I guess it’s clear that for me food is more than just cooking something delicious and eating it. Recipes, dinner parties and culinary discoveries: everything has a moment, story or memory to it.
And a person: eating a whole fish for the first time with a dear friend in Ibiza; my first oyster with the in-laws; or that one dinner at home, where my brother brought over a 30-year-old Pedro Ximenez sherry: pretty memorable!
Of course I could write down all these stories and share them with you but wouldn’t it be much better if the important people in my life did that? In “memoirs & meetings” they share their best, craziest or most delicious food memories, they talk about their culinary upbringing and they obviously share a favourite recipe. Wonderful stories and a personal glimpse into the life of Miss Gingerish, with my love Koen, or Mr G., going first.
Mr G. and I know each other for over 13 years. We share the love for shoes, Amsterdam and city trips. And we are pretty good in enjoying cooking and eating together. In terms of food we are raised in a totally different way so a whole new world opened to me at my in-laws kitchen table: rabbit with fries; mussels; homemade potato croquettes and the most delicious chocolate mousse, just to name a few. Mr G. and I also cook very different, or maybe I should just admit that Mr G. has a lot more sense for cooking and flavours than I have ;-).
Memoirs & meetings # 1: Mr G.
How have you seen raised culinary?
I am raised with normal, just good food. Meat was bought in Belgium though: the quality over there (even in the supermarket) is so much better than in the Netherlands! We lived in the countryside so fruits and vegetables were bought from local farmers. On Sundays we had breakfast as a family and we regularly went out to eat; as a child I’ve been to some of the best restaurants. My mother always cooked; actually I think she did not even want us to interfere ;-).
What does food mean to you?
Above all food must be tasty! That goes above feeding for me.
What is your best, funniest, craziest food memory with me
When we just met we were eating out almost every week at one of the many eateries of Tilburg. During those nights we often got all kinds of good ideas while chatting, which we wrote on the back of free Boomerang postcards.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Pure, simple and delicious; a good quality piece of meat from the oven for example. I really do not cook according to a recipe and like classic dishes with a twist.
If you had to choose one recipe to share, what would it be?
Actually my mother’s rabbit with fries but I haven’t made that myself yet. So I choose another Belgian classic: steak with fries and homemade mayonnaise.
The most important thing is the quality of the meat, so find a good butcher! I prefer dry aged meat; it has matured for several weeks and is much tastier. To get the meat perfect it’s very important to not cook it at a high temperature: dry aged meat has lost some of its moisture so it will get tough quickly. A quick sear for a nice crispy outside is fine, but then cook it very gently until rare to medium rare.
And then the fries, what is a Belgian without fries? The ideal Belgian fries are 13 mm thick and are baked at least twice. You can use a frying pan but a normal pan with (sunflower) oil also works fine.
Don’t be scared to make your own mayonnaise; it’s really not that hard! You can keep fresh mayonnaise only a few days, so don’t make too much at once.
Steak and fries with homemade mayonnaise
- 200-300 gr good quality dry aged beef
- olive oil for frying
- unsalted butter
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 kilo potatoes
For the mayonnaise:
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 dl neutral oil, for example peanut oil
- a splash of lemon juice
- Take the meat out of the refrigerator in time; it should be at room temperature
- Start with the mayonnaise: split the eggs and beat the yolks with the vinegar and mustard (using a hand mixer and high cup)
- Slowly add the oil in a thin stream until everything is combined well
- Season to taste with pepper and lemon juice, cover and place in the fridge until use
- Peel the potatoes and cut them by hand into equal fries. Don’t wash the fries, because then you rinse off the starch
- Heat frying oil at 140 degrees
- Bake the fries a first time, but don’t give them any colour yet
- Take the fries from the oil, spread on paper towel and let them drain and cool
- In the meantime, melt oil and a knob of butter in a good frying pan, make sure the pan is really hot
- Pat the meat dry on both sides and season with pepper
- Sear the steak briefly on all sides over high heat
- Turn the fire very low (or even put the pan on a smaller jet) and fry the meat slowly until rare to medium rare. The meat will cook further while resting so certainly bake it not too far!
- Baste the steak occasionally: use a spoon to pick up butter and pour it over the meat
- Meanwhile, heat the frying oil to 180 degrees
- Take the steak from the pan and let rest it for at least 5 minutes: put on a (hot) plate, cover loosely with aluminium foil
- Bake the cooled fries to golden brown and crispy, let them drain on a paper towel again
- Sprinkle the fries with a little salt to taste
- Serve the steak with baked fries and homemade mayonnaise (and no, this dish doesn’t necessarily need a salad or vegetables according to Mr G., -))
A good glass of wine to go with it and both Miss and Mr G. have nothing to complain about ;-).