I have grown up in the backroom of a restaurant. My earliest memories are; the smells of the food being cooked around me, the noice of kitchen machines, the laughter of the people.
Yes, my father is a Chef. Big, burly and loud! Man equipped with big a heart, and extremely sharp tongue! He’s also very opinionated and always straight talking. He is loud, extremely loud! Customers knew that the owner was in the house because they could hear him yelling and cursing in the kitchen. Some people say that I have inherited his voice power. Might be true, all that I know 😉
He is one of the last dinosaurs of old school chefs. Self learned and hard working! Demanding but loving. Respect is everything for him. Everything I know about food and wine, was thought to me by him ,from early age onwards. I were two years old when he desided to start his own restaurant.
First I cooked with my by grandmothers, both of them were and are excellent cooks. I clash in kitchen with my Father quite often, but the tips and advices that I have gotten from him, are priceless! He is cream and butter type of a Chef, me vegetables and healthy food.. Potatoes potatoes and more potatoes and his life is fine 🙂 I am happy with salad..
I love you Papa very much, and I am extremely thankful for everything you thought for me.
When he was young man, he worked in a cruise ship as Chef. He sailed all the way down to Kap Horne and back. While traveling he learned about food and different cultures. I remember all the funny and interesting stories, he had to tell me from those trips.
When he returned, I was two years old, and it was time for him to settle down. I think my Mom more or less gave him ultimatum not to travel anymore 😀
His idea was to make Spanish Restaurant, because that time, in early seventies, people in Finland started to make holidays trips to Spain. He wanted to make a restaurant, to where people could come and reminiscent their trip and holiday. Restarant was serving special dishes like alligator, kangaroo, rattle snake, which were at that time completely unknown to Finns. He also was among the first ones to introduce the idea of salad buffet into the Finnish restaurant culture. Restaurant opened with 20 customer seats on 1974, and when he sold it away two years ago it was a well running, always busy and full, well know restaurant with over 200 customer seats.
One of my life’s hardest decision was not to continue the restaurant, but that time I had been living abroad and away from Finland already 15 ++ years. Finland was a strange place for me and for my family. So it was time to let it go! But the memories and recipes thought for me by my Father will have influence in my cooking style forever!
In the restaurant, were two signature disches, which were known and loved by our customers well. Robber’s Roast, steak served on a cindering blank topped with special spice butter. And the other one, well, THE Pepper Steak! Dad spent long time perfecting the sauce, his creation was something very unique and later often copied. Well kept secret so to say.A sweet ,but spicy pepper sauce, took your tongue away whilst eating it. Something you had to have again! I remember hating to eat stakes,wishing to be able to eat over Grandma’s in order to have something special to eat! See,for me steak was everyday food and meatball and mash was something very special…
So here you go, with my Fathers permission, his famous Pepper Steak Sauce recipe. You might be surpriced, how easy it is to make!
This is what you will need:
- 0,5 l cream
- 0,5 dl brown sugar
- 1 dl sweet mustard, this very important, Dijon is too hard! (For Finns, use standard mustard,like Turun sinappi)
- 2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- About 1 dl good quality cognac,I use Hennesy VSOP
- 4 tablespoons roughly grounded black pepper
- 2 tablespoons of worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons good quality soya sauce
- 2 tablespoons whole mixed peppers
- 1 cube of meat stock, I like to use Knorr buillon pur.
- Salt to taste
- Put all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix till you have thick consistency sauce. Use mixer.Pour the sauce in the skillet and let it simmer in low heat at least 15 minutes. Longer the better!
- Meanwhile prepare your meat. Grill it or use frying pan.
- When the steak is nearly cooked to your liking, remove it from the pan, leave to rest for 5-10 minutes covered.
- Pour some of your sauce in frying pan, bring it to boil and add your steaks in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick add some cream. Let the steaks cook in the sauce about two to three minutes, turning them at least once.
- Serve with baked potato or with what ever you like.
NOTE: This sauce will taste quite sweet at first, but if you reheat it at least once, the sweetness will be even out by the taste of the pepper. Also adding bit more cognac helps to bring sweetness down.This sauce will keep good in a fridge for one week. And please adjust the sugar and the spices according your own taste.