Friday, 5 August 2011


Many years ago, facing the prospect of her two children flying the nest and a husband who had a long commute and regular late night meetings, my mother went out and bought a cat. I should explain at this point that my father, while he has many excellent qualities, is not an animal lover, and had expressly forbidden us to have anything larger than a hamster throughout my childhood (and I think even the hamsters were borne with extreme sufferance). But, as I said, the thought of the long, lonely evenings finally drove Mum to rebellion. She set off for the pet shop round the corner and came back with a tiny tabby kitten mewling in a cardboard carrier.

Minerva McGonagall has been the Queen of the household ever since. She is really too silly a thing for such a long moniker, and so she is generally referred to as Min or Minnie, although she will also respond to “Cat” (my father refused to address her by name for much of her kittenhood). She is an eccentric creature and not the greatest fan of people outside her family; she especially adores my mother and follows her around like a familiar. D has been trying, for the seven odd years he has know her, to train her to sit, unresisting, on his lap – but she has a stubborn streak and is not to be tamed. She will sit next to you, close as anything, and submit to the occasional cuddle, but a lap cat she is not. Their relationship is, as a result, slightly strained.

I write this from my parents’ house in Knaresborough – once again, we are spending a few weeks cat-sitting as they travel Down Under. I thought, as a little tribute to my beloved Min, that I would let you in on her absolute favourite recipe. Tip: if you happen to have a cat of your own, I would not leave anchovy butter out and uncovered or you may enter the kitchen to find a rather sheepish kitty, an empty butter dish and a mess needing to be wiped up.

This recipe comes originally from the Good Food channel website (not to be confused with the Good Food magazine website). I have reduced the amount of butter – this still is plenty enough to be utterly delicious, but not so much that you will have to eat dust for the rest of the day to accommodate. Serve with new potatoes and something green and worthy.


25g (half a small tin) anchovy fillets
Small handful rosemary, finely chopped
Small handful parsley, chopped
60g butter
Tbsp lemon juice

2 x tuna steaks

Serves 2, 12 pro points per serving

Put everything except the lemon juice into a blender and process until smooth. This can then be chilled until you are ready to serve.

Season and then pan fry the tuna for as many minutes on each side as you wish to reach a desired level of pinkness. I always like my tuna pink in the middle so would tend to go for little more than 1-2 mins depending on the thickness of the steaks.

While the tuna cooks, gently warm the butter in a small pan and add the lemon juice to taste. Spoon the butter liberally over the tuna before serving. Something (i.e. bread or potatoes) will probably be required to soak up all the butter (but remember to add the additional points for this if you’re pointily inclined.)

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