There are few things that intimidate me in the kitchen – or at least few food-related things. Sudden displays of affection from any member of my family apart from Boy Three can cause feelings of anxiety.
I don’t have any problem with white sauce, can manage mayonnaise and I’m reasonably confident with all manner of soups. Where I have a problem is with steak.
Good steak is wonderful and I’d love to eat more of it, but, oddly, I feel deficient in the technique department. Maybe it’s because there’s so much puff about the cut of your meat, its provenance and even the tone of moo.
I watched one celebrity chef giving a demonstration and offering his top tip about assessing the level of doneness. If you prod the meat and it feels like your nose, cheek, chin or some other body part, then it will correspondingly be well done, rare, medium or, seriously, this the least of your problems.
The images have conflated in my mind and whenever I attempt to cook a sneaky sirloin the image of this chef proding the meat becomes lodged.
However, help is at hand – unless you have a thing for certain chefs performing unorthodox acts on expensive slices of beef, in which case, as you were.
Jamie Oliver (rest assured he is not the chef of my imaginings) has opened another restaurant called Barbecoa and his chef Steve Pooley has put together the definitive guide to cooking steak. Lo, there is no inappropriate prodding although there is an option to slap with herbs and a requirement to massage to engage the fibres, whatever that is. He also recommends reading some reviews on www.jaysbeef.com to find the best appliance for cooking steak.