Tag Archives: pork

This little piggy

8 Sep

Went to the market too many times! Or for cholesterol at least. Today’s post is all about Eisbein. Yes, you read it. That piece of meat and meal that most are afraid of ordering at a restaurant if they see it on a menu,because they either think people will perceive them as gluttonous or because they  just can’t see themselves finishing such a big piece of meat. 
Well let me tell you, everyone wants a bit of crackling, fatty,juicy and falling off the bone Eisbein. I make it quite often. Why, you ask? Uhm, because it tastes fantastically incredible and also, how can something that is SO cheap taste SO good?! Double win! 

It is also a dish that really requires minimum effort. You can go about your tasks and things while it’s cooking. So, what’s the catch you ask?

Well, the cleaning of that one saucepan that you boiled it in… but not to worry, your man in your life wouldn’t mind doing it for you.. or, if you have children.. start them young.. teaching them the tricks of the trade! My lion of a man still thanks me gratefully each time for his Eisbein and he’s perfectly happy to do the dishes then 😃

People, it’s time to start climbing the stairwell to heaven!  Take that napkin and tuck it into your shirt’s collar, because you are going to eat till your chin and lips glisten! 

Ingredients 

1 X Eisbein / pork shank  person ( 2 for me and the lion) 

1 X cup of white wine vinegar

1 X teaspoon of whole peppercorns

1 X big pinch of rock salt for the water

4-5 bay leaves

1 X onion, roughly quartered, you can even keep the skin on 

700ml of boiling water from the kettle or enough to cover your pork shanks

2 X small pinches of rock salt 

As I’ve mentioned, it’s really easy and no fuss. Get the biggest saucepan or casserole dish you have – as long as it is deep enough for the shanks to be covered in water, then you’re good to go. I use my biggest Le Creuset  casserole baby that I have! 

Place the shanks in the saucepan, add all the ingredients and pour the boiling water over. Bring it to boil and then turn the heat down. Allow to simmer on a low heat for at least 3 hours.

After three hours,test the meat, almost like you would a cake. You’ll easily be able to tell if it’s cooked to the texture where it is nice and tender. I usually simmer mine for 4 1/2 hours, just because the shanks are so huge! If you think they’re ready, preheat your oven to 220 degrees. 

Carefully remove the shanks from the saucepan. This needs to be done with care,otherwise the piece of fat that is on top will slide and fall off and this is one of the most delicious parts of an Eisbein. 

Place on a lined baking tray. Gently pat the fat lightly with a thick paper towel, making sure the part with the fat is facing upward. 

Take a sharp knife and carefully score the fat. You don’t want to cut it through completely,only half way.

Sprinkle a pinch of the rock salt over each shank, focussing on the section where the fat is. All you do now is place it in the oven for about 45 minutes or until crispy! 

For the weary ones, you’ll hear loud “pop” sounds, almost like microwave popcorn. Don’t worry,this is simply the fat that is crisping up. 

Since Eisbein is so rich, I just want a refreshing,green salad, but then again, my Austrian friend Ulrike and her hubby will eat it the traditional way, with sauerkraut.Ending this off, I dedicate this recipe to my friend, the Scroobys, enjoy guys! 



Easter festival celebration

5 May

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It has been more than a year since I last posted on my blog, normal excuses are the ones that come to mind, busy lifestyle, rushed, not time to sit down and just enjoy the small things. Today, after a relaxed lunch with my beautiful friend Louise, I’ve been nudged to post a blog again. After all, she was the one that asked me what happened?! Life. Rushing to work, rushing from work to gym, rushing home from gym to cook a quick supper, have an hour and go to bed to do the same thing all over again. Well, today, I take some time to post one of our yearly celebrations we have in our home.

Living abroad, your friends become your family and each celebration is a special one. Each year, we all sit down together around a table groaning under too much food and wine, and all the diets and healthy lifestyles are out of the window for one day. I can’t treasure this time in Easter enough! So this post will be a long one, and I hope to post more often after this one.

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Beetroot, goats cheese & candied pecan salad

1 x pack of cooked beetroot

2 x packs of good quality goats cheese

150g pecans

1 x large pack of lambs lettuce

2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

50 ml extra virgin olive oil + extra 10 ml olive oil

2 teaspoons of freshly chopped thyme

60 ml white wine vinegar

pinch of salt

half teaspoon of crushed garlic

pinch of freshly ground black pepper

50 g icing sugar

Take 10 ml of olive oil and pour it over the fresh thyme. Crush roughly and sprinkle it over cut pieces of goats cheese. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Place the pecans in a colander. Boil some water and pour it over the pecans. Place the pecans a bowl and sieve the icing sugar over the pecans. Mix through thoroughly with your hands, until the pecans are coated with the icing sugar. Place the pecans on a non stick baking tray and roast it in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, taking time to turn them so they don’t burn.

When done, remove the pecans from the oven and allow to cool. Mix the mustard, olive oil, vinegar, pinch of salt and pepper and shake.

Place the lettuce in your salad bowl and arrange the beetroot, cut into pieces on the lettuce. Roughly break and sprinkle the goats cheese over the salad leaves. Toss the candied pecans over the salad. Now pour over the dressing and toss lightly. Ready to serve.

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Roasted sweet potato with lemon, red onion & sweet paprika

5 x sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

3 x lemons, cut into wedges

4 x red onions, roughly chopped into wedges

2 x teaspoons of smoked, sweet ( or normal) paprika

50 ml olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

1 tablespoon of wholegrain mustard

2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, roughly chopped

8 garlic cloves

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Mix all oil and spices together. Toss the lemon, sweet potato & red onion in the oil & spice mixture. Place on a non stick baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve hot or cold.Image

Traditional roasted crispy potatoes

1. 5 kg potatoes, peeled and quartered

1 teaspoon of salt

60 g salted butter

2 pinches of fresh thyme leaves

Place the potatoes and salt in a saucepan of water, cover and heat. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. When the water starts to boil with the potatoes, boil for 2 minutes only. Drain in colander. Remove the water from the saucepan and place the butter & thyme in the saucepan. Heat and allow the butter to melt.  Place the potatoes back into the saucepan and mix through until it is covered and has absorbed the butter. Place in a non- stick tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until crispy and golden.

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Rack of lamb with fresh minted yoghurt marinade

2 x racks of lamb

2 pinches of salt

2 x pinches of black pepper

1 x tablespoon of olive oil

2 x teaspoons of mixed herbs

1 teaspoon of crushed garlic

1/2 teaspoon of lemon

For the minted yoghurt

1 & half cup of double Greek yoghurt

1 handful of finely chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of black pepper

Make sure your racks of lamb are at room temperature. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients together for the lamb. rub it all over the racks of lamb. Cook the oven for 15 minutes if you like it red. If you prefer it well done, cook it for 20 – 25 minutes. When you remove it from the oven, allow to rest. While it is resting, mix together all the ingredients for the minted yoghurt. When the lamb is rested, spoon over the minted yogurt and serve.

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Cider marinated & roasted pork shoulder in sweet, smoky & sticky barbecue sauce

1 x large pork shoulder joint

2 pinches of salt & black pepper

1x red chilli, finely chopped and seeds removed

2 teaspoons crushed garlic

50 ml red wine vinegar

1x teaspoon paprika

250 ml tomato sauce

250ml barbeque sauce

2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly and pour over the pork shoulder. Cover with foil. Cook for 3 hours, spooning the sauce ( marinade) over the pork every hour. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes. Reserve the sauce to pour over the pork when serving.

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I also prepared and cooked a red wine marinated leg of lamb (I  was not sure if there would be enough food) and you will find this recipe in my recipe index. Don’t forget to make a bowl of rice too!

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What a lovely and special day we had with all our friends and family. I’m lucky enough to have my sister in law living close by.

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In the end we are blessed with a wonderful group of friends.

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There was an absence in my heart from our dear friends Danni & Emily, but we will see them when visiting Canada later this year, cant wait!

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Oh SHANKS! It’s winter!

9 Dec

Not one of my favourites when you live in the UK… It starts when you realise you are one of the few households in London with such  an old boiler that it doesn’t have a self timer and when you wake up in the morning, it looks like you are on the set of “Sleepy Hollow” with all the mist in the room created from your breathing… Yup, that’s winter for you! The only answer I have to that is my mother’s wisdom… warm food! Always food! Combine that with my lion cub studying ( also picture a big bear with a thorn in his paw and its cartoon-like facial expression) and still the best option to take away grumpiness, cold and frustration = Roast.

I remember when I studied, my mother used one of her many special powers – treats and our favourite food. Since the naughty lion cub took it upon himself to go “treat” shopping, which I don’t have to tell you involves a lot of sugar, I took it upon myself to make sure he had a nice, cosy and heartwarming meal. Now one thing I can say is that the british aren’t too adventurous when it comes to cooking meat. They stick to the more well known cuts of meat, this is why I think if you steer away from the well known cuts, you might just pick up some top quality meat for a great price!

On the other hand… I do like a challenge. Ever had pork shanks? Me neither! So.. walking along in the supermarket, I found a pack of pork shanks for a very good price, so why not? If Lamb shank is delicious why not pork? It is all in the imagination and then preparation. Whenever I am in doubt with meat.. I use alcohol. Yes, alcohol! You can never go wrong. It makes all meat tender and tasty 🙂 So while the lion cub was busy with his daily dose of studying, I got on with my preparation of our shank roast.. let me tell you, it warded off the winter blues if only for a short while! Nothing can beat a heartwarming roast 🙂

pork shanks

2 pork shanks, skin scoured

1 pint of Strongbow or apple cider

3 teaspoons of chopped garlic

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of season all spice ( or chicken spice)

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon of paprika

1 pinch of black pepper

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 apple, roughly chopped in slices

1 leek, chopped

handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped

2 handfuls of freshly chopped coriander

1 big carrot, finely chopped ( food processor)

 

Preheat your oven to 200 C.  Mix all the spices, garlic and olive oil together. Rub this into the scoured shanks. Make sure it is rubbed in thoroughly into the shanks. Place your chopped leeks, apple and mushrooms in the bottom of your roasting tray.

pork shanks1

Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and scatter around 1 handful of the coriander. Place the shanks on top.

pork shanks2

Now place in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and scatter the chopped carrots and remaining coriander  around the shanks. Pour over your cider. Turn the oven down to 190 and cook the shanks for 2 1/2 hours or until it is falling off the bone. Do set a timer to baste the shanks with the juices.

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That’s it! No fuss! Serve it with roasted potatoes, mash, rice or anything you fancy. I made some polenta with soya cream and coriander. What a hearty meal! I hope you enjoy it!

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Wayne’s sticky pork shoulder

20 Oct

There’s a very good reason for this title… and that would be a certain loving relationship that my friend Wayne has with a certain Eisbein dish at The Oxford Arms in Durbanville. When I was still in SA, our group of friends often met for drinks at The Oxford Arms.I always knew that Wayne would order his favourite… Eisbein. Wayne does everything with passion. Whether he is working, enjoying drinks & dinner,making music, giving a helping hand to a friend.. he’s almost like superman really!!

When he has the important people in his life around him, with drinks, a good meal and good music, it is safe to say that he is happier than a pig in mud!! They also have a little “piglet” on the way, which I am sure will have the same passion for life, love and naturally, everything else!!

So Wayne, you know I was thinking about you (with  a mental picture of you and a piece of Eisbein bigger than the size of your head… in your mouth) while I was preparing this lovely little piggy!! I am sure you would have lovingly tucked in!! Miss you guys…

Sticky Pork Shoulder

2 kg pork shoulder

1 can of beer

1 can of cider

1 tablespoon of cumin seeds

4 tablespoons of apricot jam

1 tablespoon of sunflower oil

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3 potatoes, cut into medium slices

salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 180 C. Pour your beer & cider into a ovenproof casserole dish, along with the garlic. Now put your pork in the cider and flavour with salt & pepper. Place in the oven, lid on for 1 hour.

After cooking for an hour, remove from the oven. Take your pork out and place it on a baking tray. Season with salt & black pepper again. Mix your cumin seeds with the apricot jam and rub/coat the pork in the apricot jam.

Place your potato slices around the pork and season with salt & black pepper.

Drizzle with your sunflower oil and place it back in the oven for 45 minutes.

I served it up with some mushy peas…. a new favourite in our home!! Enjoy it with a salad or any veggies of your choice.

What the heck, lets have pork neck

30 Aug

Unlike the flavourful dish I will talk about shortly, I would like to give you the true definition of a pig and how it is part of my morning, every morning. No, not the lovely crispy bacon, this pig is alive 🙂 PIG: A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives. Pigs are omnivores and are highly social and intelligent animals. As you might have realized, these pigs dress up in suits in the morning and tramp all over you to get on the train. They are also omnivores, which means, they will basically eat you alive! Their second, more well known name would be – middle aged bankers, on the overland rail.  Highly intelligent creatures, but that is about it, for an animal 🙂 For some reason when I always get angry in the morning, I always feel better when I know we will enjoy pork for supper 🙂 There is something very satisfying in teaching a piggy some manners. Marinate it, cook it properly and it is the most well-mannered taste that you will enjoy for the day 🙂

Hey, pigs have great taste ;-p  Simply put, I am not a happy camper after having to go back to work after bank holiday, so obviously there will be a bit of negativity 🙂 Well, skip that part because the positivity just came back after I enjoyed a lovely supper 🙂 This is a love and leave dish – for the pork that is. I am sure you will enjoy this and all negative spirits will disappear!

Zingy pork

One pack of pork neck steak

One whole garlic’s cloves, lightly crushed

2 tablespoons of olive oil

salt & pepper

1 twig of fresh rosemary

handful of twigs of fresh thyme

30ml dry white wine

1 tin of tinned, chopped tomatoes

30ml balsamic vinegar

juice of half lemon

4 spring onions, snipped

1/2 leek, roughly chopped

2 handfuls of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 red pepper finely chopped

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

1 teaspoon of olive oil for the sauce

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Place your pork on a non-stick baking tray.

Flavour with salt and black pepper. Toss around your garlic. Sprinkle your thyme and rosemary over the pork. Drizzle with your olive oil. Now place in the oven and cook dor 30 – 35 minutes, or until golden and cooked. While this is cooking, add  the remaining olive oil to a frying pan.

Add your crushed garlic, leeks, spring onion & red pepper to a frying pan. Now fry for about 8-10 minutes. Add your mushrooms. Fryn until almost done and flavour with salt. Add the white wine. Mix through and allow to simmer.

After 10 minutes, add your tinned tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Flavour with salt according to your personal taste. Meanwhile, you can cook some pasta, I used orzo pasta, as your base for the pork and sauce.

When your pork is done, take it out of the oven. Place your orzo in your plate. Place the pork on top of that and top it off with your lovely sauce. Enjoy with a simple veggies or a side salad 🙂

Monday Pig out pie

8 Aug

Hello my foodie friends! I think after this weekend, we almost knew what “gluttony” meant. I won’t be suprised if we develop little piggy tails! We enjoyed a pork barbeque with a lovely bread and olive and goats cheese. The next day we had larger than life pizza’s and on Sunday I prepared a lovely sticky and sweet pork shoulder with rice, corn and a radish salad. How does it not come close to being as greedy as 2 little piggies?

I suppose we love food so much, we can never be guilty of gluttony ;-p We enjoy it too much and definitely appreciate it. Naturally,even after all of this indulging, there was some leftover pork. Yes I know, even I do not feel like taking photos of everything and took a back seat on the blog over the weekend.  This is good, it means I will make it again, just to share that lovely pork shoulder.

So, back to the leftovers – I wanted to make a simple and light stirfry, but alas, so enters the lion man! He wanted a pork pie! He can’t say no to a pie! Also in this message, he “matter of fact” mentioned he would like to have mushrooms with it and a tasty little sauce.“Recipe brain” going in overdrive! Needless to say he had to pick up puff pastry from the grocer on his way home… well he was the one that wanted pie! ;-p

I suppose it is a comfort food for many. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like pie. I think the love for it lies in the lovely and rich butter pastry. So while I am sitting at work I am working on a little non-fat pastry recipe in my head. Well hey, who wants that?? The whole point of  pastry is to be rich, creamy and warm, creating an unknowing smile on each face enjoying this indulgence! That is always the joy and greatest reward of cooking to me. I also have to create a “cement of fame block” for the hubby as he was the genius that came up with tonight’s title. He won’t admit it, but he is always curious about my writing ;-p

I am sure he will be showing this to his work colleagues tomorrow ;-p  And before I start, remember, the main ingredient in food is love. Especially in this dish, there was plenty. My hubby put his hand to rolling out the pastry for the pie – he managed really well 🙂 Soon, I will have my own assistant ;-p

Monday Pig out pie

sunflower oil for cooking

1 pack of puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

Handful of mushrooms, rougly chopped

1 onion, roughly chopped & 1/2 red onion roughly chopped

Reserve of your “gelatin” from your leftover pork / 2 tablespoons of honey, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of soya sauce

2 tablespoons of apple pickle / apple chutney

1 courgette, roughly chopped

1 green/ yellow pepper, roughly chopped

2 cups of leftover pork, cut in bitesize pieces

Salt & pepper to taste

Preaheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Heat a frying pan and drizzle with oil. Add your “gelatin” / sauce mixture. Now add your onions and fry for about 8 minutes. Add your courgette. Fry for another 8 minutes and now add the mushrooms, yellow pepper and pork. Finally, add your pickle. Mix through and allow to simmer. Season with salt to taste.

Grease a pie dish / tin. Roll out your pastry and place one half in the pie dish. Scoop in your pork mixture. Top off with the remaining pastry.

If you have any pastry left, cut out little hearts with a cookie cutter and place them on top of your pie – this extra loving creates a better taste, I promise! ;-p

Finally, brush your pie with the beaten egg, so that it can turn lovely and deliciously golden in the oven 🙂 Bake it for 30 – 45 min until golden brown. 🙂  And if you’re anything like the hubby, serve a salad with it 🙂

 

 

 

 

Peachy pork

13 Jul

Yup, you know it! Everything is peachy! Even my pork ;-p Well, maybe not the weather. If I had to get a mental picture while eating  a peach, I would imagine lying on green, floaty grass with the sun shining on my face, and.. well, this is London and even if it is summer, there is no sun. Lucky for me, I had a lovely day and enjoyed working again and helping out a few people. It just shows you what the right atmosphere can do to improve your mood! 🙂 Happy thoughts!

It might also be that I had a construction worker screaming after me this morning, in a VERY heavy irish accent that I “Looked more beautiful than anything he had seen that morning”! Usually I would greet this with a stare that could kill, but this morning I actually started laughing! Sometimes London puts on its tutu dress and dances like a lovely ballerina!

Yesterday I bought some peaches, a whole punnet, for only £1! Add to that, a pack of pork steaks for £1.43 and it already creates happy rays of sunshine in my life!! So, sitting at work today in my happy mood, I fantasized about lovely, juicy ripe peaches, a delicacy to me 🙂 Needless to say, after biting into one when I got home, there was nothing delicate or sweet about these evil buggers! Looks can be deceiving! Then I thought, if I added a little love and sweet words of encouragement, they will turn into a lovely, colourful and sweet surprise of  luscious infusions 🙂

To top this, was a picture in my mind of the one and only licking his plate clean….. as happy as a pig in mud! Which, I am very proud to say, he did! Who needs a puppy when you have your own true love cleaning his plate like that ;-p By now, after all this mumble jumble, I still have not mentioned what I cooked! So here we go: Peachy pork steak with carrot & cabbage fritters… and like our family like to call it.. “flied lice” ! ;-p  Fried rice for those of you that get a terrible mental picture right now ;-p

Peachy pork

3 – 4 pork steaks

2 peaches, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of butter

1 teaspoon of sunflower oil

1 clove of garlic, grated

1/2 teaspoon of ginger, grated

4 tablespoons of honey

1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon of finely chopped, fresh rosemary

1 spring onion, finely chopped

Fritters

1 carrot, grated – medium size “grater”

1 cup of cabbage, grated – medium size “grater”

1 tablespoon of flour

2 eggs

1 teaspoon sweetner/caster sugar

Pork

Place your butter, ginger, garlic, oil, rosemary and spring onions in a pan. Fry for 5 minutes. Place your pork steaks in the pan and allow them to brown on the one side. Add your peaches. Shake them around in the pan. After the steaks have gone golden, turn them.

Add your vinegar and honey and mix around so that the steaks and peaches get coated in this sweet sauce.

Taste and season with a little bit of salt.  All the while, while your steaks are getting their lovely colour, mix all the ingredients together for the fritters. Heat oil in a pan, enough to be more than a slight layer, but not as much as when you would fry chips. Make sure the oil is hot enough. Take a tablespoon and use this to place small oval shapes in the oil until they become brown and crispy and turn them over. Place on some paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Serve up with your pork steaks, egg fried rice and the lovely sticky sauce! Heaven!