Category Archives: pork

Griddled nectarine, coppa and gorgonzola salad (Serves: 1 – Preparation time: 10 minutes)

I have many fond childhood memories of summer holidays spent in Italy visiting my Aunt and Uncle. Many hours would be spent searching for the tortoises in my uncle’s vegetable patch between the most delicious al fresco lunches and suppers.  I think it was during these visits that I first encountered the delights of Italian cured meats and of course Gorgonzola.  Every day platters cheese, freshly sliced salami, Parma ham and Coppa  would be piled on a long trestle table along with bowls filled with slices of melon, tomato salads, bread and other delicious bits and bobs and we would eat to our heart’s content.

This salad recipe is a nod to those summer days in Italy.  For those of you that are less familiar with Coppa it is a type of salami made using the part of the loin of pork that is taken near the neck which is cured and marinated in red wine a garlic.  It is traditionally served raw, cut into thin slices though it can also be used as bacon in recipes.  You can find Coppa in most Italian delicatessens, however, if you aren’t able to find it then I would substitute with Serrano Ham.

This recipe is a lovely balance of flavours and textures which for me evokes the tastes of summer and is definitely one to try.  The recipe makes enough for 1 person, so multiply the ingredients as required.  Enjoy!

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Pork with apples and mushrooms served in a mustard sauce (Serves: 4 – Preparation time: 40 minutes)

It has been a miserable week in the UK weather-wise with public transport grinding to a halt in London yesterday morning after some dramatic thunderstorms. As a consequence I have been eating comfort food to get through this dreadful weather and am praying that summer is just around the corner…

The recipe below is for pork with apples and mushrooms served in a mustard sauce, is both comforting and affordable.  The flavour combinations are fairly traditional and are a nice balance of sweet, sharp and creamy.  This is a straightforward recipe and does take too long to prepare which makes it very achievable to make when you get home after work – to put it into context it takes roughly the same amount of time to make as it does to peel and boil potatoes.  If you don’t like pork then I would recommend substituting it with chicken thighs – just brown off the chicken in a separate pan before adding to the mixture in accordance with the recipe below.

In terms of what to serve with this recipe I would go for new or mashed potatoes and whatever green veg is currently in season preferably one with a slight crunch like sugar snap peas or green beans).  This recipe is definitely worth a try.  Enjoy!

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Rolled Guinea fowl with Moroccan stuffing

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What a weekend it has been! We (my brothers, their other halves and I) have just celebrated Christmas up in Yorkshire as we are all heading in different directions this year. Over the last couple of weeks there has been a lot of discussion over what we are going to eat. I mentioned to my brothers that I fancied trying to recreate a meal I had recently had at a school friend’s wedding breakfast (pheasant with a Moroccan stuffing).

After deliberating about how I was going to approach re-creating this dish for a Christmas feast – the suggestion I put to my brothers was Guinea fowl with a Moroccan style stuffing and dried fruits, wrapped in streaky bacon. The idea was well received until they heard that I was planning on deboning and rolling the bird which was met with much consternation. Their concerns revolved around:

  1. The fact I had never deboned a chicken let alone a Guinea fowl before.
  2. How much meat there would be left on the carcass?
  3. How long this meal would take to prepare as they wanted to eat at some point over the weekend.
  4. How many birds was I intending to do and was I sure that there would be enough to eat!?

I tried to quash their concerns by telling them that I had done a lot of research, watched a lot of YouTube videos and felt confident that I knew what to do.  In relation to timings, well we weren’t going to eat until the evening so even if deboning the Guinea fowl took an hour each we would still be able to eat around 7.30/8pm. And finally yes there would be enough to eat (I had ordered two Guinea fowl and just shy of 1kg of pork stuffing meat) I felt underfeeding was not going to be an issue.

I am pleased to report that in the end the meal was not only a success but that we had leftovers! It may have taken me roughly 45 minutes to debone each bird but it was worth it.  I couldn’t have been happier with you the meal turned and even better today we were able to enjoy some pretty yummy sandwiches for lunch before we all headed home.

The Moroccan flavoured stuffing with the dried fruits kept the guinea fowl meat wonderfully moist.  The spices were subtle and did not overpower the Guinea fowl.  The dried fruits added just enough sweetness and gave the stuffing a slightly tangy flavour and finally the pistachio added a pleasant texture.

If you don’t wish to go to the efforts of deboning a Guinea fowl then just make the meat into stuffing balls instead and cook the Guinea fowl (or chicken if you prefer to choose a slightly cheaper meat) and stuffing separately.

So the big question, would I make it again? Without a doubt! However, I would stress that this is a meal for special occasions given the time it takes to prepare but it is absolutely worth the effort!  Good luck and enjoy!

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Rolled Guinea fowl with Moroccan stuffing (serves 10)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Guinea fowl (c.1.25 kg in weight)
  • 16 slices streaky bacon
  • 900g seasoned pork stuffing meatDSC_0184 (4)
  • 3 red onions (finely diced)
  • 100g apricots (diced)
  • 100g dried cranberries
  • 175g pistachios (shelled)
  • 100g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ginger

Steps:

1. Place the onions in a sauté pan with a little oil, cover with a lid and sweat on a low heat until soft. (Do not rush this process as you do not want the onions to catch and burn).

2. Place the apricots, cranberries, pistachios, breadcrumbs and spices in a large glass bowl and mix together thoroughly.

3. Once the onions are soft and have cooled slightly add to the mix with the pork meat. Use your hands mix together all of the ingredients making sure that the fruit is evenly distributed throughout the stuffing. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge whilst you prepare the Guinea fowl.

4. Debone your Guinea fowl. (I would strongly encourage you watch a video demonstrating how to do this). The method I used is as follows:

  • Make sure your boning knife is very sharp and if necessary sharpen your knife before starting. Make sure that you have a clean tea towel to hand before starting.
  • Start by removing the Parsons nose.
  • Remove the wishbone, being careful not to snap it off. If you do snap it off by mistake, you’ll need to remember to remove the splinters of bone at the end.
  • Next move on to the wings, if you imagine the wing to be an arm at the ‘elbow joint’ remove the lower section of the wing so that you are left with just the top section of the wing.
  • Turning to the legs, at the knuckle carefully slice through the skin. Then holding the chicken leg in the tea towel pull the knuckle off – the reason you do it this way is so that you remove some of the sinew. If you are not strong enough don’t worry, just cut the knuckle off at the joint.
  • Next place your Guinea fowl breast side down on your chopping board. Cut straight down the centre of the back of the bird from head to tail.
  • Working on one side at a time (my preference is to do the left side first), slowly and carefully starting at the head and working down the bird cut the meat away staying as close to the bone as possible and making sure that you remove as much of the meat as possible.
  • When you get to the wings and legs cut through at the joint to enable you to continue working down the length of the carcass until you get to the bottom.
  • Repeat the process on the other side.
  • When you get to the point that the bird is only attached to the carcass by the backbone, using your finger to avoid tearing the skin run you finger between the backbone and flesh to remove the carcass.
  • Next tunnel bone your wings, pulling the bone out at the end to turn your wing inside out. The reason you do this is so that you have no holes in the skin once you have finished deboning the Guinea fowl.
  • Repeat the same process with the legs. Once the legs are inside out remove as much of the sinew as you can. Once you have completed this you will have a deboned Guinea fowl ready to stuff and roll.

Note:  Remember to use all the bones and trimmings to make stock which will form the base of your gravy.

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5. Once you have deboned both of the birds you can prepare them for cooking.  Split your prepared stuffing in two and shape into cylinders.  Then place the stuffing in the centre of the birds where the carcass would have been. (Don’t worry if you have too much stuffing to go in the middle as you can shape it in to small balls and cook as separate stuffing to serve with it).

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6. Next fold over the skin so that it overlaps slightly and then wrap the rolled guinea fowl with streaky bacon.

7. Next tie your joint with some cooking string to hold it together whilst cooking. The best knots to use are a slip knot followed by an overhand knot (aka a Butchers knot). Don’t worry if you find this too difficult just tie a knot that will hold the meat securely.

8. Place the meat in a lightly oiled roasting tray and cook at 180C Fan/ Gas mark 6 for 1hr 15mins -1hr 45 mins.  To test that your birds are ready insert a meat thermometer into the centre of the joint, if it reads over 65C they will be cooked through.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven, wrap both joints in tin foil and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving.

10. Serve with roast potatoes, seasonal vegetables and don’t forget the gravy.

Enjoy!

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Toad in the hole (de-constructed)

DSC_0568 (4)I have just returned from Yorkshire, where I spent the weekend with friends and family.  I think that you will be unsurprised to hear that the weekend entailed a lot of cooking and eating…   However, in between meals (which included an outstanding roast that my brothers cooked yesterday evening) we did manage to pack in a couple of good walks in the Dales and by the coast.  Yesterday’s walk down in Robin Hood’s Bay was spectacular.  The scenery was beautiful and to top it off we came across a number of seals sheltering in the rocks that we were walking over. 

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On Saturday evening after a fairly relaxed day I made toad in the hole for everyone.  As we didn’t have a big enough tray to cook the toad in the hole in I decided to “ de-construct” the dish, to put it simply I cooked the Yorkshire puddings and sausages separately and then combined everything once it had all been cooked…  By cooking everything separately made the whole process far easier – the sausages were nicely cooked and the Yorkshire puddings rose beautifully and had a lovely light texture.   I served the toad in the hole with red onion gravy which added a slightly sweet flavour to the dish which worked really well.  I have to say I think this meal is another one of those great comfort foods that are ideal for a cold day, enjoy!

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Toad in the hole (De-constructed)

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 18-24 good quality sausages
  • 5oz plain flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 egg
  • 225ml milk
  • Vegetable oil (for cooking with)

Steps:

1.  Preheat oven to 190C Fan.

2.  Place the sausages in a roasting tray and cook for 30-35 minutes

3.  Whilst the sausages are cooking put the flour and salt in a bowl, using a whisk beat the egg into the dry mix.

4.  Slowly add the milk whisking all the time so stop any lumps forming then, decant the batter into a measuring jug.

5.  Take a non-stick muffin tray (with 12 moulds) and pour a little oil roughly ½tsp – 1tsp into the base of each mould.   After the sausages have been cooking for around 20 minutes place the muffin tray in the oven for 3-5 minutes so that the oil is hot then, remove from the oven and pour the batter evenly between each of the pre-oiled moulds and bake for 15-18 minutes.

6.  Once the sausages and the Yorkshire puddings are cooked, remove from the oven and serve, with celeriac and potato mash, veg and red onion gravy (see recipe below).

Red Onion Gravy

Ingredients:

  • 2 red onions (finely sliced)
  • 1tsp sugar
  • 2-3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  • 1 glass red wine
  • 1 heaped tsp honey (optional)
  • 150-250ml beef stock
  • Seasoning

Steps:

1.  Place the oil, onions and sugar in a saucepan cover with a lid and cook very slowly until the onions are soft (this can up to half an hour).

2.  Once the onions are soft, add the flour and stir well.

3.  Turn up the heat and then slowly add the wine, stirring all the time.  Once all the wine has been added, slowly add the beef stock until you have the consistency you are looking for.

4.  Taste and add the honey and season as required.

A couple of pork based pâtés

About a month ago I made a series of pâtés at the same time that I posted a blog about a rabbit and pork terrine.  The pâtés have now been sampled and I thought it was about time I wrote them up…

Locally, pâtés tend to be very simple often consisting just of: pork meat (ground relatively coarsely), pig’s liver, eggs (one to every kilo of meat) and seasoning.  It is incredibly simple and tastes very nice particularly when served with gherkins or good chutney.

On finding out that it was possible to buy good quality pâté meat (by this I mean a combination of coarsely ground pork and liver that had been pre-seasoned) from a local store for the reasonable price of 3€ a kilo, Mumsy and I bought 15kg and spent a day mass producing various types of pâtés .  I decided to ‘free style’ a little and try out a few recipes using slightly different ingredients, for example hazelnuts that we had picked and frozen earlier in the year,  whereas Mumsy followed some tried and tested recipes.  All of the pâtés have come out well and make a nice addition to bread and cheese at lunch time as well as a good starter or pre-supper nibble to go with an ‘apéro’ or two.

Pork meat can be quite fatty,  do not be alarmed if when you follow one of the recipes below it looks as though you have a lot of fat around the inside of the jar, it is normal, just cut the fat off before serving.  The second thing to note is – if you are making a number of different types at the same time, make sure you label them properly before putting them into the pot to cook (we thought we had marked our pots sufficiently with a pen, however, when we removed them after cooking we realised all markings had come off, so it has been a ‘lucky dip’ scenario whenever we get out a new pâté …).

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Fruit and Nut Pork Pâté (makes 5-6 pots)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg pre-seasoned pork meat for pâté (alternatively use a combination of pork belly, pork shoulder and pig liver and season well)
  • 2 handfuls of hazelnuts
  • 1 good handful cranberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp ground mace
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries (ground in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1tsp peppercorns (ground in a pestle and mortar)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 garlic clove (finely chopped)
  • 50ml cognac

Steps:

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.

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2.  Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars (preferably Le Parfait, Mason or Kilner jars)  making sure you do not overfill the jars; the pâté should stop just below the lid line.  Make sure the tops of the jars are clean before closing up the jars.  [Depending on the type of jar you are using don’t forget to place an intermediary lid (to create a seal) on before screwing on the lid tightly.]

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(Due to the quantity of pâté that we made, we used a large outdoor burner that could hold 20-25 pots at a time.   A large pasta saucepan would be perfect if you are making smaller quantities.)

3.  Place all of the jars in a large saucepan. (When you do this place a couple of tea towels at the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the jars on the bottom cracking and make sure that the pots can’t move about by packing them in with other tea towels or pieces of broken tile.  Finally, weigh them all down with something heavy like a brick as shown in the pictures above.) Cover the jars completely with water, cover with a lid and bring up to a boil and then simmer for 2-3hrs.

4.  Allow to cool in the saucepan and then remove and store in a cool place.

 

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Sweet and Spicy Pork Pâté (makes 5-6 pots)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5kg pre-seasoned pork meat for pâté (alternatively use a combination of pork belly, pork shoulder and pig liver and season well)
  • 1 red onion (diced)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • ½tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 dried chilli (finely sliced)
  • Armagnac (to brush the pots with)

Steps:

1.  Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well.

2.  Spoon the mixture into sterilized jars (preferably Le Parfait, Mason or Kilner jars) make sure you do not overfill the jars; the pâté should stop just below the lid line.  Make sure the tops of the jars are clean before closing up the jars.  [Depending on the type of jar you are using don’t forget to place an intermediary lid (to create a seal) on before screwing on the lid tightly.]

3.  Place all of the jars in a large saucepan. (When you do this place a couple of tea towels at the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the jars on the bottom cracking and make sure that the pots can’t move about by packing them in with other tea towels or pieces of broken tile.  Finally, weigh them all down with something heavy like a brick as shown in the pictures above.)  Cover the jars completely with water, cover with a lid and bring up to a boil and then simmer for 2-3hrs.

4.  Allow to cool in the saucepan and then remove and store in a cool place.

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Rabbit and Pork Terrine

Last week I went into a local store (Quercy Frais) to buy some pork to make a terrine.  On asking the advice of the butcher, I was informed that if I wanted meat for a pâté I should wait until Thursday when they held their weekly pâté promotion for seasoned pâté meat at 3€ / kg.  Thinking this was a great deal we decided to go for it.  So, on Wednesday we placed an order for the number of kilos we were after (15kg) and went back in to collect it on Thursday.  What we got is a combination of pork meat, pork liver and pig fat that had been seasoned and coarsely ground.

Please note when I set out to make my terrine I was looking to buy 1kg at most.  However, after much discussion at home we decided to make up a variety of different pâtés in various quantities.  I think in total we have around forty 400g pots which are now stashed away in the larder ready to be opened when they are needed.  Despite our forward thinking and marking each of the pots with a marker pen before they were placed into a huge vat, the pen markings came off the pots during the cooking process – so now it is a case of a lucky dip when selecting our pâtés…

Over the course of the next week or so I will blog all of the pâté recipes.  First up is a Rabbit and Pork Terrine,  I made it by first poaching the rabbit simply because I find it easier to get the meat off the bone after cooking.  I then added a selection of spices, fruit and vegetables that complimented both of the meats very well.  By wrapping the terrine in streaky bacon it held its shape making it far easier to cut into slices.

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Rabbit and Pork Terrine

Ingredients:

Poaching the rabbit:

  • 1 large rabbit
  • 2 onions (cut into quarters)
  • 2-3 carrots (cut into chunks)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves (keep in their skins)
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries
  • 1 – 2 litres chicken stock (enough to cover the rabbit)
  • seasoning

For the terrine:

  • 800g poached rabbit meat (removed from the bone)
  • 800g pork meat for pâté (alternatively use a combination of pork belly, pork shoulder and pig liver and season well)
  • 2 onions (diced)
  • 1 tbsp juniper berries (crushed)
  • ¼ tsp allspice (crushed)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves (from the poaching pot squeezed out of their skins)
  • 400g apricots (roughly chopped)
  • 2 eggs
  • 15-18 thinly sliced rashers of streaky bacon
  • 3 bay leaves (for decoration)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns (for decoration)
  • butter (for greasing)

Steps:

Step 1 – Prepare your rabbit:

1.  Preheat oven to 160C fan.

2.  Place the rabbit, onions, carrots, garlic, juniper berries and seasoning in a casserole dish (with a lid) pour over the stock until the meat is covered.

3.  Cover and place in the oven and cook for 2 hours.

4.  Once cooked remove from the oven and allow to cool.

5.  Strip the meat from the bones of the rabbit and cut up roughly.  (Keep the stock to make a soup later in the week).

 

Step 2 – Prepare your terrine

1.  Combine the rabbit meat, spices, onions, garlic, apricots and eggs in a bowl.

2.  Add the pork meat and mix well.

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3.  Prepare your terrine dish by greasing with butter and then lining the sides with the streaky bacon.

4.  Pack the rabbit and pork meat into the terrine dish pressing down firmly.

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5.  Wrap in the bacon, place the bay leaves and peppercorns on top with a final knob of butter.  Cover with the lid.

6.  Place in a roasting tin that has been half filled with boiling water.

7.  Place in an oven at 160C fan for 1 ½ hours.

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8.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before placing in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

9.  To serve, remove the terrine from the dish by warming in a little hot water for a few minutes, run a knife around the edges and then tip out onto a plate.

10.  Serve with, some French bread and gherkins and/or chutney and/or red onion and port marmalade.

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Roasted sausages with red onion and cherry tomatoes

You can’t beat a good banger (this is a sausage for those of you who aren’t British).  They are a staple in most homes because they are tasty and make for an easy meal.  Bangers and mash has always been one of my favourite meals.   I remember as a child going to the local butchers to get Mr Crump’s herby chipolatas which were always packed with flavour.  A couple of months ago my brother was passing our old butcher and dropped in especially to buy a healthy amount of herby chipolatas.  I personally don’t think you can beat proper sausages made in your local butcher, but there are times where the convenience of your local supermarket takes over and it is just easier to buy their sausages instead – who can blame you!

Over the course of the years I have tried a lot of recipes with sausages in them ranging from sausage hot pot to toad in the hole which are always tasty, but I sometimes think by keeping things simple is often the best way to enjoy them.  So when I bought a packet of sausages a couple of weeks ago I had two words in mind – simple and fresh.  I got out a roasting pan and set to work.  The end result, sweet cherry tomatoes, slightly caramelised onion and yummy sausages.

Roasted sausages with red onion and cherry tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • A packet of sausages
  • 3 red onions (peeled and cut into sixths)
  • 2 good handfuls of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • seasoning

Steps:

1.  Pre-heat oven to 190C fan.

2.  Place the sausages and onions in a large roasting tin, season well, add the thyme and drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

   

3.  Place in the oven for 20 minutes, before removing and adding the cherry tomatoes in the roasting tin.  Put back in the oven and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

4.  Serve with some new potatoes and peas.