Garlic, Lime & Chilli Marinated Steak

Lime & Chilli Steak

Another recipe I’ve had hanging around for a couple of years and only just got around to trying. This is one of Wine Spectator’s Dining Tips: weekly recipes that are featured along with a wine.

Somewhat unimaginatively this dish is paired with Malbec (well, I guess the Argentinians do eat a lot of steak …) but I suggest you be careful what you choose – especially if you’re a fan of heavy handed chilli.

The marinade is a little bit of work but well worth it.

For the two of us, I took about ¼ cup of good quality extra virgin olive oil. Put it over a very low heat. Take some garlic (to taste – I used a couple of generously side cloves and a smattering of smaller ones – use more than you think!) and just crush it with the back of a knife. No need to chop or mince. Put the garlic in the oil and allow it to heat through very gently. Don’t allow the oil to heat up too much – you certainly don’t want any sizzle or any burnt garlic.

Cook over a very low heat for at least 5 minutes. Add chilli flakes (again, to taste) and cook for a further minute before removing from the heat. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then add the juice of two limes. Return to the heat, bring to a simmer and then remove from the heat.

You are now finished with the whole on/off the heat business!

When the lime and oil mix has cooled, stir in a scant tsp of ground cumin and 2 tsp of ground coriander.

Your marinade is now done! There’s no reason why this won’t keep (in the fridge) for a day or two.

Marinate your meat for at least half an hour before cooking. When you come to cook the meat (griddle pan, frying pan, BBQ – whatever suits you), make sure you leave the crushed garlic cloves in the bowl – if you try cooking them they’ll only burn and things will taste bitter. However, you can (and, indeed, should) use the leftover oil to baste the meat in the pan.

Serve with accompaniments of your choice. This tasted absolutely fantastic – a lovely balance of chilli heat and sourness from the limes. Definitely a marinade we’ll be revisiting often when BBQ weather comes around again.

Lime and Chilli Steak Fajitas


Randomly picked from an old cooking magazine this turned out to be the perfect mid week supper.  At the same time, it’s so tasty I think we’ll definitely be dragging it out for summer BBQs.

This time it’s Australian Gourmet Traveller, December 2009 and the “Gourmet Fast” section provides our dinner.  I skipped over the fried quails and headed to the lime and chilli steak fajitas.  This meal is just ridiculously easy.  It’s in three components, so you can mix and match and it’s structured perfectly so you can do it all with a minimum of fuss.

There’s also not a big list of hard to procure ingredients – everything you need you probably have in the fridge or can buy easily from your local shops.

The first part is the steak.  The recipe used skirt, I used rump.  Take your steak and squeeze over the juice of a couple of limes (I actually had half a lemon hanging around so I used that and one lime).  Ensure you cover both sides and then leave to marinate while you put together the two salads.  Turn the steak at least once while it’s marinating.

The salads are really two basic salsas:  avocado and tomato.

For the avocado, peel and coarsely chop one avocado.  Mix it with some lime juice, some finely chopped red chilli and some extra virgin olive oil.

For the tomato, coarsely chop a tomato and mix it with some chopped coriander, some lime juice and some extra virgin olive oil.  Andy decided we definitely needed onion in our tomato salsa so I added about a quarter of a finely chopped onion.

Heat a griddle pan (or the BBQ) and cook the steak according to personal preference.  When the steak is cooked allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so (pop it on a plate and cover it in tin foil) and then slice finely.

You’re all done!  Assemble the fajitas by grabbing some tortillas and adding what you will.  We included some jalapeños. Some finely sliced iceberg lettuce or a dab of sour cream would also work well.

My tip for this recipe: don’t be tempted to substitute lemon for ALL the lime juice. For the salads in particular you definitely need lime juice and you should ensure that you have at least some lime juice in the marinade.

Steak and Ale Pie


One of the things I miss about England is the monthly magazine that almost every supermarket produces. Mostly, these magazines are free (although the ones you pay for are usually well worth it – quite a few Waitrose Food Illustrateds and Sainsbury magazines are still in my collection): they consist of a lot of advertising in various guises but almost always have a good selection of recipes.

This recipe for steak and ale pie is based on one that originally appeared in such a magazine, produced by the now defunct supermarket, Safeway. It’s really easy (so don’t be frightened if you’ve never made a pie before!) but very tasty – make extra and any that doesn’t fit in pie dishes works just as well with some mash as a stew.

The only thing you can’t do here is rush. You want to simmer the mixture for at least an hour and a half so you may prefer to make the filling one day and construct the pie the next …

This take on things produces enough filling to make two (generous) one person pies as well as a more normal sized two person pie.

Start with 750g of diced beef (I used blade), toss it in seasoned flour and brown, in batches, in olive oil over a moderate to high heat. Set the beef to one side, reduce the heat and then add two onions cut into wedges, two peeled, sliced carrots and some whole, but peeled, garlic cloves. I say ‘some’ because you know how much garlic you do or don’t like. Because it’s braised along with the beef it’s not a super strong flavour.

Allow this mix to soften for a few minutes, before adding 375mL of real ale (I used Black Sheep, bought at vast expense from a local bottle shop – but you do need to use a good quality beer with plenty of flavour), 200mL water and 2 tbsp of tomato paste. Bring this to the boil, then add some thyme and bayleaves before covering and simmering for at least 1 &func12; hours. After this time, when the meat is tender, you may wish to increase the heat and remove the lid to thicken up the sauce.

And that, with just a handful of ingredients and hardly any effort, is your pie filling.

Allow the filling to cool and, if necessary, reserve some of the gravy. If you like lots of pastry (and yes, we do!), grease your pie dish(es) and line with shortcrust pastry. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg, add the filling and top with puff pastry, sealing the edges well. Finish by ensuring there’s an air vent (if you have a pie funnel, even better) and glaze with beaten egg.

Bake at 200°C (non-fan) for a good 45 mins (longer if you’ve made one massive pie), until the pie is golden and you can’t wait any longer.

You may wish to serve with vegetables or salad on the side or you may wish to just scoff the rich, warm, pastry goodness!