Middle of Pork, Apple Sauce

Middle of Pork, Apple Sauce

A forgotten cut of pork and definitely my favourite – middle of pork combines the tenderness of loin with the flavour of belly. The belly also bastes the loin whilst cooking to ensure it remains super moist and tender.

Get your butcher to leave just enough belly attached to the loin to ensure the skin wraps around fully but does not overlap – which will help achieve some great crackling.

This is a simple recipe for perfectly cooked pork middle with apple sauce. Great served with roasted root vegetables.

Middle of Pork, Apple Sauce
Serves 6-10

Ingredients:

For the Pork: 1 Half Middle of Pork (Rolled and tied as above and skin scored), Sea Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, Olive Oil, 1 Garlic Bulb (Halved), Handful Thyme Sprigs

For the Apple Sauce: 6 Cooking Apples (Peeled, Cored and Chopped), 25g Unsalted Butter, Caster Sugar, Zest 1/2 Lemon, Fresh Nutmeg

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 220c. Coat the outside of the pork middle with a thin layer of olive oil and season well with sea salt. Place on a roasting tray belly side down and transfer to the oven. Cook at 220c for 20 minutes. Turn the pork so the belly side is facing up and cook at 220c for a further 20 minutes. Turn the pork back to its original position and reduce the oven temperature to 160c. Cook the pork for a further 3-4 hours or until the belly is tender and the crackling is crisp (you may need to increase the oven temperature to 190c for the last hour of cooking to crisp the crackling). When ready, remove from the oven and allow to rest in the roasting tray for at least 30 minutes.

2) Meanwhile, make the apple sauce. Place the apple segments in a saucepan with the butter and add a small splash of water. Cover with a lid and stew the apples over a low heat until tender, stirring occasionally, for around 30 minutes or until the apples are cooked down. Transfer the apples to a blender and blend to a purée. Return the purée to the pan and add the lemon zest. Season to taste with sugar and freshly grated nutmeg. Set aside.

3) Slice the pork middle, season each slice with a little sea salt and black pepper and serve the pork with the apple purée. Great served with roasted root vegetables.

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Romesco Sauce

Romesco Sauce

This incredible Catalan sauce is great served with roast and barbecued meats.

Served here with roast rib of beef and watercress salad.

Romesco Sauce
Makes 400-500ml

Ingredients:

2 Red Peppers, 1 Long Shallot (Finely Chopped), 3 Tomatoes (Chopped), 2 Garlic Cloves (Finely Crushed), 1tsp Paprika, 1/2tsp Smoked Paprika, 1/2tsp Chipotle Powder, 1 Slice Bread (Gluten Free If Required), Olive Oil, 75g Blanched Almonds, 1tbsp Red Wine Vinegar, Sea Salt

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 220c. Blacken the red peppers on a gas hob or under a hot grill. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until tender. When ready, remove from the oven, deseed and chop into large chunks.

2) Meanwhile, coat the bread with a little olive oil and fry in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat until well toasted on each side. Remove from the pan, chop into cubes and set aside.

3) Place a little olive oil in a saucepan and add the shallot. Sauté for a few minutes until soft and add the tomatoes and a little sea salt. Add 3tbsp of water and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes until the sauce is thick.

4) Add the chopped peppers, tomato and shallot mixture, garlic cloves, paprika and smoked paprika, chipotle powder, chopped fried bread and blanched almonds to a food processor. Add around 3tbsp of olive oil and blitz until your desired consistency is achieved. Add the red wine vinegar and sea salt to taste and stir well to combine.

5) Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and store in the fridge until ready to use. The sauce will keep in the fridge for a few days.

Enjoy!

Pork Loin, Apple Sauce

Pork Loin, Apple Sauce

Pork and apple – a perfect marriage. With a windfall of apples in the garden, now was the time to make a big batch of apple purée.

Pork Loin is pan seared on the bone with a little garlic and thyme and served with my recipe for the perfect apple sauce.

For the sauce, spiced apple purée is combined with fresh, diced apple. This can be made in a big batch to be kept in the freezer.

Pork Loin, Apple Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Pork: 4 Bone in Single Loin Pork Chops (French Trimmed), 1tbsp Rapeseed Oil, 75g Unsalted Butter, 4 Garlic Cloves (Bashed), 3 Thyme Sprigs, Sea Salt, Cracked White Pepper, Small Handful Sage Leaves (Chopped)

For the Apple Sauce: 8 Small/Medium Cooking Apples (Peeled, Cored and Diced), 25g Unsalted Butter, 75g Caster Sugar, 2 Cinnamon Sticks, 3/4tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg, Small Pinch Sea Salt, 3 Sweet Eating Apples (e.g. Gala) (Peeled, Cored and Diced), 1tsp Grated Lemon Zest

Method:

1) Make the apple sauce by placing the diced cooking apples in a medium saucepan with the butter and a little splash of water over a medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks and cover. Turn the heat down low and simmer for around 30 minutes until the apples have cooked out and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the caster sugar to taste and remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly and add the diced eating apple, nutmeg, sea salt and lemon zest – stir well to combine. Set aside until ready to serve or store for later use.

2) Place a large frying pan over a high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Season the pork chops well with sea salt and cracked white pepper. Fry in the pan with the garlic and thyme for around 5-6 minutes each side until cooked to your liking. Add the butter to the pan and allow to melt. Baste the pork chops well on each side with the butter for 2 minutes. Remove chops from the pan, cover and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.

3) Slice the pork loin from the bone and serve with the apple sauce and the chopped sage. Great served with roast potatoes and kale.

Enjoy!

Thai Pork Meatballs, Satay Sauce

Thai Pork Meatballs, Satay Sauce

A bold dish which is perfect for supper with friends or as an appetiser – pork meatballs packed full of Thai flavour and served with a rich and incredibly moreish satay sauce (well, my take on a satay sauce)!

This sauce goes equally well with chicken kebabs or koftas and a little goes a long way. Using a good quality Thai red curry paste for the meatballs will save you loads of time and will taste just as good!

This dish is great with a cucumber relish or crunchy salad.

Thai Pork Meatballs, Satay Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

For the Meatballs: 600g Pork Shoulder Mince, 4tbsp Breadcrumbs (Gluten Free if Required), 4tbsp Red Thai Curry Paste, Zest 2 Limes, 2 Lemongrass Stalks (Chopped), 1tsp Sea Salt, Large Handful Fresh Coriander (Chopped)

For the Satay Sauce: 1tbsp Veg Oil, 1 Small Onion (Finely Chopped), 1 Garlic Clove (Crushed), 1 Scotch Bonnet Chilli (Deseeded and Finely Chopped), 3tbsp Smooth Peanut Butter, 125ml Coconut Cream, 1tbsp Light Brown Sugar, Sea Salt

Method:

1) Prepare the meatballs by combining the minced pork with the other ingredients in a large bowl and mixing well to combine. Divide and roll the mixture into small balls (just smaller than a golf ball). Cover and store in the fridge until ready to cook.

2) Make the sauce by sautéing the onion, garlic and chilli in the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat for 3 minutes. Add the peanut butter, coconut cream and light brown sugar. Bring to the boil and lightly simmer for 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Season to taste with sea salt. Remove from the heat, allow to cool and set aside.

3) Fry the meatballs in a large covered pan in a little oil over a medium-high heat for around 6-8 minutes per side or until cooked through. When cooked, remove from the pan and serve with the satay sauce.

Enjoy!

Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce

Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce

This delicious sauce is very simple to prepare and, with a surprising depth and slight sweetness, pairs well with any type of game.

The delicate aromatics imparted by a little blossom honey and fresh cherries work best with seared duck breast and steamed purple sprouting broccoli tossed in a little butter – with the slight hit of port helping cut through the richness of the duck.

Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 Duck Breasts
1 Garlic Clove (Bashed)
1 Rosemary Sprig
1 Shallot (Finely Diced)
10 Fresh Cherries (Stoned and Halved)
1 Good Glug of Port
100ml Chicken Stock
1 Tbsp Blossom Honey
25g Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Method:

1) Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper then place them skin side down into a cold sauté pan with the garlic and rosemary. Place the pan over a medium heat and cook for around 8-10 minutes skin side down until the fat is fully rendered. Flip the breast and cook for a further 5 minutes or until cooked to your liking (I aim for an internal temperature of around 62C).

2) Once cooked, remove the duck breast and allow to rest. Wipe the pan clean (leaving a trickle of fat) and return to a medium heat. Add the shallot and fry for 1 minute. Add the port, cherries, chicken stock and honey and reduce for 3 minutes. Whisk in the unsalted butter and keep the sauce warm until ready to serve.

3) Carve the duck breast and serve with the cherry sauce.

Enjoy!

Sauce Vierge

Sauce Vierge

Sauce Vierge is my favourite accompaniment to fish during the summer months. When the weather gets warmer it is time to substitute the butter and cream for olive oil and lots of fresh herbs. This is my version of the classic dressing.

Here I have paired the sauce with pan seared cod and crushed Charlotte potatoes. However, the sauce works well with just about any fish. Don’t hold back on the herbs and use a good quality olive oil and you will be onto a winner!

Sauce Vierge
Serves 4

Ingredients:
150ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Best Quality)
1/2 Garlic Clove Finely Diced
1 Preserved Lemon – Rind Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Tarragon Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Basil Chopped
2 Large Tomatoes – Seeds Removed, Flesh Diced
Juice 1/4 Lemon
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Method:

1) Place all of the ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a bowl and mix well to combine. Allow to sit for an hour to two to allow the flavours to develop.

2) Season with salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Enjoy!

The Perfect Béarnaise Sauce

Béarnaise Sauce

 

Béarnaise sauce is the best partner for steak. Nothing else even comes close. It strikes the perfect balance between rich and sharp.

It is a common misconception that béarnaise is troublesome to prepare. It is; however, difficult to perfect – I have been honing this recipe for some considerable time. Dispense with the food processor and get back to basics with a whisk and bain-marie to create the perfect consistency. And whatever you do, do not scrimp on the egg yolk and butter – you will be left disheartened with a feeble sauce.

This is my recipe for the perfect béarnaise sauce.

Béarnaise Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

250g Unsalted Butter
3 Large Egg Yolks
4tbsp Chopped Fresh Tarragon
75ml White Wine Vinegar
1 Shallot Finely Sliced
1 Strip Lemon Peel
5 White Peppercorns
1 Small Bay Leaf
Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked White Pepper

Method:

1) First make the vinegar reduction. Combine the vinegar with 2 tbsp of the chopped tarragon, shallot, lemon peel, peppercorns and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Simmer over a medium heat until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and leave to stand, removing the bay leaf.

2) Next clarify the butter. See this article by Edward Schneider at the NY Times for a concise guide.

3) To make the béarnaise – beat the egg yolks with a whisk over a barely simmering bain-marie until thick and light in colour. Be careful that the water does not get too hot and does not touch the bowl. Ensure no egg yolk sticks to the side of the bowl.

4) Strain the vinegar mixture into the egg yolk to taste and continue to whisk to maintain the thick texture.

5) Turn the heat off the bain-marie. Slowly add the clarified butter a little at a time whilst whisking. Do not rush this stage or you risk the sauce splitting. The sauce should be thick and smooth with an even sheen.

6) Remove the sauce bowl from the bain-marie. Stir in the remaining chopped tarragon and season to taste with sea salt and cracked white pepper. You may need to add a little extra vinegar reduction if you like it extra tangy!

If your sauce does split whilst cooking – do not despair! Remove from the heat and quickly add a small ice cube. Continue to whisk and the sauce should re-emulsify.

Enjoy!

Crème Fraîche Vanilla Sauce

 

I never seem to make sweet sauces and until now I haven’t really missed them. Pudding normally consists of some form of cake or meringue (we are big bakers in my house). However, my girlfriend made a strawberry and champagne terrine and I knew we just had to have something to accompany it.

I wanted something sweet and rich, it was the weekend after all. But it could not overpower the delicate strawberry and champagne. In comes the vanilla crème fraîche sauce – on the edge of sweetness with a strong kick of heady vanilla.

If you have any other suggestions for sweet sauces to enhance my repertoire I would love to hear them!

Vanilla Crème Fraîche Sauce

Makes enough for 4 small servings

Ingredients:

200ml Crème Fraîche

1tbsp Caster Sugar

Seeds from 1 Vanilla Pod

Method:

1) Combine the crème fraîche, sugar and vanilla seeds in a sauce pan.

2) Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved.

3) Either serve warm or allow to cool.

4) If storing in the fridge, reheat ever so slightly before reserving to increase its viscosity.

Cinnamon Sauce (Savoury)

 

 

 

 

I’ve been meaning to cook duck breasts for ages now, but for one reason or another they have been put on the back burner. I was going to cook them yesterday, giving me plenty of time to slave over a hot stove and create the perfect sauce – from stock.

Unfortunately a post-wedding sore head meant takeaway Indian last night, leaving the duck for today. Pushed for time I had to rethink my ambitious plans for a sauce.

This savoury cinnamon sauce is a breeze to make and requires few ingredients. It is ideally suited to game – think duck, venison, pigeon etc. Served with duck breasts, it cut through the richness of the fat and added great acidity. It is definitely worth a try.

Cinnamon Sauce (Savoury)

Serves 4

Ingredients:

400ml Full-Bodied Red Wine (I used an Italian Cabernet Sauvignon)

2 Cinnamon Sticks

2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Small Splash Sherry Vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Method:

1) Bring the wine and cinnamon sticks (left whole) to the boil and reduce by 1/2 to 2/3 until lightly syrupy.

2) Take out the cinnamon stick and whisk in the butter and add a small splash of sherry vinegar, to taste.

3) Pass through a sieve into a clean saucepan to ensure no stray bits of cinnamon stick remain.

4) Season to taste with salt (a little) and pepper.

5) Keep warm until serving or allow to cool and transfer to the fridge to be reheated at a later date.

Enjoy!