So the weekend was nearing and I asked Ryan if he felt like cooking this weekend. He originally wanted to cook a Pumpkin Veloute from Gordon Ramsay's 3 Star Chef book but I protested saying that for a Friday night we really didn't have enough time to execute the dish in it's whole entity, I didn't want to take any shortcuts. I didn't want to be eating dinner at 9pm either like we have done before. I browsed through my cookbook collection and settled on trying to find an idea for dinner out of "The Food of Italy". My initial choice was Picatta Al Limone (Lemon Veal) but Ryan preferred the recipe for Bistecca Alla Pizzaiola (Beef Steak in Tomato Sauce) and we were meant to also cook Polenta with Wild Mushrooms. Ryan hadn't had polenta before and I have had it once or twice before and neither of us had cooked it before. We ended up cooking just a plain polenta and Ryan ended up adding the mushrooms and a touch of marscapone to the sauce instead. Ryan was mainly in charge of dinner because my baby for the night was the pink champagne tiramisu. Once I was done I did help him, I was the sous chef and the dishwasher =D.
Some gorgeous plump Roma tomatos scored and ready to be quickly poached for peeling.
So Ryan peeled the tomatos (I helped poached them and tore the basil) and chopped them up and turned them into sauce.The sauce smelt absolutely fantastic! And I just absolutely adore basil!
Sliced brown swiss mushrooms (I sliced!) which ended up in the sauce rather than over the polenta. It was absolutely beautiful as part of the sauce.
The polenta, I'm not sure what recipe Ryan used in the end (the one at the back of the packet perhaps?) but we ended up with a huge bowl of the stuff! From what I remember I don't think it was meant to be as grainy as ours. I will have to try and do this again myself. I ended up taking some and pressing it into a slice pan and put it in the freezer (to cool and set quicker) and then we cut out some rounds of polenta and pan fried it.
The steaks were browned and then the sauce was poured over and the whole thing just left to simmer for a bit. By now I was absolutely starving and the smells coming from the kitchen were not helping!
Ryan plating up dinner, I just love watching him cook! (I think I have a secret crush on chefs/cooks). There's just something really sexy about the focus and determination that just overcomes him when he's in the kitchen cooking. He loves it, saying that it's actually quite relaxing and fun for him. I think that's why when he's in the kitchen, I just let him take reign and stand back and watch =D and just become the sous chef and dishwasher (he's also a very messy cook!). Also, I'm more of the pastry chef in the relationship, I'm so much better at desserts than he is hehe =).
This was my plate, a more modern presentation. The two fried pieces of polenta on the bottom (with some sauce in between) and then he carved the steaks and placed them around the plate on the polenta with the sauce over the top. I really liked the crispy skin of the polenta contrasting with the soft tomato and mushroom in the sauce. A dish of very simple flavours but good quality flavours. The sweetness of the tomatos, the fresh basil, the garlic, and our addition of the mushrooms. I enjoyed every forkfull!
This was Ryan's plate, a more rustic presentation with the polenta spooned onto the plate and the meat and sauce placed over the top. He also mixed a bit of the liquid into the polenta to add a bit of flavour. I love Ryan! =D