Classic: Steak with Béarnaise sauce

A new day has come and that means a new recipe! Now, I’m pretty sure that many people love MEAT and steak just happens to be one of their favorites (okay, I love steak, I hope you do too…). But a nice tender and juicy steak with Béarnaise sauce? With a side of pan-roasted potatoes and grilled cherry tomatoes? That’s just out of this world. The  Béarnaise is slightly difficult to make, it probably won’t turn out right during your first few trials so if you want to buy the sauce, that’s fine, just remember to take a high-quality one, not “Knorr powder sauce”, that’s just unacceptable. On the other hand, this dish doesn’t have too many ingredients (except the sauce) and it’s fairly quick to make. A dinner for two? Perfect!

Just another quick note. When choosing the meat, choose a piece of beef that’s fairly thick, and the fat should be marbled like this:

A cut like this will definitely be tender because that fat is distributed evenly across the piece of meat. And just another thing, store the sauce carefully if you have some left, and don’t keep it more than 2-3 days because it has eggs…

*Ingredients: (2 portions)

– Béarnaise sauce:

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp chopped tarragon
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 10 peppercorns, crushed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 250 clarified butter, cooled to room temp.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon (not lime)

– The Steak (capital S!!!):

  • 2 fillet mignon/entrecote (high-quality + tender cuts) ~ 300gr
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, just to prevent the meat from burning
  • a little fresh thyme for decoration

– Potatoes and tomatoes:

  • 300 gr new potatoes (these are best for roasting)
  • 50 gr butter
  • Herb Provençal (thyme, rosemary, tarragon, basil,…)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


– Béarnaise sauce:

1. Combine the white wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons snipped tarragon, shallot and peppercorns in a small, heavy-based saucepan and reduce by half over a low heat. Set aside to cool.

2. When the vinegar reduction is cold, add the egg yolks and 3 tablespoons cold water. Set the pan over a low heat and whisk continuously, making sure that the whisk reaches right down into the bottom of the pan.

(As you whisk, gently increase the heat; the sauce should emulsify slowly and gradually, becoming unctuous after 8-10 minutes. Do not let it become hotter than 65°C.)

3. Turn off the heat and whisk the clarified butter into the sauce, a little at a time. Season with salt and pepper to taste and then strain the sauce. Stir in the rest of the tarragon and lemon juice.

– The Steak:

1. Marinate the steak with the spices and leave it for at least 10-15 minutes.

2. Heat up the pan to medium hot, add olive oil and then the beef. Make sure you get a nice brown crust on the meat.

3. Cook the Beef to medium-rare/medium (depending on your taste). Check out this post for more info about temperature of steaks:

4. Set the meat aside so that it could rest (soak up all the nice meaty juice)

– Potatoes:

1. Boil the potatoes for 10-12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, turn the heat on low, add olive oil to the pan and throw in the cherry tomatoes. Let it slowly cook itself.

3. Take the potatoes out, slice into halves lengthwise.

4. In another pan, add olive oil, turn heat on medium and then add the potatoes.

5. Season generously with salt and pepper. Make sure both sides of the potatoes are nice and crispy.

6. Add in the dry herbs, butter and garlic. Roast for another 1-2 minutes.

7. Start plating!!! And yours should be looking like this:


Bon apetit!



Penne with steak and creamy mushroom

Hi guys!

Long time no see really! How is everyone doing? (including my blog, hehe). I’ve been really really lazy but busy as well lately and unfortunately food blogging just isn’t the top priority. But after a good friend of my told me that I should get started with the blog again (Thanks Trang!) and by the way, she has an awesome blog too, hehe. But hey, I’m back again with a new recipe! Wooohoooo!!!

Well actually… It was no real recipe and was pure creativity in the first place. Saw some nice steaks, marinated it with onion powder, salt and pepper, some chilli flakes and seared it until it was medium rare. Pasta cooked till al dente, stirred in a nice thick, creamy sauce with wild mushroom. The flavors were in just beautiful, the steak was nice and juicy, still pink in the middle and it was perfect for a dinner 🙂

*Ingredients: (1 portion)
– Flank steak (dry-rubbed with some onion and chilli powder) – 150g
– Wild mushrooms – 50g + 1 tbsp minced shallots for stir-frying + Olive oil 1 tbsp
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Cream – approx. 30ml
– Parmesan cheese – just not too much!
– Penne pasta – 100g
– Parsley to garnish


1. Cook the steak to rare or medium/rare. Let it rest on the chopping board for 5 min.

2. Cook the pasta al dente, 8-10 min. Keep it hot.

3. Heat up the pan, add oil, shallots. Add in the mushrooms when the pan is nice and hot. Stir-fry for a few minutes and season generously with salt and pepper.

4. Slice your steak into thin, long strips.

5. Add the pasta and a bit of the starchy water that you cooked the pasta into the pan. Season again.

6. Add the cream and steak. Stir-fry for another 1 min.

7. Plate and garnish with chopper parsley.



Warm family dinner: Fettucine with spicy meatballs!

I dare not call this an Italian dish because I don’t really know if they have “spaghetti and meatballs” in any authentic Italian kitchen or not (I guess it’s more of an American “invention”). Nevertheless, this is my own take on this “classic” dish and I promise this is a recipe that even Italians would love 😀 What’s brilliant about this dish is that the meat is so soft and succulent, the sauce well balanced and… it’s easy to make! You can do it in a big batch and just reheat when you need, so it saves a lot of cooking time as well. Now let’s get to the point.

*Ingredients: serves 4 people

– Meatballs:

  • 200 g minced pork
  • 200 g minced beef
  • 50 g bread crumbs
  • enough milk to soak the bread crumbs
  • 50 g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 small shallot diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil
  • 300-400 g fettucine
  • fresh basil to garnish

– Tomato sauce:

  • 400 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 100 ml of beef stock
  • 1 diced shallot
  • 1 chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp basil, oregano, thyme


1. Warm the milk and soak the bread crumbs for 10-15 minutes.

2. Mix the meat well together with the spices, cheese and 1/2 of the diced shallots in a large bowl.

3. Add the soaked breadcrumbs and mixed thoroughly again.

4. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and let rest in the fridge for 30-45 minutes.

5. Uncover the clingfilm and start forming the meatballs (the size is your choice)

6. Heat a non-stick pan with olive oil and start browning the meat.

7. In another pot, heat olive oil and stir-fry the garlic and shallots until fragrant.

8. Add the canned tomatoes and herbs.

9. Add the stock and turn heat on low , only simmering.

10. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook until the sauce is reduced to the right thickness!

11. Served with fresh fettucine. DONE!

Enjoy your meal!


Le Degustationator.

Authentic Italian cooking: Bucatini alla Bolognese (Mì ống sốt bò băm)

Okay, okay, for those who are real Italians (potential critics), I’m sorry that I used Bucatini but not Fettucine or Penne for this reach Ragu sauce but I just love Bucatini so much ! 😀 And for all my blog viewers, I’ve been really busy and lazy lately so it’s only until today that I’m updating my blog with a new post, I hope I can really make up for my laziness. I hope this point won’t disappoint you and I believe it definitely won’t!

Almost everyone has had a taste of some sort of pasta with the red sauce everyone calls “bolognese sauce” at some point in their lives, but how many of you had a real bolognese sauce? Do you in fact know what are the ingredients in a Bolognese sauce? And surprise surprise, a real Bolognese ragu uses very little tomato and the sauce supposed to be rich and velvety with a red/brown color from the meat juices. This is NOT a tomato sauce with a bit of minced meat. The authentic recipe also doesn’t require any spice at all, only the “mirepoix” vegetables (onion,carrot,celery) and there’s MILK in this essay as well (surprise again!) Oh and lastly, if you’re going to plan having this dish for dinner, I advise you to make it after lunch because it’s going to take a good 4-5 hours to get the best flavor out of the sauce. Okay, enough talking, let’s get to the point!

*Ingredients: serves 6 people

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 100 g ‘pancetta’ (bacon NOT smoked bacon if you can’t find pancetta), diced
  • 200 g onions, diced
  • 150 g carrots, diced
  • 150 g of celery
  • 250 g lean minced beef
  • 250 g lean minced pork
  • 250 g lean minced veal
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 400g canned chopped tomatoes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 800g-1kg dried tagliatelle/fettucine/parpadelle/penne/rigatoni
  • 150 ml of milk or 100 ml of light cream
  • freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, to serve


1. Preferably a heavy-based cooking pot, set the fire on medium-high and render the pancetta/bacon.

2. Add the diced onion,carrot and celery to the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and stir-fry until soft.

3. Turn up the heat and add the meat gradually so they can brown a bit. Season generously with salt and pepper.

4. After the meat has been browned evenly, add the white wine. Turn heat on very high so that the alcohol can be evaporated.

5. After 2 minutes, add the canned tomatoes and turn the heat on very low.

6. Cover the pot. Stir the sauce every 30-45 minutes to ensure there’s no burning in the bottom.

7. After 3-4 hours, open the lid and add the milk and adjust the seasoning. Turn the heat on medium-high.

8. Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package and serve with the Bolognese ragu and parmigiano reggiano cheese. DONE!


Le Degustationator.

Simply elegant: Steak and garlic sautéed potatoes with pan gravy (Bò bít tết và khoai tây áp chảo kèm sốt thịt)

We ran out of rice yesterday so for lunch we had some spaghetti bolognese and for dinner we had this beautiful dish: Steak and garlic sautéed potatoes with pan gravy , which tasted amazing. The meat could have been a little tender but overall, the elements of the dish worked well together so it was fine in the end. The trick is that if you don’t have the best cut of meat, have it medium or medium-rare, it will be much more tender and juicy. Last note: you can always change the sauce into something like Bearnaise, demi-glace or mushroom sauce instead of a pan gravy.

*Ingredients: serves 1

– 180-200 gr of Sirloin/Tenderloin (thăn bò)

– 100 gr of new potatoes (the round and small ones with a very thin layer of skin) (khoai tây mới)

– 5 cloves of garlic (tỏi)

– Dry herbs: rosmary, parsley, sage, thyme, basil,… 2 tsp (gia vị lá khô)

– Steak pepper mix (hỗn hợp tiêu cho bít tết)

– 20 gr of butter (bơ)

– 1 tbsp of oil (dầu ăn)

– Sea salt (muối biển)

– 1 tbsp balsamic reduction (dấm balsamic cô đặc)


1. Season the beef with 1 tsp of the dry herbs, a splash of oil, sea salt, steak pepper mix and 2 cloves of garlic. Rest for 10 minutes.

2. Boil the potatoes for about 8-10 minutes until quite soft. Drain water and slice into 2 halves.

3. Put oil in the pan and fry on the potatoes with the skin side up. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of dry herbs.

4. Finish the sauteed potatoes with garlic and butter.

5. Transfer the potatoes to another plate. In the same pan, add the meat. Sear each side for 4 minutes until medium-rare.

6. De-glaze the pan with beef stock and some gravy powder if you want.

7. Plate the dish and serve!!! (dress a little balsamic reduction on the side)

Le Degustationator.

Cuts of Beef and Temperature of Beef

Beef is definitely one of the most widely used proteins in the food industry, doesn’t matter if it’s an Asian take-away, an American steakhouse or a fine-dining restaurant, beef is on the menu! I personally love Beef, so tasty and versatile but the bad news is that there is no cut of Beef that fits all dishes.

*Here is a little guide to different cuts of beef and what they are suitable for:

– Chuck: high in fat content, very flavourful, suitable for slow cooking in liquid (pot roast, oven roast,…)

– Rib:  a very tender cut whose marbling is well-suited for cooking in a hot dry heat or pan-sear for steak.

– Plate: a notoriously tough piece of beef, very chewy and inedible if not cooked properly. This cut needs to be slowly cooked in liquid for hours to break down the connective tissue. Suitable for pot roast, Pot-au-Feu, Slow broil,…

– Brisket:  a very tough cut of meat that requires long, slow cooking in order to tenderize. (pot roast, slowly cooked meat to put in Vietnamese “Pho”)

– Top Sirloin: one of the tenderest of the sirloin cuts and should only be used as steaks on a griller/pan…

– Tenderloin: is very tender but is surrounded by a white sheath called a silver skin which must be removed prior to cooking. Suitable for roast or steaks,…

– Bottom Sirloin: a less tender cut than the top sirloin but great with dry rubs and hot grills.

– New York Strip: because of it’s marbled fat, it’s very tender and flavourful, just give it a bit of salt and pepper then pop it on the grill and you will have the perfect steak!

– Porterhouse: a huge cut from the short loin section that includes a bone, a tenderloin steak and a New York strip, normally a steak for 2!

– Flank: is a thin cut that is most often marinated and always cut across the grain before served. It needs to be well cooked prior to serving otherwise can be quite chewy. Suitable for dishes like Grill/Braise,…

– Top Round: is a lean cut of beef that is often marinated before being quickly seared and finished in an oven. Suitable for minute-Steak, grill, broil,…

– Bottom Round: is a very large cut of meat often split into distinct portions called the eye, flat and heel. Bottom round requires tenderization or long cooking times to reach its peak flavor offering.

– Shank: many people in Vietnam love this, it’s really tough therefore requires a long, slow cook making it the most popular cut for beef stew. However, I’ve seen people stir-frying beef shanks!!!

**Temperatures of Steak:

Okay, so I really love a nice juicy and well seasoned steak but a perfect steak has to be cooked to the right core temperature as well so that it suits the tastes of the diners. I normally go for medium-rare if there is no sauce accompanying but if there is sauce, I suggest you go with medium or medium-well as the sauce will complement the steak a lot better. I don’t really agree with the picture that I got on the Net here that well-done should be 100% Brown, for me that’s complete rubbish (in Vietnam they eat like that though…but then sometimes the beef isn’t that fresh so you better play safe and go for a well-done!). Well-done should be still slightly pink and moist, not completely dry. But then maybe I’m thinking of a medium-well Steak which is like that, mind you that some restaurant only have rare, medium and well-done so their well-done should be medium-well not cooked to @$%! :))

*How to cook the perfect steak 2-3 cm steak : (do not forget to season with salt and pepper)

1. Blue Rare: 2 minutes on each side, should be red throughout but a nice sear outside.

2. Rare: 3 minutes on each side, seared outside, red hot and juicy inside, about 75% red actually but fat should be nicely rendered.

3. Medium rare: 4 minutes on each side, seared outside with 50% red center.

4. Medium: 5 minutes on each side most widely ordered steak, has to be pink throughout, slightly pink and wet in the center.

5. Medium-well (My well-done): 6,5 minutes on each side, nearly cooked through, just slightly pink but quite dry but has to be still tender.

6. Well-done: as long as you don’t burn it, and it’s brown/white inside, that’s a well-done =)) Leave your pan and steak there and go out for a drink and chat you will get a well-done 😀

ATTENTION!!! This also depends on the temperature of the stove/grill as well so be careful and the meat has to be thawed already prior to grilling or searing,…

Le Degustationator.


A little nostalgia with Southern-style beef noodle salad (Bún bò Nam Bộ)

Just 3 days ago, I and my girlfriend celebrated the anniversary of our first real date 😀 We’ve been together for a several years, there are ups and downs but we still love each other and … we both love food!!! This dish is so special because it brings me back to the day when I came to her house to prep some food for a party the next day, wearing a chef’s jacket. No doubt it was a beautiful moment. In fact, the photo you see is taken at her house about a year ago, made by me and my girlfriend with a lot of love. She did some prep and help out cooking as well (by the way she makes some awesome cakes and pies, gotta try them out some time 😉 ). So what to know about this dish? Southern-style beef noodle salad is a typical Vietnamese dish, it’s a street food but you can also find it in restaurants. The bottom line is that the dish is comfort food for us Vietnamese, and it’s so typical because of that delicate balance between sweet, sour, hot and salty in combination with the freshness and crunch of the beautiful fresh herbs you can find in Vietnam. Every mouthful has to be full of different textures and has to be unforgettable. If you have a chance to visit Vietnam, it’s the dish to try. But why not try this at home and impress your family and friends? (maybe cook with your girlfriend like me? 😀 )

*Ingredients: (approx.) serves 2

– Rice noodle 220 gr (Bún tươi/khô)
– Beef (tender cuts would be great) 200 gr (Bò)
– 2 asian shallots finely chopped (hành ta)
– Minced garlic 3 tbsp (tỏi)
– Roasted peanuts (unsalted) 3 tbsp (lạc rang)
– Fried shallots 2 tbsp (hành phi)
– Fish sauce + Rice vinegar + Sugar = Sweet sour sauce (Nước mắm chua ngọt)
– Light soy + Oyster sauce = 3 tbsp (Magi + Dầu hào)

– Non-aromatic oil (do not use olive oil) 3 tbsp (Dầu ăn)
– Green/red chilies to taste (Ớt xanh/đỏ)
– Been sprouts (100 gr) (giá đỗ)

– Salt and pepper (Muối + Tiêu)
– Cucumbers (Dưa chuột)
– An array of fresh herbs: lettuce, coriander, mint, spearmint,… (xà lách, mùi, bạc hà, húng, kinh giới, etc.)


1. Cook the rice noodles according to instructions on package. Immediately shock in ice-cold water afterwards to stop it from cooking. Rinse and put aside.

TIP! In Vietnam, you can go straight to the market and get the rice noodle done for you 😀

2. Slice the beef into thin slices and marinate in some garlic, shallots, 1 tsp of sugar, the oyster and soy sauce. Set aside for 15 minutes.

TIP! In order to slice the beef thinly, you need to froze it beforehand until it is quite firm (but not hard), and please get an extremely sharp chef knife otherwise it would be 99,99% impossible to cut it thinly.

3. Add sugar and water in a bowl and mix well. This is the base for the sweet source sauce that will give the distinctive taste for the dish. After the sugar has dissolved, add fish sauce (nước mắm) and rice vinegar. The catch here is that I didn’t put any measure for the sauce since I’ve never made it according to any recipe but just taste and adjustment. You should try that out too! Just add everything (even more water and sugar) until you hit the right balance between sweet, sour and saltiness. Lastly, add minced garlic and some finely chopped chilies.

4. Wash the fresh herbs carefully, drain all the excess water out, slice into smaller pieces and set aside.

5. Put the flame on highest possible, make sure your pan is hot, add oil, garlic, shallots to the pan. Add the beef and bean sprouts, stir-fry until just done. Set aside.

6. Use a peeler and peel the cucumbers into thin, long pieces. Wrap it around your finger to make a ring for plating up later.

7. Assembling the dish: put a generous handful of herbs at the bottom. Put some sauce on top. Add the rice noodle and then the stir-fried beef. Spoon more sauce on top. Put the cucumber rings on the edges of the plate. Sprink some peanuts and fried shallots on top. DONE!

This is how it looks like when I made it


*Pressure points:

– Don’t over cook the rice noodle. Mushy rice noodle is …

– Don’t over cook the beef. Chewy and stringy beef is …

– Always taste and adjust along the way, there’s no recipe that fits everyone’s taste.

Hope you enjoy it!

Le Degustationator.