I don't want to jinx it, but I think summer is here. Yesterday, I went out in the evening without socks and I didn't even take a cardigan with me. I have a slight tan line from walking around the Aquadrome on Sunday and several hours of gardening. We've got summer-weight duvets on the bed and even that is a bit much. It's warm and it's lovely.
This is, however, a bit of a blow for a food blogger. I'm not really cooking, as such, very much. Most nights it's just a question of lighting a bag of charcoal and sticking some protein on the fire. It's delicious but not really post-worthy.
On the other hand, it has led to some new discoveries.
Chuck steak is a cut that I have only ever thought of as a braising cut - quite a lot of fat and connective tissue from the solidly-worked shoulder muscle make it sub-optimal as a grilling cut. Or so I thought. But then I saw it marketed as Seven Bone Steak by Turner & George, who have never steered me wrong on meat, so I decided to give it a go (they don't pay me for this stuff, I just absolutely love what they are doing and if you are in their delivery area you should definitely check them out).
The piece below was a chunky ingot of 250g (from a herd of Highland cows on the Isle of Mull, in case you were wondering), which was salted a few minutes before it hit a hot charcoal fire. It had 5 minutes a side, next to an indulgently large bundle of asparagus. The asparagus season is waning, so I am eating as much as I can while it lasts. Then the steak rested for a few minutes while I dolloped a spoonful of aioli onto the asparagus and poured wine into glasses.
It was superb. A proper crust on the outside, long beefy flavour, juicy and incredibly tender.
Paul had another one of the steaks last night (I was out) cooked in a pan, and reported that it wasn't quite as good, that it needed the intense heat of the charcoal to render out the fat and connective tissue. Obviously further experimentation is in order. I am OK with that.