forum: Food, Wine and Gardening
- Member Occupation Part time on checkouts, trying to get an an Open Uni (MA) philosophy course
- From Leeds
- Member since Fri 09 Feb 07
First, an intro is in order.
A few weeks ago I decided to teach myself to cook. Now, I don't equate learning to cook with 'Oh, I've dropped my egg in this boiling water. Oh, it's poaching. Hooray'. Or 'Oh no, I need to pour this boiling water down the sink and the sink's blocked. I'll have to store it in this pan of pasta for now. Hey, the pasta is cooking!'
No, I mean learning at a more intermediate level. Experimenting with things from poaching eggs in cling film (successfully stolen from the net) to recipes I've not tried eating or cooking before.
Anyways, I started with one new recipe a week and am now working to two a week, with successful recipes being cooked up on a more regular basis. Here are the two recipes I think have been the most successful,
1. Chicken and roasted veg.
Preheat oven to gas mark 6
Place two breasts in a roasting dish.
Scrub (not peel) 3 large carrots and cut them into large, haphazard chunks
Take a butternut squash. If you want, you can remove the skin. I like it.
Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds and place them in a small bowl.
Cut up the squash into medium-small pieces and add to the roasting dish.
N.B You will probably only need to use a fifth of the squash per person.
Place 2 slices of bread into a blender and blend into breadcrumbs.
Mix the crumbs with the seeds and grate in some fresh ginger (how much is up to you)
Crush 2 cloves of garlic into the roasting dish.
Add a fair amount of salt and several cherry and plum tomatoes.
Drizzle a load of olive oil (extra virgin if you want to be fussy)
Place the dish into the centre of the oven and set the timer for 25 minutes.
Place a small frying pan or wok (woks are just cool) on the hob. Don't turn the gas on yet. Just leave it there
Go off and do whatever you like for 25 minutes.
When the timer goes off, pull the chicken from the oven, add more tomatoes and place back in.
Turn on the heat under the pan/wok and add some oil.
Pour the seed mixture into the pan and squeeze the joice of a large lemon into it. Fry until crisp and reduce the heat.
Remove the chicken from the oven. Check if it is cooked. If it is, turn off the oven and hob, serve the chicken and veg onto a plate and sprinkle the seed mix onto the side.
If it isn't cooked, give it 5 more minutes, sturring the seed mix intermittendly so it doesn't stick.
For this recipe I've left out the quantities, so you can add as much or little as you prefer.
I originally cooked up 4 pieces of stuffed pork. Two for me and two for my brother. With it I cooked up a dish of roast veg. Unfortunately my brother stayed at uni for a pub quiz. Next day I cooked up his share of the pork, but there were no roasted veg left. Now, I could have cooked some more, but his was done for early lunch. So, I caramalised half an apple (left over from the previous day's recipe).
Hence, this recipe is
Stuffed Pork with Roasted Veg and Caramalised Apples
N.B. Not apple sauce, not stewed apple, caramalised apple. Apple sauce is for roast pork.
Small butternut squash (I discovered these in December and I love them!)
You can then add whatever veg you want, but I think these are essential to the recipe. If you've never tried Okra, it is like a cross between brown onion and celery, with a hint of aniseed. If you use it, don't use onions, leeks or shallots if you want to avoid an overpowering flavour
*I used these dark brown apricots from the Farmer's Market. They were close in taste to dates, but sweeter. If you don't have them, use apricots or dates or a mixture as you prefer
**I used Pink Lady apples. But I think a variety would work better.
The Caramalised Apples
I used castor sugar because the house is bare on white sugar. It works well enough. Tastes good and I didn't go blind, at least.
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6
Slice the pork horizontally down the centre so you end up with two 1/2thickness pieces of loin.
Bash the thing senseless with the flat end of a meat mallot to about 1/4 inch thickness. Put a sturdy board under the ruddy pork, or you can enjoy a kitchen with a K-nacked worktop.
Eightth the apricots (that would be quarter them, then halve each piece.)
Core your apples.*
Mix with Breadcrumbs (Slice of bread in blender whizz to get breadcrumbs)
Mix in sultanas
*Obviously the more apples you use, the smaller you'll have to cut the pieces. I used half an apple per whole loin (quarter per piece) and cut into thin slices, which I halved centre to skin.
I.e. If this is a piece of apple ( then do it like this <-(---
Cut up the veg how you want.* Not the garlic or tomatoes
Add half the tomatoes
Crush and add two cloves of garlic
Drizzle a decent amount of olive oil in (Extra Virgin. You just sound more like a chef if you insist on using Extra Virgin. Hell, I prefer Macadania nut, basil, garlic or chilli)
*Go for an average medium-small size, but don't be neat. Be haphazard. It doesn't look better. It doesn't taste better, but everyone out there does neat veg, so do it just to be different and stick it in their conventional chef hats.
Stuffing the loin
Place about 3 quarters of the stuffing at each end of the loin, and thinly scatter the rest across the middle.
Since you have two loins, you can either do the roll or the double roll. I did one of each. The single roll is sweeter, since the meat is thinner. The double roll has more of a meaty bite, since it is thicker in the middle.
To single roll, push one end of the loin up and over, so it wraps itself inside the loin, then roll to the other end. Make sure it's tight enough to hold the stuffing, but not too tight as to force any stuffing out.
Place on 2 pieces of string - Each piece about a quarter of the way from the edge of the loin
Wrap the string round and tie tight.
Note, if you haven't got a good pair of scissors don't do a ****'s knot that's impossible to undo!
As before, but roll to the middle of the loin, rather than all the way.
Roll the other end to the centre as well.
You should now have two rolls going into the centre of the loin, preferably tucked in (or the stuffing will spill out.
To tie, repeat the method used for the single roll. Assuming you tucked the pork in, you should get away with the single-roll method.
Salt the pork generously
Place the veg on the top shelf of the oven
Place the pork in the centre of the oven
Set timer for 30 minutes
When the timer goes off, turn the heat down to low (just enough to barely carry on cooking. This will keep it warm and ensure it isn't undercooked)
Start making the caramalised apples
I used a saucepan. Be prepared to do some scrubbing.
Core and cut up the remaining apples
Drizzle some cold water to cover the bottom of a saucepan
Pour a fair amount of sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon over the apples
Turn the heat on under the pan
Chuck in the apples.
Whack the heat up to full
Cover the pan
Blast for 5 minutes
Reduce heat to simmer
Stir intermittently to prevent sticking
The apples should be soft and the water should have reduced. You should also have a caramel sauce coating the apples
Pull the pork and veg from the oven.
Check they are cooked
Place pork on veg onto a plate
Spoon the apple over the pork
Serve and enjoy