Saturday, 29 March 2014

Chinesed up leftover Portuguese Pork

There is no way to give this a definitive name... it is simply a delicious, fast recipe to use up the other half of the Portuguese Roast Pork - or any other left over roast meat. 

I sliced up the pork, and popped it in a bowl with some sliced garlic and a couple of slugs of hoisin sauce. Then stirfried some sliced carrots , sliced celery, slivered sweet onions, slivered fresh ginger  and sliced red peppers, added some ready cooked udon noodles and oyster sauce. That topped some boiled rice, and then the pork was heated up in the same wok until it was hot and sizzly. Pour it over the top of the veggies,  add some coriander and then straight down my throat....dinner in the time it took the rice to cook.

Portuguese Style Roast Pork with a Citrus Marinade

Such a long time since I cooked this, but it is so good cold as well as hot, perfect now the days are getting warmer and we will be eating more salads.

The recipe for this comes from a brilliant book of Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Patuleia Ortins that I have had for a long time, this and some other pork and beef roast recipes are delicious in their use of citrus juice, wine and vinegar as a marinade.

For this, I took the rind of a small pork loin joint, popped it fat side down in a small roasting tray, and rubbed it all over with garlic paste and a little salt - either ready made or just pound a couple of cloves with salt in a mortar and use the resulting paste. Then pour over the juice of an orange and a lemon, about half a wine glass of wine or sherry and a good glug of wine vinegar. Put this in the fridge to marinate for a couple of hours.

When it is ready to cook, top with a chopped tomato (or several cherry tomatoes, whatever you have to hand) and dot all over with butter.

Roast in a hot oven for normal pork cooking time of 25 mins per pound or until juices run pale pink or clear with you test it with a skewer.  Let it rest for a few minutes whilst you deglaze the pan with a little water (I used some of the water from cooking the rice), and then serve cut in thick slices with rice and a salad.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Quesadilla for a quick lunch..

One left over tortilla. A spoonful of leftover peppers and onions from the fajitas. Same amount of guacamole.  Nice sprinkle of Emmental cheese. Bit of home made ricotta. Slurp of yoghurt soured cream..

Quesadilla para el almuerzo :) 

Texicana week! Chicken Fajitas and Chile con Carne

I was so lucky to have some samples of proper Mexican spices, sauces and chili powders sent to me from La CosteƱa

but I realised I hadn't cooked TexMex for a long long time, let alone proper Mexican dishes -- they are different in lots of ways, most of the things we think of as Mexican (unless from a proper Mexican restaurant) are really TexMex.

So I kicked off the Texicana with chicken fajitas - which would properly be made with steak I believe - and an old favourite chili con carne. (Recipes on the way on A Greedy Piglet. Link should be live in a day or so )

Chicken Fajitas:


Open so you can see what is in there..... LOTS of stuff! There's chicken, and sweet peppers, and onions, and guacamole, and freshly soured cream, and home made ricotta and tomatillo salsa... oh it is good....

Chili con carne:

Now to a true Texas chilihead, this is doubtless a travesty... it transgresses most (if not all) of the rules for a proper Texican Chili Cook Off... in particular, it has beans and it has minced beef. The tomatoes are controversial too. in fact, there is a HUGE amount of nitpicking about chili.. or chile... or chilli ... this will give you a taste of what I mean.

But come on, if you were a student from about 1970 on, this is going to be so familiar... and it still tastes as delicious now as it did then.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Beef and Paprika Stew with more of Those Dumplings...

Lovely lovely dumplings.. winter food do you say?  Not for a lovely Spring evening like yesterday?

Oh go on... you know you want to......

Friday, 7 March 2014

Sausage Patties and Kale

It's really hard this dinner. Sausage patties.. sausage meat, cut straight from the roll, patted in a bit of flour (hence the name pattie I reckon) and fried until all golden and crispy and sausagey. Nice green kale, slinky smooth mashed potato and some mustard gravy.

Ah... gravy. I don't like packet gravy, but sausage patties don't give me any juices. So here is my patent short cut gravy for sausages.

Rough Methodology:

In the pan that you have cooked the sausages in (pop them in the oven for the moment to keep warm) shake a little flour - with the patties it will use up the last of the flour you have patted them in - into the residual fat, stir it round to make a roux, Add some water from either the potatoes or the greens, a bit of cider or wine if you have some around, and stir until nice and smooth. Add a good slug of Worcester Sauce, a shake of chicken stock powder (Essential Cuisine is the best IMHO) and a heaped teaspoon of grainy mustard. A little bit of gravy browning improves the colour I think.

Pour all over dinner. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Beef in Cider with Dripping Dumplings

Stew... mmmm... Stew in cider ... double mmmmm... you just make normal stew, in your normal way, but replace half of the liquid with medium cider, preferably the cloudy sort.

I really like feather steak when I can get it, it has a seam of cartilege running down the middle, that cooks into the gravy giving it lots of flavour and body. If you can't get feather, then use any braising or shin of beef, and cook it gently for about 4 hours with some carrots and celery for lots of flavour.

Stew of course needs dumplings. Dumplings normally need suet. But when the shops are shut and you find the suet in the cupboard is very manky indeed, you get to thinking what you can use instead.

Butter would be both too soft and too rich. I could have used lard I guess, but suet is a very hard almost crystalline fat.

Dripping (the shop bought refined kind) is also very hard fat.

Grating fresh suet was the old fashioned way to use it.

Dripping can be grated... I asked on Twitter and Facebook if it would work.. have a go! people said.

I did . It did. It is better than suet!

Way to go me.

Dripping Dumplings for 2 greedy people or 4 ordinary ones.

  • 100g plain flour + one good teaspoon baking powder, or Self raising flour + extra quarter tsp baking powder
  • 50g refined dripping grated into the flour (or you can use packaged suet if you have some to use up before it goes manky)
  • Salt and pepper, herbs to taste - I used a good shake of thyme, and some chopped parsley
  • Cold water to mix. 

Mix the dripping, flour, baking powder,  seasoning and herbs  together in a bowl. Add water gradually , mixing lightly with a knife until the mixture comes together into a soft dough. Don't overmix, you are looking for a soft dough that just holds its shape, but incorporates all the flour.

Have the stew ready at a gentle boil (if you are cooking on the hob, or in a casserole dish you can't put directly onto the heat, you can strain the gravy from the stew into a saucepan and make the dumplings in that to ensure that the meat doesn't scorch then pop it all back into the stew afterwards), and drop the dumpling mix in by the spoonful, don't roll into balls, you will compress the mixture and make it heavy.  Cover the pan or the stew casserole, and either bring the heat down to a gentle simmer, or put the casserole back into the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes without taking the lid off (or you will lose the steam) and then check the dumplings by putting a knife into one and pulling it slightly apart so you can see that the middle is properly cooked.

You can serve now, or you can give it another 15 minutes in the oven to get a lightly crusty top on the dumplings. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Half an Itty Bitty Chicken

I love a little poussin.

Cut it down the back and flatten firmly over the breast so that it looks like a little frog. Roast with a bit of smoked paprika and some oregano, with crispy potatoes cooked alongside, and a poussin will only take around three quarters of an hour tops, and will be crispy yet light and tender.  I then cut it down the centre of the breast to serve two people with one poussin, but if you are hungry, then have one each!

Smoked Haddock with Cheese and Parsley Sauce...

I love smoked haddock. In a quiche, in kedgeree, or just plainly poached, with a delicious pool of cheesy parsley sauce. 

The trick is to keep the poaching water under a boil at all times, it should just steam and shiver.