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Cookbooks 2: Beverley Sutherland Smith

2.     Beverley Sutherland Smith. Together with Ellen Sinclair’s works, i.e. the editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks, Beverley Sutherland Smith’s are the most overworked Australian cookbooks in the home collection. Separation of cover from contents is, in both cases, evidence of what is meant by overworked. While Sinclair honoured the English heritage in Australian cooking, Sutherland Smith is wonderfully disarming in her use of traditional French cookery to deliver richness and flavour. This means more cream than the doctor would approve nowadays, with regular reference to the liquor, or is that liqueur, shelf of the pantry. Her range of meat, seafood and vegetable dishes is fearless and fabulous. First published in 1987, this is for me one of the landmarks of our definitive graduation from the limits of British style; note, though, Worcestershire sauce in today’s recipe. I probably bought my copy at the Hill of Content in Bourke Street.

Recipe: It is the “quick cooking and freshness which is the secret of this dish,” Sutherland Smith says of Steak Pierre on page 77. She recommends fillet steak; I usually divide a rump STEAK in portions. The steak is flattened gently then dusted lightly with flour. You heat OIL in a pan until smoking hot then add the steaks, cooking for only about a minute or so on each side. Enjoy the sound of sizzle. Remove steaks, clean the pan, then add 1 crushed GARLIC, maybe 2, to a small block of DAIRY BUTTER. Dairy is important because it enriches the taste. Once melted, add some WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE and 2 tablespoons of DRY VERMOUTH. 3’s okay. That’s the liquor component I mentioned earlier. You return the steaks to the pan and coat them in the sauce. Serve immediately with POTATOES and some GREENS, maybe some MUSHROOMS if you like, and a nice RED.


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