Sunday, January 30, 2011

quick recipe #3 Roast Pork Tenderloin seasoned with Fennel, Roast Potatoes and Braised Red Cabbage

A few months ago while back in Britain I took a trip to Hay-on-Wye in Wales with my two oldest friends. Hay-on-Wye is a small town and a mecca for book lovers with over thirty shops selling secondhand books. I do not have any strong feelings towards secondhand books but I was very happy to find a paperback copy of The Renaissance of Italian Cooking by Lorenza de'Medici, first published in 1989. It is a collection of "aristocratic" recipes, many of which have been passed on through her family. However, despite their grand heritage many of the recipes are simple and elegant and can be easily prepared.

The recipe that follows is for a sort of porchetta, that was inspired by de'Medici's Roast Pork with Fennel.

Quantities serve two.
1. Warm oven to 425.
2. Finely chop together 5 cloves garlic, 1.5 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tbsp fresh rosemary. Mix in 1/2 tsp sea salt and a few good twists of black pepper.
3. Cut the pork tenderloin 3/4 through lengthways.
4. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the inside of the pork.
5. Spread the garlic, fennel, rosemary mixture over the inside of the pork.
6. Close the pork and secure the tenderloin with butchers string. Rub a little salt & pepper over the tenderloin and place in a roasting pan with 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter. Place uncovered in hot oven.
7. Peel 3 large Russet potatoes and cut each into 6 or 8 pieces. Bring to a boil for 5 mins in a saucepan of water. Drain and gently shake in the saucepan to slightly crush the outsides, which will improve the crust. Arrange around the pork and toss in the oil and butter. Return to the oven to roast.
8. Chop up 1/4 large red cabbage (I was luck enough to have small heads of red cabbage that have been growing on my balcony). Slice 1/4 large onion. Cut 5 cloves garlic into 4 pieces each. Mix together and arrange in medium sized casserole. Season with a little sea salt & black pepper and add 1.5 cups chicken stock. Cover with lid and place in the oven.
9. Dice 1/2 large bulb of fennel, removing the fronds and core. Place a small pan with a lid together with a tbsp butter and 1/4 cup water. Allow to warm slowly, until the fennel is soft.
10. Place cooked fennel in a food processor with 1/2 cup milk. Process to a smoothish sauce.
11. When pork is cooked remove from pan and allow to rest before removing the butchers string. Return potatoes to the top of the oven to crisp. Remove the potatoes from the pan with a slotted spoon when they are golden.
12. Remove the cabbage when softened.
13. Deglazed the roasting pan with 1 cup white wine, bring to a simmer and add the fennel. Mix together and simmer to reduce slightly. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
14. Untie the pork and slice widthways into 1 cm slices.
15. Arrange slices of pork, potatoes and cabbage on plates and spoon the fennel sauce over the pork.

Friday, January 28, 2011

quick recipe #2 Chicken Noodle Soup with Kale and Lemon Chicken Thighs

quantities serve two generously

1. Gently warm 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan.
2. Finely dice 1/4 onion, 1 stick celery, 1 small gold beet. Add to warm oil with a couple of pinches of dried chili flakes and a good twist of pepper and allow to soften.
3. Cut off excess fat and chop 4 organic chicken thighs into bite size pieces (chicken is so messed up only buy organic or unmedicated)
4. Add 1 litre of chicken stock to the softened vegetables (homemade is best but organic reduced sodium is good too) and bring to a gentle simmer to allow the beet to cook.
5. Zest 1 lemon and massage the zest into the chopped chicken thighs with 1 tsp sea salt & 1/2 tsp black pepper.
6. Warm 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan. When warm add the chicken thighs.
7. Squeeze the juice from the zested lemon and add to the chicken. Simmer to reduce to a light glaze.
8. Tear up 3 large leaves of kale, discarding the main stems.
9. Grate 3 cloves of garlic, discarding the skins.
10. When beets have almost cooked add 2.5 large handfuls of fine German egg noodles (similar to broken angle hair pasta)
11. Add kale and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.
12. Serve noodles and soup in large bowls topped with lemon chicken thighs.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

quick recipe #1 - Pasta with "Hummus" Sauce, Bacon & Roasted Broccoli

These quantities serve two with leftovers for lunch.

1. Heat the oven to 420 for the broccoli and bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
2. Chop 1 medium head of broccoli and part of the stem into bite size pieces. Toss in olive oil and black pepper and place in bottom of oven.
3. Cut 4 slices of double smoked bacon into 1/2 inch pieces, scissors are your best friend for this job and place in pan with a good glug of olive oil and twist of black pepper.
4. Finely chop 1 stick of celery and 1/4 of large onion and add to the bacon. Allow to slowly soften.
5. In a food processor, place 1/2 can of rinsed chickpeas, preferably organic, 4 tablespoons of tahini, 4 large cloves of garlic, a pinch of sea salt, lots of back pepper, 1/2 cup of olive oil and blend to a paste.
6. When pot of water comes to a boil add a teaspoon of salt, return to the boil reduce heat slightly and add 4 large handfuls of wholewheat fusili.
7. Remove broccoli from oven when peaks are browning and set aside.
8. Roughly chop 1/2 tomato and set aside.
9. When pasta is almost cooked add the remaining 1/2 can of rinsed chickpeas to the bacon together with the "hummus" mixture from the food processor.
10. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the bacon and stir to incorporate a smooth sauce. Allow to warm through.
11. Drain the pasta when al dente and add to the sauce. Remove from the heat and stir to combine.
12. Divide the pasta and sauce between two plates top with chopped tomato and roasted broccoli, serve with extra black pepper.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thank you Gourmet Fury

Thank you Melody for stopping by and then tweeting about my blog! And a special thank you for making me realize how lazy I have been in posting to it.

The end of last year was a little busy. I took a trip back to London to see family & friends in November. I had a wonderful time and food played a large part. It was so good to enjoy British fish & chips on my first night back; you can’t get rock & chips in Vancouver and it’s such a deliciously rich and meaty fish. Then there were the breakfasts with black pudding and succulent back bacon.

I had a great day at Borough Market by London Bridge Station, bought some terrific cheeses and a game pie, which I have to say was very disappointing; too grisly. But strolling around the market drinking hot mulled wine on a chilly November morning was a perfect way to spend a Saturday.

Lunch at St John Bread & Wine in Spitalfield was everything I’d dreamed of. I had ox heart with watercress and pickled walnuts.

Once back in Vancouver it was time to think about Christmas and make the mincemeat ready for pies. Mincemeat needs to be made well in advance to allow the flavours to develop and deepen. Also the Christmas pudding had to be made early for the same reason and to allow time to slowly add brandy and give it its rich Christmasy flavour.So, now 2011 is well under way. February 27 will see Blim market kick off and I’m working on a few new recipes to present alongside the old favourites at Heritage Hall on Main Street. The complete menu will be up soon and I look forward to meeting you all there.