Fillet Steak with Mushroom and Brandy sauce
First, make the mushroom and brandy sauce. Heat the butter on a high heat in a medium-sized frying pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute them for 7-9 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown. Measure the brandy into a small bowl and add it quickly to the mushrooms. Allow the liquid to boil, but stand back as it might flame. Add the chicken or light beef stock, whichever you're using, and allow it to boil, then add the single cream. Boil the mixture for 4-5 minutes until it has thickened and, finally, add the chopped thyme leaves and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Next, prepare your chips. If you're using a deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to about 170°C, 340°F. Make sure the raw chips are completely dry before they go into the hot oil and don't cook too many at once. Cook the chips for about six minutes in the fryer, until they are just soft. Remove and drain. Keep to one side and increase the heat of the fryer to 190°C, 375°F for later.
If you're making oven-roast chips, preheat the oven to 220°C, 425°F, Gas 7.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the chips and cook them for two minutes, then drain the chips and spread out on kitchen paper to dry completely.
Put the dried chips in a bowl and toss them with 50ml (2oz) olive oil. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking tray and cook them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden and cooked.
When you are ready to eat, heat up a grill pan or a large, heavy frying pan for cooking the steaks. Drizzle the steaks with olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the steaks on the hot pan. Cook on either side for a few minutes if you want them rare, approximately six minutes for medium-rare or 8-10 minutes for well done.
When the steaks are cooked to your preference, take them out of the pan and allow them to rest for five minutes, see my Tip, opposite. If you're deep frying your chips, use this time to refry them at 190°C, 375°F for about five minutes, until they are golden and crispy, then drain them and sprinkle generously with salt.
Serve the steaks with the reheated mushroom and brandy sauce and a generous portion of chips.