pork chop novice

pork chops with apple

pork chops with apple

I’ve been coveting the latest book by Valentine Warner (The Good Table) for a few weeks now and last weekend I managed to get my mucky paws on my very own copy ūüôā The recipes look mouthwateringly wonderful and I couldn’t wait to start playing. Luckily I just happened to have a couple of pork chops in the fridge – I’m not entirely sure what they were doing there as I’ve never liked them (I’ve always found them too dry) – however, one of VW’s recipes early on in his book is called “pork chop with apple & crispy sage” and the chops were just crying out for some VW treatment.

As I’m not sure what the rules are in regards to copying out other people’s recipes word for work into a blog (and being the pork chop novice that I am, I copied the recipe word for word) I’d better not reproduce it here as I don’t really feel like being shut down. However if you manage to acquire a copy of the aforementioned book for yourself, just turn to page 30 and you’ll find the recipe in question there.

I made a rather elementary mistake of reading the cooking temperature incorrectly and then using the grill instead of the oven (I put the latter error down to still getting used to my new tool). However, I managed to save the chops and produced a rather tasty (if not highly calorific supper) and not a dry pork chop in site.  Whatever you do, do make sure you wash this meal down with a glass or two of cider.

friday evening chicken kievs

chicken kiev

an easy chicken supper

Haven’t had chicken kievs for ages to tonight I thought I would knock some up – not the greasy, school-canteen types, but more of a tastier (hopefully!) and more buttery version.

This is what I used:

2 skinless chicken breasts (i.e. one for each person)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (bump this up to 3 if you’re not kissing anyone later or if you have a vampire infestation)

small bunch of sage leaves, chopped

small bunch of chives, chopped

200g butter (I’m didn’t want to put too much butter in this, but you could add or subtract, depending on your own needs)

1 egg (beaten)

flour (enough to roll the chicken in)

breadcrumbs (I cheated and used some ready made ones from Waitrose, which I think work just as well)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 200C. ¬†Mix the garlic and herbs with the butter and add some salt and pepper to taste (if you have the time, it’s actually quite useful to mix these an hour or so beforehand and then put back into the fridge to harden). ¬†Then make a slice in each chicken breast and put the butter mixture into this. ¬†Then roll the chicken breast in flour, dip it into the egg, coat it in the breadcrumbs and pop into the¬†oven¬†for 20 minutes, or whenever the crust is golden and the chicken cooked through. ¬†Easy-peasy and you’ll go back to buying ready made ones again.

turning excess into economy

a handful of home grown sage

a handful of home grown sage

Today I embarked on a recipe by Allegra McEvedy from her and Paul Merrett’s book, “Economy Gastronomy”. ¬†The recipe in question is “Slow-cook shoulder of pork with sage polenta and runners”. ¬†The recipe required quite a fantastic amount of meat (in my opinion), but I have since discovered that this elements that are cooked within the realms of this recipe become the basis for other recipes within the book. ¬†Looks like there will be much feasting from the Economy Gastronomy book this week then! ¬†Good job the weather has turned and I’ve got my healthy winter appetite back!

It’s quite a time-consuming recipe – not your usual wang-it-in-the-oven-and-come-back-in-a-few-hours-job, but then it’s Sunday, and what else are Sundays for if not wondering into the kitchen every now and then for a little baste or a stir? ¬†It also means that my cooking times for everything else I make this week (theoretically) are now reduced.

The dish was an enjoyable success. ¬†Green beans replaced the runner beans, the pork was succulent and tender. ¬†In particular, the polenta was divine; as Allegra McEvedy says, “Britain has a polenta-shaped culinary blindspot” and I am inclined to agree. I first ate it whilst living in Chamonix in France about 15 years ago but could count on one hand the number of times I have eaten it since.

Most pleasing of all though,¬†I was also able to use some of my very own home-grown sage within the recipe – it makes it taste all the better, I’m sure.