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A little breathing space

This is a picture of my lovely daughter busy juggling the challenging roles of ‘Mummypreneur’ and just wonderful Mummy. As time goes on, I’m sure she will become an expert (as I did) in ‘meals ready in 20 minutes’ as she finishes a day’s work and then comes home to hungry children and general end of day chaos.  

When it came to whipping up quick meals, I found a chicken fillet or steak quickly pan fried, and served with a salad was often my go to solution (no Byron Pantry in those days ☹). Pan frying is great – steak, chicken, or fish. Simple to do, very little preparation, and oh so quick. Uhmmmm, sometimes a little bit too quick? When it comes to juggling a million end of day things, it’s so easy for that steak to get a bit burnt while you are distracted. So here’s a great tip, from the head chef at the Melbourne Casino, which will not only save your steak, but also give you back some breathing space and sanity.

The ballroom at the Melbourne Casino can seat up to 2,000 people for dinner. Have you ever wondered how they manage to serve all those people once? You probably don’t have to feed 2,000 but you can still use the same wisdom from the head chef, to make you look like a superstar with everything under control. This technique can be used for steak, chicken, salmon and tuna – just about anything you can pan fry.

The first thing to do is warm your oven to a low heat (100 to 140 degrees depending on how much time you want). Then heat your fry pan on the stove with the oil of your choice. Put the meat/chicken/fish in the pan and sear on each side for a couple of minutes. You want to lock in the juices and crisp the outside a little. It doesn’t need to cook through.

Transfer the meat to a baking dish, place it in the oven and walk away. You are now free to make the salad, help find that shoe/teddy/book, or just give yourself a break for a while. Dinner will keep slowly cooking and you can adjust the oven temperature and time to suit yourself. For example, a medium rare steak might take 15 minutes at 140 degrees. The chicken will need about 25 – 30 minutes at the same temperature to cook through. (Make sure you check the chicken is cooked properly, by checking all the pink is gone on the inside).

The real beauty of this method is that not only does it give you space and time, the steak/chicken/fish will be beautifully moist and tender – just as a chef would prepare. Because the cooking method is slow, it’s easy to pace yourself and the meal doesn’t need your constant attention. This is also a great method to use when you are entertaining, because it makes it easy to serve beautifully cooked food without any stress - making you look like the superstar that you are!

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