Love Bite of the week: Clara's Date Steak - Sirloin Steak with Creamed Spinach, Triple Cooked Fries and Garlic Mushrooms

This weeks recipe is from our wonderful friend and Finding Westley food expert, Clara Davies.

Clara says: This is the kind of meal you can cook on a first date that nearly all partners will appreciate (clearly not if they are vegan though!). It takes a bit of preparation if you go the whole nine yards, but its worth doing from scratch for the wonderful taste sensations.   

Clara's Date Steak

Serves 2


2 Sirloin steaks

3 Large King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 2cm-thick batons

2 teaspoons of sea salt

1 litre Groundnut oil

2 100g packets of baby leaf spinach, washed

4 Tbs salted butter

3-4 Tbs Plain flour 2 cups milk (add little by little, and enough by texture of sauce)

1 handful of grated parmesan cheese 

1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg - it really brings out the flavour of spinach)

White pepper and salt to taste

200 g mushrooms (ordinary white mushrooms are fine for this dish, but you could use a selection of your favourite mushrooms instead)

3  large cloves garlic, skin removed

2 shallots, skin removed

1 tbs. of  olive oil

1/2 small glass of dry white wine (tbs. you could also use sherry)

1 table spoon of butter

A SPLASH of single cream

Salt and black pepper to taste
Cooking the Triple cooked fries
1. Peel potatoes and cut into thin ‘battons’
2. Rinse potatoes under cold water until water is completely clear
3. Bring a very large pan of water to the boil and add potatoes
4. Immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes have a broken surface (15 – 30 min)
5. Carefully remove cooked potatoes and gently lay on a cake rack in one layer
6. Leave potatoes to go cold, then carefully place in fridge for at least 2 hours
7. Heat frying oil to 130°C (deep fat fryer is good for this)
8. Fry chips in small batches (no more than around 30 at a time) for 2 minutes exactly
9. Carefully lay the fries back onto the cake rack and leave them to go completely cold
10. Carefully transfer fries to the fridge and cool for another 2 hours, minimum
11. Heat oil to 190°C and an oven to 100°C
12. Fry fries in small batches for 4-minutes.
13. Drain on kitchen paper. Keep cooked chips warm in oven while cooking the other batches.
14. Serve with flaked sea salt.

NB. If you don’t have time for all this, fry the ‘battons’ from solid/raw form for 10 minutes or until golden brown
Cooking the Creamed Spinach
1. Fry the spinach in a non-stick frying pan or micro-wave them for 3 minutes - until wilted
2. Squeeze lightly the excess water from the spinach. Set aside on a chopping board and chop  
3. Now's the important part, making the sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat.
4. Add in the flour, stirring it with a wooden spoon together to form a paste (a rue).
5.  Slowly whisk/or stir in the milk little bit by little bit and cook until slightly thickened into a smooth white sauce, the most wonderful sauce in the world. Stir in the parmesan, add in the spinach, nutmeg, white pepper and a couple of good pinches of sea salt flakes.

This can be set aside and reheated slowly once every thing is finished.

Cooking the Garlic Mushrooms
1. Pour the oil into a shallow frying pan and place over a gentle heat.
2. Finely slice the garlic and shallots and add to the pan. Fry gently for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until they ever so slightly start to brown.
3. Prepare the mushrooms — never wash mushrooms as they will absorb the water and become slimy. If there is any dirt on them just wipe away with kitchen towel.
4. Slice the mushrooms thinly and add to the pan, stirring so that they become coated with the oil. Once the mushrooms have all started to colour, pour the glass of wine into the pan and turn the heat up so that the alcohol burns off and the liquid starts to reduce.
5. After a few minutes, the mushrooms should be cooked, so turn the heat back down quite low and add a splash of cream to the pan (the spinach is already quite creamy so this is more to add texture, and coat them, but shouldn’t make a sauce) along with black pepper and a good pinch of sea salt according to taste. Stir everything around and heat gently for a couple of minutes and reduce any excess ‘sauce down’.
6. Add a small knob of butter at the end to make a ‘silky finish’.
Cooking The Steak
1. Heat your griddle or frying pan over a high heat, until smoking hot.
2. Lightly brush the steak with a little olive oil. I don’t tend to season the steak until the end as the salt draws the juices out before cooking and effectively dehydrates the steak and we don’t want that. Oh no, we want to ‘seal’ in the juices.
3. Don’t griddle more than two steaks at a time, and keep them spaced well apart. This keeps the steak pan hot enough so as not to stew the steak but fry it.
4. Don’t turn the steaks until good seared markings are achieved, then turn them over and cook on the other side (see timings, below). Medium rare is my preferred way to serve steak.
5. You must let the steak rest for about 3 minutes before serving, to allow the juices that have been drawn to the surface to relax back into the meat.
These timings are based on cooking a sirloin steak that’s about 2 cm thick. (Cooking times will vary depending on the type and thickness of the steak, and how hot your pan is.)
Blue: 1 minute each side Rare: 1½ minutes each side Medium rare: 2 minutes each side Medium: 2¼ minutes each side Medium-well done: 2½ - 3 minutes each side.

Love Potion of the week

You can't go past a cheeky red wine with a gorgeous steak meal like Clara's.

We say: The Malbec grape has made a long journey from France to South America, the grape itself is a purple coloured but thin skinned grape that produces a deep rich red wine. Today we are going with a New World variety which produces a fruity flavour with a slightly spicy finish. Perfect for cutting through the creaminess of the Spinach and complimenting the rich flavour of the sirloin steak with its strong tannins; we recommend the Aruma Malbec.