My mad weekly kitchen diary

This is 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.

If I ever talk about a dish that you want more detail on, please let me know.

Larger image below
Larger image below


… We bought pork shoulder because I wanted to experiment. A few weeks back I gave info on pork belly, and I wanted to try replicating the cracking with the shoulder. Mostly in the UK a pork shoulder joint is rolled up and tied, so I wanted to try opening it out to cook it the same way as I did the pork belly. When I untied the joint and opened it out the ‘inside’ wasn’t very well cut. I don’t know if that’s normal or because we use a discount supermarket. Anyway… I cut off the most untidy bits, seasoned it then turned it over to deal with what would be the crackling. The would be crackling was already scored but not very well so I had a go with a disposable Stanley knife type thing that we keep for just this job. Once I’d done that I rubbed in oil, added seasoning, and put it in a low oven, leaving it for about four hours.

Meanwhile I cored two eating apples and baked them, instead of making apple sauce, then made up a little boxed stuffing and made it into stuffing balls by moulding it in my palms. Next I peeled and chopped potatoes and boiled them to make mash. I’d filled the top oven with stuffing and apples so I couldn’t do my preferred baked potato mash. I mashed the potatoes with a little dairy free margarine, skimmed uht milk, and a good sprinkling of garlic granules, which is frankly delicious! I made the other veg easier by doing frozen petits pois, and diced carrot. I started the carrot off first in a pan of boiling water then after about 5 minutes I added the frozen teeny peas.

When I thought the pork was done I pulled it from the oven and placed it under the grill on a medium heat to crisp the crackling. It wasn’t perfect because the meat had curled a little, probably because of the bad cut underneath, but for the most part it worked; we got a good crunchy crispy crackling on most of the skin.

By this point I had had enough of cooking so I made the gravy with granules… 😛

The pork was delicious but I think it should have stayed in the oven a little longer; I was using belly pork timings, not shoulder.


… I wanted leftover pork to do something with, but the Sunday joint was fattier than we would hope so a lot of it was discarded. With this in mind I brought forward a meal I’d planned for later in the week using rice noodle sticks. Now there’s a little story here… I bought two packs of rice noodle sticks from an online shop some time ago. I’d never bought them before and had only tried pad thai from a food truck once, but I love these noodles. So… I live in a city that likes to think it’s a village, and none of the usual retailers sell rice stick noodles. I was all ready to order a gazillion packets of noodles online when I remembered a little shop near the city centre. It never looks open, the window is not piled high with produce, but it claimed on a sign to sell Asian products so we parked up and walked around to the shop and it was like an Aladdin’s cave of Asian foods. Ta dah!!! We had a good look round and I bought two packs of noodles and a Chinese curry base.

Anyway… I had ground turkey, and wanted to replicate the flavours of pad thai but use the different ingredients so I made a base with fish sauce, tamarind liquid, soy sauce, chilli, garlic, fresh lime, and brown sugar.

I fried off the ground turkey, removed it from the pan and made omelette with two eggs and a little light soy. When dinner time rolled around I soaked the noodles in hot water for ten minutes whilst frying off spring onions, baby corn, and mange tout. I then added the turkey, the noodles, and then the egg, and soy based liquid. When serving I added fresh coriander and a wedge of lime.

Okay. I think anything made with this sort of base is going to taste good!


… For the life of me I can’t remember what we ate. We know it would have been food so we’ll just leave it at that…


… Wednesday guest was here and he and C were doing something DIY related in the kitchen so we had fish and chips.


… I made the very modular, and cheap and cheerful peppered smoked mackerel bake. I boiled the peeled and chopped potatoes with chopped onion until tender. Meanwhile I made up a base of a little double cream, fish stock, dill, and horseradish sauce. Next I broke up the smoked mackerel fillets. When everything was ready I mixed it all together and threw it in the oven, so simple! I served the bake with mange tout and baby corn.


… Sliced pork loin had been on offer and C wanted me to replicate a meal we’d had upon our first arrival together in Spain. Let me tell you…

It was night time when we arrived in Spain and we were picked up at the airport, and transported to what looked like waste land. – It’s okay, we were with family; they weren’t trying to do us in! – We parked up and went through a little wooden arched door in a very large graffiti strewn wall to be greeted by a courtyard filled with flora that would put any gardener to shame, a fountain, and a load of tables. We sat next to lavender and rosemary which threw out their scent because of the warm evening. On one side of the courtyard there was a restaurant, a dance floor, a bowling alley, and a bar. This place was amazing! We didn’t know what they cooked well so our host ordered for us. When the food came it was very simple, very thin pork loin cooked in garlic and olive oil, served on crusty bread with delicious sliced raw Spanish tomatoes. I know the food tasted better because of the surroundings, but it would have been delicious if I had eaten it at the side of the road.

So… I had pork loin and tried bashing it with a meat hammer to make it really thin. It wasn’t as thin as I would have liked but I think there must be a knack, and I don’t have it! I then marinated the pork in olive oil and lots of garlic. At dinner time I warmed French style baguette and flash fried the pork. Instead of leaving the tomato totally raw I added it to the warm oil after I’d cooked the pork and turned it before putting it on the sandwich so it was dressed rather than cooked. I served the (what turned out to be) delicious Spanish pork sandwich with a basic salad.


… We had leftover mackerel and potato bake.

Roast pork shoulder, my ground turkey pad thai, peppered mackerel and potato bake, Spanish pork sandwich.
Roast pork shoulder, my ground turkey pad thai, peppered mackerel and potato bake, Spanish pork sandwich.
My mad weekly kitchen diary