I was having a craving for beef today. This is a visceral, desperate need that overwhelms me every now and again. It has to be beef and it has to be dripping and bloody. I always eat my meat rare, but this is a particular lust that must be sated. After that, it just needs to taste good. Today, inspiration came from Kylie Kwong and her sumptuous book, My China, but I'm happy to call the result very much my own.

Some of you might want to add some finely diced chili to the marinade, and the vegetarian option would be portobello mushrooms, but cooked entirely in the pan and not transferred to the oven. This, however, was precisely what I wanted.

Given the circumstances, this is a recipe designed for one ravenous woman. Doubling the quantity of meat might be excessive for two, but I'm not sure that really matters. Just enjoy it.


  • 200g (7oz) beef fillet
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp tamari (or good soy sauce)
  • 1 fat clove garlic, minced
  • 1cm fresh ginger, grated
  • ½tbsp brown sugar
  • Black pepper
  • ½ glass red wine


Mix together the oil, vinegar, tamari, garlic, ginger, sugar, and a grinding of black pepper. Pour the marinade over the beef and leave it to, well, marinate, for an hour.

After the meat has luxuriated in its bath, preheat your oven to 180° Celsius and place a heavy-based pan on a high flame on the stove.

Seal the meat in the pan: it will need no more than one minute on each side. Remove it to a pan suitable for the oven and cook there for around seven minutes if you like it rare. Obviously it'll need longer if you prefer it more well done, but please don't tell me.

I didn't salt the meat before I seared it because I find that the tamari is sufficiently salty. Your tastebuds may tell you otherwise.

When your meat is cooked, remove it from the oven and cover it with foil. Leave it to rest for ten minutes or so.

Meanwhile, pour the marinade into the pan you used to seal the meat, and tip in the wine. Heat it until it is bubbling and has reduced a little to something thick and delicious. It'll only take a minute or two.

Once the meat has rested, slice it, arrange it on a warmed plate, and pour over the reduction.

I ate mine with roasted potatoes and leeks braised with lemon, which offered a beautiful counterpoint to the spicy-sweet beef. The wine was a Merlot suitable for everyday drinking.

I feel so much better for that.

Music to cook to: High Violet, The National

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.