To celebrate Fathers’ Day, I decided to cook a special meal at home. I can’t 100% confirm that the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach, but my husband is certainly keen on my cooking! By eating at home, even if I splashed out on fancier ingredients than normal, it would still save money compared to eating out.
Luckily, our annual dividend vouchers as members of East of England Co-op showed up this week, in perfect time for Fathers’ Day on Sunday 17 June. The Co-op also kindly sent me some vouchers to try food during Sourced Locally fortnight, which runs until 15 June, with promotions and money-off vouchers on food from local producers.
As mentioned in my post about stretching Sourced Locally shopping, I’m keen to support local businesses and cut the miles food travels to my plate. That post talked about stretching my shopping across multiple budget meals. Now it was time to blow the budget for Fathers’ Day!
Planning a menu
I had a think about the kind of food my husband really likes to eat, and the food that’s in season right now.
Mushrooms, mustard and a big hunk of meat are all particular favourites, so I decided to make steak in a creamy mustard sauce using Capel Mushrooms, with chips made from our sack of Fairfields Farm potatoes.
I added asparagus as a treat, fresh from nearby fields.
Lodge Farm strawberries, 400g, £2.29
Alder Tree strawberries and cream ice cream, 500ml, £4.99
2 x Crouch Valley by Dan Hull sirloin steaks, approx 225g each, £11.03
Fairfields Farm potatoes, part of my 7.5kg sack, £1.99
Capel Mushrooms chestnut mushrooms, 250g, £1.35
J R & K Poll asparagus, £2.19 (great that it didn’t have plastic packaging, just an elastic band with a paper label)
Check out the East of England Members magazine though, and you can get £2 off a £20 spend, and vouchers for 50p off greengrocery and 50p off Sourced Local products.
I also spent £1 on reduced-fat creme fraiche, and added a garlic clove, a bit of vegetable oil and some grain mustard from my supplies, plus a handful of flat leaf parsley from the garden.
Cooking a Fathers’ Day Meal
As I’ll be away on Sunday, we celebrated Fathers’ Day early, so here’s what I cooked.
Looking at the steak, sauce, chips and asparagus, I could see the chips would take the longest time to cook. I peeled the potatoes, cut them in half, then put them in a saucepan covered with water, brought it up to the boil and simmered them for 10 minutes.
For normal meals I just chop potatoes into wedges and bung them in a hot oven, so you can tell I was pushing the boat out when I parboiled the potatoes!
While the potatoes were cooking, I switched the oven on to 200 degrees /180 degrees fan, sliced the mushrooms and peeled and chopped a clove of garlic into tiny pieces. I also trimmed a bit of fat off the steaks, chopped the parsley, removed the leaves and stalks from the strawberries and prepped the asparagus by taking each stalk in both hands and bending slightly till it snapped. This separates any woody bit from the rest of the stalk.
When the potatoes had boiled for 10 minutes, I drained them and gave them a quick rinse in cold water. I sliced them into chip size, tossed them in a bit of vegetable oil, laid them out on a baking tray, and put them in the oven for 30-40 minutes till they looked brown and crispy.
About 20 minutes before I thought the chips would be ready, I heated up a frying pan with some olive oil until it was hot hot hot, then bunged the steaks in for 2 to 3 minutes each side. I then set them aside on a plate covered in foil to rest, and put a pan of water on to boil for the asparagus.
I used the same frying pan to fry the sliced mushrooms for about 8 minutes, added the garlic for another minute, and then dolloped in 4 generous tablespoons of creme fraiche, a tablespoon of grain mustard and the chopped parsley. I gave it a quick stir and took it off the heat. If the sauce is too thick, bung in a bit of water to thin it down.
Asaparagus only needs to cook for about 4 minutes, so I put it in the pan of boiling water part way through the sauce. Then it was just a matter of draining the aparagus, retrieving the chips from the oven and putting everything on plates.
The steak tasted amazing, so tender, and worked really well with the mushroom and mustard sauce. The chips actually turned out crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, to my surprise. Maybe there’s something in this parboiling lark after all. The asparagus was delicious with just a bit of butter.
Luckily my husband liked his Fathers’ Day food. We’re so used to eating food from all round the world – but this meal hadn’t travelled further than Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk!
Simple pudding for Fathers’ Day
After all the excitement of cooking the main meal, I opted for the simplest possible pudding – strawberries and ice cream. I already knew we liked Lodge Farm strawberries, because they actually taste like strawberries, unlike some disappointing packs from chiller cabinets.
For the ice cream, I went for strawberries and cream flavour from Suffolk company Alder Tree. It was a revelation, creamy and delicious. The children were keen to join us for pudding and we scoffed the lot.
Fathers’ Day present
While I was in the Co-op, I was able to pick up a present for my husband too. He’s a big fan of Adnams Ghost Ship pale ale, and during Sourced Locally fortnight, you get a free 150g pack of Fairfields Farm Ghost Ship flavoured crisps if you buy a couple of four packs of Ghost Ship itself. Sorted.
Just a reminder that if you haven’t entered already, I’m running a giveaway at the end of this post so you can win gin.
And not just any gin – a gift pack containing a bottle of Adnams Copper House Dry Gin, voted ‘World’s Best Gin’ at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2013, and a pair of Copper House Distillery glasses.
Click here and scroll to the end to enter!
Now over to you – any plans for Fathers’ Day? Do you like eating out or cooking at home for celebration meals?
This is a collaborative post. Please drink responsibly, whether you like beer, gin or anything else!