Just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’ successes and disasters in the kitchen, whilst trying to get the best out of leftovers.
This one’s very late, Prince died.
… C bought a slab of belly pork from his butcher friend. I’ve only done this once before and I followed the method of Chelsea Winter –A winner of Masterchef New Zealand– that I happened upon when I was first confronted with the slab of meat. I must say, the method is GENIUS! No more oven temperature up and down like a yoyo, no more worrying that the crackling won’t ‘crackle’, and no more ‘hard’, as opposed to crunchy, crispy crackling.
We had a 1.5kg slab of meat, the skin scored –too far down in some places– by our butcher friend so I rubbed it with olive oil and seasoned heavily with salt and pepper, before popping it on a rack and in the oven at 130 degrees. I left the joint alone for four hours to do its thing. After four hours I increased the temp to 150 degrees and roasted for another 30 minutes. Then it’s ready to come out. But the crackling isn’t crackled, it’s soft and flabby. That’s where Chelsea’s genius comes in… I put the grill on medium-high, put the joint under the heat and watched it puff and crackle. I watched it carefully so it didn’t burn, and the whole process took about 10 minutes. The end result was succulent rendered belly pork with crunchy crackling. Perfect!
I can barely remember what I served with the pork as it was such a bright star. I had homemade Bramley apple sauce in the freezer so I defrosted and reheated that. I did mashed potato and broccoli I think, and gravy, but what does it matter… there was perfect pork!
… take away… terrible, and not my favourite. Chips, and steak and kidney pie…
… We had leftover belly pork with the rest of the apple sauce, roasted potatoes, gravy, and other veg. Can’t remember… because… pork.
… WedJ was visiting, and I wanted to serve an extra portion of whatever we had and send it over to my father-in-law who was getting back from Zambia that evening, but I also wanted something low maintenance. Another criterion was that I wanted to use up some green lentils. The recipe I found seemed to cover all my bases, but I followed it very loosely. I just got good pork sausages, I didn’t use butter and I didn’t have any fresh herbs. I cooked the sausages differently too.
So… I fried off bacon until crisp then removed it and sautéed a mirepoix of onions, carrots, and celery until soft adding the bacon when the onion was ready. I then added the rinsed lentils, water, a stock cube and dried herbs and simmered until the lentils were tender. I stirred in red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard and took it off the heat.
Meanwhile… I wasn’t keen on the method for cooking the sausages so I fried off the sausages in a separate pan until they were a deep golden brown then chucked in red wine and dried rosemary, reducing the wine until it was thick and syrupy and coated the sausages.
At dinner time I reheated both parts of the meal, decanted the beans and served the sausages on top. It was delicious but I forgot to get a pic. You know, busy… guest…
… My frugal side kicked in and it had started on Sunday. Our butcher friend left a small rack of ribs underneath the pork belly that could be detached with a single cut and we debated whether to leave it on or take it off. In the end we removed it. Now… back to Thursday. I decided to make the very small rack of ribs into a teeny starter of barbecue flavour spare ribs. I boiled the separated ribs for a while then coated them in a barbecue sauce recipe that I found online before shoving them in the oven. I don’t think I ‘did it right’ but the ribs were lovely and I’ve favourited that sauce recipe.
The main course was a steak sandwich. C bought very thin steak so the end dish wasn’t going to be as I’d envisioned unfortunately and in a fit of pique I forgot the pic (<< Ha! Pique/pic). I marinated the steak in red wine and dried rosemary and thyme, then fried them on the griddle pan. I served the steak in tiger baguette, with salad. They tasted great, they just didn’t look that great.
… I made a Chinese curry using a paste that needs to be used up. I hard fry onion that’s cut into wedges and separated until I get a bit of char, not long because I don’t want them to go soft. When charred I removed them from the pan for later. I then tried to make up the curry sauce not quite as per instructions because to me the sauce had a grainy mouth feel previously. This time I cooked out the paste for some time then made up the sauce with water. I wanted the chicken to be ‘velvet chicken’ so I diced the chicken and tossed it in seasoned cornflour, again leaving it for later. Lastly I got petits pois out of the freezer to defrost.
When dinner time came I heated oil, fried the velvet chicken, added the sauce and cooked it out for a while. I then added the peas and lastly the onions, just to warm through.
I served the curry with basmati rice and it was pretty good, the velvet chicken is so soft and succulent I can’t even describe it.
… I actually craved pizza, you know the one from the supermarket that we add seafood to. I marinated mussel meat, large prawns, and prawns in lemon juice, garlic, oregano, and olive oil. At dinner time I strew them over the thin four cheese pizzas then added a little diced tomato flesh and a few anchovy fillets before throwing them in the oven. That was it. Yum!