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Steak Diane

It is my Annual Spinster’s Day.  Coooeeeeeee what a day!  Two years of singledom was celebrated in style by taking a day off work and forgetting about all and every responsibility.  Just bibbling around doing whatever took my fancy and not feeling guilty, worrying about anything or being drawn into doing something worthwhile or important.  Just “golden time” stuff.

So when I woke up about 6am I decided to watch Diana Dors in “Miss Tulip Spends the Night” in bed on my computer.  I’m beginning to get obsessed by this particular outfit with it’s double sleeve detail…

When I got my act together to get out of bed I went to Banners for a Margarita Breakfast (my number one favourite thing to do).  I DID feel some twinges of guilt that I was having such a thing without Charlie but I fought it off.  I particularly liked the fact that when I ordered a Margarita, the waiter checked his watch…. It was 11.05 am.  I said, “Is it too early?” he said, “oh NO , not at all”.  This is the kind of service I like.  When I had finished (about noon) the waitress asked me if I’d like another Margarita.  You can’t beat Banners!  NB: for anyone who might be reading this in Texas – having a Margarita  with your breakfast is NOT something most English eating establishments would countenance.  In England they usually look at you ASKANCE and that is enough to make you realise it just isn’t cricket to have booze with breakfast.

Texas Margarita

I spent the rest of the mid part of the day mooching around Crouch End and Muswell Hill window shopping, picking things up, thinking about buying them, then putting them down again.  My resolve was quite impressive.  I also read the whole of SWINGIN DORS – Diana Dors’ memoirs – whilst drinking swank coffee in swank coffee shops.  Shulah, there was some good stuff in those memoirs.  When I popped into Flashback Records and happened upon a copy of “Lady Godiva Rides Again” I snapped it up.  I’d never heard about it before reading the Diana Dors memoirs but I figured it was a sign that they had a copy just sitting there waiting for me to buy it at £3.99.

It’s traditional for Annual Spinster’s Day to go to a movie in the afternoon so I trotted off to my local cinema (lucky me, I still have one) to see whatever film was up next (there are 4 screens) and it happened to be “One Day” – so be it.  I’d read the book for my book group and hadn’t been mad about it but it was a Russian Roulette situation, I’d have to wait an hour and a half to see “Friends With Benefits” so I went for it.

I bawled my eyes out.  I’d forgotten until the minute it started that it had an unhappy ending so worried through the first 10 minutes about not having any tissues in my handbag, I knew there would be tears.  I rarely see any film that postdates “Gone With the Wind” (Diana Dors films excepted) and to be honest, I think the last time I went to the cinema was on last year’s Annual Spinster’s Day outing to the cinema when I saw “Tamara Drewe”.

Oh Lord how the guy playing Dex reminded me of an ex.  I was fighting off the tears from VERY early on.  It was a few years of my life condensed into a couple of hours.  Being in love with someone, them being a jerk, you forgiving them and then EEK!  Something REALLY bad happens.  They sure had the on-screen chemistry.  I believed it – which is rare.  Despite my cynicism about an American actress playing an English part and some inbuilt resistance to romance movies I have to admit, I really enjoyed it.  But trying not to cry for 2 and a bit hours sure gave me a headache.

So I came home, opened a bottle of wine (normal rules about “no drinking alone in the Palace of Solitude” do not apply on Annual Spinster’s Day) and made Vincent’s Steak Diane,  It was utterly delicious and I ate it watching “Lady Godiva Rides Again” which was a total surprise.  I expected it to be terrible (why, I don’t know) but it was TERRIFIC.  I laughed out loud 6 or 7 times.  Definitely one to keep on the shelf.

The star was Pauline Stroud who I have never seen in anything before – here she is with La Dors:

It’s hard to tell from the photo above but if Diana Dors is the English Marilyn Monroe, then Pauline Sroud is definitely the English Ruby Keeler…

Oh, and the steak was delicious – naturally. because I followed Vincent’s recipe to the letter…

Recipe from: A Treasury of Great Recipes.  I will have more to say about The Whitehall Club, where Vincent obtained this recipe, when I can find my reading glasses.  Suffice to say, for now, that when Vincent visited, this steak dish “prepared at table” was $6.50.  I’ll have to do some advanced mathematics to work out what that is in today’s money but let’s just say from a quick scan of the menu printed in The Treasury in the wrong spectacles, it looks like this was pretty much the most expensive thing there apart from Steak Au Poivre Flambe a la Cognac – which I might have tomorrow!

PS – using the Measuring Worth site – it looks as though this steak would have been about $36 in today’s prices.  About £23.  I think my nice sirloin cost me about £7 for two steaks so the whole meal including wine was less than a tenner.  I am SO FRUGAL – ha ha!

About Jenny Hammerton

I am a film archivist living in London, making film star fodder and writing about movie stars and their recipes in my spare time. My main website is at - over there I record my attempts to cook the favourite dishes of the greatest film stars of Hollywood's Golden Era - 10 years of nonsense and counting!

3 responses to “Steak Diane

  1. Looks like you had a fabulous day. I’m just watching Theatre of Blood. I’m thinking of recommending it to all my students as an introduction to Shakespeare. Does the Big V have a recipe for the pie? Still have to make the walnut loaf thing – have been a bit busy lately but it’s on my list and I’ll ‘feed back’ (ha ha) soon.

  2. Lauren

    Steak Diane!!! How yum and how ’60s at the same time–especially with the tableside service. I love looking through the menus in A Treasury of Great Recipes and the menus my grandparents saved from their trips to Vegas. I want to take my money back in time! I could eat like a queen on about $10 a day.

    Glad you enjoyed your spinster’s day! 🙂

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