Monday, October 31, 2011

Forever pork taco

I've talked about cooking pork like this before, but never got around to doing a post on it. I am talking about Michael Chiarello's Forever Roasted Pork, with a little tweak and served as a luxurious taco filling.

I used 1.5kg pork shoulder, boned. It's very important to leave it on the counter before you roast, you don't want to go from fridge to oven.

There is a little bit of prep work to do before you get it in the oven, but nothing too complicated. Pre-heat the oven to 130°C and assemble the ingredients peppercorns, salt, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and a few onions.

Measure out 1 cup of fennel, 3 tablespoons of coriander, 2 tablespoons of peppercorns and 3 tablespoons of salt (kosher or course).

Toast until fragrant and then blitz in a blender until it's a coarsely ground. Set aside.

Slice up the onions and sauté on a very low heat until they have caramelised.

Be patient and don't rush this, if you burn the onions that acrid taste will taint the whole dish. It can take up to 25 minutes to get wonderful golden onions.

Slice underneath the fat cap, being careful not to cut it all the way off.

Smother the pork generously with the spice mix, making sure to coat it all.

Spread the caramelised onion on to the pork and fold the fat and skin back over.

Place the pork in a lined tin and drizzle a little olive oil over the skin (this will prevent it sticking to the top layer of foil). Cover with foil and place in the oven for about 8 hours.

After 8 hours it will be fall apart tender and deeply caramelised, with a rich savoury flavour.

I served it up with Corn tortillas and a few filling options, Thinly sliced red cabbage with lime juice squeezed over it; An Avocado and tomato salsa; Red pickled onions; Sour cream blended with a chipotle (it was going to be home made sour cream but that failed); and jalapeños in adobo sauce.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pickled onions

Pickled onions are really easy to make, they just take a little time and patience.

Start off by putting a pot of water on to boil, trim the top and base of some pickling onions (or shallots) making sure not to cut off too much, and finally sterilising your jars.

Pour the boiling water over then onions and let them stand for a minute or two. Drain and peel the skin off. Don't let the onions sit for too long in the water.

Pack the onions in a jar and sprinkle over a spoon of sugar, top with cold water, seal and store for 24 hours in the fridge.

The next day thoroughly rinse the onions.

Assemble your spices. The mix you use is entirely up to you, some of the classics are bay leaf, cinnamon, chilli flakes, cloves, all spice, star anise, mustard seeds, ginger and cumin. Or just use a pack of pickling spices (which are great to use when cooking corned beef).

I went for a mix of coriander, bay, mustard seeds, a dried chilli, cloves, and all spice.

Evenly distribute the spices amongst the onions, fill the jar three quarters with malt vinegar, top off with cold water. Seal the jar and store in a cool dark place for at least a month before eating.

Monday, October 24, 2011


A couple of dips I made to have with the mini pita breads. The first is a cucumber and mint yoghurt dip.

The night before set a sieve lined with cheese cloth (or clean tea towel) on a bowl, and pour in some natural yoghurt (make sure the only ingredients are milk and culture, you don't want yoghurt that has thickeners or gelatin in it).

Leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

The yoghurt will loose about 50% of its volume due to the whey draining off.

De-seed half a cucumber and tear up a few of leafs of mint.

Purée the mint and cucumber, if you need to loosen it pour a little of the whey in. Mix this with the thickened yoghurt.

Brunoise the other half of the cucumber and mix into the yoghurt. Season with salt. I also added a pinch of smoked paprika.

Finally thinly slice some mint to stir through and use as a garnish.

The second dip is a very simple salmon mousse. In a food processor or mini blender, place 200 grams of cream cheese, 50-100 mls of cream, a squeeze of lemon juice and dill to taste. Blend until smooth. Add in 250 grams of hot smoked salmon, pulse until the salmon is incorporated, be careful not to completely purée it.

Cover and let it set in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Mini Pita bread

We had some company the other day and I whipped up a batch of mini pita breads to serve with salmon mousse and cucumber yoghurt dip. They're very simple to make and make a great alternative to crackers.

I use my basic bread dough recipe for the pitas.

Mix and need the dough until it's well worked and elastic. Then let it rise for about 30 minutes (at least doubled). Pre-heat the oven to 230°C with a heavy tray or stone in it.

Take a portion of dough and roll out to a couple millimetres thick.

Cut out circles with a ring cutter. I wouldn't recommend re-rolling out the cut-offs, instead use them all to form a loaf of bread or other purpose, as re-rolling will make the dough tough and unlikely to puff up when cooking.

Arrange the circles on a tray lined with baking paper and then slide the paper on to the hot tray/stone in the oven. Cook for 2-4 minutes, they should all be puffed up and brown edges. When they're cooked use a tray to slide the paper on to.

The pita's are great to stuff as well. Pictured above is a pumpkin lentil curry with coriander.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Simple pleasures

Ice cold soda the morning after an over indulgent night.

Egg in a hole fried in far too much butter, and strangely my favourite part is the fried hole.

Fresh tomato dressed with olive oil and sea salt on grilled cheese.

And finally purchasing a BBQ.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quick red pickle

As I mentioned in the bone marrow post, I served it with some pickled red onions and promised the recipe. Well here it is finally.

Slice up enough red onions to fill the jar you're going to use.

Sterilise your jar and then stuff the onion in to it.

I use the ratio of 3 cups of vinegar (I prefer cider) to 1 cup of sugar for the pickling liquid. So in a pot put enough vinegar to fill the rest of the jar up (and appropriate amount of sugar) with some spices. Bring to the boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

The spices are really up to you, but I like to use some classics like Bay leaf, cinnamon, chilli flakes, cloves, all spice, star anise, mustard seeds, ginger and cumin.

For this batch I chose chilli flakes, cloves, mustard seeds, coriander and bay leaf .

Fill the Jar up with the liquid, tip it over and tap the top to release any air bubbles.

Let it cool down to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 12 hours before eating. It will store for about a month.

Wairarapa Market - part 2

My guest post for Out Standing in their Fields has been uploaded on to their blog. My original blog post about the market can be found here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beef marrow two ways part 2

So two days had passed and the marrow had soaked in the brine long enough, it was time for another overly indulgent lunch. (See part 1 here)

The supporting ingredients are pretty much the same as the last marrow dish. You need the freshness of the parsley, saltiness of the capers (and well salt) and the acid of the pickled onions to counter the extreme richness of the marrow. Although you could get away without having pickled onions just add a dash of lemon juice in the mix.

The marrow is drained from the brine and dried on a couple of paper towels.

Dust it in some flour.

Fry in oil until golden. Grape seed or canola are good as they have a neutral flavour.

Drain off the excess oil, and then chuck in a big chunk of butter (because butter makes everything better and well why the hell not) and fry until crisp and golden.

Drain the marrow on some paper towels to soak up any excess fat.

Serve on a toasted slice of baguette. I toasted mine under the grill and then finished off over the open flame of my cooker to give it a charred/roasted flavour.