Thursday, 31 March 2011

Aubergine & Mozzarella Bake

This is a lovely little dish that can be altered to suit in many different ways.

Aubergine & Mozzarella Bake

2 Medium Aubergines
1 onion, finely chopped
1 can chopped tomatoes or Passata
2 cloves chopped garlic
200g Pancetta cubes, chorizo or lard ons
Handful sliced mushrooms
Olive oil
Herbs of your choosing, I had Marjoram & Oregano
1 mozzarella ball.
Handful grated cheddar cheese.

Slice the aubergines into 5mm discs, heat a large frying pan and add a drizzle of oil, not much then lightly fry the aubergine discs for a couple of minutes each side until golden brown, remove and put to one side whilst you brown the remaining.

In another frying pan add the pancetta and fry, it will release a lot of oil, add the mushrooms to the pan and continue frying until soft.

In a saucepan heat some more oil and add the garlic, let it sizzle for a few seconds before adding the chopped onions fry for a few minutes until soft then add the tomatoes or passata, let it bubble away for a while before adding the pancetta and mushrooms.  Season and add the herbs to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes.

In an oven dish place a spoonful or two of tomato mix then layer up with aubergines and some ripped up mozarella.  Repeat, but finish with a layer of aubergines.

Pop into oven at 180oc for 20-30 mins, adding a handful of grated cheddar 10 mins before the end.

Very satisfying dish, you can chop and change any of the veg, meat or cheese, just keep the base of aubergines and tomatoes.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Slow Roast Pork with Apples & Peppers

To round off my two weeks of 40th Birthday celebrations I had my lovely sister in law (who made me a birthday cake!) and her fabulous family around for Sunday lunch.  I advised them beforehand that they would be guinea pigs for the latest slow roast recipe I had found.  Again from the good food website a James Martin special:

Slow Roast Pork with Apples & Peppers
Serves 8

2.25Kg Pork shoulder joint - scored and tied
50g butter, softened
3 tbsp demerara sugar
3 tbsp wholegrain mustard

For the apples and peppers
3 onions, thinly sliced
2 Braeburn apples, quartered, cored and sliced thinly
6 large bell peppers, red or yellow, quartered with cored and deseeded
Couple of bay leaves
3 tbsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp demerara sugar

Heat oven to 146oc/140oc fan/gas 3.  Pop the pork on a sheet of foil, mix the butter, sugar and mustard together with 2 tsp of salt and rub all over the joint, then fold the foil to make a tight parcel and put into a roasting tin.  I realised when putting the ingredients together that a) I did not have demerara sugar so mixed half/half golden granulated and dark muscovado and b) I did not have enough wholegrain mustard, so again a 50/50 split wholegrain and dijon.

Put the onions, apples and peppers into a large shallow roasting tin, toss the bay leaves. Mix the vinegar, oil, mustard (I only had dijon at this point) and sugar (golden granulated and dark muscovado again) with 100ml water and pour all over. 

Roast the pork for 3.5 hours, whilst you cook the peppers on the shelf below for the first two hours.  Remove the peppers dish, cover and leave to cool.  At this point I thought that two hours was slightly too long for the peppers as, the onions were in places blackened and the dish was dry, which is why I covered it with foil to gain a bit of condensation.  Next time I will cook it for slightly less.

After 3 hours remove the foil from the pork, making sure all the lovely juices are caught in the tin, pop back into the oven and increase the temp to 200oc/180oc Fan/gas 6, roast for a further 30 mins.  Remove from oven, cover and rest for 20mins.  Put the peppers back into the oven for 20 mins to finish. (I kept them covered with foil to keep juicy).

Serve thick slices of pork, roast peppers & apples, roast potatoes and a few peas with lashing of the delicious pork juices poured over the top.

The pork was so tasty and extremely tender, the peppers and apples had a sweet, sharp and tangy taste.  The whole dish was an absolute winner.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Fried Five Spice Chicken

As one of my treats for my 40th, my sister in law's father Norman, cooked a fabulous Indonesian Banquet, he included many of my favourite delicious dishes, but a new one he added and a really simple one was Fried Five Spice Chicken.

Ridiculously easy, but so very tasty and quite special.

2 Chicken breasts, sliced in to thin strips
Flour to coat
Chinese 5 Spice mix
Salt & Pepper
Oil to shallow fry

Mix about 2 tbsp flour with approx 2 tsp Chinese 5 spice and add a hefty grind of pepper and salt and mix together thoroughly.

Heat oil in a pan, I have a deep sided wok and filled it to a depth of an inch, this is enough to cover the little strips of chicken.

Dredge the chicken in the flour mix and add about 6 pieces to the hot oil and fry until crispy, should only take a couple of minutes, turning them once, remove onto a piece of kitchen roll to drain and repeat.

I served this on a noodle and vegetable stirfry, very very scrummy.