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

 

Beef and Beans with Pasta

What’s better than a comforting bowl of pasta? The fact that everything is cooked in one pot!

1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1 medium carrot
1 medium celery stalk
2 tbs. olive oil
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 x 14oz. tin beans, drained – red kidney, cannellini, ect.
2 cups beef stock
1 x 14 oz. chopped tomatoes
2 tbs. ketchup
2 tbs. red wine (optional)
1 tbs. Italian herbs
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
1 2/3 cup macaroni
grated Parmesan, to serve

Put the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a food processor and whiz to a chunky rubble. Heat the oil in a large pot and cook the veggies until soft, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until browned.

Add the beans, beef stock, tomatoes, ketchup, red wine (if using) herbs and chili flakes. Bring to a boil, then tip in the pasta. Cook for 12-15 minutes, or until the pasta is tender, adding more stock if necessary. Season well with salt and pepper and serve with grated Parmesan scattered on top.

Jumbo Chili Sauce

This savory sauce is good with so many things, but it is especially delicious with roasted duck.

12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
3 red or green chilies, deseeded
1 garlic clove, peeled
zest and juice of lime
3 1/2 cups (lightly packed) cilantro leaves
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil

Tip the peppers, chilies, garlic, lime zest and juice, cilantro leaves and salt in a small food processor. Blitz, then pour in the oil with the motor running to make a thick sauce. The sauce can be keep chilled for up to a week.

 

Pronto Pig Feast

Here is a double quick, double pork supper!

2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
4 thin, streaky slices bacon
6 pork escallops (medallions cut from a pork tenderloin)
1/3 cup Marsala
1 tbs. butter
2 tbs. chopped fresh chives

Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet and fry the bacon until crisp. Remove and set aside. Add the pork and cook for 4-5 minute on each side, depending on how thick they are. Remove and cover with foil. Tip the Marsala and butter into the skillet and bubble to reduce.

Pour the sauce over the pork, crumble the bacon on top and scatter with chives to serve.

Serves 2

Cod and Cannellini

Creamy cannelli beans and tender cod are perfect partners in this speedy and super supper.

3/4 lb. cod, regular or smoked
small sprig parsley, stalks removed and leaves chopped
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. peppercorns
1 celery stalk, halved
1 2/3 cups water
1/3 cup white wine
2 x 14oz. cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbs. chopped chives, optional

Put the fish in a large skillet with the parsley stalks, bay leaves, peppercorns and celery. Pour in the water and wine and bring to a boil. Cover the pan with foil and simmer in the poaching liquid for 3-5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. Remove to the foil and keep warm.

Keep about 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid, then drain off the rest. Add the beans to the skillet, warming them in 1/3 cup reserved liquid for about 3 minutes, adding more liquid  if necessary. Turn off the heat, add the oil and most of the chopped parsley, then lay in the fish. Stir everything together, breaking up the fish a little. Check the seasoning, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and chives, if using.

 

Swedish Salmon

This lovely and fresh sauce complements salmon any way it is prepared.


4 salmon fillets
3 tbs. Dijon mustard
2 tbs. light brown sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 tbs. white wine vinegar
3 tbs. chopped fresh dill

Cook the salmon to your liking by grilling, broiling, baking or pouching.

To make the sauce, stir together the mustard, sugar, sour cream, vinegar and most of the dill. Season with salt.

Serve the sauce spooned over the salmon and sprinkled with the remaining dill.

Criss-Cross Potatoes

Here is a fun and attractive way to serve potatoes.

4 baking potatoes
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. fine sea salt

Heat the oven to 425°F. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Cut a diamond pattern of grooves into the top of each side, slicing not more than 1/8″ or so.

Put the cut-side up potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender and golden.

Serves 4 – 8

Steak with Bagna Cauda Butter

Grilled steaks gets the star treatment with this savory, anchovy and garlic flavored butter.

10-12 steaks such as rib eye, fillet or New York Strip

For the butter:

1/4 cup anchovy fillets
14 tbs. unsalted butter, softened a little
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
freshly grated black pepper

To make the butter, place all the ingredients in a small food processor and whizz to blend. Spoon out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a log shape. Chill to set.

Season the steaks well and cook to your liking. Cut the butter into fat coins and place atop each steak.

Serves 10-12

Garlic and Parsley Hearthbreads

Somewhere between a herby focaccia and garlic nan, these easy breads are ideal for a beginning bread maker. Foolproof!

3 1/2 cup white bread flour
1 package rapid-rise yeast (1/4 oz.)
1 tbs. salt
1 1/3 – 1 1/2 cups warm water
5 tbs. olive oil
3 large of 4 small heads garlic
extra-virgin olive oil
bunch flat-leaf parsley

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Stir the oil into the 1 1/3 cups of water and add to the bowl. Stir to combine into a soft, but firm dough, using more water if necessary. Knead until smooth and elastic on a lightly floured surface, 5-7 minutes. From into a ball.

Lightly oil a clean bowl. Put the dough into the bowl, then turn it over in the oil. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375°F. Cut the tops off the garlic cloves, making sure they remain whole. Place them in foil, drizzle with olive oil and scrunch up loosely. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until soft and golden. Remove and allow to cool a bit.

Place the parsley leaves in a small food processor. Scoop out the garlic and add. Season and whizz together. Add enough olive oil to make a paste. Set aside.

When the dough has risen, punch it down and leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Divide it in half and roll each half into a bulky oval. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with a tea towel land leave to rise for 25 minutes. Heat the oven to 400°F.

Poke your fingers all over to make dimples in the dough. Brush with the garlic paste and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden.

Chicken Fajitas

Delicious, Dazzlingly Easy and Do It Yourself!

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts or 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher or sea salt
1 tbs. garlic flavored olive oil
2 tbs. lime juice
2 tbs. vegetable oil
2 small onions, peeled and cut into thin half moons
3 bell peppers (orange, yellow and/or red), deseeded and cut into
strips
8 soft flour tortillas, warmed, to serve

Optional accompaniments:

grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream
corn kernels
avocado
iceberg lettuce, shredded
fresh cilantro
hot chili sauce

Over a shallow bowl, cut the chicken into strips with a pair of scissors. Toss in the oregano, cumin, salt, olive oil and lime juice. Leave to marinate.

Warm the vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok and cook the onions over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Tip in the bell peppers and cook for a further 10 minutes, or until everything is softened.

Add the chicken with the marinade and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve with warmed tortilla and the accompaniments of your choice.

Serves 4