Pork loin with garlic confit and basil

pork-loin-with-basil-and-ga

Method:

First make the confit. Place the whole garlic and some basil leaves in a tin foil parcel with a dash of olive oil. Place in a low over, around 180 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and peel the garlic,mash into a paste.

Cut the pork loin into 2 pieces, then butterfly each section by cutting it through the middle horizontally (not all the way through). Place some basil leaves along the centre of each piece and then spread the confit on top. Close the fillet and then wrap each fillet in the pancetta or streaky bacon. Wrap the fillets tightly in cling film to help them form a good shape, and place in the fridge for 30 mins or so.

Remove the fillet from the cling film and pan fry in a little oil over a high heat until browned all over. Place in an oven at 180 for 25 mins. Remove from the oven, test the centre of the meat with a metal skewer to make sure it is cooked through, it should be hot in the centre when you touch the skewer to your lips. Slice the pork and serve.

Chorizo and potato bake

chorizo-and-potato-bake

Method:

This is easy. Slice all the ingredients and then start to layer them in an oven proof dish. Start with a layer of potatoes, then add some onion, garlic and chorizo, Cover this with another layer of potato and so on until you have several layers of the dish. If you want you can add some cheddar to each layer, also you will need to season the layers as you go along.

Once this is complete add stock so it comes almost all the way up and over the potatoes. Place in a hot oven (200C) and bake for about 30mins or until the potatoes are tender.

Sausage pasta with capers, olives and feta

Remove sausage meat from skins. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the sausages, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.  Add the tomato puree, stir well and fry for 1-2 mins.

Add the white wine, let it sizzle and die down then add the tomatoes. Break them down with a fork, together with any large pieces of meat.  Add capers and olives, stir, then leave to simmer for about 15 mins.

Meanwhile, boil pasta until al dente. Spoon 2-3 spoonfuls of the cooking water into the sauce. Drain pasta and return to the pan. Check the sauce for seasoning then pour over the pasta. Add half the parsley, mix and leave to stand for a couple of mins.

Mash feta roughly with a fork.  Spoon pasta onto warm plates, crumble over feta and rest of parsley.

Greek meatballs

Put the onion and garlic in a food processor and whizz to a fine paste. Add this to a bowl along with the mince, herbs and spices and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands (you can fry off a little bit to check the seasonings and flavours are to your liking) and shape into small sausage shapes. Chill for 20-30 minutes as this helps them to hold their shape when frying.

Heat about 2 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add the meatballs. Fry on a fairly high heat, turning a few times until they are browned all over. Remove from the pan and set on some kitchen paper. Wipe the pan out with some kitchen paper and add the tinned tomatoes. Bring up to the boil, breaking the tomatoes up a little with a wooden spoon. Add some salt and pepper. Return the meatballs to the pan and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fresh tomatoes and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced and the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve with rice, potatoes or pasta.

Pasta with sausage, fennel and chilli

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add the sausages. Fry over a medium heat for a few minutes until browned all over. Remove from the pan, leave to cool slightly and then cut into bite sized pieces.

Add the garlic to the same pan and gently fry for a minute or two before adding the fennel and chilli. Add the balsamic and use it to deglaze the pan. Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree and salt and pepper. Return the sausage pieces to the pan and allow this all to bubble over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to quite a thick consistency.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente.

When the pasta is ready, drain it and add it to the sauce with the herbs if using. Mix well through and grate over fresh parmesan to serve.

Pasta with sausage, mustard and creme fraiche

This is a real winter warmer pasta dish; you need good quality sausages with a high meat content (go to a butcher if you can).

First slit the skins on the sausages and break the sausage meat into little bite sized pieces. Discard the skins.

Heat the olive oil in a good quality deep sided pan and fry the sausage meat pieces over a medium heat until they are browned and crispy all over.

Add the onion and fry on a low heat for about 10 mins until they are cooked through and softened.  They should be golden brown.

Next add the garlic and fry for a few minutes being careful not to burn it.  Turn the heat up high before adding wine or stock.

Allow this to sizzle on a medium high heat and scrape up any bits of sausage meat stuck to the pan.

Let this bubble away until the liquid has almost completely evaporated,  this will take around 10 mins.

Have a large pan of boiling water ready for the pasta.  You need about 2 litres of water and about 1 tbls of a good quality salt.  When you cook the pasta you want it to be al dente, this will be around 10 mins depending on the make, ,however if you like less bit cook it longer.

To finish add the wholegrain mustard.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and the parsley to the pan.

Next add the creme fraiche and simmer gently for a few minutes on a low to medium heat until the sauce has thickened slightly. It should be the consistency of double cream.  Taste and check for seasoning one final time.

Drain the pasta and mix well with the sauce. If it is a little thick you can add some of the drained pasta water, this is all down to taste.Serve with plenty grated parmesan.

Quick casserole of chicken, chorizo and chickpeas

chicken chorizo chickpeas

Heat the olive oil in a heavy based casserole pan and fry the chorizo over a medium heat until slightly browned. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set to one side.

Add the onion and leek to the pan and fry for a few minutes, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat, cover and leave to sweat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep an eye on it because you don’t want them to brown.

Add the garlic, chilli and red pepper, cover again and leave to sweat for a further 5 minutes.

Put the chorizo back into the pan along with the chickpeas and enough stock just to cover. Season. Bring back to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. At this point you can simmer with the lid off to reduce the stock if you want a thicker sauce.

Add the chicken and poach for a few minutes until cooked.  At the last minute check the seasoning and add the parsley.

Thai green curry

green_thai_curry

In a food processor put the onion, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, chillies, lime zest and juice and whizz to a rough paste. Add the fish sauce, shrimp paste, basil, coriander and oil and whizz again to quite a fine paste.

Heat a wok or large frying pan and add the paste. Fry for about 5 mins over a medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken and fry for a few more minutes, stirring to coat the chicken in the paste. Pour in the tin of coconut milk, bring to the boil and simmer for around 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

Check the seasoning – add salt/more lime juice if needed. Serve with rice.

Scalloped potatoes with bacon and tarragon

Peel and slice the potatoes. Place half in a greased ovenproof dish and season well. Sprinkle with the onion, tarragon and bacon then cover with the rest of the potatoes. Pour   over the cream/milk and cover with greased foil.

Cook in the oven (200C) for about 1 and a half hours or until almost tender. Remove foil and sprinkle on cheese. Return to oven, uncovered for 15-20mins.

Vietnamese chicken balls

Ingredients:

  • 500g Chicken mince (make your own by chopping thigh meat in a food processor)
  • 3 Cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 Shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 Stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
  • Few leaves of fresh mint and some fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil
  • A large bunch of mint, leaves picked
  • 2-3 Heads baby cos or little gem lettuce, leaves separated
  • Sweet chilli sauce to serve

Method:

Mix the minced chicken, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, fresh herbs and fish sauce together. Pull a teaspoonful of the mixture off and fry until cooked. Taste and add some salt if necessary.

Shape into about 30 balls. Chill in the fridge for half an hour.

Heat a large frying pan. Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil and fry the balls for about 5 minutes until evenly browned and cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper. Do this in batches so the pan does not become overcrowded, adding more oil if necessary.

Fasten one mint leaf around each chicken ball with a mini-skewer and serve each one in a lettuce leaf cup. Arrange on a large white plate and serve with the sweet chilli sauce.

Fried Vietnamese pancake

Ingredients:

  • 100g Rice Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 175ml Coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Palm sugar
  • 200g Pork fillet
  • 8 Large prawns
  • Black Pepper
  • Handful of beansprouts
  • 4 Spring onions

Method:

Make a batter by beating the eggs in a bowl and adding in the rice flour, turmeric, coconut milk, sugar and a pinch of salt. Slice the pork into thin strips and add them along with the prawns which are cut into small pieces. Add to this the fish sauce, chopped spring onions, beansprouts and palm sugar.

Mix well in the bowl so you have a well combined mixture. Prepare a hot frying pan with enough oil to shallow fry the pancakes. when hot add in ladles of the mixture, the size of the pancakes is up to you. Fry until golden brown, drain and serve with a dippiing sauce and some lettuce leaves.

Satay

Ingredients:

  • 450g Pork fillet or same amount of chicken breast or thigh
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tbsp Light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp Finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 2 tsp 5 Spice powder
  • Salt
  • Dipping sauce:
  • 1 tbsp Groundnut oil
  • 2 tbsp Chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp Chopped shallots
  • 2 red Chillies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice
  • 2 tbsp Coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp Light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 250ml Water
  • 175g Coarsely ground peanuts
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Cut pork or chicken into thin slices.
In a large bowl mix the meat with all the marinade ingredients and leave to marinade for as long as you can – overnight preferably.

Make the sauce:
Heat a wok and add the oil. Add shallots, garlic, chillies and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute. Then add the lime juice, coconut milk and soy sauces, sugar, water and seasoning. Cook for 5 mins then add the peanuts. Mix well. Simmer until you get the consistency you want. Remove from heat and leave to cool – it should be served at room temperature.

Once meat has marinaded, soak some bamboo skewers in cold water before threading meat on.
Heat a griddle pan or oven grill. When very hot add satay and cook for a few mins each side, until golden brown. Serve at once with the dipping sauce and lime wedges

Spare ribs with sesame

Method:

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes until they are golden brown. Shake the pan gently so they don’t catch. Tip out into a mortar and crush them with the pestle. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan (one with a lid). Brown the ribs over a high heat, turning regularly until dark golden brown. Add half the sesame seeds, the spring onion, garlic, ginger, sugar, rice wine, soy, sesame oil and water. Strir well and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 50 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Add a little more water if the pan gets too dry -there should be some sauce to coat the ribs when they are cooked. When almost cooked check the sauce for seasoning and add a little more soy if needed. Serve on a large plate and sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds on the ribs.

These make a great starter to an Asian meal but are also good served with rice.

Spicy Thai pork

Ingredients:

  • 250g Pork mince
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Clove of garlic, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons Chicken stock
  • Pinch of white sugar
  • 3 tbsp Lime juice
  • Pinch of chilli powder (or chilli flakes)
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 sml Red onion
  • Handful of mint and coriander leaves
  • To serve:
  • Steamed rice or baby gem lettuce leaves

Method:

Heat the stock with the garlic, onion, salt and sugar in a frying pan. Add the mince and simmer quite rapidly, stirring often until cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season with the lime juice, chilli powder and fish sauce. Mix through the herbs. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary – it should taste hot, sour and salty.

Serve with rice (as in picture) or spoon into baby gem lettuce leaves.

Swede and bacon cakes with dill sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Turnip/swede, peeled and cut into small chunks
  • 2 large Potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 Onion finely chopped
  • Oil for frying
  • 200g Lardons or chopped bacon
  • 2 tbsp Chopped parsley
  • Flour for coating
  • Butter/oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp Chopped dill
  • 200ml Crème fraiche

Method:

Boil the swede and potatoes until tender. Drain well and mash together.
Fry the onion in a little oil, then add bacon and fry until lightly browned. Add to the mash with the parsley. Season and mix well. Make into 8 cakes and chill for about an hour until firm.

Lightly coat in flour. Heat the butter/oil in a non stick frying pan and cook in batches over a medium heat for 4-5 mins until browned and heated through.
To make the dill sauce, mix the dill into the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a green salad.