a perfect steak & mooncake on mid-autumn festival

Yesterday was Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, this is one of the most important Chinese festivals, it falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. We usually take this opportunity for family unions, therefore it is also known as “Festival of Reunion”. As the moon is supposed to be the brightest and fullest this night.

On this day we take this opportunity to have dinner together, after dinner, we will go outside enjoying under the moonlight, eating mooncakes and lighting the lanterns.

This night, my hubby has given me a treat that I could have a little rest that he would like to cook something nice for me, his signature dish: a perfect steak, medium cooked or rosé in French and a nice bottle of French red.

During our summer holidays in France, I learnt how the French described the different states of ‘doneness’ of a steak. However, when you order medium in France, it is less cooked than most other countries. If you are interested, here are the terms of grading of doneness I learnt in France this summer, it can become handy when travelling in France.

Grading of doneness of steak in English vs French:

  • Rare: bleu
  • Medium-rare: saignant
  • Medium:  à point or rosé (probably this is more a regional used word?, I have consulted my French ex-colleague who is from Bordeaux, I have included his response as a separate comment as below)
  • Medium well: cuit
  • Well done: bien cuit

as seen in #21817 TasteSpotting/16.09.08

 

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 pieces of approx 300g US Entrecote steak
  • salt
  • freshly crushed coarse pepper
  • butter

Utensils required:

  • Heavy frying pan
  • Roasting pan

Method:

  1. Make sure the steaks are rested to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 70°C.
  3. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a heavy frying pan that can place both steaks in, add a big knob of butter into the pan, when the butter is melted, pan-fry the steak for two and half minutes on each side. This will sear and seal the juice inside the meat.
  5. Transfer the steak to a roasting pan and place it in the oven for 10 mins.
  6. Ready to serve with your favorite vegetables.

Notes:

  • It is very important to rest the steak to room temperature so it is easier for you to control the cooking time.
  • With good quality of steaks, we usually prefer not having any sauce to go with it as the sauce may dominate the flavor of the steak.
  • The recipe above requires the steak to be put in the oven briefly because the steak we had this time are rather thick. If you choose to have a thinner steak, you will only need to pan-fry them.

 

 

After dinner, we had mooncake for dessert on our terrace and enjoy the moonlight. I was very happy to be able to buy a box of Hong Kong made white lotus seed and double yolk mooncakes here in Basel.

As seen in #21792 TasteSpotting/16.09.08

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10 thoughts on “a perfect steak & mooncake on mid-autumn festival

  1. simonlitton

    I always say “à point” in Belgium and France, and they seem to understand it. It’s true though that a French person’s idea of “well done” is probably a lot more pink than an English or American’s.
    The mooncake looks interesting. No recipe so that we can try it ourselves?

    Hi Simon, thanks for verifying. Rosé can come from regional slang. I have asked my ex-colleague who is from Bordeaux, I have added his response as a separate comment.
    As for the mooncakes recipes, it’s too challenging that we usually buy instead of making them ourselves and these days there are many more creative new versions in HK that ppl would try, the one you see here is one of the traditional version. Despite of what I have said, my ex-colleagues in HK had a mooncake class in a bakery last week, just for fun, you can see the photos in facebook under my account : )

  2. V

    Double yolk?? I’m so jealous! Where did you get it?

    I got it in Rheinfelderstrasse, the New Asian Market. It’s the first time I saw them having a reliable brand: ‘Garden’ from HongKong. I was very excited too when I saw them. I was there on Sunday and they still have some stock, exp date: mid Oct. The yolks are very good quality, you know it’s not possible to get decent salty eggs here : )

  3. janetching Post author

    Here is the response from my French friend:

    “You have there a question which is more related to the culture than to words.

    In France we usually like the beef à point or saignant or bleue.
    Bleue (rare) is usually chosen by beef amateur and goes with tender and high quality beef (Filet, Roti even sometimes Ctôe de Boeuf and Entrecôte). the meat is simply strongly grilled on both sides for only a few minutes, depending of the thickness of the meat.
    Saignant (medium rare)
    is extremely common in cooking beef steak, it also works for all red meat. The heart of meat is still red and the piece of meat is still very juicy.
    A point (medium) is another standard where the heart of meat is still 2 different colors however the color inside is not red, it is slightly pink (rosé) to dark pink and the meat is less juicy.

    (see picture 3 of this link :, you will see the difference between : Well done, medium rare and medium)
    I also found a very good picture in Jamie Oliver’s Cookbook: COOK WITH JAMIE, page 147.

    Rosé (medium rare) is used for Duck meat and according “Chefs” the only way of cooking Duck. It is also frequenty used for Rack of Lamb.”

    I asked him again, does it mean Rose is not an appropriate word for Beef steak, here is his reply again:

    Very nice and strong column you did on your blog for “La cuisson du boeuf”.

    Actually rosé in the case of the beef cooking, I believe was to describe how medium you like your “piece of beef” cooked because the frontier between medium and well done is sometimes very thin and unknown in most restaurants.

  4. Núria

    Wow Janet! This was so informative! That picture of the meat makes me want to devore it!!!!

    Here in Spain we say:
    Poco hecho – hardly cooked
    Al punto – medium
    Muy hecho – well done

    Have a nice day :D

    Thanks so much, I would love to know how to say it in Spanish, can impress my Spanish friend next time I visit her : )

  5. Peter

    Wow, what a perfectly cooked steak! Do french add any herbs while cooking steaks such as rosemary? Or is that also considered taking away the original flavor?

    Hmm, there are French recipes that use herbs, I had cooked filet mignon with morel mushrooms sauce and recently I had a really nice steak in Bordeaux that they cooked the steak with shallots and red wine sauce, the sauce was not thick at all and both steaks were delicious and my favorites. I was about to write about this restaurant but not got round to do it yet. It’s just my personal preference that I would prefer to cook it as simple as possible if I have a piece of very nice steak. LESS IS MORE : ) Same as fresh seafood, we cook in the simplest way otherwise it will be a waste.

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