Last week I was invited to attend an event hosted by Knorr to launch their new ‘Best of British’ campaign. Now I don’t usually get that excited about stock cubes, as such, but add in an invitation to Marco Pierre White’s restaurant ‘Marco’ at Chelsea Football Ground and throw in the man himself and the excitement levels are building! Aside from having the most complicated lead-up to attending an event in the world (on my side) when I did finally get there, I had a great time and most importantly, came away with plenty of tips to share.
If truth be told, I was probably a little bit apprehensive before the event. After all, Marco Pierre White has something of a fierce reputation; ejecting diners who make rude requests from his restaurants and putting celebrities through their paces on Hell’s Kitchen. But there is no doubt he is a culinary legend; one of the very first celebrity chefs and certainly one of Britain’s finest. Having been born and bred in Yorkshire, he began his training in Harrogate before moving to London to train under Michel and Albert Roux at Le Gavroche and then under Pierre Koffman and Raymond Blanc before branching off on his own and very quickly rising to the top. By the time he was 33, he had been awarded three Michelin stars; the youngest chef ever to have done so.
So, apart from getting to meet Marco, what did we learn? Well, the focus of the day, was, obviously, Knorr Stock Cubes. Marco was quick to point out that they are a very versatile kitchen ingredient and that he always has them to hand. He uses them in his own cooking, not simply to create stocks, but as seasoning and to help ‘build’ flavours (a very cheffy term). There really is no great secret when it comes to cooking great tasting food, though, as Marco says, a stock cube will help you along, as will some good quality ingredients. Marco is also keen on ‘thinking outside the box’ when it comes to cooking. So, for example, rather than just making up a stock cube with boiling water, Marco mixes them with other liquids – pure apple juice when making Pork with Cider, with prune juice when making Beef in Guinness. (If you are cooking for kids and are worried about the salt levels Knorr has a range of Reduced Salt Stock Cubes available which are worth keeping an eye out for.)
Marco’s tops tips for cooking a good steak –
Use the best meat you can afford and chose a good cut, rib eye or sirloin is good
Use any herbs you fancy in any quantity, rosemary or thyme is good for steak, chop them finely and add them to your stock cube and olive oil paste
Rub your paste into your steak and leave it to marinate for as long as you have (longer if using for a barbeque)
Make sure your pan is really, really hot. Use a griddle pan if you can, heat it dry (with no oil) until it starts smoking. If your griddle pan is not hot your steak will stick
Rub a tiny bit of extra olive oil into your steak before cooking – don’t add any oil to the pan
Sear well on both sides and leave to rest in the pan, rather than on a plate, before serving
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>Yes wasn't it just the best day ever!