Tag Archives: bay

Pork, Pear & Parsnip Roast

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Fruit should not just be reserved for dessert.

I won’t lie, this is a little faffy – it was kind of on the hop and I haven’t really had a chance to perfect the method I’m afraid…if anyone has any ideas as to how to streamline it I would love to hear them! Having said that, for a roast this is pretty quick…

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 pork tenderloin steaks (approx. 700g), cut width-ways into strips – about 5 or 6 per steak
2 large parsnips, cut into wedges
2 large carrots, cut into wedges
3 large potatoes, cut into wedges
2 large onions, cut into wedges
3 large pears, cut into – you guessed it- wedges!
couple of handfuls of apricots

Marinade

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
100ml cider (roughly)
juice of 1 lemon
good glug of oil
good slug of golden syrup
handful fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
handful fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves, gently crushed
salt and pepper

Method

Chop everything first – vegetables then meat, just to be safe. This is where having a couple of assistants comes in very handy – so if you’re cooking for a group get them to earn their grub! Parboil the carrots, parsnips and potato for about 10 minutes, until they’re slightly tender (basically just make sure you don’t turn them to mush).

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Get a couple of oven trays or large roasting trays out and put them in an easily accessible place. Mix up all the marinade ingredients (don’t throw away your lemon skins!) in a large bowl. Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Toss the pork in the marinade, give it a good rub around with your hands (just wash them afterwards, a’ight) and add to the frying pan. Seal the outside of the meat, turn the pieces over every now and again to make sure you get every side. You may need to do this in batches – add the sealed meat to one of the trays and repeat.

Repeat the process – marinade then frying pan – for the pears and onions, about 5 minutes should do it. Again, depending on the size of your saucepan you may need to do this in batches.

Drain your vegetables and add to the remaining marinade with the apricots. Give a good shufty then divide everything up evenly over the roasting trays. Pour over any left over marinade, another glug of oil, a good few twists of pepper, the bay leaves and the lemon skins, give one final shufty and put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

After 20-25 minutes, take out the trays, give a good shufty, return to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for a final 10-15 minutes. Take out and serve – succulent meat, caramelised fruit, roast vegetables all in one incredible ensemble.

Sorry, no picture – couldn’t stop myself from getting stuck in!

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Sausage & Tomato Pasta

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I’ve been having reservations about posting this since making it the other day. You see, our “About Us” clearly states that we are “Two students, bored with student food” and this, for all intensive purposes is student food. Maybe it should read “Two students, bored with average student food” as I feel that statement is more accurate.

I guess it all depends on your definition of student food, but to me it screams: quick, bland, microwaved (*shudder*). This recipe certainly is one of those things, in fact the only one that’s never a bad thing: it’s quick, approx 30 mins from cupboard to table. And I guess this is what persuaded me to finally post it – most people, student or not, are after quick eats quite often and this is a particularly tasty one. So let’s drop the pretensions and get on with cooking some straightforward, yumm-o food.

Yumm-o.

It’s a word. Deal with it.

Serves 4 comfortably

Ingredients

4 good sausages, cut into bite-size chunks
1-2 onions, sliced into quarter rings
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped
2 tins chopped tomatoes
250g pasta (use more if you want to bulk it up)
few handfuls frozen green beans
good glug white wine vinegar
good glug balsamic vinegar
good glug golden syrup
couple of good squeezes of tomato purée
1 bay leaf
handful fresh rosemary, oregano & thyme, all chopped

optional extras: chilli flakes/powder, cumin, basil, peas, sweetcorn…etc!

Method

Heat oil in a large saucepan/deep frying pan over a high heat. Add the golden syrup and brown your sausages. After 5 or so minutes add the onion, then after a further 5 minutes lower the heat to medium and add the garlic. Cook for a further couple of minutes.

Pour in the white wine vinegar (say 50ml) and reduce for a few minutes before adding the tinned tomatoes, purée, bay leaf, rosemary, oregano, thyme and a glug of balsamic (say 25ml). Season well. Put the kettle on (3/4 full should be ample) and when boiled add the water to another saucepan before throwing in your pasta. Add plenty of salt and a glug of oil and cook as per instructions on packet. Check hardness every so often – there’s nothing worse than mushy pasta!

Reduce the sauce for 15 minutes, tasting regularly to see if anything needs adjusting. Add the pepper and green beans and continue to cook until both tender (approx. 5 minutes). Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, give a really good stir to coat as much of the pasta as possible. I used fusili (not out of choice, just out of the fact that’s what was in the cupboard – I’m no pasta anorak!) and it works quite well as the thick sauce gets in all the spiral grooves.

Serve, topped with a little cheese, another splash of balsamic and maybe some fresh green herbs of your choosing. Just watch out for that bay leaf!

Hugh’s Stew

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This is ripped almost completely from the pages of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Every Day, with minor alterations here and there. I thoroughly recommend the book by the way, it’s got such a range of food that tastes awesome and requires very little skill/finesse. Perfect for me then!

You could totally add loads of other vegetables to this to beef it out cheaply. Or veg it out I suppose would be a more appropriate term…leeks, turnips, sweet potatoes, squash…et cetera! A proper winter-y, root vegetable body-warmer of a dish. Like a hug, from the inside. N’awww.

P.S. Sorry for all the chopping!

Serves 4-5.

Ingredients

6-8 sausages
3 medium carrots, sliced
2-3 onions, sliced into quarter rings
2 baking potatoes, chopped into chunky cubes
2 parsnips, chopped into chunky cubes
6-8 broccoli florets, halved
6-8 cauliflower florets, halved
bowl of peas
bowl of green beans, halved
bottle of cider
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (2 tsp dried is a fine alternative)
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (as above)
2-3 tsp cumin seeds, crushed
1 veg stock cube
worcestershire sauce
golden syrup
cornflour

Method

If you’ve got any life left in you after all that chopping, heat some oil and a dollop of syrup in a l-a-r-g-e casserole dish. Brown the sausages (I cut mine in half, half-way through the browning process) on a medium-high heat then remove and set aside. Add the onions to the oil, lower the heat and sweat for 5 minutes, adding some of the cider if the pan starts to dry out. When your onions are nicely translucent, pour in the rest of the cider, add the sausages, potatoes, parsnips, herbs and cumin. Crumble in a stock cube and add a really good helping of worcestershire sauce. Twist in a good few grinds of pepper and salt and pour in enough water just to cover everything. Bring to a simmer, stick on the lid and cook, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes before adding your broccoli/cauliflower.

After a further 20 minutes of occasional stirring remove the lid and turn up the heat to medium. I don’t know about you but I prefer my stews thick and saucy rather than wet and runny. To help thicken the sauce, put 4 tsp cornflour (or normal flour if you are cornflour-less like me!) to a suitable receptacle. Add a little of the sauce from the pan and stir together with your spoon to try and remove any cornflour lumps. Add the thick, icky mess to the stew and stir in. You might have to do what I did and ladle out some of the sauce into another pan and reduce it down separately, but if you’re well endowed in the casserole dish domain you probably won’t need to do this.

10 minutes before serving, when everything is well cooked and your sauce is reducing throw in the peas and beans. Taste-test along the way and add salt/pepper/worcestershire sauce/whatever to suit your tastebuds. Serve when everything is beautifully tender and there you have it. Dead easy, dead tasty. Thanks Hugh!

J

Ignore those ever-so-slightly-dodgy looking sticks, they’re vegetarian sausages for my vegetarian housemate. Not a fan, myself…I’m fine with vegetarianism, but vegetables pretending to be meat? Bit odd if you ask me!