One of the questions I get asked most often is how to cook the perfect steak.

A few tips. Bring the meat to room temperature. Season it before it goes on to the pan. I often spoon on some butter when cooking the steak. And then let it rest.

Striploin is a lovely cut to use but you could do this with rib eye or with fillet. We are very lucky in Ireland we have amazing steak. Look out for the Bord Bia Quality mark.

This peppercorn sauce is my mother’s recipe. I am using Cognac today but I have also made this with whiskey.

You can make this sauce ahead but it is always nicer to do in the pan with the steak. It also goes well with chicken or pork.

The rustic potatoes are lovely but you could serve with mashed potatoes or homemade chips. They are also fantastic as a side dish for a barbecue. They can be made in large quantities in trays and simply reheated as necessary.

For this chocolate torte make sure you get really good-quality chocolate. I am using 70% cocoa solids so there is less sugar in it.

Hazelnuts are really good with chocolate. When you are whisking the egg whites just make sure they are light and fluffy. Don’t over mix or it will be heavier and denser.

This dessert can be made ahead and eaten at room temperature, but it is nicest if just out of the oven and allowed to cool a bit. It will keep well in the fridge for up to three days and even improves with time.

This recipe is suitable for people on a gluten-free diet if you make sure to use a gluten-free chocolate.

Flourless chocolate torte. \ Food styling: Janine Kennedy. Photography: Philip Doyle

I make this chocolate fudge sauce a lot at home. It is lovely with vanilla ice cream, some sliced bananas and some toasted flaked almonds. It will really enrich the flourless chocolate torte.

Again good quality chocolate is the key. You could add a little Coole Swan and a little vanilla extract. This will keep happily for up to one week covered with cling film in the fridge.

Happy cooking,



Steak with peppercorn sauce and rustic potato

Serves four to six

Steak with peppercorn sauce and rustic potato. \ Food styling: Janine Kennedy. Photography: Philip Doyle

4-6 × 150-175g (5-6oz) striploin or sirloin steaks, well trimmed and at room temperature rapeseed oil, for brushing

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the rustic potatoes:

675g (1½lb) potatoes, scrubbed clean

1 fresh rosemary sprig, broken up

3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed (skin still on)

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

For the peppercorn sauce:

15g (½oz) butter

2 shallots, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

450ml (¾ pint) beef stock (from a cube is fine)

2 tsp crushed black peppercorns

4 tbsp cream

2 tbsp Cognac

To serve:

Sautéed Savoy cabbage

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
  • 2 Cut the potatoes into slices 5mm (¼in) thick and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Add the rosemary and garlic and season generously with salt. Drizzle over the oil and toss until evenly coated.
  • 3 Roast in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and lightly golden, turning once or twice.
  • 4 Meanwhile, to make the peppercorn sauce, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Stir in the stock and cook for 10-15 minutes, until reduced by half. Strain the sauce into a clean pan, discarding the shallots and garlic.
  • 5 Add the crushed peppercorns, cream and Cognac and season with salt.
  • 6 Cook for 2-3 minutes, until slightly reduced and thickened. Keep warm.
  • 7 Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Brush the steaks with oil and season with salt and pepper.

  • 8 Cook for 3 minutes on each side for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking.
  • 9 Sauté the cabbage by frying in a medium-heat pan with a little oil and salt and pepper.
  • 10 Serve the steaks with sautéed Savoy cabbage, potato slices and peppercorn sauce.
  • Flourless chocolate torte

    Serves eight to 10

    Flourless chocolate torte. \ Food styling: Janine Kennedy. Photography: Philip Doyle

    175g (6oz) hazelnuts

    175g (6oz) plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), broken into pieces

    175g (6oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

    175g (6oz) caster sugar

    6 eggs, separated

    2 tbsp apricot jam

    To serve:

    Vanilla ice cream

    Chocolate fudge sauce, see below

  • 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Lightly grease a 23cm (9in) non-stick loose-bottomed cake tin that is no more than 7.5cm (3in) deep and line the base with non-stick baking paper.
  • 2 Place the hazelnuts in a roasting tin and roast for 10 minutes, until toasted but not burnt. Leave to cool, then tip them into a clean tea towel and rub off the skins. Transfer the nuts to a food processor and blend for 30 seconds, until finely ground.
  • 3 Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and allow to melt, then remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool.
  • 4 Place the butter and half of the sugar into a large bowl and beat together until pale and creamy using a hand-held electric mixer. Beat in the egg yolks and melted chocolate.
  • 5 Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until you have achieved soft peaks, then whisk in the remaining sugar until stiff. Gently fold the ground hazelnuts into the meringue, then gently fold into the chocolate mixture in two batches. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  • 6 Melt the apricot jam in a small pan or in the microwave and pass through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Remove the cake from the oven and brush the top liberally with the sieved apricot jam, then leave to cool in the tin.
  • 7 Cut into slices and arrange on plates with scoops of the vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the chocolate fudge sauce or caramel sauce to serve.
  • Chocolate fudge sauce

    Makes about 400ml (14fl oz)

    150ml (¼ pint) cream

    25g (1oz) caster sugar

    25g (1oz) butter

    175g (6oz) plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), finely chopped

  • 1 Place the cream in a pan with the sugar and butter and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 4-5 minutes, until thickened and beginning to become syrupy, stirring occasionally to prevent the mixture from catching. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.
  • 2 Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water until melted.
  • 3 Whisk into the sauce until smooth and well combined. This is ready to serve warm or transfer to a bowl and leave to cool completely, then cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until needed. Use warm or cold as required.