Tommy chose steak as the dish he eats the most often. He chuckled as he realised this, and thought it sounded very luxurious but went on to describe how there is nothing he likes more than to finish a busy working week by cooking steak and having a nice glass of red wine on a Friday night. And I'm sure Tommy is not alone! Steak is a quick and easy way to make a delicious dish in relatively little time but is the kind of thing where it still feel like you've made an effort.

I love quick cooking dishes that are packed full of flavour, taste delicious but are relatively simple to throw together and I think steak is a perfect example of that. One of my favourite steak recipes is an vintage Nigella where she serves the steak with a 'bean mash'. That doesn't sound overly appealing but it so is. The premise is this: Simply heat a little oil in a sauce pan and add a crushed garlic clove. Add a can of drained cannellini beans. Season well, and after a minute or so the beans are soft enough for you to gently smoosh with a wooden spoon. Yum. All the comfort of creamy mashed potatoes only much quicker to make and with less butter. Less butter is not always a good thing but it can help if you are feeling like you have over indulged recently.

I like the idea of Tommy's final desert island dish. The idea of surf and turf, of having steak and lobster together. Of course I am familiar with the idea but actually I haven't ever had it myself. I can definitely see why it would work so well together and it sounds like an appropriately extravagant final meal..I must have told Tommy I would be picking up the bill. Sigh.

I toyed with the idea of creating a beef wellington for you in today's column but I thought this might actually be more of a useful steak dish to share with you. Don't get me wrong I do love beef wellington, but it can be intimidating. Plus it really is best with fillet, which is pricey which adds to the stress of the occasion. The pastry makes it hard to tell if the beef is cooked and it's all a little trial and error which is scary when you are handling a fillet. I remember the first time I cooked fillet of beef for a large party, back when I was just starting out. The hostess had bought the beef from her butcher and proudly told me it cost £250 as there were about 30 people eating that day and I felt sick to my stomach knowing how much it had cost. My heart sunk even lower when I was ushered into the kitchen only to find an Aga. Cooking fillet in an oven is one thing but in an Aga when you've had np practice, was rather scary. But it all turned out okay in the end, as things tend to do. 

One of my dad's favourite restaurants when I was younger always did the best steak, served with a simple jacket potato, horseradish and a few watercress leaves scattered on the top. It goes to show that you don't need a list of ingredients as long as your arm to create something really effective. And that's what I have tried to do here with this steak dish. Of course this works beautifully with some crispy chips on the side, or a baked potato. But I have to admit I do like it sort of as a hearty salad. It's light but definitely satisfying and so quick to knock together, which of course I love.

The secret to great steak, in my opinion is all in the hot pan. Get the pan nice and hot, and don't over cook your meat. Simple!


Serves 2

250g green beans 

300g flank skirt steak, or any steak you like 

handful of shelled pistachios

Olive oil

1/2 tbsp horseradish sauce

squeeze of lemon

1 clove garlic 

handful of watercress

salt and pepper


Season the steak well and rub with olive oil. Get your pan really nice and hot and once it's smoking, add the steak. It should make a very satisfying sizzle. Cook for about 4-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the steak - and turn the steak over every minute. Remove from the heat and leave to rest.

Cook the green beans in salted boiling water for a few minutes until soft to the bite but not too soft. Overcooking green beans is easy to do and makes them rather unappetising. Drain the beans. Mix together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, one clove crushed garlic and some salt and pepper. Drizzle this over the drained beans.

Loosen the horseradish with a little lemon juice, and a splash of water. Season with salt and pepper.

Scatter the beans on the plate, and top with the sliced steak. Add a scattering of chopped pistachios and a drizzle of horseradish and finish with a scattering of watercress leaves.