Steak Frites and Top Deck Mousse – an example of my mad Macguyver and Martha Stewart skills

So yesterday Reece and I had been married for a month! And what a month it has been! I still cannot quite believe I am here in Manila, and that this is my home for the next 2 years, but indeed it is. To celebrate (and to sneakily get out of planning our 1 year anniversary cos we take it in turns) I decided to cook a really simple meal hopefully using the freshest ingredients possible.

Of course, I am running with less than the full contingent of kitchen items, so I couldn’t be too adventurous!

I decided to make Steak Frites and Top Deck Mousse, two hopefully easy things to pull off. However, tere are always things you forget you don’t have…like a whisk or mortar and pestle. Which is how I ended up crushing peppercorns with a glass. My first attempt was a failure as I sent peppercorns scattering across the floor with too much force. I ended up crushing two or three at a time…quite the laborious process let me tell you!

I did however relent and buy a whisk, so ended up creaming sugar and eggs together and whipping cream with sheer brute force and perseverence.

Anyway enough bitching…here are the recipes.

Steak Frites (serves 2)


2 steaks (I used Australia Mulwarra tenderloin cut into 1-inch thick steaks)
1 tbs whole black peppercorns
1 tbs whole pink peppercorns
Generous pinch of salt
Olive oil to help steaks marinate

Peppercorn and mushroom sauce
200ml white wine
300ml beef stock
5 button mushrooms chopped
3 spring onions chopped roughly
3 garlic cloves chopped roughly
1/3 cup whole basil leaves
1 tbs black peppercorns (crushed)
1 tbs pink peppercorns (crushed)
60g butter
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cream

5 button mushrooms sliced thinly
1 tbs whole black and pink peppercorns

4 medium potatoes (cut into roughly 1.5cm chips)
Basil (a shake or two to coat)
Salt and pepper to taste
Enough olive oil to coat frying pan with 1cm of oil to shallow fry

Cover the steaks in salt, peppercorns and olive oil and leave to marinate for an hour or so. Don’t forget to take the steaks out of the fridge 20 mins before you want to cook them as they cook best at room temperature.

Heat a small saucepan to medium-high heat and brown mushrooms, crushed garlic, spring onions and crushed peppercorns with a splash of olive oil and 30g of butter. When the mushroom mix is brown and sizzling, add the white wine and beef stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium, add whole basil leaves and let simmer until is has reduced by half. Once the stock has reduced remove from heat and leave to steep. Once cool, strain through a tight colander or muslin to remove all the bits and pieces and don;t forget to save the liquid…this will form the base of the sauce.

Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees. Combine the potato chips with the basil, salt and pepper. Heat a fry pan and add enough oil to cover the base up to 1cm. You need the oil very hot so it may take a minute or so to heat up. Once the oil is hot shallow fry the chips, constantly turning to ensure they are brown all over. When they are brown, transfer to an over tray and stick them into the hot oven to continue cooking. At this stage they will take another 25 mins and longer if you like them really crispy.

Drain most of the oil from the pan from the chips and reheat to high heat. (You’ll need your overhead fan on for this part!) Cook the steaks for 2-3 mins on each side and remember to only turn them once. Once they have been browned on each side stick them into the oven on the same tray as the chips to finish cooking. For pink meat only leave for 5-7 mins, for more brown inside (which is how I like it) leave for 10-12 mins.

At this stage you will want to add the finely sliced mushrooms, whole peppercorns and remaining 30g of butter to the hot pan and let it brown and sizzle. Add the stock and let it come to the boil before turning the pan to medium heat. You want the stock to reduce even further, but keep stirring it to make sure it doesn’t get too thick. (If at any stage it seems too thick you can thin it out with a little more white wine.) Once the stock has reduced add the cream and Dijon mustard and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy.

Take the steaks out of the oven first and let them sit on the plates for 2 mins while you finish the sauce.

Serve the steaks covered in the peppercorn sauce with the chips on the side.

Top Deck Mousse (makes 6 smallish glasses)

150g milk or dark chocolate (whatever you prefer is fine), roughly chopped
150g white chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs
1/4 cup caster sugar
300ml thickened cream
2 tbs Baileys – optional

6 clear glasses – roughly 3/4 cup or 200ml size

Whip the cream in a bowl (only to just soft peaks, not hard peaks) and then set aside.

Melt the milk chocolate first, either in a microwave or on the stove top. (I always melt chocolate in the microwave on 20 second bursts and stirring each time). Set aside to cool slightly.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until they are pale, light and fluffy and have roughly doubled in size. Separate the egg mixture evenly into two bowls.

Fold the milk chocolate into the first bowl until combined. If you want at this stage you can mix through the Baileys. Then gently add half the whipped cream (don’t stress about being too specific!) Try to keep as much lightness in the mixture when you combine the chocolate with the whipped cream.

Divide evenly into 6 glasses and let set in the fridge for about an hour.

After 55 mins melt the white chocolate and set aside to cool.

Using a hand whisk whip the egg mixture again quickly to make sure it is still light and fluffy and well combined. Add the white chocolate to the egg mix then gently fold through the remaining cream. Pour into the glasses over the milk chocolate mixture and leave to set in the fridge for a further 1-1/2 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate buttons or grated chocolate.

Peppercorn and Mushroom Sauce recipe and Top Deck Mousse recipe both adapted from awesome Australian recipe site 

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