Pork Steaks with Port and Figs

It’s remarkable that such an effortless recipe can taste so luxurious.

6 soft dried figs
2/3 cup port
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
4-6 thin boneless pork chops
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. olive oil

Tip the figs and port into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and bubble for 10 minutes to soften the figs and reduce the port. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce and set aside.

Combine the flour, ginger, cumin, salt and allspice in a plastic bag. Add the pork and shake to coat. Heat the butter and oil in a skillet that will fit the pork snuggly. Cook the pork over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove to a heated plate. Tip in the port and figs and bubble until rich and syrupy.

Pour the sauce over the pork and serve.

Serves 2

Double Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Cookies

The subtle crunch of pumpkin seeds in this delicious cookie makes all the difference.

5 tbs. butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanila extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
pinch fine sea salt
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds

Heat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Tip in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt. Combine into a stiff dough, then fold in the chocolate chips and pumpkin seeds.

Using a 1″ ice cream scoop, drop onto the baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Leave on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Apple Pork Chops with Sauerkraut Slaw

Acid is so important to how food tastes and here the tartness of sauerkraut complements the juicy pork chops perfectly.

1 1/2 cups sauerkraut
1 Gala apple, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 tsp. caraway seeds
good grinding black pepper
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. chopped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 pork chops
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
4 tbs. apple juice

Tip the sauerkraut into a colander and press out as much liquid as you can, then leave to drain for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the apple, caraway seeds, pepper, olive oil and dill. Set aside.

Season the pork and add the vegetable oil to a heavy skillet. Cook the pork for 5-6 minute per side over a medium-hot heat, or until cooked through. Or grill the chops to your liking. Remove and cover in foil. Add the cloves and apple juice to the skillet and bubble into a rich syrup. Serve drizzled over the pork with the sauerkraut on the side.

Conversely, you can grill the pork and reduce the cloves and apple juice in a small saucepan.

Serves 2

 

Emergency Brownies

Brownies anytime are a treat, but when you need them FAST, here is your recipe!

4 tbs. butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs. golden syrup or maple syrup
3 tbs. all-purpose flour
3 tbs. cocoa
1/4 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks

Heat the oven to 325°F. Put the butter, sugar and golden or maple syrup in a saucepan and warm gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.

Fork together the flour, cocoa and salt, then beat into the saucepan. Whisk the egg with the vanilla, then stir into the pan. Finally fold in the walnuts and chocolate.

Spread the batter into a 5 x 7″ aluminum pan and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are coming away but the center is still a little soft.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool 20-30 minute before eating.

Serves 2

Pork with Prunes, Olives and Capers

 

Reminiscent of the classic Chicken Marbella, but using pork, this wonderful recipe requires and overnight marinade, so plan ahead and enjoy.

1 pork shoulder, diced for a stew
1 1/2 cups dry white wine or vermouth
3/4 cup pitted prunes
scant 1/2 cup pitted olives
1 tbs. capers
4 tbs. dried oregano
2 1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes
good grinding of black pepper
1 cup chicken stock

Put the pork in a large freezer bag and add the wine, prunes, olives, capers and their juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Seal the bag and squish everything together well. Chill overnight, then take out of the fridge 1 1/2 hours before cooking.

Heat the oven to 325°F. Tip the pork and marinade into a heavy-based casserole that comes with a lid. Add the stock, cover and cook for 2 hours. Check half way through and if there seems to be too much liquid, remove the cover and continue cooking.

 

 

Forgotten Cookies

Affectionately called “Merookies” by Nigella, these delights are a cross between a meringue and a cookie.

2 egg whites
pinch of fine sea salt
1/3 cup plus 2 tbs. caster sugar
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. apple cider or white vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup pistachios, finely chopped

Heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the egg whites and salt together until soft peaks form. Add the sugar a bit at a time until the mixture is thick and gleaming. Fold in the corn starch, vinegar and cardamom, then fold in the chocolate chips and most of the pistachios.

With a spoon, drop mounded blobs onto the baking sheet about   1 1/2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios. Put in the oven, immediately turn if off and leave the cookies to cool overnight.

Makes 12 – 14

Spatchcock Chicken with Miso and Sesame Seeds

The marinade infused the chicken overnight with a deep and musky saltiness that is balanced with a faint sweetness from the miso.

1 tbs. vegetable oil
2 tsp. sesame oil
4 tsp. sweet white miso
1 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tbs. finely grated fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, peeled and finely grated
1 chicken, spatchcocked (approx. 3 lbs.)
2 tsp. sesame seeds

Mix the vegetable oil, 1 tsp. of sesame oil, miso, soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger and garlic in a small bowl.

Put the chicken into a large freezer bag and pour in the marinade. Squidge it about so that everything is coated and leave in the fridge overnight.

An hour before you want to roast the chicken, take it out of fridge and transfer the chicken and the marinade to a large roasting tin, sitting the chicken breast-side up. Leave to come to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 400°F, cover the tin with foil and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, baste with the pan juices, then drizzle the remaining sesame oil over the top and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Roast, uncovered for another 20 minutes. Let the chicken sit for 10 minute before carving into pieces to serve.

Serves 4-6

 

Salt and Vinegar Potatoes

These will be your new favorite potatoes – guaranteed!!!

1 lb. baby new potatoes
3 tbs. olive oil
2 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes

Steam the potatoes until tender, about 20-30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Tip the oil into a small roasting tin and heat in the oven for 5 minutes. Tip the potatoes onto a plate and crush them with a fork. Add to the tin and cook for 20 minutes. Turn them over and cook a further 10 minutes. Remove to a serving bowl or plate and drizzle with the vinegar and sprinkle with the salt.

 

Spiced Bulgur Wheat with Roast Vegetables

This is indeed a treat for a vegetarian or anyone who adores wonderful flavors and textures plus it is a visual feast for the eyes. Enjoy!

For the bulgur wheat:

3 tbs. olive oil
small bunch coriander
2 fat garlic cloves
1 orange
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
1 cup bulgur wheat
1/4 cup red lentils
375ml cold water
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt flakes

For the roast vegetables:

2 large leeks, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
2-3 red peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. sea salt flakes
3 tbs. olive oil
6 radishes, topped and halved

First, make the bulgur wheat. Heat the oil over a low heat in a heavy pan that comes with a tight-fitting lid. Chop the stalks of the coriander and stir into the oil along with the grated zest of the orange and the garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, then turn up the heat to medium-low and stir in the fennel, cumin and coriander seeds, followed by the red chili flakes.

Turn the heat to high and stir in the bulgur wheat and lentils. Make a well in the center and pour in the water and the salt. Bring to a boil, then clamp on the lid, reduce the heat to low and leave to cook gently for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean tea towel and replace the lid. Leave for 40 minuets or up to 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 400°F. Tip all the ingredients for the roast vegetables along with 2 tbs. of the orange juice and 2 tbs. water into a shallow roasting tin that will fit them all snuggly. Toss everything together well and roast for 30 minutes. Stir in the radishes and roast another 10 minutes.

To serve, fork through the bulgur wheat to fluff it up and scoop it into a large bowl. Fork through a third of the vegetables, then chop the coriander leaves and fork through most the them. Taste for seasoning, then top with the remaining vegetables and coriander.

Radicchio, Chestnut and Blue Cheese Salad with a Citrus, Grain Mustard and Honey Dressing

This wonderful wintery salad is made of bitter leaves and salty cheese tossed with a fantastic dressing. If you are not partial to chestnuts, substitute in toasted walnuts. Serve it with a simple roast chicken and supper is sorted.

For the dressing:

2 tsp. lime juice
2 tsp. orange juice
1 tsp. grain mustard
1 tsp. honey
1 tbs. olive oil
a drop of sesame oil
sea salt flakes

For the salad:

1 large or 2 small radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup chestnut pieces
1/2 cup fridge-cold blue cheese, crumbled

Put all the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well to mix, or whisk together in a bowl or jug.

Put the torn radicchio in to a large bowl. Pour over the dressing, then toss patiently and well. Add the chestnuts and most of the blue cheese and toss again gently but thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and serve.

Serves 4-6