Fillet Steak in Madeira Sauce with Risotto – the ‘eat-what-you-like-it-makes-no-difference’ diet!

So now that I am in my 43rd year thoughts of mortality loom. Eat less. Move more. That’s the secret to a longer life.

But I might be wasting my time. To quote Michael Fitzpatrick (I’m not convinced I can work out who he is but anyway):

“The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The French eat a lot of fat and also have fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. What kills you is speaking English”.

With these words in mind I proceeded to create the most decadent dish I could think of – served with vast quantities of red wine:


Fillet Steak in Madeira Sauce with Risotto

For the steak

  • 2 beef fillet steaks
  • 250 mls Madeira wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 250 mls beef stock
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

For the risotto

  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice
  • Large knob butter
  • Olive oil
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 8 chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 small squash, diced
  • 3 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 500 mls vegetable stock
  • Handful of chives, chopped
  • Bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated


First prepare the risotto. Heat the oven to 180 Centigrade. Place the squash on a baking tray and drizzle over olive oil, season well.


Cook for about 15 mins until the pieces are starting to brown around the edges.

Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Add the shallot and cook gently until it turns translucent but isn’t browning. Add the rice and combine so that all the grains are coated in oils and cook for a minute or two. Pour in the wine and stir a few times.


Allow the rice to absorb the wine. Continue stirring, adding the stock a bit at a time.


Meanwhile start preparing the sauce (jus, gravy) for the steak. Very easy – cook the onion and garlic in a small saucepan.


Add the madeira and the stock. Leave to simmer so that it starts reducing.

Back to the risotto (which somehow you’ve managed to keep stirring while making the sauce) – add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Then add the pumpkin and stir in.


Now add the herbage and the cheese. Stir.


Put some additional knobs of butter on top, turn off the heat, cover and leave.


It’s steak time. Get your oiled and seasoned steaks and fry on a hot griddle for a couple of minutes each side (or less if you like it really rare).


Pop the steaks in the pan with the sauce to allow it to absorb some of the colour and flavour.


To plate up place a large spoonful of risotto into a large-rimmed pasta bowl. Slice one of the steaks into three and lay on top of the risotto. Using a sieve, strain the sauce and then drizzle over the steak and around the risotto. Garnish and serve.


What you have a here is a bowl of rich, flavoursome goodness. And it’s a perfect way to start the ‘Eat what you like diet’.

35 thoughts on “Fillet Steak in Madeira Sauce with Risotto – the ‘eat-what-you-like-it-makes-no-difference’ diet!

  1. Loved and laughed at your reasoning!! Still laughing.
    And I can’t make risotto. It seems so easy, but mine never turns out.
    . . .still laughing!

  2. I’m of an age where I know enough “healthy” people who are dead – ate all the right foods, ran their butts off, vitamins, supplements, all kinds of Zen stuff & they’re still dead. When it’s your time, it’s your time so I say eat, drink & be merry. Wine is scientifically proven to prevent heart attacks (this wino scientist I know said so).
    Now that looks like a steak & meal to remember & repeat.

    • Absolutely – and that’s why I love risotto – it’s cooking with wine in every sense because it takes so long you can down the wine and add it at the same time

  3. Who would have thought that speaking English was hazardous to one’s health? I would actually have attributed the higher numbers of cardiac arrest in the US to the fact that we do not have a national health care system . . . but then again you do have that in Britain . . . You’re right: it must be the language 🙂

    And I would totally eat this in a heartbeat!

    • What’s funny (sic) about the NHS is that it isn’t free at all. We pay 10% of our income as ‘National Insurance’ so we don’t pay 30p or 40p in the pound in tax – we pay 40p or 50p. And then they spend the extra on helping meth addicts rather than looking after old dears properly, I apologise for my political rantage. Yes the steak was good if just a teeny weeny bit over done!

  4. Sold! I’ve been saying the same thing for years – although I’ve a medical looming and I’ll see how I feel after that….

    Very mice dish though – I could really go for steak this evening, but we have guests and I’m not THAT hospitable 😉

  5. I’m going to learn a new language 🙂
    I’m in London tonight and fly home tomorrow. At last the weather is nice. I’m drinking cup a soup as I get over my Salisbury food poisoning experience.

    • Yes this morning it started off the way its been for the past few weeks but today it finally gave up and cleared. And thank God for that because the kids are in the park playing football which means I can sit here writing this, drinking wine! Good luck in London. Hope you’re staying in a Hilton or something and not some dodgy ‘traditional’ British hotel a la Basil Fawltey!

      • I’m in The Cavendish on Jermym Street. Very boutique. I’ve recovered from the Salisbury food poisoning so I hope to eat something today before flying out v

  6. Oh how I wish I’d been invited to this dinner! How amazingly flavorful that appears to be. My mouth is watering just looking at the gorgeous photos. I am 100% onboard your new ‘eat what you like diet’ if this is what we’re facing! Y-U-M!!!

    • Yes it’s my new concept. I mean if Professor Atkins can persuade people that eating fat and meat and all that can help you lose weight then why can’t I persuade people that sticking some carbs in too is just fine!?!?

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