to make. Anchovy pasta has become one of Tom’s weekday staples, and we thought we would tell you the best way to cook this salty treat.

Delicious anchovy pasta

The parsley goes on top so we don’t have to think about how gross the sauce looks.

Serves 2


1 large onion

2 tins anchovies (Sainsbury’s anchovies in olive oil are fine, but if you are really flashing your cash, splash (rhyme!) on John West anchovies in olive oil. Mr. West, for my money, makes the best damn anchovies money can buy!)

250ml white wine (Go for something dry and not too sweet.)

125ml water (tap water is fine, but if you’re feeling fancy, bottled will work too – just nothing with extra flavour – orange, other fruits, etc.- this will ruin the pasta – trust me!)

Enough spaghetti for 2 persons (whole wheat pasta tastes better with the sauce, nuttier and nutmeggy for some reason)


Chop the onion. I don’t know if I mentioned the way to chop and onion in a previous post, but here is the correct way to cut an onion, and all the other ways of doing it are just people ruining perfectly good onions. You chop it in half across the middle, so when you look at the chopped faces, you see a bunch of rings. Put both halves on the board face down, and make about three horizontal cuts most of the way through, but not all the way through in the same direction of the original cut. This means cutting the onion with the knife sideways. Then cut down, perpendicular to the previous cuts, about 1/4 inch apart from each other. Then turn the chopping board 90 degrees and, holding the onion to secure the sides so all the bits don’t splurge out,  make downward cuts perpendicular to those previous cuts. You will then find yourself staring at a pile of perfectly chopped onions. It seems complicated reading it (it was complicated writing it!), but trust me, do it this way once and you’ll never go back!

So throw all that onion in a frying pan and put it over a low heat. I have a gas hob and I put it on the lowest flame on the largest ring. Then open the tins of anchovies and drain the olive oil from them into the frying pan. Stir occasionally until the onions are translucent and soft, about 8 minutes. Then throw in the anchovies. They will just melt in the heat after a couple of minutes into a brownish goo, giving you some small insight into the fragility of life. Mush this goo into the onions and add the water and wine. Once this has started to boil (still on low low heat), put on the timer for 23 minutes. Then let it all chill out. During this time, I like to watch a little TV, some New Girl or something, just to pass the time, but you do what you want. Just let you be you!

When the timer goes off, put the pasta in some water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. The sauce should have boiled down to about a  quarter of its former glory. Stir the sauce constantly as the rest evaporates, and it begins to look a little dry. At this point, add about a quarter cup of the pasta water, to add a bit of moisture, and after 2 minutes, take it off the heat. This should be about the time the pasta has finished cooking. Drain the pasta and mix it in to the sauce. Split it between two bowls and rip some parsley over each.

A bowl of anchovy pasta

A beautiful helping of anchovy pasta.

That’s it, enjoy! And hold each other.

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