What I'm cooking and eating

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Red Pork

I had some belly pork in the freezer, and didn't really know what to do with it, but this seemed to be the way forward.  I borrowed from several different recipes, I'm afraid, and can't remember who to credit.

I quantity belly pork (I had two thick pieces, no idea how much they weighed), cut into cubes. 
1 tbs each sesame oil and stir-fry oil
2 tbs white sugar
3 tbs soya sauce (I used 2 tbs light and 1 of dark, it was only meant to be 2 tbs but I forgot I had the dark stuff)
1 tbs rice wine or cheap sherry (you could probably use rice vinegar but I had none)
A large clove of garlic, crushed
A chunk of ginger - I use those frozen cubes of, which are brilliant
Chinese seasoning - 5-spice, star anise if you have any, general Chinese seasonings....

Mix the soya sauces and sherry/wine/vinegar together and stir in the seasonings.  Crush the garlic, and if using whole ginger, crush that, too.

Heat the oil and add the sugar, and then cook until the sugar caramelises.  The smoke alarm will probably go off.  Add the meat, stirring fiercely, and the ginger and garlic, and when the meat is coated with the caramelly oil, add the liquids.  It will boil hard, so keep stirring. 

Then turn down the heat, and transfer to an oven-proof dish if it isn't already in one.  Turn the oven on low - Mark 2 at the highest - and put the casserole in there for at least 2-3 hours, if not longer.  Slow cooking is far and away the best for this dish.

It's rather rich, so serve with plain boiled rice and a boiled or steamed green vegetable.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Seville Orange Marmalade

Strange, I could have sworn I posted my recipe last year!  Well, perhaps not.

2 kg Seville oranges
2 kg sugar
2 lemons
2 litres water

(Do you see what I'm doing here - so it makes it easy to scale your recipe up or down, depending on time, energy, etc).

Place whole oranges, halved lemons and water in a pressure cooker, and cook at HIGH pressure for 20 minutes.  Let cool at room temperature, and wait until cool enough to handle (overnight is good).  I've always used a pressure cooker - I believe if you don't you need about 3 times as much water and you need to boil the fruit for about 2 hours, but I've not tried it so can't guarantee it.

Scoop out the insides of the fruit and, if possible, separate out the pips.  Chop the rinds into tiny pieces.  Put the pips into a small saucepan with some of the water and boil hard for 5 minutes.  Strain into the large pan into which you have placed the chopped rinds, the remainder of the water, and the sugar.  Heat gently while sugar dissolves, stirring frequently, then bring to boil and boil until setting-point is reached (somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes).  Test by dripping on to a cold plate.

Pot into sterilised jars, seal, and keep in a dark place until you eat it. 

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Pasta and veg

This first week of the new year one often wants fairly plain food to make up for the excesses of the festive season.  This also had the merit of being easy!  Substitute vegetables as you choose....  Serves 2.

1 tbs olive oil
20 g butter
1/2 aubergine, finely chopped
1/2 punnet mushrooms, sliced
About 16 Brussels sprouts, peeled and sliced
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tbs low-fat cream cheese
1 tbs caramelised onion humus

Put the fats and vegetables into a wide-based frying-pan with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, then leave to sit, covered, on as low a heat as possible for a further 10-20 minutes (it is very forgiving!).  Just before serving, stir in the cream cheese and/or hummus and then your choice of cooked pasta (or noodles!).