PERFECT POLPETTINE!

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PORK, LEMON AND THYME POLPETTINE

As Nigel Slater describes them in his Kitchen Diaries 1 – ‘a meatball to beat them all!’

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This is one of my favourite supper dishes of the meat variety. Perfect served with noodles.

Please give these a go. You will be so glad you did!

INGREDIENTS

70gm white breadcrumbs

500 gm pork mince

A lemon

Parsley leaves – large handful

Several sprigs of fresh thyme

2 heaped tbsp of grated parmesan

A little flour

Optional – 5 anchovy fillets

Olive oil

40 gm butter

200 ml chicken stock

METHOD

Pop the mince and breadcrumbs into a large mixing bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon into the mixture then halve the lemon and squeeze in all the juice. Add chopped parsley leaves and the thyme stripped from their sprigs. Now add the parmesan – and the anchovy fillets chopped – or of not a good grind of sea salt. Now add several good grinds of black pepper.

Using a dessert spoon make about 18 small balls of the mixture. Sprinkle the flour on a board and add each meatball to it as you make them. 

Roll them lightly in the flour. Add the oil to a wok – or large frying pan. Fry the balls on a medium heat for about 4 or 5 minutes, until crispy golden. 

Lower the heat and let them cook through for about another 8 minutes. Try not to move them now.

Then spoon off most of the fat and add the hot chicken stock. Leave to bubble for 2 or 3 minutes.

I now added some finely shredded raw vegetables – bits I had left over – a few bits of broccoli, a couple of cabbage leaves, half a carrot. Whatever you fancy! Or you could leave them out too! Tis up to you. 

I also now added my lightly cooked noodles to the dish and stirred round gently to soak up the flavours.

Thank you again to Nigel Slater for this fab recipe idea. Magnifico!

And a Happy Birthday to him for April 10th!

 

Cumin roasted and fried squash, potatoes and cannellini beans…

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Cumin roasted and fried squash, potatoes and cannellini beans...

I reckon this is a dish I could eat a lot of, and on its own. It is a mouthful to say and indeed a mouthful to eat! And a fine mouthful at that.

I had a butternut squash but wanted to experiment rather than just roast it straight. I peeled the beast, cut it into rings then halved the pieces. I then cut about 8 baby new potatoes in half.

I gurzled – new word I just made up (and I like it!) – some olive oil into a roasting tin and scattered over 2 tablespoons of cumin seeds . I popped this into a hot oven – 200c- for about 10 minutes, then added (carefully mind) the squash pieces and the potatoes. I then put the roasting tin back in the oven for around 40 minutes.

I had a loin of pork in the oven roasting satisfyingly away to itself on a bed of 4 halved long shallots and when it was ready I rescued the onions and put to one side.

Whilst the meat rested, I took out the squash and spuds and added it all to a large frying pan to which I added the shallots and a 400 gm tin of drained cannellini beans. Oh, and a little pinch of a garam masala mix. A little salt and pepper was duly ground over also and stirred gently for 5 minutes or so whilst everything got romantically aromatic.

The smell was divine. Rapturous. Roasting it first and then transferring it to finish off with the beans and shallots was a good move, if not economical on the washing up side of things!

Just for the sake of completing the circle – my main intention was after all to draw your attention to the fabulous squash dish – I added 125 gm of vegetable stock to the pork juices in the pan plus a tablespoon of crème fraîche and some black pepper.

The whole meal was one of my favourite Sunday spreads for a while.

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Belly Pork Pizza….tis the season to experiment!

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Belly Pork Pizza....tis the season to experiment!

Well, yes, odd I know, but I had to give it a go – and I didn’t get it quite right but I will next time – if there is one – which there may well be. I have read of places like Jamie Oliver’s Union Jack messing about with pizzas, topping them with English style food, and I know of the porchetta pizza which is topped with cooked slices of stuffed roast pork. Anyway, I sallied forth yester eve with my own version.

My kids loved them – especially my son who rolled his and sliced it into pizza pork rolls! I used ready made pizza bases as time was of the essence last night.

250 gm of stuffing
4 pizza bases
A little melted butter
Tbsp of finely chopped parsley
Mozzarrella
4 slices of belly pork
A small quantity of runny apple sauce
Fresh sage leaves
Black pepper

I brushed each pizza base with a little melted butter in which I had stirred some finely chopped garlic and parsley. I grilled 4 slices of seasoned belly pork til just done, then sliced each one; though next time I would slice them finer. I placed 4 pieces of mozzarella on each pizza and then added the sliced pork. i then dotted some crumbled stuffing around, followed by a drizzle of apple sauce over plus some chopped fresh sage.

A dash of black pepper then into the hot oven for 8 minutes.

Next time I would add more mozzarella.

They were fun to make and interesting. Worth giving a go and altering to your own tastes. Warning – very filling! Christmas experimentation over – now back to my shopping list – though why I bother I am not sure as I never stick to it!

Perfect perky pork….

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Perfect perky pork....

All I am doing this evening is just sharing my supper with you…and it was all down to just wonderfully old fashioned succulent pork belly sourced from a local farm – Parsonage Farm in Upton. Good meat needs little frills, no fancy sauces – just love and attention. I scored the skin then rubbed it with rock salt, black pepper and thyme. No oil this time and it worked a dream. Crisp crackling and the juiciest tenderest mouth drenchingly perfect pork. It had a blast at 180c for 30 mins then an hour at 180c, then I let it rest for a while. I served it with steamed shredded savoy cabbage and parmesan mash – plus the jus from the meat with a little stock added and some pepper and thyme.
I drank with it, a rather fabulous wine from southern France, called Pigassou. That is all you need to know. A very fine and rewarding Monday supper. A happy week to you all!

Late Summer Saturday Supper…enhanced by early Autumn apples!

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Late Summer Saturday Supper...enhanced by early autumn apples!

I wanted something not too heavy for supper last night and not too taxing after two late nights, so I went for something around
apples as I collected a whole basketful of them on an afternoon wander around the grounds.

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Obviously it had to be an apple sauce as I had some gorgeously perfect pork chops quietly ruminating in my fridge. I made the sauce first – 500 gm of apples peeled and cored, 20 gm castor sugar and 100 ml of water – all into a pan with a lid on a low heat until all had blended into a tangy toothsome concoction. I pan fried pork chops til golden with garlic cloves and black pepper. I also wanted something cooling, so plumped for a simple warm potato and red onion salad – using garlic mayonnaise. I steamed some broccoli and kale, taking it off in time to leave the broc with a bit of a bite. I have to say that it was a very satisfying supper – simple – cheap and bursting with flavours and textures – the apple sauce helped it all on its way – as did a very nice bottle of tempranillo thank you very much that had insinuated its way into my presence whilst cooking. I am easily tempted!

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Perfect Pork Tenderloin

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Spiced Pork Tenderloin in a Red Pepper Cream Sauce...

Spicy Pork Tenderloin in a Red Pepper Cream Sauce

I love this cut, and you will find other recipes using it on here. I often pan fry it and add cream for a quick dish, but last night I wanted something more mouth fizzingly filling. The result was, I have to say this, forgive me (often when I cook a dish I admit I like it or was happy with it) but this I absolutely adored. I mean, I sat there looking at the empty plate afterwards thinking – wow – that was an experience. I felt fulfilled in every sense. It hit every spot there is to hit. It happens only now and again that I cook a dish and I really, really am pleased with it – this was one. Often, I am left thinking – that was good – but….I could do this, I could have done that. It could be improved.

Last night,however, I felt, unlike Mr Jagger, that I had just got satisfaction – big time. Please have a go at this.

Ingredients for 4

Tablespoon each of cumin seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek.
A grind of pepper, a pinch of dried crushed red chilli
A pinch of dried thyme
A grind of sea salt
500 gm pork tenderloin cut into half inch or 7mm slices
2 small red onions finely chopped
Olive oil and a knob of butter
30 ml dry white wine
About 30 ml of chicken stock
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped up into smallish squares
150 ml of single cream
Bunch of fresh coriander chopped

Pop all the ingredients numbered 1-4 in a shallow dish and add the pork slices – with you hands get them all coated as much as possible.
In a small frying pan – add a little oilive oil and a little of the butter and fry the peppers and onions together gently until soft and the onions are starting to caramelise slightly – takes about 20 minutes.

In a sauté pan, add the remaining butter and a good splash of olive oil. Once it is hot add the pork – fry for about 5 minutes each side – then remove from the pan and put on a plate to rest.

Deglaze the pan with the white wine and then add the stock. Let it bubble for a while. Add the pork slices then the onion and pepper mix. Add the cream and leave to warm through for about 10 minutes on a gentle heat.You may want to add a little or less cream depending on your taste.

 It should now be looking simply glorious – like a Picasso or a Van Gogh! Swirls of colour! I served it with saffron basmati rice and at the last moment I add small windfalls of the fresh chopped coriander.

By the way, I use a ceramic rice cooker – it never fails – one of my best buys ever, made by Queensberry Hunt.

I hope if you ever get round to trying this dish you are as bowled over as I was. Go on…give it a go!

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Pork life….

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Pork life....

I was in a Blur sort of mood on the way to the shops late afternoon…Park Life had been on the radio and I had been happily singing along…so perhaps Blur influenced supper tonight…as I bought some super pork steaks.

I had had a bit of a blitz of a week and wanted something substantial but also zingingly different to my suppers during the week. So, I bought some mushrooms…and some perfect baby leeks that seemed to be winking at me. I slathered – what a wonderful word – the steaks in moutarde de meaux – probably the finest grain mustard you can buy and left them to get familiar. I took the mushrooms and popped a slice of unsalted butter in each cap, and sat them on a slice of the same in an oven proof dish. Then I spooned in some creamy St. Agur – one of my favourite blue cheeses. They went in the oven at 200c for 15 minutes. The steaks went into a hot frying pan of olive oil for 5 minutes whilst they seared, then the heat was turned down to a mid heat until the mushrooms were cooked. For the last 2 minutes I stirred in a couple of tablespoons of double cream. Alongside the shrooms and the mustardy creamy pork I served the baby leeks poached until still al dente.

It was a most satisfying Saturday supper.

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Just had to share this…pork loin at its best…

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Just had to share this...pork loin at its best...

Today’s late afternoon Sunday lunch was a gorgeous piece of Pork Loin from those fine folk at Parsonage farm. I served it with home made chip roasts, buttered spinach, haricots vert and a light jus..and the crackling was this side of heaven…..that is it – nothing more….nothing less – ’twas perfection on a plate.

Pan fried pork tenderloin with Puy lentils…

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Pan fried pork tenderloin with Puy lentils...

Lentils – I love them…my kids love them…we all love them…and Puy lentils are just so toothsomely moreish and retain a little bite even after cooking that is somehow magical. It’s a lentil love-in!

And I had a really stupendous piece of pork tenderloin that needed a good accompaniment – it was a marriage made, if not in heaven, well certainly in my kitchen!

Tenderloin is so versatile and almost as lean as chicken breast. We often have it sliced and pan fried with a pepper sauce – but tonight was Mr P.Lentil’s turn.

This is a dish i have mentioned on here before I am sure – but here it is again – it is a basic standby that could accompany anything – last time out it was with belly pork and sausages if I recall – but it is equally as good with ham shanks.

Anyway – let’s get on shall we – enough reminiscing!

Pre heat oven to 160c

You need for the lentils –

60 gm of lardons or cubed smoky bacon – or pancetta even
340 gm Puy lentils – or any green ones if not
Some chopped fresh rosemary but you’d be fine with dried
A large red onion chopped finely – or white if no reds handy!
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
800 ml of chicken stock
red wine vinegar
olive oil

I, as you know by now, have to fiddle – so I also added later on some chopped okra left over from the other night. It went v well!

Pan fry the onion and lardons in olive oil in a stock pot or large casserole. When the lardons start to colour add the garlic and rosemary. 2 more minutes should be fine – then rinse the lentils and add them to the pan.

Fry for one more minute to coat the lentils. They all need to get chummy. Add the stock – pop a lid on – bring to the boil. Into the oven for 1 hour.

I rolled the tenderloin of pork in cumin seeds, crushed black pepper, rock salt and chilli seed. Let it sit in this for at least an hour if poss.

Then slice it about into about half a centimetre slices – maybe a tad wider. Pan fry on a highish heat in olive oil for about 5 minutes per side.

Take out the lentils after an hour – please do check them tho on the way – they may, may need a little more water if they are drying up too much – they shouldn’t. They should absorb most of the liquid – not all. I transferred them to a large roasting dish, stirred in a tablespoon of red wine vinegar and a drizzle or two of good olive oil – and this time I stirred in a some pre cooked slices of Jersey Royal potatoes thinly sliced, plus some chopped pan fried okra.

I added the pork medallions to the dish and popped them back in the oven with some foil over – heat off – to let them all get to know each other even better. I also opened another bottle of mighty fine Shiraz /Petit Verdot.

Then it all arrived at the table and was purred over… then consumed with relish!

I was hoping some would be left over for lunch today…but it all
vamoosed! Hey ho!

Has the Spring Sprung?

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The view that greeted us when we arrived this morning at Parsonage Farm was pure idyll. Tiny lambs bleating their hearts out in the spring sun. It was a wonderful few hours, sampling all the local cheeses, hams, pies and drinks. Great craft stalls too…but I was there for the food and drink! Pete’s Pork Pies are always delicious – I bought some of his game pie and my friend bought the pork pie – home made hand raised pastry – meat from Parsonage Farm – all local, all fantastic. Pic below of the game pie –  it was devoured on our return in the garden along with some bottles of local cider to wash it down. (I’ve snaffled a piece away in a secret location for tomorrow…don’t tell anyone!)ImageA company called Gastro Nicks were selling food stuffs imported direct from Sicily and I succumbed to a block of pecorino and a nero d’avola salami. I cannot explain just how sublime the salami tasted!

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I spent some time admiring and sampling a variety of liqueurs. including Strawberry and Damson vodka, before eloping with a bottle of sloe gin….soooo good!

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Ended up in the butchery at the farm tracking down some phenomenal belly pork for supper tomorrow. Great fair, great people and super produce! Spring is definitely here…let’s hope summer is not too far behind!

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