Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Simple Quandry

Friday, 13th February 2015
We've been having a bit of a cocktail lull recently, although I'm sure it won't last. Certainly not when there are cocktails as good as A Simple Quandry.
I wasn't sure about the Gin and Aquavit base, thinking it might be a bit fierce, but I was really surprised how it turned out. The addition of Benedictine and Cynar (substituted for Punt e Mes), brought about a deliciously balanced combination of rich, herby and bitter fruit flavours. Definitely one to repeat soon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pasta Carbonara

Sunday, 15th February 2015
I'm not normally a fan of eggy things, but I fancied a change and we had the ingredients for this. I looked at several recipes and some added the egg then the bacon to the drained pasta, and some the pasta then the egg to the bacon - a bit of an italian version of the tea-in-first vs. milk-in-first debate I guess.
I elected to add the pasta to the bacon pan, followed by the egg mixture. Although I had the pan off the heat it was clearly still too hot and the egg scrambled almost immediately. The flavour was good, but the texture and look was not very appetising. More care and more of the pasta liquid needed if I ever do this again.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Pork Loin Chops with Apple Sauce and Reibekuchen

Saturday, 7th February 2015
These chops are great but it's tricky to find a way to cook the fat properly without overdoing the meat.
Actually the first problem is finding a recipe that does not start with "trim the excess fat", since that is really defeating the object.
I fried the chops fat side down for two minutes, holding them up with tongs, and then for two minutes on each side. The melted fat had to be poured off after each stage (and I stupidly didn't keep it!). Then into a medium oven for 5 minutes and resting for 5 more.
Meanwhile I made this apple sauce, although I grated my ginger into the sauce. There was a lovely gingery aroma while the sauce was cooking, but not really much of a gingery flavor in the finished article. Still very tasty though and a perfect accompaniment for the pork and Monika's delicious reibekuchen. The meat was in the oven a little too long and therefore cooked through and a little dry, while the fat was not cooked quite enough.

Pork Fillet with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Sunday, 1st February 2015
Standard approach for the filet. Brown all over in a hot pan with a little lard, transfer the whole pan to a medium oven for 5 or 6 minutes, then allow the meat to rest for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile fry a chopped shallot gently in butter, then add crushed peppercorns and brandy and reduce. Then add stock and reduce again. Then add cream and cook without boiling until the required thickness is reached.
Cook potatoes in their skins, cool and peel. Lightly fry them whole in a little oil with rosemary and salt.
Slice the meat and serve with the sauce poured over.
A lovely combination, although another spoonful of peppercorns and a bit more thickening of the sauce would have been even better.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Pork and Beef Rissoles with Spinach and Tomato

Saturday, 25th January 2015
Based on this recipe for Lamb Rissoles, but I used a Pork and Beef mix. I also added a few breadcrumbs to make them a bit lighter.
Essentially just fat meatballs, or small frikadelle, but a nice meaty, spinachy flavour, and very good with the double-cooked chips and a tomato and onion sauce.

Greek style Lamb Shanks

Saturday, 24th January 2015
Ultimate Slow Cooking p75. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides, and place them in the pre-heated slow cooker. Soften onions and add crushed coriander seeds, sherry, bay leaves and honey. Pour over the lamb and cook on the slow cooker high setting for 5-7 hours. Remove the lamb and keep it warm while reducing/thickening the sauce. Garnish with orange zest.
One of the few slow cooker things I have made recently where the meat came out as tender as expected, and properly falling off the bone. Possibly I need to use the high setting more often. Very good with simple mash.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bentheimer Rare Breed Pork Loin Chop

Saturday, 17th January 2015
Slice the fat through to prevent curling, then fry hot with the fat down for 2 minutes, holding the chops upright with tongs. Then 2 minutes more on each side, then transfer the pan to a 150 degrees oven for 5 minutes. Stew a mix of potato, celery root, carrot and garlic then puree with a little milk and butter. Served with some leftover red cabbage, which seems to benefit from reheating.
Lovely juicy and flavoursome meat, with perfectly cooked fat. The puree was still a little chunky, but very tasty. Excellent cabbage.