Bottle 11 of 12- Jacktone Ranch petite syrah, 2008

The intense fruity flavours of this Californian red from our Tesco case complimented the peppered steaks we had for dinner last night perfectly (see recipe below).

While not groundbreaking in terms of density of flavours, this deep purple wine, with spicy blackcurrant aromas and a tart, syrupy finish, is great for drinking on its own or with rich meaty dishes.

Peppered steaks in a mushroom and peppercorn sauce with asparagus and roasted tomatoes

Ingredients (serves 2)

2 sirloin steaks, about 2cm thick (ours were from Lidl and were deliciously tender)
Sea salt
2tbsp crushed black peppercorns
3 large tomatoes
Small pack asparagus
Olive oil
1 pack baby button mushrooms
Small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic
2tbsp dry sherry or brandy
200g crème fraiche (or single cream)
1tsp Dijon mustard (I used wholegrain as we didn’t have any Dijon)
2tbsp whole green peppercorns, rinsed and drained (these are optional and since I couldn’t find them in Tesco, they weren’t included in our dinner)

1. Preheat the oven to 190˚c (170˚c for a fan oven)
2. Halve the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and olive oil and place on a baking tray in the oven
3. Prepare the asparagus by trimming off the coarse wooden ends
4. Put a large saucepan of water and salt on to boil
5. Lightly tenderise the steaks with a mallet and season with sea salt
6. Crush the peppercorns onto a plate
7. Brush the steaks with olive oil and press each side onto the peppered plate
8. Heat a tbsp oil in a frying pan until smoking hot
9. Fry the steaks for 2-3 minutes each side for medium, or to taste
10. Remove to a warmed plate and cover loosely with foil
11. Meanwhile prepare the peppercorn sauce by frying the mushrooms in a knob of butter in a separate pan
12. In the steak pan fry the onions and garlic until softened in the steak juices
13. Add the sherry/ brandy and scrape up the juices on the bottom of the pan
14. Add the crème fraiche/ cream, mustard and green peppercorns (if not using, add some more ground black pepper)
15. Mix the mushrooms and their juices into the sauce and allow to simmer for a few minutes
16. Meanwhile place the asparagus stems into the saucepan of boiling water for a couple of minutes and drain
17. Plate up the tomatoes, asparagus and steak and pour over the mushroom and peppercorn sauce

If you have any room left, serve up some fresh strawberries, maple and pecan crisp cereal, greek yogurt and a dollop of honey for pud! Delicious!

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