“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”

Ian: This pork tastes really lovely.

Aine: It is so tender. It’s really hard to get pork that isn’t tough.

Ian: I was tortured with dry pork chops as a kid. And I wasn’t allowed to pick them up and eat them with my fingers.

Aine: Pork chops were made to eat with your fingers!

Anna: You have to gnaw at them!

Ian: Well this was lovely. No gnawing required.

Anna: That’s what happens when you cook it for 4 hours. Yum. Pork belly, crackly crackling. One of my favourite things.

Ian: Does it have any spices on it?

Anna: Nope. But it was cooked on a bed of garlic, shallots and herbs so that’s why it might taste as though it does. I have to say this was the easiest pork belly recipe I’ve ever cooked. No peeling of garlic or shallots required. Just smash them, halve them and bung it in the oven. And it’s delicious.

Aine: How did you make the gravy?

Anna: It was just the cooking juices. I forgot to put any on yours Ian.

Aine: The potatoes are lovely and creamy. They go really well with the pork.

Anna: There’s no cream in them, just chicken stock. Potatoes Boulangere….

Peter: Which is?…..

Anna: Well the Boulangerie is where you get croissants. I have no idea.

Peter: Are there any apples in them?

Anna: The sweetness comes from the onions.  I used waxy rather than floury potatoes, I don’t know if that was right. But it’s worked, hasn’t it?  The best thing about this meal, apart from the yumminess of it, was I got to nap in the garden for part of the afternoon. This is my sort of cooking!

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“Slow-Cooked Pork Belly” and “Potatoes Boulangere” from “A Taste of Home”

A summer postscript — “Slow-roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken” and “Braised Little Gems” from “Forever Summer”

Anna: We couldn’t say goodbye to the book just yet.

Kirstin: It is still technically August. For another 4 hours.

Anna: And this was a meal that we’d been meaning to cook all month.

Kirstin: It looked really simple, and I thought the kids might enjoy it.

Anna: One of them did. They other acted like you were trying to poison him. In spite of the presence of protein.

Kirstin: And he likes carbohydrates. Because they have the word ‘car’ in them.

Anna: So, step 1. Joint your chicken into 8-10 pieces.

Kirstin: Ah yes. Continue reading “A summer postscript — “Slow-roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken” and “Braised Little Gems” from “Forever Summer””

A summer postscript — “Slow-roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken” and “Braised Little Gems” from “Forever Summer”

Plenty of Ottolenghi food: a Friday Feast

Anna: We decided that we wanted to do a proper blow-out feast, after the many abortive midweek Ottolenghi meals that we’ve cooked.

Kirstin: We wanted to give it a full crack of the whip!

Anna: Luckily neither of us was working this afternoon, because it was potentially going to be a massive faff.

Tom: But was it?

Anna: If either of us had been doing it on our own, yes. With the two of us it was still a faff.

Zoe: But was it an enjoyable faff?

Kirstin: Yes, we watched wartime documentaries in between, while things were in the oven.

Anna: And we sang along to the Brandenberg double-violin concerto as we peeled five heads of garlic, clove by clove. Between the two of us it took 40 minutes. The two most annoying things were the cloves of garlic and the bloody cardamom pods.

Kirstin: But you have such good wrist action, Anna! (Zoe guffaws)

Anna: How do you know about my wrist action? It’s all those years of violin playing! With the cardamom pods I had to get Kirstin to open the window. Two tablespoons of cardamom pods, and you had to bash them all up, and take all the seeds out of all the pods! It was about 40 pods! It was like, Christ, take me now. I bashed my head with the pestle. Or was it the mortar? Anyway, we cooked the “Watermelon and feta” to start. I’m going to compare it against the Nigella recipe. Her recipe is watermelon, feta and black olive. She has olives, lime juice, mint and flat-leaf parsley, rather than basil. But everything else is the same. So we cooked that, and then “Caramelized Garlic Tart”.

Kirstin: We called it Vampire Pie.

Anna: And then “Roasted Butternut Squash with Sweet Spices, Lime and Green Chilli”. Continue reading “Plenty of Ottolenghi food: a Friday Feast”

Plenty of Ottolenghi food: a Friday Feast

“Pork Cooked in Milk” and other dishes from “The River Cafe Cook Book”

This evening Anna prepared a River Cafe feast. Her intended guests were unable to come and eat it because of the closure of the Blackwall Tunnel. So Kirstin and her family had to step in at the last minute to eat the food. The menu: “Pork Cooked in Milk”, “Spinach with Oil and Lemon”, “Mashed Potatoes with Olive Oil and Parmesan” and “Bitter Chocolate Almond Torte”.

Anna: I was trying to find something appropriate for a Sunday, having guests round, that wouldn’t cost a fortune — that didn’t involve a whole shin of veal.

Kirstin: Or hare. Continue reading ““Pork Cooked in Milk” and other dishes from “The River Cafe Cook Book””

“Pork Cooked in Milk” and other dishes from “The River Cafe Cook Book”