December is a wonderful time of the year. Work doesn’t quite grind to a halt but lets up gently for a while and allows one to take a deep breath before the next big thing. 2017 has been an eventful year for me – lots of interesting new experiences like trying to balance work and ministry, and to also balance time for myself and significant ones. I don’t think I’ve been super-successful at the balancing act but I’m always grateful for my very understanding family who know how to give me lots of space when I’m overwhelmed and frazzled and yet will gather me close again when I’m more rational.
It’s also been a year of watching kid#1 and kid#2 growing up – kid#1 certainly matured lots in the army. And while he thrives in the limelight in his dance performances, yet in other ways he is really understated and surprised us recently at the graduation ceremony of his army course when he was announced as the best trainee. He didn’t even tell us about it though he had to prepare his speech beforehand. Kid#2 also ended her secondary school education this year, but with lots of great memories with her “chickpea gang” (all her friends are short, hence the moniker “chickpea”!). Of course in this holidays, she elected to have blue-streaked hair which her principal unfortunately discovered when she went for an event at the Istana…ah well, I guess I should be grateful that she couldn’t be booked for her flamboyant hair colour since she had already left the school!
This is also the year we decisively sold our place, moved house, and for me, it was a huge change coping with giving up my ideal kitchen setting – a wet and dry kitchen, 2 ovens and 2 stoves…the current kitchen is rather small and hot and D and I are always bumping into each other when we do a cookout. The one silver lining I have is a huge 2 door fridge-freezer, which means that my Christmas ham and turkey are already sitting snugly in the freezer compartment, all ready for the next big cookout.
So it’s been a year of lots of changes and also watching the kids grow up and navigate major life milestones. So it was nice to have a bunch of my close friends over on Saturday. Some of us had known each other for 30 years, probably at about the same age as my daughter’s chickpea gang. There was lots of laughter as we flattered ourselves that we didn’t look our age, and plenty of gossip flying about what the rest of our classmates had got up to.
So the feature at lunch was a long platter of wafu miso steak on a bed of cauliflower purée. I love Japanese style steaks and how the magic wafu marinade transforms meat. A simple hot sear and the meat is the tastiest thing ever. And I was amused that my friends couldn’t get enough of the cauliflower purée. I do think it tastes better than potato mash any day and the lower carb count is a huge plus.
At the end of the day I am grateful. For friends to cook for, for memories we are still making, and for my little kitchen that I can still make good food in.
Wafu Miso Steak and Cauliflower Puree
- 4 sirloin steaks, about 1 cm thick
- 300 g white miso paste
- 4 tbsp sake
- 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 4 tbsp sugar substitute (I used Swerve)
- Several sprigs of spring onions, green parts finely chopped
- Several bunches of tomatoes on the vine
- 1 large head of cauliflower
- 3 tbsp whipping cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- Mix the miso paste, sake, sugar and grated ginger together. Marinate the steaks with the miso marinade in a ziplock bag overnight in the fridge.
- Prepare a steamer. Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a steam-proof bowl. Steam for 20 minutes under high heat. When done, remove the bowl and drain the cauliflower of any liquid.
- Place the steamed cauliflower into a large mixing bowl and add the butter, cheese, cream, salt and pepper and blend with a hand blender. Alternatively transfer into a blender and blend in batches. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Place a cast iron pan over high heat. It must be screamingly hot. Melt a knob of butter in the pan (or use a high heat resistant oil). Sear the steaks 2 minutes each side. Remove from pan and slice into 2 cm width slices.
- In the same pan, place the tomatoes on the vine and sear briefly, for about 1 minute.
- In a large plate or board, spread the cauliflower purée and lay the steak pieces diagonally just against the cauliflower. Sprinkle a generous helping of chopped spring onions at the junction of the steak and cauliflower, then lay the tomatoes on the top. Serve immediately.