Two Greedy Italians Pork, Ginger and Honey… Amazing and Simple

I’ve been watching the the “Two Greedy Italians” on BBC 2 for the last few weeks. It’s one of those weird programmes that shouldn’t be good. It just is. I love Italian food, always have. If I was stranded on a desert island with a chef, they’d be Italian and I’d be fat.

These two old geezers though as they travel around their homeland have displayed a simplicity and a passion that’s got me properly fired up. The recipe that really got me salivating was their Pork, Ginger and Honey hot pot stew thing… I’ve never liked “English stews” (ready for the flames on that one), but this just looked amazing…

I made it with the kids, nice and easy, although I couldn’t find for love nor money a pork fillet the size that they did! I’ll post the recipe as we did it; with less pork.

Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 100g Pancetta
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 Small Parsnips
  • 4 Shallots
  • 2 Sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 4 tbsps Honey
  • 2 x 300g Pork Fillets
  • 300 ml of stock
  • Fresh ginger
  • Salt & Pepper

Before starting it’s worth getting prepared. Chop your carrots and parsnips into nice fat chunks. Slice the shallots into nice thick slices, if they’re too fine they’ll disintegrate. Your ginger needs to be sliced coarsely, about 6 or 7 slices, each one the size of a thumbnail and a few millimeters thick. Lastly crush your garlic, nothing fancy. I peeled mine, you don’t have to if you’re feeling all rustic.

Get a nice large deep frying pan (with a lid) and drop in a few table spoons of oil. You want it to be about a millimetre or two deep across the whole pan. Get this hot, put the lid on to make sure it’s really hot and then chuck in the Pancetta. Careful, it will spit.

Once golden, put the Pancetta in a bowl and leave somewhere convenient (Note: not in reach of the dog. Doh!) Now add in your pork and sear for a few minutes. It should be really hot, sealing in the flavour of the pancetta. While this is happening stick the kettle on for your stock. I used vegetable stock. It worked well.

Ok, now add in the garlic, ginger and honey. Keep this cooking until caramelised, it shouldn’t really be longer than a few minutes. It look so amazing at this stage. Now you can add in the rest of the ingredients. Leave this cooking for 30 mins with the lid on. Then take out the vegetables and set aside. If they’re not tender leave them in for a bit longer, although they should be. I used a pair of tongs, which made it bit like playing Operation but in reverse…

Now this is the bit where we changed the timings. As we had to 300g pork fillets instead of one mammoth 800g piece we had to adjust the cooking time. So while originally the cooking time is an hour, we went for 20 minutes. Perfect. Take the meat out and let it cool for a few minutes, then slice into nice chunky pieces.

Finally add everything back into the pan to just heat through. You are not cooking anything here, just making sure that it’s hot.

Serve.

Literally hold on to everymouthful. This is so tasty, easy, cheap, healthy…

Black Pudding and Poached Egg Salad

I originally had this at Harvey Nichols for lunch and figured it must be easy to make. The dressing was the hard bit, in that it took longer than three minutes for my brain to process.

This is my favourite quick recipe at the moment. It’s so simple, healthy, tasty and cheap and… Fuuuuuucckkkkk, I love it. 🙂 Now that we’ve got fresh eggs from our chickens this is even better than before (and Harvey Nicks).

Ingredients:

  • Black pudding – 3 big slices per person or 5 fat little slices
  • Rocket and some mixed leaves
  • 2 FRESH eggs per person
  • A squirt of virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Get a sealed jam jar to mix up your dressing. Add half an inch of balsamic vinegar, a quick squirt of the olive oil, some ground pepper and crunchy salt. Put the lid on and shake… A lot. That’s the hard bit done. Nice.

Poached eggs next. This is the bit that everybody has an opinion on.

“Use cling film”, “Use cookie cutters”, “add salt to increase the boiling point“, “blah blah blah”…

The trick to poached eggs is to use the freshest eggs that you can. The end.

Get a large frying pan, fill with water and heat until just boiling. Not vigorously boiling, just gently boiling. Crack your eggs and drop them in as quickly as you can, as close as you can to the water without burning yourself. Then simmer for a few minutes and then… Turn off the heat and leave for ten minutes… Its the bubbles that disperse your egg whites so we need to minimise that.

Once your your eggs are in, fire up a frying pan, add a drip of oil and add the black pudding when the oil is hot. Black pudding should be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, hence the thick slices. Once crispy, turn the heat down. Decent black pudding makes all the difference. Good black pudding you can eat raw. Honest.

Grab your leaves, chuck in a bowl and wait for your eggs. After your ten minutes of poaching, pull out your eggs (!) and lay on kitchen towel to drain. Put the black pudding on top of your leaves and drizzle some of your dressing over, then gently place your eggs on top and drizzle a little more of the dressing. Depending on how many people you;re feeding you’ll probably have some dressing left.

Personally I don’t like runny eggs. Although there is something about the yolk mixing in with the dressing and then covering the peppery rocket and black pudding that somehow tastes more than what it is…

Oh god, I need to eat this now… 😉

Cluck cluck go the sound of the hens

We finally did it. After Phatty helped us with the chicken coop we’ve acquired a couple of beautiful hens. We’ve named them Burt and Ernie.

Already after only one day they’ve started laying; two eggs so far. I’m poaching them for breakfast! I’ll post my new favourite recipe to celebrate. Black pudding and poached egg salad…

This will be an interesting experiment. We live in a small terraced house with a very small back garden, just enough for the chicken coop. One thing I really wasn’t prepared for is the volume of the clucking. Who knew chickens cluck so bloody loudly.?

Five thirty this morning they started. The neighbours already are plotting ways to leave the coop door open for the foxes I’m sure. Apparently they’ll settle down… We’ll see…