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



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.

Shoots of Spring

This time of year sees the homegrown crop of asparagus hit the shelves.

Usually asparagus just gets a quick steam or boil, a knob of butter and served as an accompanimaent. Leftovers tend to end up in an omelete or salad.

However of late, I’ve been cooking and eating asparagus as a dish in it’s own right as a quick and tasty snack

  • 1x bunch of asparagus (12 spears)
  • Parmesan
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Couple grinds of salt & pepper

Trim the bottom 2cm or so off each spear as it tends to be a bit woody. Peel the bottom third of each stalk to remove any tough skin.

Blanch the spears in boiling water for no more than 1 minute then cool rapidly in cold water, iced water is good.

Pat dry and preheat the oven to 200C.

Arrange the spears in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Shave strips of parmesan and lay on top of the asparagus.


Pop into the oven for 5-10 mins until the cheese has melted.

Serve immediately.

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.