Sunday, 15 August 2010

Good to be Home- August-From Veg' plot to pot

Good to be home and actually cook. Though modern caravans are equipped with a hob, grill and an oven, one never find one being adventurous in terms of cooking whilst on holiday, one why should you after all you are on holiday, veg' patch at home, also we seem to holiday where we can access great prize winning butchers, but descent green grocers shops or markets seem to be a bit thin on the ground. Also, we do tend holiday where there is good gourmet pub round the corner. So in reality we occasionally eat out, or I cook tried and tested recipes from home on holiday, though I have to admit one year a Swedish friend taught me how to make Swedish meatballs in the Caravan. This is still a firm favourite with my youngest.

Any way back to point it was great to be home and finding what had grown in the veg' patch and what we had been and gone. So far lost only one broccoli to flower, all the chard has gone to seed, but was already going before we went away and it was expected as it was its second season. Note to oneself need to collect seed from leeks left deliberately from last year and been allowed to go to flower. Noted though we have ready plenty of cone white cabbages, windfall apples (cooker and cox), onions, broccoli, runner beans, green tomatoes, green chillies, peppers and courgettes. Just looking at the apple windfalls I fancied experimenting with pork joint and cider.

Armed with under a kilo of Rolled Joint of pork (note roll of belly pork would equally be suffice, or bunch of good quality pork sausages) and the following ingredients;
Apple Windfalls (5 small)
Large Onion (picked from garden)
Packet of Dried Apricots
Bunch of Sage
Bay leaf
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
500ml vintage of cider
Hale Mon Sea salt
Ground Black Pepper

I set about creating slow Roasted Pork marinated in apricot and windfall apple sauce. Initially the onion was finely sliced into rings, I worked from the root to top (as I was hoping to minimise the tears, it worked), I heated two tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in heavy oven pan on the hob (I use black coated Aluminum pan with good fitting glass lid, as due to the fact I have back problems I cannot lift Le Creuset iron pot off my hob and into my oven or vice versa, however due to nature Iron cooking pot I am sure this recipe would be more successful require less invention of cider when in the oven). I sautéed the onions for a few minutes, whilst I peeled, cored and sliced the windfalls and added these to the pot, gave them a quick stir. Also, at this point I add the dried apricots, I added about ten (but add as many or as few as you like), also threw in the bay leaf, teaspoon of chopped sage, pinch of sea salt and ground pepper. I subsequently added a wine glass of cider, allowed this to reduce and concentrate the flavour, where upon I added another glass of cider, the pork, and placed the lid on the pot. The pot was placed on a low shelf in a pre-heated oven gas mark 4, 160/180 Degree C. Now if you are not cooking in welled sealed pot, this is not the time to take take a glass of cider or in my case glass of cider and make a veggie equivalent of the above, as you will need the left over cider over the next two hours to occasionally add a glass of cider to the pot to ensure you have a rich uncaught sauce (i.e. doesn't catch the base of pan) to serve with slices of the pork, note if you are short of cider at this stage then add a glass of boiled water.

For the veggie variation I recommend an hour cooking time, so if you are cooking for a veggie member of family or veggie visitor for dinner I suggest you start the pork dish, then repeat the initial stages again an hour later using a small pot; half an onion; couple of windfall apples, 3/4 dried apricots, but still couple of glasses of cider and this time substitute the pork for 2 veggie sausages; quorn or soya. Again when in the oven check the veggie pot, add cider (or glass of boiled water if short of cider) as when required to prevent the sauce from being to thick or catching the base of the pot and again this will ensure you serve a rich sauce with the veggie sausages.

This evening I served both the pork and veggie dish with boiled minted new potatoes in their skins, fresh poached broccoli from the garden, runner beans (however unfortunately due the variety I have grown this year they are bit tough and stringy (I am not growing Emperor Runner beans again). I need to experiment with these runner beans for a more tenderising approach to cooking them, will keep you posted. Also tempura fine slices of courgette again from the garden. My youngest described this vegetable dish as courgette wrapped in Yorkshire pudding, she is of course right, at the end of the day it is thin slices of courgette dipped in Yorkshire pud' batter and fried in hot extra virgin olive oil until golden and placed on a piece of kitchen roll to absorb the oil, lightly salted with sea salt. Result a crisp tasty courgette slices, certainly my preferred method of eating courgettes. Though personally I prefer my courgettes to escape the slugs and grow up to be marrows, as I love stuffed roasted marrow, that my friend is set of recipes for another day.