Sheffield Relish’s recipe for success

Jack Baker, head chef at Relish, and Lesley Draper
Jack Baker, head chef at Relish, and Lesley Draper
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Diners at Relish in Ecclesall Road had the dubious honour of tasting my culinary handiwork this week.

It’s a long time since I cooked for anyone other than family and friends, but when head chef Jack Baker asked me to help try out some recipes for a new cook book, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse…

There’s nothing more annoying than following a recipe to the letter – and then discovering you still have 100g of flour left at the end. And it’s all very well for chefs to say ‘make the pastry’ or ‘bake until cooked’, but us mere mortals need detailed, step-by-step instructions.

Which is why a series of amateur cooks have been roped in over the last week or so to test recipes for a new book being planned by Richard Smith’s restaurants and Thornbridge Brewery.

My first task was to follow the recipe for suet-crust pastry, flavoured with two kinds of mustard and cheese.

Then I had to fry chunks of steak until they were good and brown (most important for flavour, I learned) and deglaze the pan with ale.

After adding vegetables, stock – and Henderson’s Relish – I left it to cook and got down to making the burgers, using several pounds of finest, freshly-minced rump steak.

It was tough work, slaving over a hot stove, so I was thrilled to discover that my next instruction was to eat my artistically-assembled creation!

Lunch over, I completed my day’s work under Jack’s watchful eye – and was rewarded with two oven-ready steak and ale pies and a badge of honour in the form of a burnt hand.

I just hope other diners enjoyed the pies as much as we did. Bring on that new cook book!

Lesley Draper