Farmer's Choice, where I get most of my meat from, had popped four packs of the stuff in my last order, a little porcine present for me. As soon as I saw them I knew they'd be turned into pork scratchings, but I needed an excuse and reason, and they didn't come out to play until yesterday.
Making them was a little guess work and common sense. I'm not ashamed to admit I was properly grossed out by the mass of (hairy in patches) pale, leathery skin, but the possibility of crunchy, salty, porky treats was enough to get me through it. I say possibility, because I wasn't 100% sure they were going to turn out right. But they did, they were a triumph and this is how I made them:
Dry off the pork skin with kitchen roll and lay flesh side down and sprinkle with salt. Leave for half an our, meanwhile pre-heating the oven to max temperature. Brush off the salt and dry again. Cut into pork scratching sized strips (not the highlight of my day, I used scissors, hard work). The boyfriend suggested cutting into strips, I was going to cook whole, hate to admit it, think he was right. Arrange all the little strips, skin side up, on a baking tray and put on top shelf in the oven. Put on the extractor fan and open the kitchen door as your house will smell distinctly porky otherwise. They're done when they look like, erm, pork scratchings, all blistered and brown, and some go pleasingly curly. I found some bits were ready before others so just took out the done ones and gave the others a further blast. Drain them on kitchen roll and save the curliest ones for yourself.
Monday, 29 August 2011
Saturday, 27 August 2011
|Not sure how chorizo is in a |
'Greek' dish but there you go.
Feeds 6. Pre-heat the oven to 150C. Brown a kilo of cubed pork shoulder in a big casserole in some olive oil and set aside. Then fry a sliced onion and a few chopped garlic cloves until softened. Add 3tbsp sherry vinegar, bubble for two minutes and throw in a handful of chopped chorizo, cook until it oozes with its lovely paprika spiked oil. Bash up a tsp fennel seeds and throw them in, and return the pork and any juices to the casserole. Finally stir in a tin of tomatoes and a squirt of tomato puree and about a litre of water so it all looks a bit splashy and wet. The sauce will reduce right down in the oven, so give it a good stir and season, bring to a simmer, then pop the lid on and cook in the oven for a couple of hours, take the lid off for another 15/30 mins depending how thick its all got. Serve with a zingy gremolata made by combing chopped lemon zest, garlic and parsley. Ooh next time I might use half onion, half chopped fennel for extra crunch.
This is lovely in the summer with some green beans and rice, and comforting mashed potatoes in the winter. Hmmm looking outside right now its more like December than August, so mash it is.
Sunday, 21 August 2011
|What a fate this lamb neck had in store...|
This tagine tastes so fresh and surprisingly delicate, the perfume of the cinnamon combines so perfectly with the sweet lamb and peas, my normal bucket of garlic would have completely drowned out these well balanced flavours. Just delicious. Am supposed to be avoiding carbs at the moment due to an ever expanding waistline, but to have abstained from a big spoonful of cous-cous would surely have been a massive insult to the food Gods, and I just couldn't risk that...
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
|Like a giant sweetie|
|Suitably bashed pods|
Probably a good idea to keep people like Hannah out of the kitchen when you make this.
Monday, 8 August 2011
|So much more than an un-cooked burger, I promise.|
I however adore steak tartare, and so does my Dad so we made it on Saturday, as a starter for a BBQ. Just in case we didn't have a high enough meat content in the meal. This feeds four as a starter, do taste as you go because it's one of those dishes that doesn't require exact measurements. In a bowl, put 400g finely chopped fillet beef, a couple of finely chopped shallots, a tbsp each of chopped capers, cornichons, a tsp Dijon mustard, parsley and salt and pepper, and combine well. Make sure you taste for seasoning. Now assemble a little patty on each plate, using a mug as a cutter works quite well, and nestle in a raw quail's egg, who's shell you have delicately halved, not throwing any ruined ones in the bin.
Some people love it, some people can't get their heads round a plate of raw meat. I think its the business. However, on that day so many years ago in France, with Jess's poor little face in despair, the joke was on me, because I had ordered andouillette, without really knowing what it was either, and I nearly threw up all over the table. Bon appetite.