A delicious fortifying light snack, after a long day


Thin slices of steak on buttered toast with mustard

My father was a keen racing man, and as a steward of the Hong Kong Jockey Club for more than a decade, he did most of his entertaining in his race box. On race day Saturday, there were usually 3 tables set for 12, with lunch, cooked by the chefs from the Jockey Club’s fine restaurant. The box had a fully stocked bar and the drinks flowed freely. In the afternoon tea and cakes were served, slightly less formally. The guests comprised friends, family, my father’s associates and clients, and the odd visiting fireman. A great time was usually had by all. By the time we got home at eight, we all felt stuffed and exhausted. On race days evenings it became routine for Ah Lee to make steak on toast for us, which he brought to us in the sitting room; delicious enough to tempt us into a final snack before bed, perhaps washed down with a cold beer.

Guests in our box at Happy Valley Racecource 1968. My late godfather Peter U to the right and his wife Siu on the left.




It is essential that the steak should be sliced wafer thin so that you can bite through it easily. At least the day before, a whole piece of beef must be frozen: I prefer rib eye, but Ah Lee would have used sirloin, and you can also use fillet. You need perhaps 500g for six pieces of toast.

3 hours before serving remove the meat from the fridge and let it thaw. Obviously the time you need depends on the size of your joint and the temperature of your kitchen.


Slicing the beef

Start checking your meat after one hour, but it might take as many as three until it is thawed enough to slice. You need a large freshly sharpened knife. In order to cut thin slices, the beef must be firm enough to hold its shape so you can do this. If you slice too early it will be hard for your knife to cut through. At the right stage it is easy to cut whole slices about two millimetres or so thick. As you progress the colder inside of the joint softens, so you can slice that easily as you reach it. If the beef is too hard your knife is prone to slip, and you run the risk of cutting your fingers, so you must be careful! It is easier to stop slicing when the remaining beef is about three quarters of an inch thick as it becomes difficult to hold. You can cook this piece as a steak. (If you are doing this you will need a correspondingly larger piece of beef for slicing).

Steak slices. The above amount generously covered two pieces of toast as pictured at the top.


If you are just cooking for yourself or a few others, you can fry the steak slices over a moderate heat in a frying pan with butter. Lay the steak out evenly in a hot pan, season with a little salt and pepper and turn after 4 minutes. Your steak slices should be nicely browned. Cook for a further couple of minutes. Meanwhile make your toast and butter it. Lay the steak slices on the toast and serve with mustard. Cooking time 6 minutes.
For larger groups, you can lightly butter as many baking trays as you need and lay the seasoned steak slices neatly without over lapping. Cook in a hot oven 220 c for about 15-20 minutes or until cooked.