Shaken but not stirred

Our food columnist, chef proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala and former chef presenter for BBC’s Ready Steady Cook…Steven Saunders is given a licence to kill!

LAST UPDATED: 28 Jul, 2015 @ 09:13

flowerpower-beefIN the early nineties, about 1991, The Pink Geranium (the original Geranium restaurant) welcomed Pierce Brosnan through its doors.  

This was actually before he was 007 but he was still a well known actor from the TV series Remington Steele and various films. He was very interested in the architecture of The Pink Geranium and asked about its history.

So I sat with him afterwards and his wife at the time – Cassandra Harris (who tragically later died of ovarian cancer) – told me that she had put Pierce forward to be the next James Bond using one of her connections (she had appeared in ‘For your eyes only’).

So what did the next James Bond love to eat, I asked her.  And she replied in her soft Australian accent, ‘he just loved your beef fillet with the yellow spaghetti’.

‘Yellow spaghetti?’  They were actually yellow onions I replied.

‘So where in the world do you get yellow onions?’ she asked.

‘We don’t, I make them yellow by adding saffron and a whole lot of other flavours to give the beef a twist’.

‘Bizarre’, she said, ‘but lovely’.

So here it is, my beef dish straight from The Little Geranium Menu in La Cala, one of James Bond 007´s favourites with yellow spaghetti!?  shaken a bit but definitely not stirred!

Ingredients for 4

For the onions

2 large white (sweet) Spanish onions

1 good pinch of fresh saffron (you can find other yellow alternatives in Spain made from natural spices which are cheaper but not as lovely)

2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar

1 glass of white wine

2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar ( or 1 of honey)

100 grm of butter

A small sprig of fresh thyme

A small sprig of fresh rosemary

Maldon salt

White pepper

For the beef

4 x 300grm pieces of good beef fillet

150 grm of salted butter

Sprig of fresh rosemary

2 cloves garlic very finely chopped

2 tablespoons of good olive oil

Maldon salt and black pepper

Fresh green herbs such as coriander, basil and thyme


First make the onions by heating the wine and vinegar together in a saucepan and adding the saffron and let it fuse in to colour the liquid. Once you have a yellow colour, add the sliced onions and then the sugar – stir (not shake!) – and add the herbs. Cook on a moderate heat stirring regularly until the onions are soft and tender and totally yellow. (20 minutes) Now add the butter and stir in. Finally taste and season with salt and white pepper.

Put the onions to the side and focus on this lovely beef. Season well with salt and pepper and heat the olive oil in a small saucepan, then add the chopped garlic allowing it to cook and soften but not fry or colour. Place the beef on a very hot BBQ grill or frying pan and brush some of the garlic oil over. As the beef seals and colours, add a little knob of butter and the thyme and allow the butter to melt into the beef, now add more garlic oil and again allow to melt into the beef while it is cooking.  Cook on both sides, repeating the process until medium rare.

Try to get it quite black on the outside but rare in the middle. Allow the beef to rest for a few minutes, top each piece with the saffron onions and sprinkle liberally with fresh herbs and serve immediately.  In the Little Geranium we serve the herbs around each piece of beef and then pour around a little red wine jus made from beef bones.  You can get the same effect by making a red wine sauce from gravy granules and adding lots of red wine and herbs to strengthen the flavour. Serve the sauce separately in a small jug.

Enjoy this special recipe for a very special agent!


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