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“Porchetta” Style Roast Pork

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What a lovely afternoon/evening! The sun is shining, it’s quite warm (well, compared to the weather we’ve been having lately!) and the birds are chirping! Perfect for a spot of boxing in the park!

A promised, here is the recipe for the porchetta I made on Sunday (the day of the pig party!). Basically it is a pork belly, rubbed with spices on the inside and stuffed with a pork tenderloin. My butcher kindly gave me extra pork rind to completely enclose the meat, but in the end I didn’t use it as I wanted the juices and fat to seep out and into the veg in the bottom of the pan. I laid the pork on a bed of fennel bulbs which had been quartered and parsnips which were cut into chunky sticks. Feel free to omit or change the veg (I haven’t included them in the recipe).

“Porchetta” Style Roast Pork (serves 6-8)
Ingredients

2kg pork belly with skin which has been scored
500g pork tenderloin
1 bay leaf
4 large garlic cloves
3 tbsp fennel seeds
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp juniper berries
1 tbsp dried sage
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles only (discard woody stems)
1 tbsp coarse sea salt crystals
1 tsp black pepper corns
1 tbsp red chilli flakes (less for milder heat)
A drizzle of EVOO
Himalayan salt

Preheat oven to 200C.
Put all ingredients except pork, EVOO and Himalayan salt into a food processor and blitz until it is finely ground and forms a dry-ish paste.
Season the tenderloin with Himalayan salt. Set aside.
Rub the meat side of the pork belly with the seasoning paste, making sure you go right to the edges.
Place the tenderloin on top of the pork belly, tuck in any edges and roll up. Tie the joint with string in several places to keep everything together.
Place in a roasting pan, with or without veg of your choice.
Place in the oven for 40 mins.
After 40 mins, turn the oven down to 150 and cook for a further 2 hours.
After 2 hours, turn the heat back up to 200C and cook for a further 20-30 mins to really crisp up the crackling.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 mins before carving and serving.

Lamb Shanks “Osso Buco”-Style with Gremolata

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Apologies for my blog post hiatus. I’ve been busy gardening (in the snow!) which means less time for cooking plus my man is taking holiday time which means we have done more going/eating out over the weekend than usual.
I was planning on a cheat day dessert post, however it turned out as a bit of a disaster (it was edible and tasty, but not up to my usual standards, so I’m not going to share my failings with you).

This lamb shank dish was inspired after reading Tim Ferris’ “4Hour Chef”. His recipe is very easy and sounds delicious, but I felt the need to tweak it a little and add some fresh and zesty Gremolata into the mix too (it is traditionally served with Osso Buco). I’m not a massive parsley fan but the flavour of the herbs, garlic and lemon really complimented the rest of the dish, so don’t skip it. This was the first time I have ever cooked lamb shanks and I was very pleasantly surprised with the result. I will definitely do them again, perhaps with a more Middle Eastern flavour – watch this space for that.

Lamb Shanks “Osso Buco” Style with Gremolata (serves 2)
Ingredients:
2 lamb shanks
1 red onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, sliced in half lengthways and widthways
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp porcini rub mix (see skirt steak recipe)
2 cups white wine
2 tbsp EVOO
sprinkling of dried rosemary
Salt and pepper

For the Gremolata
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced

Preheat the oven to 180C
Rub the porcini seasoning mix over the meat and allow to sit while it comes up to room temperature, meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Sauté the onion and celery in 1 tbsp EVOO until onion begins to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Remove from heat.
In a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, place the carrots in the bottom to make a shelf for the meat.
Place the lamb shanks on top of the carrots.
Spoon the onion, celery and garlic mixture over the lamb.
Pour the wine into the bottom of the dish (do not pour over the meat).
Pour the chopped tomatoes over the meat.
Season with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of dried rosemary.
Pour the remaining EVOO on top, cover with lid and put in the oven for 2 hrs.
To make the Gremolata, combine the finely chopped parsley, lemon zest and garlic in a bowl. That’s all there is to it!
After 2 hours, remove the casserole from the oven.
Serve up the lamb, carrots and sauce with some additional veg and celeriac mash. Spoon the Gremolata over the meat just before serving.
Enjoy the meltingly tender meat falling off the bone!

As promised: Rosemary Roast Chicken Legs

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As promised, here is my recipe for Rosemary roast chicken legs. I absolutely love roast chicken legs! I eat them at least once a week. The skin goes so lovely and crispy and the meat is tender and juicy – what’s not to love. Plus every time I cook them, I am reminded of my niece who a year ago referred to them as “slimy chicken with crispy skin” (she was 4 at the time!) which makes me chuckle to myself. When I made them on Saturday night, I cooked them about 15 minutes longer than I usually do and the result was fantastic! The meat was even more succulent and juicy. And there I was worrying they would dry out and go tough as a result of the extra time in the oven! You can make this dish with any herbs you like, even dried herbs work, but the flavour of fresh rosemary is my favourite, plus you get an amazing smell wafting around your kitchen as the rosemary browns – it smells like incense!

Rosemary Roast Chicken Legs (serves 2)
Ingredients:

2 chicken legs, bone in, skin on
1-2 tbsp EVOO
1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, sliced
2 large sprigs fresh rosemary, cut in half
Sea salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 180C.
Pour a little of the EVOO into an earthenware baking dish and spread all over the bottom.
Season the underside of the chicken legs with salt and pepper and place in the dish.
Tuck a piece of rosemary and most of the garlic slices underneath the chicken. Pour the rest of the EVOO over the chicken and massage all over the skin. Season with salt and pepper.
Place a sprig of rosemary and a couple of remaining garlic slices on the top of both chicken pieces.
Place in the oven and roast for an hour.
You can try eating theses with a knife and fork, but I prefer to eat them with my hand, gnawing the meat off the bones cave woman style!

An old favourite turned grain-free

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Just because I don’t eat wheat/grains doesn’t mean I can’t have some of my old favourites! I love Spaghetti Bolognese. The pasta is just a vehicle for the truly delicious sauce, so I have made courgette spaghetti my vehicle. I added bacon to my sauce because you can’t have too much bacon, I think, but it does change the flavour, so if you want to omit the bacon, I won’t be offended!

Courgette ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ (serves 3-4)
Ingredients:

4 rashers smoked bacon, chopped
500g minced beef
1 onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes
A good glug of red wine
3-4 courgettes
A knob of butter
Sea salt
Pepper
Parmesan cheese for serving

Fry the bacon and beef together in a large frying pan.
Once the meat is cooked and any liquid has evaporated, leaving only the fat, add the onion, celery and garlic, and cook for around 5 minutes.
Add the wine and tomato. Season with salt and pepper.
Leave to simmer while you make the ‘spaghetti’.
Finely julienne the courgettes (allow at least one per person as they do shrink as you cook them).
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the courgette strips. Stir to coat them all with the butter, season with sea salt, then put a lid on and let them steam in their own juices. Leave to cook for around 5 mins until they are just tender.
Serve the ‘noodles’ and sauce together with a little grated Parmesan cheese if you do dairy.

A tasty winter warmer : Slow cooker chipotle beef with cauliflower ‘rice’

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Good Lord it was cold and snowed most of the day in London (although it didn’t really settle). Unfortunately I was either in a gym with no heating, or out in the elements today. Luckily I had this delicious, warming dish to come home to after a cold and wet bootcamp this evening.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

500g beef stewing steak cut into chunks
1 red onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced
2 medium carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic
120g chorizo
1 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 small chipotle chili, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp honey
1 tin chopped tomatoes
Sea salt and pepper
A handful fresh cilantro/ coriander leaves, chopped

In a large pan heat the oil and sauté the onion. Add the garlic and fry for a couple of minutes.
Add the beef and cook until each chunk has been seared on all sides.
Add the chorizo and fry for several minutes to release some of the fat.
Next add the veggies and sauté until they start to soften.
Sprinkle in the spices and oregano, pour the tomatoes over the top, stir in the honey and season with salt and pepper.
Transfer to the slow cooker and leave on high for 6 hours.
Just before serving, mix the fresh coriander leaves into the casserole, reserving a few as a garnish.
Serve with cauliflower ‘rice’ (recipe below)

Cauliflower Rice (serves 4)
Ingredients:

1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
A large knob grass-fed butter
Sea salt and pepper to taste

Boil or steam cauliflower until very tender.
Drain and mash the cauliflower with a fork or potato masher.
Add the butter and mix in once melted
Season with salt and pepper.
Voilà – easy peasy!

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Pork meatballs with ratatouille

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Aaaaarrgh! I spent nearly the whole day doing tax return stuff. At least it’s out of the way now! I did also manage to fit in a good stress-busting plyometric workout, and taught an outdoor boxing class this evening. I’m totally covered in mud now though.

Sorry for another pork recipe, but this was too good not to share. I promise my next post will be something other than pork!

Ingredients: Serves 4

For the ratatouille
2 aubergines/ eggplants (or whatever you like to call them)
4 courgettes/ zucchini
3 peppers, mixed colours if possible
2 red onions
2 tins chopped tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 big bunch fresh basil, chopped
EVOO
balsamic vinegar
sea salt and black pepper

Wash and chunkily chop the veggies (except garlic). Put into a large roasting pan and pour on a good glug of olive oil. Stir to make sure they are all coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 45 mins at 180C. While the veggies roast, make the meatballs.
When the veggies are done, crush the garlic and sauté in a little olive oil. Add the tinned tomatoes, a splash of balsamic vinegar, the basil and season with salt and pepper. Add in the roasted veggies and let them cook in the tomato for at least 15 mins.

For the meatballs
500g pork mince
1 onion
1 stalk celery
1 clove garlic
1 big bunch basil
1 inch chunk of Parmesan
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tbsp pine nuts
sea salt and pepper

Blitz the onion, celery, garlic, Parmesan, basil and pine nuts in a food processor. Thoroughly mix the resulting goo into the pork mince and add the mustard powder, season with salt and pepper. Form into balls and bake in oven for 30 mins at 180C.
Serve on a bed of ratatouille and sprinkle a little extra Parmesan on the top if you like.

Pig for dinner!

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Back to work for real today! I did work on Saturday morning, but today really felt like the first day of proper work! I had to go a little easy on my clients as most of them hadn’t exercised since before Christmas. Together we brushed away the cobwebs, so to speak!

Last night’s dinner was a success. I bought some marinated artichoke hearts and sunblush tomatoes in EVOO at the farmers market to make a Mediterranean inspired stuffing for a pork tenderloin I had in the fridge. It was very quick and simple to make, but very tasty. I served it with steamed broccoli tossed with a little grass-fed butter and turnip gratin dauphinoise, which I’ll also give the recipe for.
First for the pork…

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin fillet (I think mine was around 500g)
2 marinated artichoke hearts
100g sunblush tomatoes in olive oil (don’t get the ones in sunflower oil)
A handful of pine nuts
1 clove garlic
1 bunch of sage, leaves removed and stalks discarded
3-4 sprigs of thyme (leaves removed, stalks discarded)
Sea salt and pepper

Butterfly the pork fillet and place on a sheet of foil. Season with salt and pepper.
Blitz all other ingredients in a food processor. Spread the stuffing mixture on the flat surface of the butterflied pork.
Carefully roll up the fillet in the foil, making sure all the stuffing doesn’t squeeze out, into a long cylinder.
Place on a baking tray (as it WILL leak all over your oven otherwise) and bake for 45 mins at 180C

Turnip Gratin Dauphinoise

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Ingredients
4 turnips, washed and trimmed (you can peel them if you like, but I couldn’t be bothered!)
100-150ml single cream
A handful grated Gruyere cheese
Sea salt and pepper

Finely slice the turnips – I used a mandolin for this as my knife skills are somewhat lacking. Layer into a baking dish, occasionally seasoning with salt as you go.
Pour the cream over the turnips until they are just about covered (the amount of cream is more dependent on the amount of turnip in the dish, so don’t get too stressed about measurements).
Sprinkle the cheese over the top and finally give it a good grind of black pepper.
Bake for 30-40 mins at 180C or until the cheese is lightly browned and bubbling, the cream has thickened and the turnips are tender. Yum!