Pork

•February 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Belly Pork occasion

I am a Pork lover, it smells great as it cooks, tastes great, so enticing.

Sunday morning at the country estate (all 15 acres) are laid back, stay in bed sort of occasion. So I did. Then I began thinking about the chunk of Belly Pork I had bought, I also love(d) as a kid, roast seasoned ‘pocket of steak, (topside) it was always my go to birthday request meal. Why didn’t I try and stuff the belly Pork and slow roast it in the Falcon. My modern AGA stove and one of the passions of my life.

There is no reason why it should not work I reasoned. Belly Pork is fatty, or it is when I buy it. Seasoning if made properly can cut the fat… a scrape of lemon rind, the sharpness of sage, finely chopped uncooked onion, of course with some bread soaked in milk and a small slab of butter, after all, don’t want to take the chance that the meat will dry out. I have Dad’s boning knife, its good and sharp, narrow blade.

Mum’s go to all purpose stuffing is simple, sage, onion, breadcrumbs, butter, salt and pepper. Used two slices of day old white bread, broke it up in the basin a splash of milk, half a brown onion chopped finely and six sage leaves shredded, a pat of butter, salt and pepper, ended up with about 1 1⁄2 cups.

My belly Pork was on the larger side, I cut the pocket on the side of the roughly square piece of meat, you can see the bottom and top by the way the ribs run. I made the pocket as large and as spacious as I could without piercing the skin or the meat. I did make a small hole in the pocket, but it caused little issue. I stuffed the pocket with all of the stuffing mix, stitched the opening and congratulated myself.

Belly pork often has a sort of valley in the centre of cut, I used the stuffing to give me a flat surface or in fact slightly domed. I had cut the rind into 1 cm strips before stuffing. Heated the Falcon to 150° c and placed the meat on two slabs of sweet potato, this was I reckoned a way of keeping the pork from the bottom of the pan and adding moisture. I also added 1⁄2 a cup of water. No salt and no oil. Into the oven for a three hour cook.

We had a cauliflower, three tomatoes and plenty of onion. Two of my favourite things are cauliflower cheese and what Mum called tomato and onion ‘savoury’. I was a bit puffed up with success on the stuffed belly Pork, so thought I could keep the thing going. I used half the large caulie, sort of sliced it into 1 cm wedges, Cut up the tomatoes and one red onion into slices, combined all put some salt and pepper over and the made 750 ml of cheese sauce (I like a fair wedge of parmesan in the sauce), poured it over and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs along with a few bits of bacon. Baked for about 75 minutes at 160° c fan forced.

By way of comment, this could also make a great baked dish, the large very full cauliflowers, heavy and densely packed are great sliced in 1.5 cm wedges, laid on an oiled tray, drizzled with good olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a hot oven until browned, the same can be done with tomato and onion, so to with fennel, then all can be layered in a casserole dish, in dispersed with fresh herbs, dressed with some olive oil and a scattering of breadcrumbs, baked in a 180° c oven until cooked, about 20 minutes. You can also do this with canned beans in the layers and top with some tomato passata. Beautiful.

My go to gravy method is always the same, the pan drippings (gorgeous) with a tablespoon of plain flour and a good teaspoon of vegemite, use a flat whisk and make this into a paste, then add a cup and a half of cold water and begin blending the paste over heat, more water may be necessary as the gravy may be too thick. But it will be delicious.

It’s true that I prepped the food, but it is time to again praise and eulogise and carry on a treat about how great the Falcon is. You pay a fare bit for a good cooking appliance, in the main it seems that the European models all come with many bells and whistles, the Falcon does not have lots to twiddle with. It could not be called basic, five top burners, one top hot plate, one fan forced oven, one standard oven with top and bottom heat sources, one grill and one plate warmer. What is so great about the Falcon is that it is reliable, it works and better yet, does exactly what it is called on to do. My one groan is that the country requires us to have bottled gas and that is not as effective. Other than that, love the Falcon.

Suffice to say, it was delicious, slabs of butter tender meat, crispy crackle and moist seasoning, all crowned with a rich brown gravy and a serve of cheesy cauliflower tomato and onion.

We usually get back from the country late Sunday, if I can, I will con Jen into a batch of scones, the last lot because I ate them too fast, gave me a little indigestion. In order to not have to make scones, Jennifer reminds me of that moment and at the same time, appeals to my inner healthy person and elevates her own status in my health’s regard. It sometimes works!

We had returned home with half the Belly Pork, half the cheesy cauliflower and a slug of gravy. I am not averse to a meat and salad moment and that was my plan to tonight (Monday). That left Sunday nights meal unattended and Jen was not happy about scones. I thought I would channel my inner American mid west housewife and make soup from the left over vegetable dish.

I took one decent sized saucepan, put in the remaining cheesy cauliflower etc, rinse out the cooking dish with about 750 mil of chicken stock, added 1 can of crushed tomato and heated. My idea was to blend it, I didn’t do it in the end, I just used the potato masher and crushed it a little. Hot patooti, it was delicious. One crusty breadstick, a large bowl of soup and yum.img_0471

Meat – must have died

•February 21, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Meat do/don’t Abattoirs and killing…
It is vexed, but for me as clear as a bell. It has to be completely accepted, that in order for you to eat flesh, then it must have died. This is the case no matter what the flesh, be it a sausage, fish, a sardine, it is flesh and must have died.
I don’t see the issue being difficult, if you cannot accept the death of animals, if you have issues of animals dying well or even not well, then you must choose not to eat meat. There is no way die with ease. I watched my father slaughter many animals, I think Dad was a kind, gentle man who did care for the beasts he killed. His brothers, less so, his father was ever the pragmatist and killing animals did not enter into his thinking, it had to be done.
Would seem to me to be of much greater importance, having made the decision to consume meat, that the meat be of the best and highest quality, that the animal lived a full rich life as close to nature as possible, was not subjected to cruel practices and was slaughtered humanely.
We have this tendency to be a very fractured society, we fall over ourselves to be politically correct, we become shocked should someone over step a sensitive mark, we no longer share the idea of Australian mateship, no matter the race, our political overlords are more concerned about their re­election than fearless governing. We have developed non caring attitudes when it comes to some in the world being murdered, bombed, killed, maimed, so long as it does not impact on our own world or space we can live with it. We are seriously over governed.
We campaign rigorously for rights and privileges, we become alarmed at what is happening in other countries on this shrunken globe. We debate the issue of global warming and it’s impact, without ever changing anything in our own lives to combat it. We empower political leaders not elected by ourselves, but by disenfranchised in their own country, we allow ourselves to be influenced. The below both appeared as headlines in the ABC News Online 25th November.
Who has Donald Trump appointed to his White House so far? Australian shares set for quiet day on back of Thanksgiving holiday!
Australia seems to have lost the plot.
We have choices, we can decide many things, its time to stop allowing newspapers, overseas politicians, religious zealots and lobbyists, undue influence. What we loose now will never be regained, that is the nature of things. Eat meat, don’t eat meat, the choice is yours.

Potato Salad

•February 20, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Interestingly one of the most universal recipes or styles, it is found in almost every country and cuisine style on the planet. It is deliniated by flavour (spices etc) and depths of cooking, some like it mushy, some crisp, some very crisp. There are even roasted potato salads. Sweet potato in some regions is more popular.

When you consider that the potato came to Europe in 1536 from South America and spread around the world from there, along with the onion, it must lay claim to the most consumed vegetable on the planet. It is certainly the carbohydrate of choice when it comes to the UK and vies for position for that with rice, pasta and flour in the rest of the world. In my childhood potato was the major force, along with red meat, dominating every meal. My mother’s version of potato salad was somewhat scewed, it was called ‘Russian Salad’ and was a melange of chopped cooked potato, carrot, green peas, beetroot all dressed with a creamy dressing and often served in a lettuce cup.

Potato was introduced into China and Asia after 1600 and quickly became popular as a food, particularly in the cooler regions where it was easy to grow. Europe was slower to be colonized by the potato and never reached the same popularity that it did in the cooler climes. In the far parts of Northern Europe, it rapidly became a food for the poor peasant population along with cabbage and beets.

In pre Columban North America, potatoes were very much in evidence, along with tomato and peanuts and many vegetables that were unheard of in Europe, corn, pumpkin, wild rice all were comon in the native diet. It may even be claimed that some vegatables found their way to Europe via this source and not always from the European exploration of South America. Where ever they came from, they gained ready acceptance and quickly became part of the local cuisine.

This amazing data is a list of potato dishes in various world regions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_potato_dishes

This is a list of Potato salad dishes from round the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potato_salad

This all got started because I was having a roam around youtube, call it an instant holiday, and came across a link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVm0CaOxEQY

This is all about a take away food shop in Richmond Virginia and quickly got me in, when the part about potato salad came I was fascinated, it was a style I had never ever heard of, mashing the potatoes and eggs, adding diced onion, dill pickle, yellow (USA style) mustard and mayonaise. It is much more mashed than what I am used to and contains much more egg, recipe will follow. It is definitely much loved in the American South and is found on all celebration tables.

It is a curious thing that we are starting to get to know more and more about North American food and it may be time to start not dissing it as much as (I have) in the past. There are, like every cuisine on earth, specially those from such massive countries as India, China, Europe and America, enormous differences of quality, taste and style. Much of what we see in Australia and in the United States is to do with the influx of migrants over many years. As the waves of migrants arrived they brought with them their own take on food, the Italians brought pasta, pizza and style of eating, the Europeans brought weighty foods that had evolved because of the climate. Spain had already influenced vast tracts of land in the America’s, the French influenced not main cuisine style of the USA, but the food of Louisianna and then that of Canada. We in Australia were more influenced by first the Brittish then the foods of the Mediterranean, we later started to absorb the tastes of the Middle East. No one cuisine has influenced more or less and so in the USA a very polygot food style has grown.

In the Mid West of the USA, also known as the Bible belt, a very homey food style has evolved, influenced largely by European foods. Preserving has remained as something important, indeed styles of preserving not seen as a domestic practice, are done in this region, tinning foods is an example. The most radical difference in the foods in the USA and other colonised countries is the use of fat, sugar, salt and serving sizes. There are some things that have evolved in the USA and this is one of them, well worth trying.

Southern Potato Salad recipe and very very good.

1.5 kilo of red potato, unpeeled and washed

6 hard boiled eggs chopped

1 small red onion chopped fine

4 dill cucumbers chopped fine and a little juice.

1 cup of whole egg mayonnaise

½ cup yellow mustard

½ teaspoon salt

splash of EVO

 

potato-salad

Cook the potatoes and as allow to cool, crush a bit, don’t mash them, just break them down. Add to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (not the evo) Mix well and add a splash of EVO to top. It is very delicious even the next day.

 

Me and the Anchovy

•April 14, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Me and the anchovy…

One of the best things to eat is roast lamb … I like the leg best but this recipe can be done with those well trimmed racks of lamb or if you can get them, rumps. Take an anchovy or three and with a soft bladed knife, mash with some garlic cloves until you make a salty paste. Make some small trees 3 cm high of Rosemary, for a roast leg say 10 for a small rack 2 or for a rump, one is enough. Use a sharp small knife and make a slit in meat, fill with the anchovy paste and then tuck in the rosemary. Roast as you would normally and allow the flavours to go through the lamb. Delicious.

or

Roman Roast Lamb

1 leg of lamb (the leg can be whole or can be diced into a 2 – 3 cm dice)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 knob of butter

1 lambs kidney

6 large anchovy fillets

3 sprigs of Rosemary

4 – 6 cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 glasses of white wine

salt pepper (add this just before serving to taste)

In a pestle and mortar crush the garlic, anchovies and rosemary to a smooth paste.

In a large heavy based casserole pot brown the meat in oil and butter, if whole, then brown it well on all sides, if cubed, then the same and place to one side.

If using the lambs kidney, then dice it and brown it, then add the paste, the two glasses of wine and the vinegar and scrape up the browned bits and cook. Return the meat to the pan and get back to heat… drop the temperature and place the lid on the casserole, cook over a slow gas for as long as it takes for the meat to become very soft and tender… should the liquid in the pot start to evaporate too quickly, add some water. At the end of cooking you should have about a cup of liquid or a bit more.

Serve with a good  rice, some pasta or couscous.

But..

Loved or loathed in about equal proportions, I am a lover. I love the added push it can give to foods, its spiky saltiness, the heady fishiness. What I hear most is that it is too strong and the flavour overpowering. Makes me think that the complainee has just simply had a bad anchovy experience.

Anchovies have been around on the food scene for a very long time, found mostly in the temperate zones, they adore the Mediterranean for obvious reasons ,in the tropical waters there is a sub species that has been used in foods for many hundreds of years. It is anchovies that form the basis of the much used, SE Asian fish sauce. (strictly speaking, along with any other small fish trawled up in the nets.)

Anchovies have found their way into food flavouring for many hundreds if not thousands of years. In Europe and the British Isles, they have long featured in the food chain and could be found in markets in great mounds, salted. They were also kept in barrels and this resulted in a mix of anchovies that was sold as a paste.

Anchovies were found in a fermented ancient Roman sauce called Garum. It was said to be very pungent and the sauce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garum Dried fish was and continues to be a food in much demand around the globe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombay_duck

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchovies_as_food

I should suggest that anchovy haters now leave the premises, but I am nothing if not determined when it comes to the delights of the tiny fish. I do have one suggestion for the piscatorially challenged, soak the little beggars in milk before you use them… this does two things, reduces the salt and lessens the taste. No more than 30 minutes.

Take anchovies away from the cooks of Spain France Italy Portugal and to a lesser extent Greece and you would have a small riot on your hands and I am with them. I have a jar of anchovies that stands beside the stove and when I need a flavour boost, in they go. I can honestly tell you it would be rare for me to start to fry anything without tossing an anchovy into the warming oil… I must say here in my own family I have one or two who do not like the taste and so I never tell them that there is anchovy lurking in such things as the veal in cream sauce, the sliced potatoes cooked with garlic (anchovy) and cream… thank you so much Sweden for this. The fact is they just cannot taste the anchovy as the flavour spreads through the whole dish.

picvqIdQ1

Jannson’s Delight

2 Large Onions sliced

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 Large (baking) Potatoes

1 small can Anchovies, drained and chopped (reserve the oil)

1 1/2 cups cream

Fry the onions in the 2 tablespoons of butter until golden. Slice the potatoes length wise as thin as possible. Using a long dish, butter it lightly and layer the dish (several times if possible but finish with potatoes) with potatoes, onions and anchovies. Drizzle the reserved oil over the top and dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Pour 3/4 cup of cream over the potatoes and bake in a hot oven (220 c) for 30 minutes, pour the remaining 3/4 cup of cream over the potatoes, reduce oven to 180 c and cook for a further 30 minutes until the potatoes are cooked and the top is golden.

So for me, anchovy finds its way into a delicious Anchovy Essence that is stunning for rubbing on a good steak or some veal before you cook it. Great also in salad dressings and a million other uses. I have just today done the first (test) batch of the original Indian version of what is now called Worcestershire Sauce, we wont be standing it out in the sun, that would be frowned upon… mind you without the sun of India, very very many of the pickles, pastes and chutneys would not be possible. Those amazing condiments that are just simply various vegetables and spices in mostly oil but some lime juice as well, need the suns warmth to bring the character out.

Anchovy Essence copy

Why are we becoming so dammed obsessed with stuff like this. We are over regulated to hell and back and, it is getting worse.

I forgot to mention that this version of Worcestershire sauce is quite different to the one we have been making for years to a recipe passed onto me by my Auntie Mon. This one uses souring agents (tamarind) and anchovy along with spices and is allowed to steep for a longish time to let all the flavours meld.

Putanesca sauce is the sauce that working women in Italy liked between ‘jobs’. It is quite strongly flavoured and contains anchovy along with chilli. We also do a limited version of Tapenade (limited because the olive oil is hard to contain). I have tested a great Anchovy Butter but butter is hard to stabilise. The English Gentlemans relish, much loved

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gentleman%27s_Relish

Unknown-1

Some of the great recipes of the world would be nothing without anchovy, Caesar Salad would not be without its anchovy, Bagna Cauda that great Italian butter sauce could not be unless it contained anchovy, Saltimbocca a delicious way of cooking veal with anchovy and sage leaves would not exist.

More importantly, there are just so many times when the home or restaurant cook reaches for that dash of flavour. In many Asian countries, anchovies are an absolute essential in cooking. In Malaysia they are called Ikan Billis, the same in Indonesia. In Korea and Japan anchovies are used in many many dishes. We owe this small fish a great debt.

Unknown

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/nov/08/our-10-best-anchovy-recipes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gnocchi with Green Beans and Peas

•April 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

 

Gnocci Beans and Peas.

Sometimes the stars align, the planets seem benevolent and the sun shines, tonights dinner was one of those times and a huge huge thanks to Italy.

In a nutshell it was Gnocci, with a sauce of bacon, red onion, green beans, peas and pesto. And it was ripper.

IMG_0203

Pesto… Make your own

2 large bunches of basil all leaves stripped from the stems put into the bowl of a blender or if using a stab blender, into a deep bowl.

1/2 cup of very good olive oil

3 – 4 garlic cloves peeled and chopped, in the blender.

1/2 cup toasted pin nuts (please take the time to roast them, they taste better)

Blend until all is chopped and pureed, if necessary add a little more oil.

Stir in 1/2 cup grated parmesan

Stir in 2 tablespoons cream

Blend again. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sauce

1 medium red onion sliced

2 or 3 anchovies

3 rashes of bacon diced into 1 cm wide strips.

1 tablespoon good EVO

Heat the pan, add the oil and then anchovies, bacon and onion. Fry slowly until the onion is cooked and the bacon done. Then add..

14 green beans topped and tailed and cut into 4 cm battons.

1 cup of frozen green peas

Continue to cook until the peas and beans are cooked aldente.

I use a gnocci I get from Mediterranean Wholesalers in Sydney Road Brunswick. I used one whole pack. I find it easier to cook the gnocci in a dish of boiling water in a frying pan, as it rises to the surface scoop it into the above sauce.

When all is scooped in, add enough pesto to make a decent sauce (about half).. Don’t cook it, it will split and the oil separate just stir it through.

I like a squeeze of lemon and some extra parmesan.

Delicious.

IMG_0202

CHICKEN WITH ROASTED MUSHROOMS.

•September 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

There is the odd occasion when the creative juices flow and for some reason, dredged up from the very depths of taste and perhaps even some visual. Every now and then, something good comes of it. Last night I must have been inspired, it was delicious.

There was a tray of chicken thighs, some bacon, a bag of Swiss brown mushrooms, a red onion, some fresh garlic, a bottle of our very own PW Anchovy Essence, in the garden some fresh sage, a bottle of cream, a bottle of West Indian style Chilli Sauce, a bottle of good Balsamic.

My original idea was to wrap the beaten down thighs in bacon and grill them, but the thought that more flavour could be added was too enticing. As has happened many times in the past, I swung directions and let my eyes, taste buds and hands do dinner.

I think chicken thighs are a good thing, they are a much better flavour than breasts. I like to flatten them a bit, this can be done between two sheets of plastic and a food mallet, not too thin. I then took a tablespoon of Anchovy Essence, blended that with a couple of cloves of garlic I had crushed, added about eight sage leaves shredded, some black pepper. This mix I then spread on the thighs and rolled them, bacon covered the outside, these I laid in an oval white ceramic roasting dish accompanied by a large red onion that I had thick sliced into four, I then drizzled them with a small bit of olive oil and about half a cup of cream. Into the oven at 150 Celsius for an hour to slow cook. I then halved twenty medium mushrooms and after one hour, added them to the roasting dish, but not on top of the chicken, added some more cream, maybe a 1/4 cup and back to the oven for thirty minutes.

At the end of thirty minutes the mushrooms were cooked and I removed the chicken to a plate to keep warm, I then reduced baking dish with mushrooms and onions until the cream and liquids had become emulsified, a splash of balsamic and a dash of chilli sauce when the reduction had thickened. Placed the chicken on a serving bowl, put the mushrooms around the outside and poured the sauce over.

It was delicious served with rice.

http://goo.gl/5rFvQR20150603_181218 20150603_181228 20150603_181244

Tuna… in glass

•June 19, 2015 • Leave a Comment

http://goo.gl/fPFdqh