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Home Cook: RAA chief Ian Stone

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Ian Stone heads up the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, but after-hours he is happy behind the kitchen bench at home.

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Before taking up his position as group managing director with the RAA in 2007, Stone has held numerous roles in corporate insurance and investment, both nationally and internationally.

He has also been CEO of the South Australian Motor Accident Commission and currently sits on a number of boards.

Outside of the office, Stone describes himself as a “diehard Arsenal fan and a foodie”. Here, he gives us a glimpse inside his kitchen at home and shares a favourite steak recipe.

In the kitchen I am …
Enthusiastic … but my wife would probably describe me as messy! I really enjoy cooking, and in the early years I would use every pot and pan we owned to cook a meal, creating a lot of washing up. I thought the rule was the person who cooked didn’t have the do the washing up. My wife didn’t agree. I’m now more economical in the kitchen, but still just as enthusiastic.

The fridge is nearly empty – what do you cook for dinner?
There are always tins of diced tomatoes and pasta in the pantry. We just add whatever we can find in the fridge, such as zucchini and bacon, to make a nice tomato-based pasta.

Most useful cooking tool?
A really good set of knives can be a real time-saver. Once, I tried to use a mandolin to thinly slice potatoes to make a Lancashire hotpot and took the top of my finger off – I haven’t used one since. I’ve recently started using a kitchen cleaver and it’s really good when preparing Asian cuisine.

Three essential grocery items?
Pasta, tinned tomatoes and zucchini – it is a versatile vegetable and everyone in the family likes it.

How did you learn to cook?
I started cooking in my teens because I loved eating and it was the easiest way to enjoy the food I liked to eat.

Favourite restaurant?
I can’t name just one restaurant as my favourite, but I do have a favourite restaurant experience and that was at The Pot Food & Wine on King William Road, Hyde Park. We walked in on a Saturday night without a booking, and the only three seats they had available were overlooking the kitchen. It turned out to be a fabulous night – we were able to talk to the chefs, ask them questions and watch them at work.

Favourite recipe?
Steak with port sauce, Brussels sprouts and aligot (a dish of mashed potatoes with garlic and cheese from southern France).

Steak with Port Sauce, Brussels Sprouts and Aligot

Ingredients

4 aged Scotch fillet or porterhouse steaks
1kg good mashing potatoes
500g strong cheddar cheese
500g Brussels sprouts
¼ green cabbage, thinly sliced
3 rashers smoked bacon, thinly sliced
1 glass port (add more if necessary)
50ml thickened cream
Crushed garlic (optional)
Butter (or margarine)

For the Aligot

You need to make a good mashed potato, so if you have time, the best way is to bake the potatoes, skins on, in an oven at about 190˚C (fan-forced) for about an hour. If you do not have time, peel the potatoes and boil for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, grate the cheddar cheese. The stronger the flavour of the cheese you pick, the better the end result. Traditionally, Aligot would be made with Auvergne cheese from France.

If you baked the potatoes in the oven, allow to cool slightly then slice in half and scrape out as much of the potato as possible, leaving the skins aside. If you boiled the potatoes, drain and then return to the saucepan. Add to a saucepan and mash, with butter or margarine, then add a small amount of cream for a rich, thick mash. If you want to add garlic, it is best to add one or two cloves here and mash into the potatoes. Put onto a low heat, then add in the grated cheese, a handful at a time, until all the cheese has melted into the mash.

For the Brussels sprouts

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil and add the whole Brussels sprouts and boil for approximately 3 minutes, adding the cabbage for the last minute. Drain and set aside.

While the steaks are cooking, add butter and olive oil to a second frying pan. Add the bacon slices and cook until taking on colour.

Meanwhile, cut the cooked Brussels sprouts into halves or quarters, depending on their size, then add to the bacon pan with the cabbage. Cook until warm and the sprouts are taking on some colour; add lots of cracked pepper and salt to taste.

For the steaks

Heat frying pan, add olive oil to the steaks and cook to taste. Remove steaks once cooked to a plate and leave to rest.

Add port to the pan and allow to reduce to approximately half. Ensure you deglaze the pan.

Add cream to create a thick sauce. Add in any juices from the resting steaks and simmer for a few minutes while you plate up.

To serve

Place steak, Brussels sprouts and Aligot on the plates. Spoon port sauce over the steaks to taste.

Serves 4

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