Italian Night

Tommy Waters and Barlow came round for a bite after football.

Italian night, old fashioned and simple.  And not a bit of meat in sight.

Caesar salad, ricotta with green beans and tuna, aubergine and yellow courgette fried and covered in lemon.

Also, some giant tomato Bruschetta that were devoured before we could put a camera to them.

Then the simplest pasta ever, which happens to be incredibly more-ish.   For now, let’s just call it Pasta Prado – much more to come soon.

There is a deficiency of food photos, because there was an excess of red wine and conversations.

Yay for friendship.

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.