Archive for the ‘pork’ Category

Chickpea and Luganega stew

Funny that in French the word for garlic is ail. Funny, that is, when garlic, that wonder, that golden child of the onion family, is so good at protecting you from what ails, meaning keeping those nasty little cold and flu viruses at bay. I have personally noticed the relationship between number of cold viruses inflicted to the amount of garlic consumed. The New Year put that theory to the test with a bout beans-on-toast living followed by a visit from Sniffy ‘n Snotty. I love garlic and I tend to use it in just about every dish I make for dinner, along with a liberal and counteractive sprinkling of parsley, to be sure. I do, after all, have to interact with the rest of humanity now and again. When my dear friend and partner-in-crime at the Summer Market, Ms A, gave me a treasured bottle of Iranian pickled garlic, I gushed with happiness. These sweet, heady, more-ish pods of sweet, slightly tart garlic are a delicacy produced in the north of Iran and I can see why it’s a well kept secret. I’ve had the jar in my fridge for a good few months now, nibbling on a clove de temp en temp and in my mood of using what’s in the cupboard I tried to make a dish which would perfectly compliment them.

I opened up my pantry, now stocked mostly with canned and bottled goods, pickles and conserves, dried herbs and spices and jars of various sauces and did what we all like to do now and then: I winged it. So here is something made pretty much from what I had on hand in pantry and refrigerator. The last couple of carrots and the last but one clove of fresh garlic from the Summer Market went into the pot, along with the frozen, left over Luganega from the Pizza Rustica. And I have to say, not only was this little dish heart warming and super satisfying but it made fabulous wraps the next day for lunch, which the ever inventive Mr P made up with a good smearing of balsamic onion chutney. For the dinner it was served with minted couscous and goes brilliantly with those pickled garlic and a dollop of plain yogurt.

*note: I used Luganega sausages because I had a few left in the freezer I wanted to use up. Use any spicy pork sausage, or lamb, or leave them out for a vegetarian option.

Chickpea and Luganega stew 2

Chickpea and Luganega Stew

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 pork sausages, thickly sliced
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp sweet paprika
½ ginger
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 14oz (400g) can whole, peeled Italian tomatoes
1 14oz (400g) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup water
2 carrots, finely grated/chopped

– heat the oil in a large, heavy based pot. Saute onions and garlic over a moderate heat until softened.

– add sausage and fry until browned. Add spices, cooking for a couple of minutes until fragrant.

– add tomato paste, cook for a minute, then add the tomatoes and water, breaking them up with a wooden spoon as they cook.

– when the mixture is bubbling, add the chickpeas and carrots. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer very gently for 40 mins.

– serve with generous cilantro and minted cous cous.

pickled garlic

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Pizza rustica 1

Hello? Why, Hello! It’s been such a while since I last saw you, have you changed your hair? Yes, as you’ve no doubt guessed, life has been busy. But when isn’t it, and is that ever excuse enough for complete and utter neglect? I think not. Be that as it may, I have been somewhat distracted by other tasks, though here I am again, cooking it up and sharing what I can. Right! Lets get this year on the road! Lets finally, three weeks in, Whoop it up for 2008. Hope it’s cooking.

As a little make-up kiss, I give you a dish that sets my mouth to watering every time I think about it. It’s a dish that’s rich and warm and comforting and the perfect meal for that lazy, hazy, feet on the couch time between Christmas Feasting and New Year Bashing. Also, note to self for next year, would be perfect as a New Year Day Bash Recovery Unit. The recipe is from that Matron of the Mixing Bowl, Nigella, though I tinkered here and adapted there to come up with something better suited to a Dutch Father-in-law and a bacon-loving Mother-in-law. Also, I might add with a pat on my own back, I had enough foresight to pre-make the pastry during my initial Christmas Baking Bonanza in mid-December, which took a lot of the effort out on the day. Handy when you’re trying to keep guests vaguely entertained at the same time as cook up a brunch.

*Use a 23cm Springform Pan to make the pie.

Pizza rustica 2

Pizza Rustica a la Paesi Bassi

For the Pastry:
250g plain flour
1 stick (125g) butter, cold, cut into 1cm pieces
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp iced water
1 heaped tsp salt
1 Tbsp caster sugar

For the filling:
75g Luganega (Italian Pork Sausage)
1 Tbsp Olive oil
250g ricotta, drained
50g smoked provolone, diced
125g dutch Gouda, diced
50g freshly grated parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Italian Parsley, finely chopped
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
2 rashers streaky bacon, chopped
100g mortadello, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
freshly ground black pepper
1 heaped Tbsp dry breadcrumbs

For the glaze:
1 egg yolk
2Tbsp milk

large pinch fleur de sel

Make the pastry:
– put the flour and butter in a dish in the freezer for 10 minutes. While this is chilling, mix the egg yolks, water and salt in a small bowl.

– When the butter is thoroughly chilled, add the sugar to the bowl and rub the butter into the flour and sugar until it resembles something between damp sand and oats porridge. Little lumps of butter are a good thing, you don’t want to overwork the butter into the flour.

– Add the egg/water mix and gently mix with your hands until the dough just comes together. It should still be a somewhat loose and crumble.

– Tip the pastry out and work it together with your hands to form one lump, more or less. Divide the dough into two parts: one slightly larger than the other. Wrap each in cling wrap and refrigerate.

Make the filling:
– Place a baking tray in the oven and pre-heat it to 400˚F

– Skin the Luganega, heat the oil in a skillet and fry the sausage meat for about 5 minutes, breaking it up as you cook it. Allow to cool

– Mix all the ingredients, including luganega, except the bread crumbs in a large bowl until well combined.

– Roll out the larger of the pastries to line the bottom and sides of your greased springform pan, allowing for an overhang. Sprinkle the bottom of the pastry wit the dried bread crumbs, then add the rest of the filling mixture.

– Roll out the smaller pastry large enough to cover the tin with an overhang. Roll up the two overhangs to seal the pie and press with prongs of a fork.

– glaze with the eggy milk mix and stab here and there with a fork to make air vents. Sprinkle the top with fleur de sel.

– bake for 10 minutes at 400˚F, then turn the oven down to 180˚F and bake for a further 45 minutes.

– Allow the pie to cool for 15 minutes before serving, although it’s excellent cold as well.

Pizza rustica 3

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pork and mango

One of the things I’m enjoying about living in North America, and I’m speaking from a culinary perspective here, is the availability of Mexican and Tex-Mex style food. There isn’t exactly a huge following of this cuisine back home, unless you can spell Old Elpaso. I love how easy the food seems, how fresh and how there seems to be a real culture of love for the making of the food. If you need a little inspiration, just follow, for a few moments, in the Homesick Texan’s footsteps and be motivated. Nowadays we often have a fabulous, if somewhat messy, dinner of Taco’s or Tortilla’s and it’s such simple, fun food that you can’t help but enjoy it in a child-like, lick the fingers kind of way. I always seem to end up with such an overstuffed Taco that as I take my first bite the whole thing invariably comes apart in my hands in a sticky mass of chicken and salsa and guacamole. I usually giggle the whole way through. Anyway, as one of our favourite restaurants here in TO, a Latin Fusion place, if you will, they serve a dish hysterically named “Pork and Roll” (which always makes me think of those Elvis Presley wall clocks with the swinging legs counting the seconds down) combining a spicy, hot hot mix of pork and pineapple on flour tortilla’s. Super yum, even though I’m not usually a fan of fruit on my meat. I figured a mango could taste just as good and Voila!

pork and mango tortillas

Pork and Mango Tortillas
(with Salsa verde, naturallement)

2 fillets of pork (about 400 – 500g total) – finely chopped, about 5mm pieces
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp grape seed oil (or canola)mango
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp Lime juice

1 small or ½ large mango, peeled, pitted and cubed
¼ cup chopped Cilantro

grated Cheddar cheese
Salsa Verde
flour tortillas

– mix the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add pork, coating well with spices, and let stand for 10 mins or so.

– heat the oil in a large skillet, add meat and brown.

– Remove meat from skillet, add garlic, onion and green pepper. Saute for 2 mins. Add tomato paste and tomatoes.

– Add vinegar, sugar and lime juice and cook until tender, about 10 mins. Replace pork and simmer until pork is cooked through.

– Stir in mango and cilantro and remove from heat.

– serve in tortillas with lettuce, salsa and cheese.

pork and mango prep

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Apple and Onion Chutney with Butterflied Pork

On a beautiful, clear and warm Sunday, what could be lovelier than a ferry trip to the Toronto Islands for a picnic brunch with some friends? I know, we’ve been having an awful lot of picnics lately, but what is one to do when the weather has been treating us so beautifully and we want nothing more than to be outside somewhere green. The Island is the perfect place for some reclining under a tree. You don’t hear any traffic, it being a car free zone (with the exception of the odd City of Toronto vehicle) and the breeze off the lake, along with the rich vegetation, keeps the air smelling sweet and fresh and truly good. It’s a good place to take your bicycle or rollerblades and do some sweating before a yummy picnic. We found a good spot under a shady willow and had a meal of pain au chocolat, bagels and cream cheese, coffee and apricot and Stilton cups I’d baked the night before. I’ll post the recipe for that at a later stage.

After all that nibbling and snacking through the day, added to some running around and plenty of sun, a good, solid meal was called for to end a great Summer weekend. Mr P and I hit the kitchen together and in record time we whipped up a dinner for two of butterflied pork, apple and onion chutney, baby potatoes roasted with baby red onions, lemon, rosemary and olive oil and a fresh garden salad. Mr P is one of those people who doesn’t like the sweetness of a plain apple sauce with his pork, so I thought this chutney, based on the cherry and rhubarb one from the duck a couple of days ago, would add be an interesting compliment with it’s slightly spicy, aromatic sweetness.

Apple and Onion Chutney

1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
¼ tsp ground sage
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
big pinch salt

1 Tbsp veg oil (I use Canola)
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 large cloves garlic

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup maple syrup

1 large white onion (I used Spanish) chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced into ½ inch pieces

– Combine all spices in a small bowl and mix

– Heat oil over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and cook until they start popping. Allow to pop for a few seconds, then add garlic. Don’t let the garlic brown or it becomes bitter. Remove from heat and cool slightly

– Add sugar, vinegars and syrup and heat gently until sugar dissolves.

– Add apple and onion and increase heat to simmer. Cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, about 25 – 30 mins.

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