Sunday, 30 November 2014

Slow Roast Silverside of Pork with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme

Slow Roast Silverside of Pork with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme

1 - 2kg joint of Pork Silverside, rolled and tied
Grated rind of a lemon
3 cloves of garlic peeled, crushed and finely chopped
3 or 4 sprigs of thyme
2 tea spoons of grated ginger

The Cooking
Slash scores into the fat of your joint with a stanley knife (or better still get your butcher to do it when its being rolled and tied). Before cooking, pour a handful of salt over the fat and rub it in. Cover liberally. Then set to one side for half an hour. Pre heat an oven to 220 degrees (or hotter if it can take it). Once the salt has started to render the fat, you will see droplets of moisture on the surface. Rinse off the surplus salt and moisture, place the meat on a wire rack, within a roasting tin (so the meat has a bit of clearance)  then pour a dash of cooking oil into your hand and rub it all over the meat. Sprinkle the meat with the garlic, ginger and lemon rind, and rub it into the fat and the meat on the under side of the joint and place it into the oven for 30 minutes. The intense heat should cause the rendered fat to blister to start the process for making great crackling.

After 30 minutes take the meat out and lay the thyme under and over it. Pour 300mls of warm water into the roasting tin, cover as air tightly as possible with silver foil. Turn the oven down to 150 degrees and roast the joint for a minimum of 4 hours. Baste it every 40 minutes or so to ensure it does not dry out. 30 minutes before you ar ready to eat it, turn the heat back up to 220 dgrees. Drain off the liquid from the bottom of the roasting tin, baste the meat with some of it, keep the rest to one side to roast our potatoes and parsnips in and to make delicious herby gravy. Return the meat for another 30 minutes, uncovered, at this intense heat to finish off the crackling making process.

Take out and let it rest for about 20 minutes before carving into steaks rather than slices. Serve with roasted root veg and potatoes, greens and cauliflower cheese.

The ultimate rice pudding

The Ultimate Rice Pudding


100g of short grain rice
75g of castor sugar
600ml of double cream
600ml of full fat milk
30g of unsalted butter
2 tea spoons of ground nutmeg
The cooking;
Cut a knob of butter and liberally grease a deep oven proof dish. Add the rice, the cream and the milk. Cut your butter into cubes and dot across the surface of the milk. Give all the content of the dish a good stir with a wooden spoon, to mix thoroughly. Finally, sprinkle on the nutmeg and put the pudding into an oven pre-heated to 150 degrees for 2 1/2 hours.

That's it. Honestly. If you want to add some currents and dried berries, or some grated lemon rind, go ahead. At least then you will feel like you've done a bit of work. But there really is no need. When rice pudding tastes this good for this little effort, it makes you wonder why anybody would go to the trouble of opening a tin.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Mushroom and Panceta Risotto

Mushroom and Panceta Risotto

This is a bombastically flavoured dish. Staple Italian peasant food. Wonderful.


20g of porcine mushrooms (soaked and chopped)
A handful of cubed panceta
A handful of finely chopped parsley
A large glass of crisp, white wine (Pinot Grigio is perfect)
3 finely chopped shallots
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
100g of chestnut mushrooms roughly chopped into chunks
130g arborio rice
1 1/2 pints of vegetable or chicken stock
A handful of small garden peas
A table spoon of tomato puree
2 tea spoons of mascarpone
Olive oil
Parmesan to sprinkle

The Cooking:

If your porcine mushrooms are dried (as they usually are in this country), start by soaking them in  a bowl and setting to one side. Get started on the risotto by adding 2 tea spoons of olive oil to a pot and browning your chopped shallots and garlic over a gentle heat. Then add your mushrooms and fry for 3 or 4 minutes until the pot is fairly dry. Now add your rice, drizzle with olive oil and stir it in. Keep stirring until most of the oil has been absorbed, then add your white wine, turn up the heat and reduce down until again, pretty much all the moisture has been absorbed. Now start to add your stock about a ladle full at a time. Every time you add some stock, stir it in thoroughly and keep stirring until the moisture is nearly all absorbed. Repeat this process until your rice is full and fluffy in consistency (approximately 20 minutes). If you run out of stock, just add boiled water from the kettle.

Add the tomato puree and stir in thoroughly for a minute or two. Then add your chopped porcine mushrooms, your peas, the pancetta cubes and your mascarpone and season generously with salt and plenty of ground pepper. Stir until well combined.

Serve up with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkle of Parmesan. Eat with the rest of the Pinot Grigio.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

Fantastic, traditional winter warmer. Filling, wholesome and delicious.


500g lean steak mince
5 decent sized potatoes
Handful of Thyme sprigs
Bay leaf
1 large carrot halved length ways and finely chopped
1 large onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, crushed and finely chopped
4 tablespoons full of tomato puree
a handful of garden peas
2 tablespoons of creme fraiche
Tablespoon of butter
25 mls of milk
1 pint of rich beef stock (twice the strength of what you would normally use in a gravy).
25g of grated cheddar cheese

The Cooking:

In a deep pan, brown your mince and pour off any surplus liquid. Put to one side. Then in clean oil (only a couple of tea spoons full) start to fry your carrot, onion, garlic and peas. Once golden in colour, add the browned mince back to the pan along with the thyme and bay leaf. Season generously with salt and crushed black pepper, the tomato puree, give it all a good stir, then pour in your stock,  cover and simmer on a medium to low heat for about an hour to an hour and a half (if you have the time). Stir occasionally. If it starts to dry out, add some water.

To make the mash to cover your pie, peel your potatoes and slice into chunks, then put in a pan of cold water, bring to the boil and cook for approximately 20 minutes. Prod with a fork to make sure they are cooked and soft. Then drain off the water, mash to a pulp, add your butter and cream and stir in, with a fork. Then gradually pour in your milk, whisking as you go, until you have a smooth puree. You need it to be quite stiff and malleable like a meringue rather than runny as you don't want it sinking into or worse still, merging with the filling. If you are concerned its  a bit "loose" then thicken it with a some grated cheese and a tea spoon or two of plain flour, on a high heat.

Transfer your pie filling into a heatproof dish. As you do so, pick out the bay leaf and the thyme sprigs. Top it with the mashed potato and spread all over it so it covers the whole surface. Finally, sprinkle with grated cheddar and pop it under a hot grill until the surface is browned and crispy.

Serve with green veg and preferably a pint of a full flavoured nutty ale like an IPA or Hobgoblin.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Beef Brisket With Garlic and Herb Gravy

Beef Brisket With Rich Garlic and Herb Gravy

Regular visitors to this blog will know that I am a big fan of "peasant food". That often means using the cheaper cuts of meat and slow roasting it for superb flavours. This is one of the best.


1kg Beef Brisket, Tied and Rolled
Handful of Thyme
3 Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
1 Sweet White Onion finely chopped
100ml Red Wine
1 Pint of Rich, Beef Stock
22g Unsalted Butter cut into thin slices
2 Table Spoons of Corn Flour

The Cooking:

Rinse your brisket under a tap and lay in the centre of your roasting tin, Season with freshly ground salt and black pepper, sprinkle with the chopped garlic and your sprigs of thyme and dot with the slices of butter. Cover tightly with foil to make as air tight a parcel as possible, and place into an oven, pre-heated to 150 degrees C. Roast for 5 hours, basting it in its own juices every 45 minutes to an hour.

For the final 45 minutes of roasting, turn the oven up to 200 degrees C. First, remove half the fat and juices from the roasting tin to roast your potatoes and parsnips in. Add your chopped onion and glass of red wine to the meat and remaining juices. Give it a stir and place back in the hot oven.

Take the meat out to rest for 20 minutes while you make possibly the nicest gravy you will ever encounter.

Strain the juices from the roasting tin, leaving behind all the bits the meat has been roasted in. Stir in 2 table spoons of corn flour over a gentle heat to make a roux. Then little by little add your pint of stock and whisk until it is all blended and has formed a smooth sauce. Keep it simmering until it virtually turns black. 

Really simple, beautifully tender and it tastes gorgeous!