Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

We made this with some leftover chorizo that had been cluttering the fridge for a while. It works really well before dinner with some toasted bread but equally as part of a Tapas selection, or starter with olives etc.  Multiply the quantities depending on how much sausage you have. You can also make individual portions in smaller jars. Leave this in the fridge for at least a week before serving and it will mellow and subtly take on the flavours of the herbs and oil, so make sure the olive oil is decent and herbs are fresh.

Herb-marinated Sausage 

  • 1 cured sausage e.g. chorizo
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a small sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 300-600ml olive oil
  • toasted bread, to serve

Slice the sausage and remove the skin. Put the sausage slices in a clean jar with the garlic, juniper berries, thyme, bay leaf and rosemary. Add enough olive oil to cover, close the lid and leave in the fridge for at least a week.

Serve with toasted bread.

(Original recipe from Stéphane Reynaud’s Pork & Sons, Phaidon, 2005.)

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Simple and tasty one-pot that takes just half an our to make. It’s pretty low in calories too for all you January dieters!

Pork, chilli and bean stew – to serve 4

  • olive oil
  • 400g diced pork
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • a large pinch of chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 red pepper, cut into chunks
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 250g small salad potatoes, halved
  • 100g green beans
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan.

Season the pork and quickly brown. Remove the pork from the pan and add the onion and garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the chilli flakes, cumin and pepper and cook for another couple of minutes.

Return the pork to the pan with the tomatoes and stock. Bring to a simmer and add the potatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes then add the beans and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Season and scatter over coriander to finish.

Wine Suggestion: A juicy, ripe red with plenty of choices from either Spain, Southern Italy or the New World. Just avoid anything with too much weight and alcohol.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pork with Cashews, Lime & Mint

A cracking stir-fry from one of Nigel Slater’s older books. The key to stir-frying is to crank up the heat and keep it there for the entire cooking time. It seems a bit scary at first but it’s the only way to guarantee everything is cooked through and the whole thing doesn’t end up soggy.

Pork with cashews, lime and mint – to serve 2

  • 400g pork fillet/steak, sliced into short bite-size strips
  • 6 tbsp groundnut or other flavourless oil
  • 90g unsalted cashew nuts, chopped fairly fine
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • a 4cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely shredded
  • 4 small, hot red chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • zest and juice of 3 big, fat limes
  • 2 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
  • a handful of mint leaves, chopped
  • a handful of basil leaves, torn

Get your wok really hot over the highest heat, then add 3 tbsp of the oil. When the oil crackles add the pork and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until sealed and golden in parts. Stir not and then as is cooks. If you end up with a load of juice your pan is not hot enough but you can just pour it off and carry on cooking. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat down.

When the meat is browned and sizzling, tip it on to a warm plate along with any juices. Get the wok really hot again before adding the rest of the oil, then add the scallions, garlic, ginger and chillies and stir-fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the nuts, fry for another couple of minutes, then return the meat and its juices to the pan. Stir in the lime zest and juice and the nam pla and fry for two more minutes, then stir in the mint and basil. Serve right away with some fried rice.

Wine Suggestion: The trickiest flavour to match here is the lime so it’s probably best to work with it rather than against it. Perhaps an Australian Riesling such as Petaluma or a Pewsey Vale.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater Real Food, Fourth Estate, 1998.)

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Totally worth the effort and time, this just melted in the mouth. The roast potatoes done under the roasting pork belly worked a real treat and had that heavenly combination of meltingly fluffy and soft centres and a chewy-crunchy crust.

Roast pork – to feed 4-6

  • 1.8kg belly pork, skin on
  • about 8 dried bay leaves
  • 3-4 fat cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1kg potatoes
  • glass of white wine

Use a very sharp knife to score the skin. You need to go through the fat under the skin but don’t cut into the meat. This will give you delicious strips of crackling.

Crumble the bay leaves into tiny pieces, squash the garlic with the back of a knife, then mash to two together with a pestle and mortar. Add plenty of salt and black pepper. Add enough oil to make a spreadable paste. Place the pork skin side down and massage the paste into it, pushing it into every crevice. Leave the meat in a cool place for an hour or so to soak up the flavours.

Peel the potatoes, cut them into large chunks and drop them into salted boiling water. Cook until they are just tender, then drain and tip into a roasting tin. Shake them about to rough up the edges.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Gas 6. You need to cook the pork directly on the bars above the potatoes. Pour a bit of oil on the potatoes to prevent them from sticking, add a wine glass of water and toss, then put the roasting tin on the lower shelf. Put the pork directly on the top shelf, skin side down. Cook for an hour, turning the potatoes once. Check the pork for any pinkness and if necessary cook a little longer (it will probably take an hour and a half in total).

Turn the oven up to 250ºC/Gas 9. Turn the pork skin side up and continue to cook until the skin is puffed up and crispy. Take the meat from the oven and leave to rest. Take the potatoes out when they are really brown and sticky. Remove the potatoes form the roasting tin and pour in a glass of white wine. Bring to the boil on the hob, stirring well to get all the tasty bits from the bottom of the tin.

Cut the meat into thick chunks and serve with the potatoes, gravy and green salad or apple sauce.

Wine Suggestion: Go for a good-quality, full-bodied Chardonnay. We tried the Atarangi Craighall Chardonnay from New Zealand.

(Original recipe from Nigel Slater’s Appetite, Fourth Estate, 2000.)

We had leftovers the next day in a crusty bread roll … yum 🙂

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Inspired by the food of Valencia this dish has a bit of wholesome soul-food about it, while maintaining a vibrant taste of Spain with the Pimenton and garlic. The pork becomes tender and just melts with flavour. We served it with tasty new potatoes and some tender-heart cabbage quickly fried with a little butter.

Pork in an Almond Sauce – Carne en salsa de almendras, serves 4

  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, 4 chopped and 4 peeled and left whole
  • 15g slice of fresh white bread, crustless
  • 1kg piece of rindless, shoulder of pork
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pimenton dulce / smoked, sweet Spanish paprika
  • 1 large sprig of thyme, leaves picked
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 75g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1tbsp  flat parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large shallow flame-proof casserole dish. Add the 4 whole garlic cloves and the slice of bread and fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes, turning one, until golden. Lift out and leave to drain and cool.

Cut pork into 2.5cm/1 inch slices and then into 75-100g pieces. You want them to be quite large. Season well then dust them in the flour. Add another 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the pieces of pork to seal and only lightly colour. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan with the onion, chopped garlic, pimenton dulce, thyme and bay leaves and cook gently for 10 minutes until onions are soft and sweet but not browned. Add the wine and stock and bring to the boil, rubbing the base of the pan to release any bits and pieces.

Return the pork to the pan, lower the heat  and season well. Cover and simmer gently for 1.5 hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.

Spoon about 16 tablespoons of the sauce into a liquidiser or food processor and add the fried bread, fried garlic cloves, almonds and parsley leaves. Blend to a smooth paste (this is called a picada in Spain). Stir the picada back into the pan, taste and adjust for seasoning, cover then cook for a further 5 minutes which will allow the sauce to thicken.

Wine suggestion: You could try an oaked, white Rioja particularly if you can find one with a bit of age, or alternately a dry Amontillado sherry. Both have good texture and a savouriness which works well and touches of nut and saltiness in the palate that will complement the flavours without overwhelming them

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)

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This is really quick and healthy, with nice fresh flavours.

Asian Pork Noodle Salad – to serve 2

  • 100g rice noodles
  • 2 stalks of lemongrass, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 200g lean minced pork
  • ½ tsp soft brown sugar
  • small bunch coriander, roughly chopped
  • small bunch mint, roughly chopped
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce

Pour boiling water over the noodles and leave to soak according to the pack instructions. Drain and cool under running water.

Cook the lemon grass and shallots for a couple of minutes, then add the pork and cook until browned and cooked through. Stir in the sugar and stir to dissolve.

Mix the dressing ingredients together and toss with the noodles and pork, then add the coriander and mint and serve.

Drink with: a glass of Riesling – try with one of the slightly off-dry New Zealand styles.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Gnochetti sardi is a Sardinian pasta shape which is shaped like gnocchi but made of durum wheat semolina and no eggs. It is a staple in Sardinia and usually prepared with a heavy tomato based  ragù or sauce made with beef, lamb or sausage. The ragù clings to the heavy ridged pasta shape.

If you can’t find gnochetti sardi then another short pasta shape, like penne, will do. This will serve 4 as a main course but stretches to many more as a first course which is how we like to serve it.

Sardinian Pasta with Sausage and Tomato Sauce – to serve 4

  • 500g bag of gnocchetti sardi pasta
  • 15g dried porcini
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 350g Italian sausages or other meaty pork sausages
  • 120 ml dry white wine
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • Pecorino or Parmesan to serve

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 100ml of boiling water for about 30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and chop but don’t throw away the soaking liquid as you’ll need it later.

Bring a really large pan of salted water to the boil. Meanwhile, skin the sausages and break the meat up into little pieces.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion, garlic, chilies and fennel seeds and fry gently until nicely coloured.

Add the sausagemeat and mushrooms and continue to fry for another 5 minutes. Add the wine and bubble for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add the tomatoes and mushroom soaking liquid. Season well with salt and pepper. Leave the sauce to simmer for about half an hour.

Cook the pasta according to the pack, then drain and add to the sauce. Pass around the cheese and let people help themselves.

Drink with: the Sardinian red wines would work a treat, especially the ones made from Cannonau or Carignano. These two grape varieties are better known as Grenache and Carignan, so if there are no Sardinian gems in the local, find something made from these grapes and you’ll have a match.

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A summer version of pork and apple, the apricots add a similar sweet and acidic foil. On the table in 20 minutes.

Pork with spiced apricots – to serve 2

  • 2 large (approx. 175g) pork steaks
  • olive oil
  • 4 ripe apricots, halved and stoned
  • knob of butter
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp muscovado sugar

Preheat the grill to medium and line a baking tray with tinfoil. Place the pork steaks on the tray, brush with a little oil and season. Arrange the apricot halves around the pork, cut side up. Top each apricot half with a little butter, sugar and chilli.

Grill the pork for about 15 minutes in total, turning half way through.

Great with some steamed potatoes and green veg.

Drink with: We’ve been drinking a lot of northern Rhone recently and this dish matches the Roussanne and Marsanne whites found there. They compliment the apricot flavours and have enough weight and acidity to stand up to the pork. It is a really good match, so search out these grapes from around the world as we think they are so underrated.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pork tenderloins are usually pretty cheap and not too high in fat but be careful not to overcook them as they can become dry. Serve with some greens or salad and new potatoes.

Pork with maple & mustard sauce – to serve 4

  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 300g each
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • juice of 1 lemon

Cut the pork into 3cm thick slices. Put the flour and some salt and pepper in a food bag, add the pork slices, then shake well to coat the pork with the seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan and quickly fry the pork until browned. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes, then remove to a warm dish and cover with foil.

Add the onion to the pan, then fry quickly until lightly coloured. Add a bit more oil if you need it. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Boil for a couple of minutes to reduce the stock, stir in the maple syrup, mustard and lemon juice, then bring back to the boil, stirring.

Return the pork to the pan and simmer gently for another few minutes or until just cooked through. Sprinkle with some parsley if you have some.

Wine Suggestion: The maple syrup and mustard give a sort of sweet and sour effect which you need to balance with a little bit of sweetness in the wine but also a savoury character – try an Alsace Pinot Gris.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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These are lovely and low-calorie (just 236 calories per serving to be exact). The creamy sauce gives them a nice richness too. Great with tagliatelle for a mid-week meal.

Creamy Swedish Meatballs  – to serve 4

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 450g lean minced pork
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 sprigs dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3-4 tbsp soured cream
Mix the onion, pork, egg yolk and half the dill in a bowl and season well. Lightly wet your hands, then make 12 golf-ball sized meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the meatballs, turning often, for about 12-15 minutes or until nicely coloured all over. Mix together the sour cream and the rest of the dill and spoon over the meatballs.

Serve with tagliatelle or mashed potato.

Wine Suggestion: We’d probably go for a light red here, perhaps a Dolcetto from north-west Italy or a light Zinfandel/Primativo.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Good Friday night stuff this. We always have a stash of good quality sausages from Sienna in the freezer. This is a Jamie recipe called “Proper blokes’ sausage fusilli”. We assure you that proper ladies like it too!

Sausage Pasta – to serve 4

  • 2 heaped tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 dried red chillies, crumbled (or use chilli flakes)
  • olive oil
  • 600g good-quality coarse Italian sausages (or Cumberland)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • a wineglass of white wine
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 500g good-quality fusilli or penne
  • a couple of knobs of butter
  • a handful of freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

Crush the fennel seeds and chillies in a pestle and mortar until coarsely ground. Heat a splash of olive oil in a heavy frying pan. Skin the sausages and add the meat to the pan, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Fry for a few minutes until it starts to colour and the fat has started to render, keep crushing it until it looks like coarse mince. Add the crushed fennel and chillies and cook on a medium heat for about 10 minutes until the meat looks crispy and golden brown.

Stir in the oregano, then pour in the wine and reduce it by half. Add the lemon zest and juice. Turn the heat to low while you cook your pasta according to the pack. Drain the pasta but reserve a little cooking water. Toss the pasta well with the sausagemeat, then add the butter, Parmesan, chopped parsley and a few spoons of the reserved water. You should have a loose, shiny sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve with some extra Parmesan.

Wine Suggestion: The recipe book suggests a Valpolicella Classico which would be good but we reckon the bit of extra acidity from a Chianti would work better. Or if you like your wines fruitier and softer try something from the Tuscan coast, the Maremma.

(Original recipe from Cook with Jamie by Jamie Oliver, Penguin, 2006.)

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This is really easy for  mid-week and you won’t have to look to hard for the ingredients. Great served with some mash!

Pan-fried pork with mushrooms – to serve 4 

  • 500g pork tenderloin fillet
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 300ml vegetable stock

Cut the pork diagonally into slices. Put the flour, rosemary and some seasoning in a plastic bag and add the pork, then toss until the meat is well coated.

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan. Fry the pork for 3-4 minutes until browned on both sides, turning once. Remove the pork from the pan and set aside – it won’t be cooked at this stage.

Heat the rest of the oil in the pan, throw in the mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes or until starting to soften. Add the garlic and return the pork to the pan along with any flour still in the bag. Stir in the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the pork is cooked.

Wine Suggestion: You could go for a white or red here. If you choose white go for something with a bit of texture, like a white Côtes du Rhône made from Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Rousanne (avoid any made from Viognier as they won’t have enough acidity for the dish). If you fancy a red go for a Syrah which should have a bit of spice but won’t overwhelm the pork.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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Pork and Pears

We really only made this because there was leftover blue cheese in the fridge but it’s a perfect combination of complementary flavours. Good with some purple sprouting broccoli on the side.

Pork and pears – to feed 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into eighths
  • 2 large pears, quartered and cored – leave the skins on
  • few sprigs rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
  • 4 pork steaks, about 175g each, trimmed of excess fat
  • 50g blue cheese, cubed

Heat the oil in a roasting tin on the hob (use 2 rings), then add the onions, pears, most of the rosemary and seasoning. Fry for 5 minutes or until just starting to caramelise.

Heat the grill to high. Season the pork, then arrange among the veg and fry for 5-10 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Scatter with the leftover rosemary and the cheese, grill until the cheese melts.

Wine Suggestion: White wine works well with these flavours and ingredients; try a Pinot Gris, a slightly off-dry Chenin Blanc, or even a fruiter style of Roussanne

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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Great mid-week comfort food; rich and delicious and easy to make. We had all these ingredients in the fridge or freezer too so it made our dinner really cheap. This was so delicious that if we’d have made a larger amount Jono probably would have scoffed that too! Using good ingredients helps as we had two lovely Toulouse sausages in the freezer and good quality cherry tomatoes in a tin in the cupboard. These lifted the richness and depth of flavour.

Italian Stew with borlotti beans and sausage – serves 2

  • 2 Italian-style sausages (we used Toulouse which worked just as well)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • pinch of chilli flakes
  • 400g tin cherry tomatoes
  • 300ml stock
  • 400g tin borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
  • 100g green beans or sugar snaps
Remove the skins from the sausages and roll the meat into little balls. Heat then brush a frying pan with oil and brown the meatballs until golden and any oil is released.

Remove meatballs and add the onion, garlic, fennel seeds and chilli flakes to the pan. Season and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the tin of cherry tomatoes and 300ml stock. Bring to the boil and then add the meatballs and borlotti beans. Cook for 10 minutes.

Now add the green beans or sugar snaps and cook for a further 5 minutes (until the greens are just tender).

Serve in bowls.

Wine suggestion: Great with a warm, but not heavy red. A Nero d’Avola or other southern Italian would work really well, but so would a cooler climate, New World shiraz or cabernet, particularly if it has a little bit of age to mellow out the tannins. Avoid the jammy, higher alcohol reds as these would overwhelm the dish.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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This is our classic party dish – so popular that we have to fight to get a taste when we serve it in a buffet! We’ve just made it this weekend for our friends Nicola and Dave’s housewarming. Just to make sure we got some ourselves we made a little extra for the next day. So for all our friends that have asked … here’s the recipe 🙂

Simple Baked Lasagne – serves 6 but easily doubled (which can easily serve 20 or more strangely enough …)

  • 4 rashers pancetta or smoked bacon, finely sliced
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 generous handfuls of whole, fresh herbs (use your own mix of sage, oregano, rosemary and thyme)
  • 400g shin of beef, or skirt, coarsely minced
  • 200g pork belly, skin removed & coarsely minced
  • 2 x 400g tins good-quality plum tomatoes
  • 250ml red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly sliced
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, bashed in a mortar & pestle
  • 1 dried red chilli, also bashed
  • 400g dried, ready to cook lasagne sheets
  • 400g mozzarella

For the white sauce:

  • 1 x 250ml tubs of crème fraîche
  • 3 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls freshly grated parmesan
  • a little milk

Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4

If you are making a double quantity you may want to cook the meat sauce in two quantities as it will be easier to manage unless you have a very large casserole pot. You can also make the meat sauce in advance which makes entertaining easy –  a simple assembly and cook on the night!

In a large casserole pan slowly fry the pancetta or bacon and the cinnamon until golden, add the onion, carrot, garlic and herbs and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Once mixed together add the beef and pork and brown for about 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes, wine and bay leaves and then bring to the boil. Wet some grease-proof paper and place it on top of the pan and then place a lid on top of this as well to complete the seal. Cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours.

While this is cooking rub the butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and the bashed coriander seeds and chilli. Place on a baking tray and roast in the oven for the last 45 minutes of cooking the sauce. When you remove the sauce check that the squash is cooked and slightly caramelising; if not leave in oven until done.

When sauce is done season and put to one side. Mix together crème fraîche, anchovies, a handful of parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add enough milk while mixing until the sauce becomes loose and smooth. Don’t make it too runny!

Turn oven up to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. To assemble lasagne rub a large dish, or deep tray with olive oil, lay some sheets of lasagne over the bottom (and drape over the sides too if you are using fresh lasagne). Add a layer of meat, a little white sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan and then top with another layer of lasagne sheets. Make a complete layer with the butternut, topping it again with lasagne sheets. Repeat the meat, white sauce and parmesan layers. Finish with a layer of pasta covered in white sauce. Tear over the mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan.

Cook for 30-35 minutes and until golden. Watch the hordes descend.

[Inspired by Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s dinners, Penguin 2006]

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It is my Mum’s birthday today so when she came down to stay at the weekend I asked her what she would like us to cook. To this she replied “something in a creamy sauce” which sounded fairly straight forward until we went looking for a recipe. Have we all stopped eating meat in creamy sauce or something? We found a few stroganoff style things but as this is one of Mum’s specialities we couldn’t go down that route. Eventually we came across this in Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course and it seemed to fit the bill. Mushroom season is starting too so we’re looking forward to many more mushroomy things.

Carbonnade of Pork with Mushrooms

  • 900g pork fillet
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil and a little butter
  • 110g onion, finely chopped
  • 60ml dry white wine
  • 150ml chicken stock
  • 225g mushrooms, sliced
  • 300ml sour cream
  • Roux (see below)
  • lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
For the Roux:
You will only need a little bit of this so you can make it in smaller quantities if you like. It keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge and can be used to thicken flour-based sauces or gravies.
  • 110g butter
  • 110g white flour
Melt the butter, add the flour, combine and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat, stirring.
For the carbonnade of pork: 

Cut the pork into slices about 7mm thick. Pour a little bit of oil into a very hot frying pan, sauté the pork pieces in batches until nicely browned. Remove to a plate and keep warm.

Add a bit more oil and cook the onions gently until soft and golden. De-glaze the pan with wine and bring to the boil, add stock and boil again until reduced by a quarter.

Meanwhile sauté the sliced mushrooms in batches in a little butter and oil in a really hot pan and add to the pork. Add the cream to the sauce, bring back to the boil and thicken with a little Roux. Add the cooked pork and mushrooms along with the juice to the sauce.

Taste, add a little lemon juice and simmer gently for a minute or two. Add the parsley and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with some curly kale and a glass of the wine you used to make the sauce.

(Original recipe from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course published by Kyle Cathie Ltd, 2001).

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Cypriot PastitsioThe warmth of the cinnamon and the dried mint turns this pasta bake into something distinctively Cypriot rather than Italian. Serve it with a big Greek salad on the side for a stress-free dinner party. The Pastitsio takes a while to make but you can have all assembled in advance, ready to stick in the oven when your guests arrive. It is also best served warm, or even at room temperature, so you don’t need to worry if you get behind making your salad!

Tessa recommends a dish of dimensions very similar (and no bigger) than this: 35cm long, 24cm wide and 6cm deep. We used a big roasting tin.

Pastitsio – to serve 10

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 850g minced pork and beef
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 400g tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 450g short pasta (we used penne)
  • about 30g butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
Bechamel sauce
  • 120g butter
  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 litre warm milk
  • a little freshly grated nutmeg
Heat the oil in a large non-stick saucepan and fry the onion until soft and golden. Add the parsley and garlic and cook for a few second before adding the meat. Fry for a few minutes until all the moisture has gone and the mince is starting to brown. Season and add the bay leaf and cinnamon. When it starts to fry and brown, add the wine and cook until evaporated. Add the tomatoes and a cup of water and cook over a medium to low heat for 10-15 minutes. The meat shouldn’t be too dry. Take off the heat.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 2 minutes less than what it says on the packet. Drain and put in a bowl. Mix in the butter and crumble in the dried mint. Stir well and spoon half over the base of a large ovenproof dish. Pour the meat mixture over the top to evenly cover the pasta, then add the rest of the pasta over the top. Press down with a wooden spoon to make it quite compact. Set aside while you make the béchamel sauce.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring all the time, then start adding the warm milk. Work quickly, stirring while adding ladlefuls of milk as each one is absorbed. When the sauce is smooth and not too stiff, add salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg. Keep cooking even after it comes to the boil, for about 5 minutes, stirring all the time. You should have a very thick and smooth sauce. Pour this over the pasta and meat in the dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden. Let it cool for a bit before you serve or it will run everywhere.

(Original recipe from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros, published by Murdoch Books, 2004.)

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We know we have done this before but this is a really simple mid-week version and not at all stressful to cook. If you’re not keen on butter beans you could use haricot or borlotti instead. We love butter beans!

Sausage tomato and butter bean bake – to serve 3-4

  • 6-8 large pork sausages, plain or flavoured
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g cans butter beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan. Add the sausages and cook gently for a minute or two or until just sealed and lightly browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate.

Wipe out the frying pan and add the rest of the oil. Tip in the onion and sage and sauté very gently for around 10 minutes until the onion is very soft but not coloured. Add the tomatoes, bring to a simmer, then cook for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until the sauce has reduced a bit and thickened. Season to taste.

Put the tomato mixture into an ovenproof dish, stir in the beans, then arrange the sausages on top, burying them in the mixture. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the sauce bubbles and the sausages are cooked.

[Original recipe by Ainsley Harriott for BBC Good Food, August 2009]

Wine suggestion: Try a lighter red with a bit of acidity as the tomatoes will be acidic and it’s all about balance. Try something with Sangiovese or  a Cabernet Franc from the Loire.

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We have a tonne of recipe books, some we use all the time and some we use very seldom. For this reason we try to go to the shelves and deliberately choose something we haven’t cooked from for ages, or indeed never. This is how we ended up cooking this gammon dish, as Nigella Express has been neglected since well before Jono and Jules even met. Since 2007 to be precise when Jules cooked some cocktail sausages in honey, soy sauce and sesame oil and wrote “28.10.2007 Too sweet!!” beside the recipe. The comment beside this recipe is, “5.8.11 Really good!! Serve with new spuds + peas w/ Parmesan + cream” – which is much more positive and so we thought we would share it.

Nigella’s Gammon Steaks with Parsley – Serves 2

  • 2 tsp oil (Nigella suggests garlic oil but we didn’t have any and it didn’t seem to matter much)
  • 2 gammon steaks, around 200g each
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • lots of freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 4 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan and cook the gammon steaks for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.

Take the pan off the heat. Whisk the vinegar with the water, pepper and honey and throw into the hot pan along with most of the parsley. Stir to mix and make sure you scrape all the sticky bits of the bottom of the pan, then pour over the gammon steaks.

Sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve.

P.S. Nigella suggest serving this with some frozen peas blended with a little Parmesan, pepper and Mascarpone. We blended ours with some Parmesan, pepper and double cream as that’s what we had.

(Original recipe from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Express, published by Chatto and Windus.)

Wine Suggestion: Pick a lightly oaked and well balanced Chardonnay – you should get a wine with freshness and minerality as well as lovely ripe fruits and a good structure to hold it all together. If the wine is well made it won’t be too forceful rather it will have a structure to support and compliment the food. We drank the William Cole Columbine Reserve Chardonnay from Chile which went down a treat; really great value at €13.50 in Mitchells.

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Something a little different for the barbecue (and if it rains it can be cooked in the oven). The bean and olive salad is also delicious. We like this because it can serve up to eight people  but can also be easily adapted for two (or as many as you like). You can also assemble the pork up to a day in advance and keep it in the fridge.  A few new spuds on the side are the perfect accompaniment.

Stuffed pork medallions – to serve 8 (we successfully quartered to serve 2)

  • 16 boneless pork loin steaks
  • large bunch sage, leaves picked (about 32 leaves)
  • 125g ball mozzarella, sliced into 16 pieces
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • cocktail sticks.
Put the pork on a board and make a deep pocket in the side using the tip of a knife, without cutting all the way through. Wiggle the knife around so the pocket is bigger than the opening. Stuff the pockets with a bit of cheese and a sage leaf. Close the opening by threading a cocktail stick through. Press another sage leaf on top of each medallion. Squeeze over juice from one of the lemon halves. You can make these up to a day ahead and keep them in the fridge.

Drizzle the medallions with a little bit of oil and barbecue for 4 minutes on each side (starting with the sage-leaf side down). While they are cooking, barbecue the lemon halves, cut side down, until charred, for squeezing over at the end. Season and serve.

If all else fails you can griddle the medallions in batches on a griddle pan, then transfer to a hot baking tray in the oven to finish cooking (160C/140C fan/gas 3).

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Bean & olive salad – also to serve 8 but make less if you’re not that many!

  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 2 red peppers
  • 300g green beans
  • 300g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbsp small capers
  • 2 handfuls of black olives, stoned (or not if you can’t be bothered)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • large bunch basil, leaves picked, large ones shredded, small ones left whole
Blacken the peppers using a gas flame, barbecue or hot grill. Put them in a bowl and cover with cling film. When they are cool, peel, deseed and cut them into strips, keeping any juices.

Cook the beans in boiling salted water until crunch but not squeaky, then drain and put in ice water to stop them cooking further. Toss everything together, adding the shredded basil at the last minute and scatter over the small leaves to finish.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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