Archive for the ‘Meat (Pork)’ Category

The worst bit of this recipe is probably the pink fingers you will get from peeling the raw beetroot.  The final result is one of the most colourful pies you will come across.  I say pie, but this recipe works equally well as a stew or casserole, omitting the pastry layer.  It is relatively quick to make but impressive enough to serve to guests: just check first that they are beetroot lovers as not everyone is.  They might, of course, be prepared to have their minds changed, especially if their only previous experience of beetroot has been in jars pickled in vinegar, which is definitely love it or hate it.  I am trying to do my bit to try to redress the beetroot’s poor reputation, so on this site you will find a number of recipes which involve neither pickling or vinegar, the only exceptions to date being Raw Beetroot Salad and my most commented upon post, Beetroot Chutney.  However, for a vinegar free beetroot experience, why not try Rosy Potato SaladRosy Roast Root VegetablesMoroccan Style Beef Stew with Oranges & Beetroot … or even Beetroot Seed Cake!

The basic recipe comes from Complete Mince Cookbook by Bridget Jones.  It is little changed from the original apart from the addition of a few herbs and the suggestion that a small amount of red wine vinegar, for a similar flavour, could be added in place of red wine if it is not available. (I often reduce the wine a little for everyday meals anyway, hence the two quantities.)  Please don’t think that this is will in any way add a pickled taste but it does enhance the flavour of the dish beautifully.  Use either minced pork, as in the original, or substitute chopped pork.  Top with shortcrust pastry as in the recipe or use puff pastry instead.  As I said earlier it can be made without a crust, just stir the soured cream into the stew just before serving instead of spooning it into the hole.  If soured cream is not available then sour some cream with a little lemon juice (a tip I read somewhere else a year or so ago) or substitute either yoghurt or crème fraîche.

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Pork & Beetroot Pie
(Serves 4)

12ozs shortcrust pastry (see Basic Recipe: Pastry) or 1 packet of puff pastry
10g/½oz butter
1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & chopped
450g/1lb uncooked beetroot, peeled & diced
450g/1lb minced or chopped pork
1tbsp mixed herbs
1tbsp chicken stock concentrate, powder or 1 cube
300ml/¼-½pint red wine
1-2tbsp red wine vinegar and a little water as required
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
¼pint soured cream to serve
To serve: chopped parsley (optional for casserole)

1.  Preheat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4  for casserole or 200oC/400oF/Gas 6 for pie.

2.  Melt the butter and olive oil together in a pan and cook the onion and the beetroot together until the onion is soft but not brown.

3.  Stir in the pork and fry briefly stirring to break up the meat if it is minced.  Add the stock and stir in.  Season to taste.

4.  Mix in the wine (or wine vinegar and a little water – more can be added later if needed).  Bring to the boil and remove from the heat.

5.  If this is being served as a casserole then transfer the contents to a casserole dish and place in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes.  Alternatively cover the saucepan and leave it on a low heat to continue to cook for at least 30 minutes. Check seasoning, stir in a swirl of soured cream (but do not completely combine) and scatter with chopped parsley before serving.

6.  The pie version has a lid but no pastry underneath.  Roll out the pastry until it is just a little larger than the circumference of the pie dish.  Fill the dish with the pork and beetroot mixture.  From the leftover pastry cut a strip and place it round the edge of the pie dish.  Lift over the lid and using a small round cutter (about 2.5cm/1inch in diameter) cut a hole in the middle of the pie.  Pinch the edges of the pastry together with the edge strip in a fluted design, using fingers or a fork, and trim any overlapping pastry to size.

7.  From the remaining pastry cut a circle of pastry about 3.5cm/1½inches in diameter and use it to loosely cover the hole in the pie.  If needed any remaining pastry can be used for decoration.  The pastry can be brushed with beaten egg to give a golden finish or a little milk before baking.

8.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.

9.  Just before serving carefully remove the  circle of pastry from the middle of the pie.  Using a funnel pour in the soured cream and then replace the circle and serve the pie immediately.

10. Serve with creamed or small new potatoes and a simply cooked green vegetable.


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Once we have got across the channel we buy a lovely fresh stick ‘pain’ for our first picnic and then spend time poring over the wonderful offerings on the delicatessen counter.  Which cheese?  Can’t choose: OK let’s get two types …and we mustn’t forget the pâté!  Mostly we buy this from a supermarket but sometimes, if we are in a town, we buy from a Charcuterie or Pork Butcher, where it is likely to be the butcher’s shop own recipe.  Pâté, of course, comes in many different local and regional guises.  My husband loves Pâté Provençale, often slightly spicy with pieces of red and green pepper and there are no prizes for guessing what my duck loving daughter chooses … I’m just happy to try as many different ones as I can!  We all have a bit of a weakness for a good meaty (and garlicky!) French pâté.  The French seem to have a penchant for adding pistachio nuts to cooked meats and pâtés so I was very pleased to come across this recipe which made a very pretty addition to our Christmas afternoon tea (and several subsequent meals) last year.  I have been intending to share it for some time and as there is a French theme this month, here it is at last … and as promised.  Be warned, though, this is not a particularly quick recipe to make as the pressing and cooling takes at least 2 hours in addition to the making and cooking time, but it is worth it.

The recipe comes from one of my Christmas presents (a request!) last year: The French Market by Joanne Harris & Fran Warde.  I already own a copy of the companion book by the same authors: The French Kitchen.  The pâté had favourable comments from our Christmas and New Year visitors but if I was being critical I think it needs a few little tweaks when I make it again, and I will.  Firstly, I felt that the recipe needed a little more seasoning (I was probably being careful so underseasoned) and the addition of garlic for a stronger flavour.  This is down to personal preference and is a comment rather than an instruction: you will have to make up your own mind and alter as you think fit.  I used the exact amount of pistachio nuts but felt it was rather a lot and could be reduced a little next time, perhaps by a quarter or even more.  You can see from the photo just how generous the quantity is.  Other recipes include peppercorns which give a lovely spicy hit in the mouth: the quantity to add would be trial and error of course and certainly not the same in quantity as the pistachios.  I have a tub of mixed coloured peppercorns bought in France – a mixture of black, white, green and pink which I will try sometime.  Another adaptation could be a version of Pâté Provençale, adding chopped mixed peppers and Herbes de Provence.  I chose to make the mixture in two smaller loaf tins, which meant that I needed almost double the number of bacon rashers and then froze one block to extend the use by date, defrosting it overnight before cooking, though I could easily have cooked both and simply frozen one afterwards, perhaps ready sliced.

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French Style Country Terrine/Pâté (Terrine/Pâté de Campagne)
(Serves 6-8 as a lunch dish – more as part of a buffet)

450g streaky bacon, thinly sliced & rind free (extra for more than one block of pâté)
200g chicken livers, trimmed
500g lean pork, diced
4 shallots, finely diced
2 small white onions, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped/crushed (optional addition to original recipe)
2 eggs, beaten
bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
4 sprigs of thyme, just the leaves
1tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves, chopped
Sea salt & ground black pepper
100g pistachio nuts, or less (whole or chopped – reserved some whole to garnish) optional

1. The original recipe specified heating the oven to 160oC/Gas 3.  No Farenheit temperature was given but I think this is about 312oF.

2. Chop the chicken livers and 250g of the bacon and place together in a bowl.

3. Stir in both the chopped and the minced pork, chopped shallots or onion, chopped or crushed garlic, eggs, herbs and seasoning. Add most of the pistachio (or other nuts, peppercorns or similar) at this point, reserving a few as a garnish.  Mix well.

4. Line a 22cm x 11cm terrine dish or loaf tin with most of the remaining slices of bacon, reserving a few to go on top once it is filled. Alternatively use two (or more) smaller ovenproof containers, but as mentioned previously you will need extra bacon. The bacon can be gently stretched with a knife so it covers a larger area of the tin and should be laid side by side with no gaps. The pâté will have an attractive striped appearance.

5. Fill the dish(es) or tin(s) with the meat mixture.

6. Fold the ends of the lining bacon over the top of the meat mixture and lay the remaining slices on the top side by side.

7. Bake in the oven for 1½ hours – two separate containers should need slightly less time. Watch the surface and if the meat starts to brown too much, cover with a layer of tin foil, shiny side up to reflect away the heat.

8. Remove and leave to cool for 30 minutes before carefully draining off the collected juices. These can be kept as stock and added to another meat recipe.

9. Place sheet of tin foil and then a snug fitting weight on the top of the terrine or tin for at least 1½ hours in order to compress it. (I used some tins with some heavy bags of salt on top, but use whatever is to hand.)

10. For ease the finished terrine should be turned out while still slightly warm. It can then be eaten immediately or chilled in the refrigerator until ready to slice and serve. Scatter with the remaining pistachios or other nuts, if using, to preserve their crunchiness for as long as possible. (If adding peppercorns you do not need to reserve any.)

11. The book recommends that this will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator. If making more than one container or loaf the second one can be wrapped well in tin foil and frozen. It should be thoroughly defrosted (overnight in the refrigerator) before eating.

12. This can also be cut into portions or individual slices to be taken in advance from the freezer and defrosted.

13.  Serve with crusty French style or Wholegrain bread and salad.  Good for buffets and summer picnics and excellent to serve as a starter, especially as it can be made in advance.

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This has to be one of the best ketchup based recipes I have come across.  I know it seems excessive to repost two recipes from the same source consecutively, but this recipe and the one for home made Tomato Ketchup posted last week just have to go together – I do hope that Celia, from whom they both originate doesn’t mind.  (I do believe in giving credit where it is due!)  Actually the recipe is Celia’s but the method is my usual one and very similar to that used by Nigella Lawson.

The source is the same as for the ketchup: the inspirational Fig Jam & Lime Cordial.  Celia writes in her original post, Roasted Pork Ribs:

“I wanted a sweet, sticky sauce to cook these in and ended up concocting my own marinade…”:

(and very good it is too – did I say that before?!).  By all means use ribs but I have adapted the recipe for a more meatier cut as we don’t usually eat ribs.  Mostly I use the leanest rind free belly pork strips I can find (Sainsburys in the UK have relatively inexpensive Pork Streaky Rashers) but spare rib chops or pork steaks would be suitable too … as would chicken.  (I have collected together a list of tried and untried marinade recipes in a previous post, particularly ones for use with pork, chicken and beef – though they might be able to be used with other meats, or even fish.)  I you have a favourite one I would love to hear from you.  I have translated tCelia’s original Australian ingredient quantities into their UK equivalents, otherwise I used the recipe exactly as in the original, halving the quantity of marinade for 3-4 belly strips – the original was for 1kg (about 2lbs) ribs.  It is worth freezing a bag of ready marinaded meat.   I have been known to make two or three times the quantity (each portion family meal sized).  Once defrosted this can be tipped into a dish and cooked for a quick meal.  Sticky Tomato Pork would be good served with the pork cut into squares before marinading, then cooked and served as buffet or tapas bites.  It would also be good served as a starter dish at a Chinese meal when, of course, ribs would be particularly appropriate.

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Sticky Tomato Pork
(6-8 pieces)

4ozs/110g tomato ketchup (see recipe for home made Tomato Ketchup)
2ozs/55g runny honey
1 tbsp light soy
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1.  Place a plastic bag generous enough to contain the meat and the marinade ingredients (plus a little extra room for movement) over a bowl.

2.  Put in the meat and then add the remaining ingredients.

3.  Seal the bag and gently move the meat and the marinade round together by squeezing with your fingers.

4.  Put in the fridge and leave to marinade for at least one hour but preferably all day or overnight.

5.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6. Tip the marinaded meat into a roasting dish and cover with foil.  Put into the oven for about 45-50 minutes, turning the pieces of meat over to baste.  Remove the cover for the last 10 minutes to allow the meat to brown and any liquids to reduce.

6.  Serve with rice or flatbreads and salad.  They are also delicious served with crispy jacket potato wedges, as recommended in the original recipe.

Link to collected Marinade Recipes that sound worth trying
All Marinade recipes on this site…

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This recipe was part of the Chinese style multi dish meal I served for my mother’s birthday though it is also something we now often eat as a midweek supper.  A few weeks ago I posted the method for making Poached Chicken Breasts and this recipe uses a similar method of pre-cooking the Belly Pork strips to tenderise them, as they can sometimes be rather chewy if not cooked for very long.  I am sure that it would be perfectly acceptable to pre-cook belly strips by this method for other non Chinese style recipes.

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I like to consider that this is a pretty genuine Chinese recipe as my brother in law’s family is Chinese.  It came via my sister in law from my brother in law, who learned it from his father.  This was the family’s favourite recipe so my sister in law makes it very regularly, serving it with rice into which pieces of the Chinese Sausage “Lap Cheong (sometimes spelled Xuong) Wu Xiang” (available from the Oriental supermarket) have been added.  One day she served it to us and I begged the recipe – here it is.   I was given very specific instructions on how to make the original version (no onion at all and I had to use spring greens) and for mum’s Chinese birthday meal I made it that way but we found the flavour of the greens rather too strong. My brother in law much prefers the original recipe without any onions.  He says he likes this way as it is more savoury and not as sweet.  He also has a memory of his dad crushing the garlic cloves with a knife to just break them, but leaving them intact.  They were then cooked to flavour the hot oil but removed before cooking the rest of the dish: he remembers the smell of the garlic being cooked in this way.  He understands that the Chinese cook garlic in this way as it adds flavour but doesn’t burn.  In the end I have settled on my own variations for home cooking, which does include onion, the flavour of which we really love in Chinese food and replacing the greens with either Broccoli or Bok Choy (or choi, also known as pak choy or choi).  This last was definitely our favourite version and is a very good way to use the Boy Choy which occasionally appears on our local street market.  I also added mushroom slices and some colourful peppers for colour and flavour with a drizzle of sesame oil just prior to serving.  This will be my regular way of cooking the recipe from now on – I just need to track down a source of the chinese sausage in small quantities.  So far I have only found it in multi packs which would last me several years.  A word about the oil too… My sister in law uses a special wok oil, a blend of sunflower, sesame and ginger oils with natural extracts of garlic.  I just use ordinary sunflower oil and finish the dish, as advised by Ken Hom, by stirring through a slug of sesame oil – but I never use olive oil.

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Chinese Style Belly Pork & Greens/Broccoli/Bok Choy-Pak Choy
(Serves 4)
The ‘orthodox’ original recipe: pork poached in ginger then fried in garlic infused oil with a little more ginger, the soy sauce and Spring greens added towards the end of cooking time.
Below is my own variation.

2 tablespoons of oil
4 large Belly Pork strips – 1 per person (I prefer skinless pieces)
1 large piece Ginger, unpeeled and chopped into large pieces
1 small knob Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves Garlic
1tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
250g/8ozs Green Cabbage, washed and finely chopped (or Broccoli/Bok Choy) – or more
Chinese sausage to flavour rice (optional)
Optional additions:
2 medium sized white onions
1 bunch spring onions
125g/4ozs  button mushrooms
1 or 2 Peppers – mixed colours if possible
1tbsp Sesame oil

Poaching the pork and ginger (can be done in advance and refrigerated or frozen for later use)
1.  Put the belly pork strips into a saucepan with a large piece of ginger cut into chunks.

2.  Cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 mins

3.  Take the pork out and leave to cool.

4.  Cut the pork into large pieces leave on all the fat – each piece should be should be about the width of your thumb.  Put to one side.

Stir frying the pork
5.  Heat 2 tablespoons oil in the wok

6.  Crush the garlic with the flat side of a large knife so they are flattened but don’t fall apart.  Cook in the hot oil to infuse the flavour and then remove them before they burn.
Alternatively …
Crush or chop the garlic and cook along with the onion, ginger and mushroom without removing.

7.  Add a chopped thumb sized ginger piece to the hot oil, along with the finely sliced onion and mushroom and garlic (if using).  Allow them to soften without burning.

8.  Add the sliced pieces of belly pork and cook, initially on a high heat.  Add dark soy sauce to coat the meat: it is suggested the soy is used liberally but I feel this depends on personal taste.

9.  Add the sliced pepper(s) if using.

10.  Cover the wok and turn down the heat.

11.  Add the chopped up greens to the wok containing the pork and ginger.  Add a little boiling water if required and more soy sauce if desired.

12.  Stir the greens when you adding them so they are well mixed with the pork and the sauce.

13.   Cook until the meat is soft and the greens are tender.  20minutes is recommended but I prefer a shorter time so the greens still retain their crispness.

14.  Just prior to serving, stir through the sesame oil.  It is used to add flavour rather than to fry.

15.  Serve with rice (plus Chinese sausage (see notes and below).

A note about Rice
Slice one Lap Cheong/Xuong Chinese sausage and add it on top of the rice once the rice steamer clicks over to warm, (or when almost all the water has disappeared if cooking conventionally in a saucepan).   Leave for 20 mins to heat through (this is about the time the greens are added to the pork, although I like my greens cooked for a shorter time).

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This is such an easy recipe: simply combine all the ingredients in a plastic bag and leave the flavours to develop. It includes one of my favourite flavours, Star Anise, which is an unusually shaped spice with an easily recognisable floral shape.   Along with root ginger, it infuses this marinade with the distinctive flavour of Far Eastern food, plus giving off a wonderful aroma when cooking.  With a holiday looming I know I will need to call on my repertoire of quick and easy recipes, but it is always a useful quick meal to for a busy day. Bearing this in mind there are ready marinaded portions of this recipe in the freezer, each bagful enough for a meal for my family.  All I have to do is remember to get one out of freeze in the morning, add the onion pieces and defrost in the fridge or a cool place during the day.  Then in the evening simply tip the contents of the bag into a dish, cover and pop into the oven.  Although cooking takes around an hour it gives time to get on with the vegetables and other jobs.  Easy-peasy!

The source for this recipe is Finger Lickin’ Ribs from the book Feast: Food that Celebrates Life by Nigella Lawson, but with some slight variations.  The title has been tweaked, adding the word aromatic and removing the reference to ribs which I would never use.  (We find them a lot of effort for very little reward.)  In their place I usually use lean belly pork strips, but sometimes spare rib or loin chops.  Chicken could also be substituted and it could even used to marinade a larger piece of meat, which should definitely be left overnight before cooking.  We like much more onion too (this can be as much as a small/medium onion per person).  The original recipe used molasses but I substituted the much more readily available black treacle.  Finally, as an alternative to ring the changes, orange juice could replace pineapple.  I found that the dish needed to be covered with foil as it tends to spatter whilst cooking, but this should be removed for the final 10 minutes or so to allow the juices to evaporate and the meat to crisp a little.  I’m afraid that this is not the easiest dish to photograph attractively (especially as it was taken on a winter evening under electric strip lighting and looks much more greasy than it really is – I must photograph it again in the summer!).  It’s very unflatteringly ‘brown’, but delicious nonetheless.  Do give it a try.  I use other marinade recipes which are equally tasty and links for these will appear further down in due course once I have added the recipes.

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Aromatic Finger Lickin’ Pork
(Serves 4)

4-8 lean belly pork strips (1-2 per person depending on size)
1 spare rib or loin chop per person
4 small/medium onions (less if you prefer)
1 star anise
1 small cinnamon stick broken into pieces
1 small green chilli, with seeds & inner membrane removed
A 1inch/2.5cm piece fresh ginger
Juice & zest of a lime
2tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sunflower oil
1tbsp black treacle or molasses
50ml pineapple juice (¼ small carton – freeze the remainder in 50ml portions)

1.  Line a medium sized bowl with an open plastic bag big enough to hold all the ingredients but leaving enough room to tie together and seal.  If you are intending to freeze for a later date then leave out the onion until it is going to be cooked.

2.  Into the large plastic bag put the meat, the peeled onions, each cut into about eight segments, the star anise and the crumbled cinnamon stick.  Add the chilli, finely chopped (for more heat do not remove the seeds and membrane and the peeled and finely sliced ginger.

2.  Zest the lime and squeeze the juice into the bag and add the the soy sauce, oil, treacle and pineapple juice and seal the bag by tying a knot.   Carefully squeeze the bag to combine the flavourings with the meat as much as possible.  Ideally the bag should be left overnight (or throughout the day) in the fridge, but it needs to marinade for at least two hours.

3.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6. Once it has reached room temperature pour the contents of the bag containing the marinaded meat into a roasting tin. Cover with foil and put into the oven for 1 hour, turning the pieces of meat over and removing the cover for the last 10 minutes to allow them to brown and any liquids to reduce.

4.  Serve with rice or flatbreads and salad.  If using belly strips the pieces can be cut into bit sized pieces and served as part of a hot buffet or on a starter selection plate at a chinese style meal.


More pork marinades – or maybe chicken (perhaps other meats and fish too):
(Please leave comments about the following recipes with the recipe at the link given rather than here – thanks!)

Australian Spiced Roast Pork

100_2332-Australian spiced roast pork

http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com 'Meanderings through my Cookbook'

Sticky Tomato Pork
based on Roasted Pork Ribs (Fig Jam & Lime Cordial)

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Moroccan Style Marinaded Lamb Steaks

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Other marinade recipes I have found, as yet untried (various meats):

Four Pork Barbecue Sauces via The Evening Herault
(Standard Barbecue Sauce, Cha shao – Cantonese BBQ pork, Barbecued Irish pork chops, Jamie Oliver’s best BBQ meat sauce)
Slow Cooker Chinese Ribs via Greedy Rosie
Barbeque Flavoured Pork via Farmersgirl Kitchen
Best Five-Spice Pork Spare Ribs via Best Recipes
rench Style Spareribs via Lemons & Anchovies
Char Siu Pork via The Spanish Wok

Red Garlic Chicken via The Complete Cookbook
Spicy & Sticky Orange marinade via Souperior
Marmalade & Wine Chicken Kebabs via The Complete Cookbook
Sticky Chicken Wings via Lavender & Lime
Poricha Kozhi (Fried Spiced Chicken) – Indian Street Food via Rhis Foodie World
Middle Eastern Marinated Chicken via Searching for Spice

Korean Style Bulgogi Barbecue Beef via Rhis Foodie World
Balsamic Roasted Beef via Noble Nourishment

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Lamb mince topped with mashed potato is, of course, Shepherd’s Pie and with Beef Mince it becomes Cottage Pie, so what if you use Pork Mince?  In our house we call it Swineherd’s Pie and the version I make has, in place of potato, an unusual mixture of mashed parsnip and cheese.  This makes for a sweetish flavoured but quite delicious topping that complements the pork mixture really well.

The basic recipe comes from a book of recipes for using mince that I have owned for nearly twenty years: Complete Mince Cookbook by Bridget Jones where it was called Pork & Parsnip Bake.  In its simplest form it is onion, mushroom and pork mince in a thickened sauce under a cheesy parsnip topping.  Over the years I have put in additional vegetables, usually courgette and red pepper (though these are not in the picture below), which not only makes the rather drab filling more colourful but turns it into a meal in one dish.  The original recipe suggests serving with baked or sautéed potatoes.  I rarely serve additional potato on the side, though doing this would mean it would feed more people as would adding an extra vegetable, such as peas.  It also advises that this can be prepared in advance and frozen, for several months if necessary, ready to defrost and brown in a hot oven before serving.  The instructions below are for my quick version of the recipe, which is finished under the grill, but in the original dish the meat mixture was cooked on the hob for a shorter time and then baked in an oven preheated to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6 for 30-40 minutes.  Although I have not tried it, as with Lamb & Lentil Stew with Carrot & Rosemary Dumplings, this pork mixture could also be cooked with parsnip and cheese dumplings but would need additional liquid.

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Swineherd’s Pie – Pork & Cheesy Parsnip Bake
(Serves 4)

2tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled & chopped
100g/4ozs mushrooms, quartered or sliced depending on size
450g/1lb minced pork
2tbsp cornflour
1tbsp chicken stock concentrate or ½ stock cube
450ml/¾pint water (aprox)
1 courgette, trimmed, quartered lengthways and chopped (optional)
1 red pepper, seeded & diced (optional)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the cheesy parsnip topping:
1kg/2lb parsnips
A little milk
A small knob of butter
100g/40zs mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1.  Peel the parsnips and cut them into chunks.  Cook in boiling salted water until they are tender – about 20 minutes.

2.  Meantime heat the oil in a frying pan, add the onion and fry gently until it is starting to soften.

3.  Add the mushrooms and cook gently for around an additional 5 minutes until the onion is softened but not browned.

4.  Stir in the pork mince and fry, breaking it up as it cooks, until it is lightly browned.

5.  Put the cornflour in a jug with the stock liquid (or crumbled cube), add a little water and mix to a smooth paste.  Top up to about ¼pint with water and mix well.  Carefully add to the meat mixture, stirring until it starts to thicken.  Add up to ½pint of extra water as needed.

6.  Stir in the diced courgette and red pepper, check seasoning and cover with a lid.  Turn the heat to low and cook gently while preparing the parsnip topping.

7.  When the parsnip is soft, mash it throughly: a potato ricer is ideal if you have one.  Stir in the butter and grated cheese plus a little milk to make a soft mixture.

8.  Check that the courgette is soft before spooning the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish.  Evenly spread the cheesy parsnip mixture on top.  Place under a preheated grill until the parsnip topping starts to brown.

9.  Serve immediately with a sprinkling of parsley if available.  Potato and extra vegetables can be served as well, if wished.

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Goulash is a soup, or sometimes a stew, with its origins in Eastern Europe, primarily Hungary.  The flavours of paprika and caraway seed, both which are used in this recipe, are particularly associated with the cuisine of the region.  (Paprika is available in many forms: variations of hot, sweet and smoked.  It is also widely used in Spanish cooking.)  There are a number of variations of basic Goulash, which are helpfully listed on Wikipedia.   The word Goulash apparently comes from the Hungarian word for a cattle herdsman but it is also similar to the Czech and Slovakian words for ‘mishmash’, or mixture … and this dish certainly is a delicious and warming mixture!

This is my last ‘soupy’ post for a while but although this was originally called simply Pork Goulash Soup and comes from Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert it is much more of a main meal.  If necessary the liquids could be lessened by adding a smaller amount of stock at the outset and/or reducing the sauce to give a thicker stew.  I have written previously giving information and a basic recipe for Suet Dumplings to which I am adding recipe variations as I come across them.  There is also a recipe for Beef & Bean Casserole which includes plain dumplings.  Dumplings are an optional extra in this Goulash recipe but I think are worth adding with instructions given separately in the recipe book where it was suggested that they could be flavoured with either caraway or fennel seeds.  We recently enjoyed the flavour combination of  Fennel & Apple Chutney with pork in a Sausagement Plait.  (It would be interesting to try fennel dumplings in a fishy stew, although I have never come across recipes with this combination.)  I chose caraway seed for its authenticity, plus it is a flavour I like.  The first time I felt the quantity of caraway seeds was rather scant so doubled the amount on the second occasion: I suppose it depends on personal taste.  The original recipe was for a very small quantity of dumplings and only just about adequate if potato was served as well.  I doubled the quantity the second time to serve the dumplings in place of potato.  The amounts could be increased further for larger eaters.  The soup/stew is rich, thick and tomatoey especially with the soured cream on top.  (I did not have soured cream but made my own by combining a squeeze of lemon with some single Elmlea half fat cream.)

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pork Goulash Soup/Stew with Caraway Dumplings
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large red pepper, chopped into bite sized pieces
225g/8ozs lean pork
1 clove garlic, crushed
1tbsp flour
½ tsp smoked paprika
600ml/1pt chicken stock, or vegetable stock – halve for a thicker stew
400g can chopped tomatoes
Salt & black pepper
4tbsp soured cream (to serve)
4tbsp single cream and a few drops of lemon juice, to make it sour

For caraway dumplings: 
   (amount doubled from original recipe but could be increased further)
100g/4ozs self-raising flour
50g/2ozs suet (I use vegetable rather than meat, as it is slightly lower fat)
2-4tsp caraway seeds, depending on taste – optional
   (alternatively fennel or toasted sesame seeds can be used)
4tbsp crème fraîche, yoghurt or milk
salt to taste
a little extra water as required

1.  Heat the olive oil gently in a large saucepan and fry the onion and pepper for about 10minutes, until it just begins to brown.

2.  Cut the pork into small pieces or thin strips.  Combine with the onions and pepper in the pan and cook for 2-3minutes.

3.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1minute.

4.  Lower the heat, stir in the flour and cook for 1minute more.

5.  Chop the tomatoes and add to the pan along with the paprika and stock.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  For a thicker stew to serve on a plate add less stock and reduce sauce at Stage 7 so it is thicker.

6.  Meanwhile, put the suet, flour and seeds (if using) into a bowl, season and mix together with the crème fraîche and a little water if necessary.  Divide into 8 balls (or 12 smaller ones).

7.  Season the goulash to taste and add the dumplings to the pan.  Cover with a lid and cook for a further 10minutes until the dumplings are risen and cooked.

8.  Serve goulash in bowls with soured cream drizzled over and 2 or 3 dumplings on top.  Add a simple green vegetable if needed.

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This is a lovely mild and fragrantly spiced oriental style dish, perfect for summer, with the creamed coconut and acidic lime juice complementing each other beautifully.  They are flavours of the east, but the book does not connect this recipe with a particular country.

The original recipe for Pork with Lime & Chilli comes from Hot & Spicy Cooking: Exciting Ideas for Delicious Meals with recipes by Judith Ferguson, Lalita Ahmed and Carolyn Garner. I used my wok to cook the recipe, but it could equally well be made in an ordinary saucepan or frying pan.  Just remember to start at least an hour beforehand (preferably longer) to allow enough marinading time for the pork.  The only changes I made to the recipe was to use less oil: the meat was originally deep fried, which I felt was really not necessary and to reduce the amount of chilli from 1 green and 1 red to just ½-1 green chilli.  Chilli lovers may like to increase the amount according to taste.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pork with Lime & Chilli
(Serves 4)

1 clove garlic, crushed
1tsp brown sugar
1tsp oil
1tsp lime juice (about ½lime)
1tsp cornflower

450g/1lb lean pork, cut into 2.5cm/1inch cubes
1tbsp oil for frying
½-1 small green chilli, deseeded & chopped
8 spring onions, trimmed and diagonally sliced
1tsp ground turmeric
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground nutmeg
Small pinch ground cloves
4tbsp light soy sauce
1 lime, juice & zest
50g grated creamed coconut
140ml/¼pint boiling water
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Combine the marinade ingredients with the pork cubes in a large bowl.  Stir well so the meat is well coated.  Place in the refrigerator for at least 1hour, preferably more.

2.  Have all the ingredients ready to use before starting to cook: 
a.  Measure the ground spices into a small bowl. 
b.  After zesting the lime cut it in half and before squeezing out the juice, remove two thin slices and cut each in half.  Reserve these as garnish for serving.  (Only if the lime is small and does not produce much juice a little extra juice can be squeezed from the lime used for marinading the meat.) 
c.  Dissolve the grated creamed coconut in the boiling water and combine with the soy sauce, lime & zest.

3.  Heat the remaining oil in a wok and add the marinaded pork cubes.  Stir fry, turning the meat in the oil for about 10minutes until the cubes are golden brown.  Remove the meat from the wok, place on a sheet of absorbent paper and set to one side.

4.  Remove any excess oil from the pan, leaving a very small amount.

5.  Reheat the wok and stir fry the chilli and spring onions.  Stir fry for 2minutes.

6.  Add the ground spices and fry for no more than 30seconds. 

7.  Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil.

8.  Return the cubes of pork to the sauce, heat through and adjust the seasoning.

9.  Serve on a bed of rice: plain boiled or Thai Jasmine with a small half slice of lime as decoration, accompanied by a side dish of simply stir fried vegetables or a side salad.

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Cassoulet is a hearty mixture of meat, beans and vegetables cooked for an extended period until the meat is meltingly tender, its home being the Languedoc region of France.  The town of Castelnaudary styles itself as the ‘Capital of Cassoulet’ with Toulouse and Carcassonne also having their own variations.  Every chef and restaurant in the region would claim to have the authentic recipe.  Depending on which recipe you read, the beans are either white haricot, also known as cannellini, or a mixture of haricot and butter beans.  It is usual to use more than one type of meat or meat product.  The original versions are usually based around a piece of duck, if possible confit of duck or even goose, cooked with some of the following: smoked bacon, smoked sausage and/or belly pork.  Occasionally lamb is included and in Toulouse the famous local Toulouse sausage is used. 

In the end I decided to invent my own version of Cassoulet, which I have named Cassoulet ‘Franglais’: my English version of the French dish. Consulting my recipe collection I found several versions from which I collectively took my list of basic ingredients and method. I found one recipe which substituted chicken for duck, which is a very good and less expensive substitute for day-to-day cooking. If I was making the dish for a special occasion I would be tempted to buy a duck leg or two depending on the number of diners. I found Toulouse style sausages in both Sainsburys ‘Taste the Difference’ and Morrison’s ‘The Best’ ranges, but one recipe suggested that Cumberland sausage could be substituted. Another recipe used a combination of both haricot and butter beans so either would be suitable: if the recipe is being doubled one can of each could be added. I understand that some French chefs would shudder at the breadcrumb topping whilst others include it. I put it in my version as it made a lovely crispy topping. The one instruction that all my books were in agreement over was the long cooking time. Ideally this should be cooked the day before to give the flavours a chance to mature before reheating and serving. It should certainly have at least two hours in the oven. If you have a slow cooker this would be an ideal dish to come home to at the end of a cold winter day: it could even be started the previous evening, I suppose.  Just add the breadcrumb topping towards the end and finish under the grill or scatter over a layer of freshly toasted breadcrumbs before serving.

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Cassoulet ‘Franglais’
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely chopped
1 medium sized carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, cut into 8 pieces
1 leek, washed thoroughly and sliced into rings
2tbsp tomato puree
1tsp herbes de Provence
1tsp dried orange peel (see My Kitchen>New & Unusual Ingredients>Dried Orange Peel)
1 bay leaf
4ozs/125g button mushrooms
4ozs/125g smoked streaky bacon or bacon pieces if available, diced
4ozs/125g rindless belly pork strip, diced
2 or 3 thick Toulouse sausages or thick Cumberland sausage
2 chicken thigh pieces or 1 chicken leg
1 small glass of white wine (optional, but very French!)
½pint/10fl ozs/225ml chicken stock or water & ½stock cube/½tsp stock powder
400ml/14oz can of white haricot/cannellini beans or butter beans
Black pepper to taste
4ozs/125g white breadcrumbs

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 350oF/180oC/170oC Fan oven/Gas 4

2.  Fry the diced onion, celery, carrot and garlic gently in the oil for about 5 minutes.  Stir in the diced bacon, leek and mushroom and cook for 5 minutes more. 

3.  Add the mixed herbs, orange peel and chopped belly pork.  Stir and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

4.  Skin the chicken.  Briefly brown the sausages under the grill.  It does not matter if they are not thoroughly cooked.  Put the whole sausages and the chicken into the pan.  Add the bay leaf, tomato puree and tomato pieces.

5.  Stir in the wine and then the chicken stock or water and chicken stock cube (a small amount of stock cube goes a long way so I use just half a cube or spoonful).

6.  Transfer the mixture to a deep lidded casserole dish and put in the oven. Cook for at least two hours. 

7.  At this stage the Cassoulet can be returned, uncovered, to the oven for the final 30 minutes cooking time or stored overnight ready for reheating the next day.   

8.  Thirty minutes before serving remove the chicken pieces and sausages from the casserole.  Strip the meat from the chicken bones and slice the sausages into about six pieces, depending on size.  Stir the meat into the casserole with the drained and rinsed white beans.  If you are reheating the dish, then this step can be done while the mixture is cold, but make sure that the Cassoulet is thoroughly heated through before serving.

9.  Ten minutes before serving the Cassoulet stir once more and cover with a thick layer of breadcrumbs, which will turn golden brown. 

10.  Serve with a jacket potato, if required.

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This uncomplicated dish has quickly become a firm favourite, especially as it can be cooked quickly and in one pan. Mixed colour peppers make it extra colourful. It is a warming dish for a winter evening, but can be eaten all year round. Smaller quantities could be served as a light meal or as part of a Tapas menu.

This recipe was originally published in the ASDA supermarkets free instore magazine, January 2008 issue.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Spanish Style Pork & Peppers

50g chorizo, diced
1 large onion, halved & thinly sliced
1 small green chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
500g Pork Fillet cut into 3cm pieces
3 medium sized peppers cut into strips, preferably red, green & yellow
400g can of Plum tomatoes, chopped
1-2tbsp smoked paprika
12 black or green pitted olives
Chopped parsley to serve

1. Cook the chorizo and onion together with the chilli over a medium heat. There should be enough fat from the choirizo to cook the onion without adding any more.

2. Add the pork and peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes and paprika. Heat until simmering and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the olives, cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes.

5. Serve with rice or naan and chopped parsley.

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