Porky Al Forno

A slight variation on the caulifornication recipe making the al forno dish more of a side-dish.

  • 1x leek
  • 1x carrot
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1x clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2x new potatoes
  • breadcrumb and parmesan mix

This first stage can be done in advance. The carrot and potato were left over but basically cook both until just on the soft side of al dente. Slice and boil the leek for three minutes then strain and cool with cold water. Once cold, pat dry. Slice the potato. Melt a knob of butter and a splash of oil in a frying pan. Chop the garlic and fry gently until soft. Do not allow to brown. Add the leeks, potato and carrot and fry for about five minutes. Add the cream and the mustard and stir well. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish, allow to cool if preparing in advance, and cover tightly with foil.

The veg was put in the fridge until needed the next day. I also prepared the pork chop as follows:

  • 1x pork chop (approx. 200g/ 1in thick, bone in)
  • 1x clove garlic
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4tbsp light soy sauce
  • black pepper

Put all the ingredients into a re-sealable freezer bag. Score the pork chop in a diamond pattern and place in the bag with the marinade. Massage gently and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

When it’s tea time, preheat the oven to 200C and put the veg into the oven for 25 mins.

After 25 mins, heat up some butter and oil in a pan and seal the pork chop on all sides. Transfer to an oven tray and place in the oven for 10 mins. Take the veg out and uncover. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese and put back into the oven for about 5 mins until the top is browned and the cheese has melted.

Check the chop is cooked through and serve

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Caulifornication

Please excuse the pun. I’m tired and I can’t think of anything else right now.

I was looking for an accompaniment to some plain old roast chicken and had a cauliflower and a leek in the cupboard so I adapted a potato and leek al forno recipe. The resulting dish, however would probably serve as a main dish on it’s own (vegetarian if you omit the lardons)

  • Half a cauliflower, broken up into florets
  • 1x leek
  • 2tsp turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 rashers of thick cut smoky bacon (optional if vegetarian)
  • 500ml double cream
  • 2 slices stale bread
  • grated parmesan

I blanched the cauliflower florets in boiling water and turmeric for about 5 mins then cooled them rapidly under the cold tap. When cooled, slice thickly.  The leek was sliced, blanched for 3 mins and drained.

Meanwhile the anchovy fillets and the garlic were chopped and heated in the pan until the garlic had softened. Then add the bacon chopped into small pieces if using. Cook until the lardons are starting to get a bit crispy then add the leeks and sliced cauliflower florets. Cook covered for a further 5 mins on a medium heat. Add the creams, stir, and cover tightly with foil. Place in a hot oven (200C) for 30 mins.

After half an hour, remove from the oven, uncover and sprinkle the parmesan and the bread (crumbed in the food processor) over the top. Return to the oven for 10 mins or until the top is browned.

I served it up with roast chicken and pickled carrots. The carrots were dead easy and took about 5 mins to prepare: Add 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar, one cup of water, 1 tsp salt and 3 tsps. sugar to a pan. Bring to boil so salt and sugar are dissolved. Using a peeler, cut a couple of carrots into ribbons and place in a bowl with dill and garlic. Pour the vinegar over the carrots and allow to cool. When cold, discard the liquor, dill and garlic and serve.

Pork’n’Beans

 

Usually pork’n’beans is a throw-together, last minute sort of a meal. Due to some sort of a mix up with the shopping we had a surfeit of baby plum tomatoes so I looked in the cupboard to see what was lurking in there that could be used with the tomatoes as I was getting a bit bored of salad. And salsa.

In the back of the cupboard was a tin of cannellini beans so, along with a few other bits and pieces, I had a go at baked beans.

For the beans

  • 1x 250g punnet of baby plum tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 3x cloves garlic
  • bunch of spring onions
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1x 400g cannellini beans

Chop the onion and quarter all the tomatoes. Finely chop the garlic and soften the onion and garlic in a knob of butter and a splash of oil in a saucepan. Add the paprika after 5 mins and continue to cook over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes (skin, pips and all) and the tomato puree. Bring to the boil, cover and cook on a low heat for about an hour. Rinse the beans well and add them to the sauce and set aside.

Pork’n’beans

The beans were allowed to cool overnight. Two rashers of belly pork were put in an earthenware dish, seasoned and covered. They were slow cooked at 160C for three hours or until most of the fat has rendered down and the skin has crisped up (you may wish to uncover the chops for the last half hour and cook at 200C). The pork was drained and patted dry. In another dish, the cold beans were spread over the bottom and the pork placed on top. This was then put into the oven at 200C for as long as it takes to make a rich buttery mashed potato. About 25 mins.

I didn’t bother (I was too hungry to wait any longer) but you could serve with cabbage, or broccoli. I just served the pork’n’beans with mash. There were no leftovers.

Chicken Espagnolish

Home alone this weekend so after chores and shopping I set about getting dinner ready. 

Three skin-on, bone in chicken thighs were dusted with Ras El Hanout and roasted at 190C for 25 mins and allowed to drain and cool. 

I quartered a out 10s of chorizo and sliced it up along with two onions, a clove of garlic and four plum tomatoes. 

When the chicken had cooled I boned and chopped it up. Then set about the rest of the chores. 

When it was time to cook I heated a frying pan and heated the chorizo to release the oil. The chorizo was removed and the onions and garlic softened in the oil for about 20mins. I then added the tomatoes and the chorizo to the pan and cooked them gently until the tomatoes disintegrated. Finally the chicken was stirred in and heated through (about 10mins).

Served with plain brown rice and a good rioja!


Needed chopped parsley

Curried Veggies with Paneer

We’re off on holiday to France on Saturday so this week is a week of using up the odds and sods in the fridge.

I had a few pints of milk in the fridge so last night I made fresh paneer.

Here you go:

  • 4 red onions (sliced)
  • 4 mushrooms (rough chopped)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 1tsp chopped garlic
  • 1tsp chopped ginger

All of the above are cooked together for about 10 mins.

  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2tsp turmeric
  • 1/2tsp ground coriander
  • 250g cubed paneer

Add the spices and cook for a minute.


Then add the cheese.

  • Spinach
  • 1/4tsp garam masala
  • 1/4tsp ground fenugreek
  • 150ml double cream

Add the above and pop a lid on until the spinach has wilted. The spinach puts a fair bit of liquid into the sauce so you may want to cook it separately and add it in at the end.


Served with brown rice steamed in lime juice. Also great in a pitta/flatbread with fresh coriander and yoghurt.

Chickeny Tomatoey Thingummy

Not really sure what dish this is but it’s damn tasty. At the weekend the freezer went on the fritz so I was left with a load of chicken thighs that needed cooking. Grabbing what was to hand I had the following:

  • 6 boned and skinned chicken thighs 
  • An onion
  • A red pepper
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1tsp dried tarragon
  • Oil

The onion and garlic were chopped and fried until soft. I added the diced pepper and the chicken and put a lid on the pan. After about 20mins I added the chopped tomatoes and the tarragon, replaced the lid and cooked the ‘stew’ for about 10 mins then took the lid off to evaporate some of the liquid. 

Before serving I added a tablespoon of butter to thicken the sauce and added a few twists of salt and pepper to taste. The tomatoey chicken was served with roast potatoes 

Flemish Fromage

Chicory, or endive, why did I buy it? Oh yeah, it was reduced because it was close to it’s ‘Best Before’ date. That was 2 weeks ago. I found 4 stems in the salad drawer in the bottom of the fridge. After a few discarded outer leaves and 10 mins in iced water, they were fine.

Serves 2, generously
  • 4 chicory (endive) heads
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 pint chicken stock
  • 150g cream cheese
  • 150ml fromage frais
  • 150g grated cheese

I quartered the chicory lengthways and sat them in two dishes on sliced red onions, garlic and fresh thyme. I poured over half a pint of chicken stock and put a tight fitting foil lid on. They were braised for about 40 mins at 190C. After draining and patting dry they were put back into the dishes with the onions and garlic, covered with ham and blanketed in a cheese sauce. The sauce was 150g of cream cheese, 150ml of fromage frais and a splash of milk beaten to a smooth consistency. 150g of grated cheddar and gouda was sprinkled on top and they were both grilled for about 15mins until golden and bubbling. Served up with crusty bread. Next time I’ll try with Little Gem lettuce

Aromatic Yoghurt and Chicken

I wasn’t sure what to have for dinner tonight so last night I cobbled a marinade together and left it to develop overnight whilst some chicken thighs were defrosting.

To make the marinade I took 2tsp coriander seeds, 2tsp fennel seeds, 2tsp cumin seeds and 2tsp black peppercorns. I toasted them in a dry pan before grinding them to a fine powder with a pestle and mortar. Then I took a green chilli snd a couple of garlic cloves and a good pinch of salt. These were puréed in the mortar and added to the ground spices. This mix was storred into sbout 250ml of plain yoghurt and left overnight in yhe fridge.

This morning I added the chicken thighs and left them in the fridge all day.

This evening I put 2 onions, sliced thickly, and about s dozen cherry tomatoes in a casserole. The yoghurty chicken was put on top, the lid put on and placed into an oven at 180C for about an hour.

Whilst it was in the oven I boiled some Basmati rice and fried a bunch of spring onions to use as a garnish. I also roasted a squash and a red and a yellow pepper to have as a side vegetable.

+++ UPDATE +++

Although the finished plate of food tasted delicious, it needed something else. Something green. Spinach perhaps.

Baked Langoustines

I made these some time ago and they were deeelish, especially with some warm crusty bread. I’ve also discovered how to do lists and that so here goes…

For two generous portions you will need:

  • 12-18 langoustines depending on size
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 50g of flaked almonds
  • 2 lemons
  • Olive oil

Heat oven to 200C. Slice lemons and arrange half in a single layer in a roasting tin. Wash langoustines in cold water, pat dry and arrange in single layer on top of lemons. Thinly slice the garlic, remove leaves from rosemary and add to almond slices in a bowl. Add oil until you get a good coating on everything. Scatter over the langoustines and drizzle the remaining oil over.

Chop the remaining slices of lemon and dot around the tray. Place in a hot oven for about 10-15 mins. Enjoy!


Keep the shells for a seafood bisque and the heads and claws for stock

Slow Roast Lamb

I thought I’d kick off this thing with today’s dinner.

I started off with a whole leg of lamb, about 2kg. The meat was scored with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern to the depth of about half an inch. Into this was rubbed a cheesey herb mix which comprised: 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 2tsps garlic (about 6 medium cloves), about 15g finely grated Parmesan and the same of pine nuts. This was blitzed in a mini chopper until it was finely chopped and thoroughly mixed. The mix was then transferred to a bowl and a good glug of olive oil added along with black pepper, and mixed to form a thick paste.

Once this paste has been rubbed into the meat, the leg was placed in a roasting tin surrounded by 250ml of water and tightly wrapped in foil and left overnight to infuse.

lamb_rawAbout 5 hours before you wish to eat, preheat the oven to 160C (320F) then place lamb in oven for 3 hours min (until tender). After that, uncover meat and drain, keeping the juices. Return the lamb to the oven for 10-15 mins to brown and crisp. Take out of the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 mins. In the meantime, skim off any fat from the juices, bring to boil and thicken with cornflour (about 1tsp dissolved in cold water). Carve lamb (or pull apart, which is more likely) and serve with whatever veg/spuds you fancy. Mash with caremelised onions is good.