Leek and Dolcelatte Risotto. Asparagus.

These photos look like faded old menu shots, which I quite like

It’s a simple, quick risotto

Sweat buttered leeks and asparagus butt-ends with thyme

Add the rice and coat in the butter

Ladle in hot stock until the rice is al dente

Then finish by melting some hunks of strong but silky Dolcelatte into the risotto and adding chives

Served with asparagus spears fried in lemon zest on top

Really comforting, strong and creamy with a fresh, zesty asparagus to cut through

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Two Tricks – Olives and Honey

Trick One

OLIVES WITH ORANGE AND ROSEMARY

Buy yourself a big tub of cheap green olives

Toss them in a tray with orange peel, rosemary, garlic and olive oil

Roast them in the oven for twenty minutes

You’ve got a snack or a party food that, I guarantee you, is better than you can buy

Trick Two

THYME HONEY FOR CHEESE

I have always loved honey with cheese

If you stick a few sprigs of thyme in a little pot of honey and leave it in the cupboard it gives the honey a really interesting and delicious note that goes perfectly with strong cheeses

Return of the Notorious P.I.G. feat. Black Beans and Rice

With a minor amount of the leftovers from the entire shoulder of pork posted earlier this week (see https://mealsimade.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/cuban-sunday-pork-shoulder/) we cooked up a stew.

The rice and the Black Beans all went in.

The beans were made by stewing down black beans with spices, stock and cajun seasonings.  They have a similar-ish quality to refried beans, but more solid, spicy and flavoursome.

Then the pork meat, in all its juicy glory.

Easy.

With some lime, parsley, soured cream and paprika on top this makes a killer meal – hot and spicy beans, meat that is falling apart, finished with freshness and zest.

And when you start making meal after meal out of the leftovers, you realise that quarter of a pig wasn’t so expensive after all…

Cuban Sunday Pork Shoulder

This is a lot of photos, but then again this was a lot of pig.

Two people made the sensible decision to cook a whole shoulder of pork for Sunday lunch.  It was so big that carrying it back across Victoria Park necessitated a mid-way pint by way of respite.

Another leap forward in my food education, this is a Cuban recipe.

Essentially, the idea is:

Cover the pork in orange juice, orange, thyme, garlic, lime, marmalade, spices, seasonings etc and cook for a really long time.  We had to substitute in orange juice in place of frozen orange juice, so it isn’t quite to the letter – but then again it isn’t the kind of cooking that should be (although I do really want to try frozen orange now).

This baby (it was kind of like having a baby – bloody expensive from the beginning, constant careful tending, worrying throughout the night, getting up early to give it juice, being driven to alcohol to ease the tension and tiredness etc) went in the oven the whole night at under 100 c, and then we put it up to 250 c for the last half hour to get the crackling crackling.

Served with black beans and rice (an amazing dish in its own right – more later), fresh herbs and the most incredible coleslaw known to man (it will certainly reappear on this blog, all I’ll say now is that it involves an indescribably good homemade mayonnaise, a lot of grating and raisins).

Think moist, flavoursome, pulling-apart strips of sweet meat.  Fatty, citrusy crackling. Creamy and fruity coleslaw.  Spicy, oozy and earthy beans.

Not easy.  Not quick.  Not cheap.  Especially not cheap.  But so, so worth it.

Maybe the nicest bit for me is that none of these recipes are mine.  In fact, I wouldn’t have known how to make any of this 6 months ago, or have thought to do it like this, so it’s another one of those meals that still tastes new and unusual to me, in a really good way.

I think that made this sweet, sweet pig taste all the sweeter.

Kiwi Bloody Mary Breakfast

I’m wanting the weekend on Wednesday, so I’ve popped up this breakfast.

Apparently people in New Zealand eat it.

Swiss cheese, avocado, tomato, soft boiled eggs.

And the English, and slightly less healthy, touch of very strong jug of bloody mary.  I put wholegrain mustard in this mix, and boy was it good.

Here’s a mid-week tip of the cap to Saturdays and long, lazy mornings.

Ravioli a piacere

“A piacere” means play as you go, or improvise in Italian.

For this ravioli, my accomplice left the pork shoulder (the main element of the filling) at my house (we were cooking at her house).

This is sort of my fault, as we only moved between houses because I lost the keys to my house, but only realised at my front door.

So that meant arriving at house number two at 9 o’clock, with pasta still to make, work still to do and no filling.

Pasta was made a lightning speed

I raided the window pots for herbs – parsley and sage and rocket

I grated the left over ossau-iraty cheese from the weekend

I bound it all up with mascarpone

Then we made our little parcels together – all odds and sods, and had a giggle

Cooked for 2 minutes and then tossed in a brown sage butter, served over leaves

They were a triumph

A day that should have been full of arguments and frustration ended up full of herbs, cheese and happiness

That’s an even bigger triumph

Lobster Thermidor

This is a very tardy upload.

It was cooked in Southwold in the old fisherman’s hut.  The lobster came from the shack 1 minute down the harbour from said hut.

This is uncommonly complicated to make, so I won’t be boring and post it.  But, on the right occasion it is worth it, and in this instance that was certainly the case.