Frederika’s Tartare de Boeuf au Couteau | Hand-Cut Steak Tartare

Tartare de boeuf au couteau. Image showing finely hand-chopped fillet steak with an egg yolk in the centre and small bowls containing the seasonings on the side - one with finely chopped gherkins, one with finely chopped capers and the third with finely chopped onions.

This dish is one of our favourites whenever we’re in France or Luxembourg and it’s far easier to re-create at home than you might think. The words ‘au couteau’ refer to the steak being hand-cut with a knife.

The most important element is the quality of the meat. You need good quality, fresh, tender and lean fillet steak for that melt-in-the-mouth taste. This actually makes it a good low-fat meal, too, especially if you accompany it with a side salad (though we do love to go traditional and have ‘frites’ – chips / fries – on the side). It is also a very filling meal due to the high protein content.

There is no cooking involved, but you do need to allow yourself an hour or so to patiently hand-slice the meat. Do not be tempted to bypass this step by buying minced meat or putting your meat through an electric mincer.

It is up to you which exact seasoning ingredients you want to add. In Parisian restaurants, they often serve it ready seasoned with egg, gherkins, capers, onions and tomato ketchup and/or Worcester sauce. Frederika can’t stand either of those last two ingredients and, although she will eat it ready seasoned in restaurants if they won’t serve it any other way, she usually asks for them to bring the ingredients and let her season the meat herself.

The recipe we share here is how Frederika seasons hers – feel free to experiment with the additional seasonings and decide what you prefer for yourself.

Important note about the capers:

We always use capers preserved in salt, not vinegar. These are quite tricky to get in the UK, but it’s worth persevering to find the right ones, as capers preserved in vinegar have a very different taste. Though if you do prefer a more acidic balance to the dish, feel free to experiment and use ones in vinegar.

We tend to find the capers preserved in salt either on Amazon (sometimes) or on Italian grocery websites such as Nifeislife.

Tartare de boeuf au couteau. Image showing finely hand-chopped fillet steak with an egg yolk in the centre and small bowls containing the seasonings on the side - one with finely chopped gherkins, one with finely chopped capers and the third with finely chopped onions.
Tartare de Boeuf au Couteau | Hand-Cut Steak Tartare

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 3-4 good quality lean fillet steaks (it depends how much meat you want to eat!)
  • 4-6 cocktain gherkin
  • a handful of capers (see important note about capers, above)
  • one small onion
  • 4 egg yolks
  • sea salt flakes (or fine, whichever you prefer) – to taste
  • freshly-ground black pepper – to taste

Method

Cutting the meat – the most important step:

Using a good quality sharp knife (this is the one we like to use), finely chop the steaks. Allow a good hour to do this.

Cut thin strips of steak, about 2mm thick, then lay each strip down and cut it into thin strips lengthways, about 2mm each again.

Once you have a good few ‘matchstick’ style fine strips of beef, bunch them together and cut them horizontally so you get tiny ‘minced’ pieces of beef, about 2mm squared.

Preparing the other ingredients:

Finely chop – separately – the capers, gherkins and onion, and place them into small serving dishes/bowls.

Separate the eggs and keep each yolk separate.

To serve:

Separate the finely-cut meat into four equal portions and place them onto plates as small mounds with a crater at the centre of each.

Place one egg yolk at the centre of each mound.

Serve everything else at the table, so each person can add as many of the seasonings as they wish to their own dish (alternatively, each plate could have small mounds of onion, gherkins and capers next to the mound of meat). All ingredients then need to be mixed well into the meat, which is best eaten straight away.

Tartare de boeuf au couteau – hand-cut steak tartare | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta

Pancetta pistachio cream pasta

This delicious pasta dish was inspired by one of many mouth-watering meals we had in Sicily on a family holiday in 2016. Pistachios were found on just about everything (even spaghetti alle vongole!). This particular dish was really memorable – because it was simply heavenly, but also because of the location we ate it in…

We were at Bellavista Ristorante, a seafront restaurant on the North-Eastern tip of Sicily, in Torre Faro, near Messina – the very tip of the island, in the Strait of Messina, from where you can see across to Calabria.

In the photos below, you can see Hannah on the beach in Torre Faro, with Calabria a short distance away across the Strait, followed by the original creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta dish we ate in the restaurant.

So, nearly four years later, while having fun experimenting in the kitchen and creating recipes under the ‘Cooking with my daughter’ part of this blog (see also our Instagram account for photos, reels and live videos!), we decided to finally re-create this amazing yet incredibly simple dish.

In our recipe, we used home-made orecchiette (mixing up our regions, as orecchiette are from Puglia, but that’s ok – they work well with this sauce) – watch this space for the orecchiette recipe. They are remarkably simple to make. Meanwhile, take a look at our quick preview reel on Instagram.

Creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta sauce – Ingredients

(for 4 generous portions)

  • 200g diced pancetta (unsmoked)
  • 500ml single cream
  • 150g ground pistachios (we use the nut chopping/grinding attachment on the Nutribullet, which does this in seconds)
  • fine sea salt – to taste

Pasta – which one, and quantities…

Use a short pasta of your choice. We used home-made orecchiette (recipe coming soon!), but lots of different types of short pasta will work. For 4 generous portions, as a single-course meal, you will need around 500g of dry pasta.

If you are being more traditional and having this dish as a ‘primo piatto’ to be followed by a meat or fish dish, you’ll want to roughly halve the portions for the pasta and the sauce.

Method

Place a large pan of water over a high heat and add a generous amount of coarse sea salt (about a handful) and a few drops of vegetable oil.

While the pasta water comes to the boil, prepare the creamy pistachio and pancetta sauce:

In a large sauté pan, fry off the pancetta over a medium heat until it has browned and crisped off.

Drain off most of the fat, then reduce the heat to low and add the cream to the pan. Stir from time to time and, once the cream is simmering, stir in most of the pistachios (save about 25g for sprinkling later). Check for taste and add a little bit of fine sea salt if needed.

Once the water is boiling, cook the pasta to your liking (is there any other way than ‘al dente’?!). Once cooked, drain and add to the sauce in the sauté pan. Stir through with the low heat still on, then take off the heat and serve.

Sprinkle the remaining ground pistachios over each portion.

Pancetta pistachio cream pasta

Creamy pistachio and pancetta pasta | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!

Frederika’s Biscoff and Mini Eggs Mini Cheesecakes

Finished Mini Cheesecakes Birdseye with Logo

This no-bake cheesecake recipe is one that Frederika came up with to make an Easter dessert and it was a bit of an experiment – thankfully it worked and was delicious!

Brilliant for Easter, but Mini Eggs, of course, aren’t just for Easter and you can make this any time!

The recipe makes roughly 4 portions, but it depends on the size of the glasses that you use, and also whether you would prefer a different portion size.

For the cheesecake mix, the cream cheese needs to be full fat otherwise it won’t set. We used most of the cheesecake mix on top of the biscuit base with just a little bit on top of the Biscoff sauce, but you could split it more evenly if you prefer it that way.

We smashed the Biscoff biscuits in a food storage bag with a rolling pin, to leave them a little uneven with some larger chunks for extra crunch, but if you prefer a smoother biscuit crumb, you can blitz them in a food processor instead.

A word of warning: we couldn’t find the Biscoff sauce in supermarkets, so bought ours from Amazon.

A second word of warning: the Biscoff sauce is seriously addictive!!!

Finally, feel free to swap out the Mini Eggs for other chocolate, the Biscoff biscuits for any other biscuits, and the Biscoff sauce for another drizzle. For example, you could use Galaxy eggs, Digestives and caramel sauce.

Ingredients (4 Mini Cheesecakes)

Ingredients for Mini Cheesecakes with Logo
  • 340g full fat cream cheese
  • 75g icing sugar
  • 200ml double cream
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g Lotus Biscoff biscuits
  • 100g Mini Eggs
  • Biscoff sauce (to taste)

Method

  1. Add the vanilla, icing sugar and cream cheese to a bowl and whisk together until smooth
  2. Whip the double cream until it is stiff
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla mix
  4. Smash the biscuits and most of the Mini Eggs, leaving a few Mini Eggs intact (however many you want) to use as decoration on top
    • We used 80g of Mini Eggs for the base, leaving 20g (12 Eggs) as decoration
  5. Sprinkle most of the biscuit crumbs into the bottom of each glass
    • Set some of the biscuit crumbs aside to sprinkle on top
  6. Sprinkle the smashed Mini Eggs on top of the biscuit crumb base
  7. Spoon a little bit of the cheesecake mix over the biscuits and Mini Eggs and smooth it out to make a flat surface
  8. Cover in Biscoff sauce to taste
  9. Dollop a second and final layer of cheescake mix over the sauce
  10. Sprinkle the remaining biscuit crumbs over the cheesecake mix
  11. Top with the whole Mini Eggs that you set aside at the beginning to decorate the mini cheesecakes
  12. Leave to set for 1 hour (or longer – if you can resist!!!…but bear in mind that the biscuit crumbs will go soggy if you leave it too long) in the fridge before enjoying!
Finished Shot of all 4 Mini Cheesecakes with Logo
Frederika’s Biscoff and Mini Egg mini cheesecakes – not just for Easter!

Note: These will keep in the fridge for a day or so, if they aren’t eaten straightaway!

Finished Shot of 1 Mini Cheesecake with Logo

Frederika’s Biscoff and Mini Eggs Mini Cheesecakes | Gloriously Simple, Gloriously Good!