Pork’n’Peppers:

Pork’n’Peppers:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      15 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        As many as…..

Rating:         2:  Easy

Inexpensive – and it looks impressive too.

Find:

  • Pork – one chunk (see Tesco Value pork) per person, as cheap as you like.
  • Peppers – as many whatever colour old wrinkly ones as you have.
  • Mushrooms – ditto.
  • Rice – see start of this section or Tricks’n’Tips.
  • Variations – see Variations (unsurprisingly).
  • Oven (roasting) tin
  • Frying pan (preferably with a lid)
  • Ceramic oven/serving dishes

Method:

  • If you have a glut of soft, wrinkly red, yellow or orange peppers (even including green, at a push) – or can get hold of a few at a very cheap price (final hours of the local market can be most productive) and some cheap pork in the freezer from the local supermarket’s reduced cabinet, you have the basics. One piece of pork per person will be required (You know the size of pork that is normally regarded as one serving…….. a chunk, a pork chop-sized bit…….. no, I do not mean one great big joint per person!). 
  • Put the pork in the tin, pour just a little olive oil on top and a good splash of water in the tin, then put the pork into the oven at about 190°C for around 45 minutes to roast in its open tin.
  • Chop a couple of medium or one good sized onion (or you could use an old & wrinkled leek instead….I have) & sauté (slowly fry without browning, keeping it moving in the pan) on a low heat in a largish, oiled open frying pan (one with a lid is good, but you can’t stir it whilst the lid is on….).
  • Randomly chop up your old, wrinkled peppers to throw in after about ten minutes, when the onions have just started to colour (you can, if you wish, remove the skin, but certainly remember to discard the seeds).
  • Slice as many mushrooms as you have (again, wrinkled ones are fine for this) and throw them in as well.
  • Put half a cup of water, or so, into the pan & pop on the lid, bring to the boil then turn the heat to the lowest setting possible and leave it for 20 minutes.
  • Check occasionally to make sure that they are just steaming and not burning.
  • Do not use your smoke alarm as a timer.
  • Prepare your rice – see Delia’s perfect rice. Saint Delia has the best rice recipe in the world.  Time your rice to finish just as the pork finishes.
  • When the pork is done, put the pepper mixture and the remaining liquid into a warmed dish and place the pork pieces on top. Serve the rice in another warmed dish with a chunk of parsley on top or sprinkle with dried parsley (it’ll hydrate with the water vapour coming off).

Hey presto  Pork’n’Peppers.

Variations:  

You could really push the boat out and put a Campbell’s/Bachelors cream of mushroom soup into the pepper mixture; alternatively throw in a cheap can of chopped tomatoes and a little tomato purée just to ring the changes.

Got any soft cheese or Stilton that might be a little past its best (and probably quite smelly) left over?  If you have, just pare off the rind and discard it, retaining as much of the body of the cheese as possible and chop it up.  Stir that into the meat mixture so that it melts and disperses and it will just flavour of the meat that little bit for it to become a touch more robust.  It doesn’t matter which base you use (canned tomatoes or Campbell’s condensed soup) as it blends in beautifully with both.

Bacon-wrapped Pork & Apple Pattie Rounds:

Bacon-wrapped Pork & Apple Pattie Rounds:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      20 mins.

Course:        Snack/Lunch/Main

Serves:        4

Rating:         3:  Moderate

  • You guessed it – as steak pattie rounds but use pork & apple instead of the steak.
  • Of course, you could use turkey, chicken, lamb, pheasant, taxman, parking attendant, politician (no, that would surely taste too bitter…..)

Pork (or whatever is available) Sweet Chilli:

Pork (or whatever is available) Sweet Chilli:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      15 mins.

Course:        Lunch/Main

Serves:        2

Rating:         3:  Moderate

The sweet chilli sauce that is available in a bottle in supermarkets can be used very effectively in making different dishes from the same basic ingredients.

Find:

  • Leftover pork from a roast, or sausages, or beef, or….
  • Peppers of some kind or another
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweetcorn
  • Onion
  • Oil
  • Sweet Chilli sauce

Method:

  • Chop the onion and start to fry it up in whatever oil you prefer.
  • Cut up the leftover meat into bite-sized cubes and throw that into the pan as well.
  • Prepare the peppers by removing the seeds and chopping into large pieces and add to the pan, adding a couple of splashes of water.
  • Turn the heat right down and cover the pan.
  • Cook for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking.
  • Add the sliced tomatoes and the sweetcorn, pour in a slug of the chilli sauce and stir.
  • Replace the lid and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Adjust the sweet chilli sauce to your taste, give another quick stir and serve with Delia’s lovely white rice.

Pork in cider:

Pork in cider:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      1 hr 10 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        2

Rating:         3:  Moderate

For 2 people, Find:

  • 2 cheap (value) pork chops
  • 2 onions
  • ½ litre dry cider (…..buy a 2 litre bottle and you can have a drink!)
  • Stock cube
  • Seasoning
  • Micks Terbs (See Tricks’n’Tips)

 

Method 1:

  • Put a couple of the cheap (value) pork chops into an oven dish, add a few Mick’s Terbs (mixed herbs), the cider and a chicken cube, then add ground black pepper or 5 baes (see Tricks’n’Tips).
  • Chop one onion roughly and chuck that in too. Cover it carefully with foil or a lid and shove it into an oven at around 170 degrees for about an hour whilst you do a bit of updating the entries in your ‘little black book’.
  • After the hour, chop another onion and put it into a saucepan, adding just a little oil.
  • Pot-fry it for a while over quite a high heat on the top of the cooker, but keep it moving – don’t burn it.
  • Take it off the heat and put it somewhere convenient to pour the Pork’n’cider liquid into it.
  • Drain the liquid off the meat into the saucepan using a colander, then put the pork back in the oven dish, keeping it warm under its foil blanket in the now-switched-off-but-still-hot oven.
  • Boil the onion & liquid for a few minutes to reduce its volume and increase its thickness. If it’s still very thin use the ‘Sauce Glossifer’ in Tricks’n’Tips just to rectify the matter.
  • Pour the finished sauce (ok, it’s just a posh gravy rather than a sauce, but what the hell….) over the pork and serve it with whatever veg. Cheap’n’Cheerful grub.

Method 2:

  • Cut all of the meat from the chops and chuck them into a frying pan with the teensiest drop of oil, just to get the fat to sizzle a bit and give its own fat to brown the meat.
  • Throw a couple of teaspoons of flour on top and stir well with a wooden spoon until the flour has absorbed the fats. Don’t worry about the rest of the smaller lumps, they’ll melt in the oven.
  • Add a few Mick’s Terbs (mixed herbs) and of stock made from a chicken cube and the cider, stirring well to mix the flour with the stock as much as you can, then add ground black pepper or 5 baes (see Tricks’n’Tips).
  • Take off the heat and tip it all into an oven dish.
  • Chop one onion roughly and chuck that in too.
  • Cover it carefully with foil or a lid and shove it into an oven at around 170 degrees for about an hour whilst you do a bit of updating the entries in your ‘little black book’.
  • After the hour, check the sauce thickness and if it’s still very thin use the ‘Sauce Glossifer’ in Tricks’n’Tips just to rectify the matter. Serve the meat and the finished sauce with whatever veg.

More Cheap’n’Cheerful grub.

Pork’n’rasins with veg:

Pork’n’rasins with veg:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      1 hour.

Course:        Main

Serves:        2

Rating:         3:  Moderate

For two people, Find:

  • 2 cheap (value) pork chops
  • A few sultanas or raisins liberated from the back of the cupboard somewhere
  • Stock cube(s)
  • Seasoning
  • A little soy sauce – dark or light – what the hell

Method:

  • Put a couple of the cheap (supermarket ‘value’) pork chops into an oven dish, add a little light soy sauce and then pour on a mug of stock made from a chicken, veg or lamb stock cube – not beef – and a few raisins/sultanas – half a handful?, and add a good amount of ground black pepper or 5 baes (see Tricks’n’Tips).

Make sure that all of the dried fruit is immersed so that it doesn’t dry out.  Don’t use too much soy; it will taste ‘metallic’ if you do.  You can dilute dark soy if that’s all you have.

  • Cover it carefully with foil and shove it into an oven at around 170 degrees for about half an hour. Whatever veg you choose to do with this dish is fine.  Potatoes?  Boiled, steamed, roast…. Whatever you do will be ok.  The pork will emerge soft and succulent, and the sauce it has been sitting in (if you add it to a red onion fried for 10 minutes, perhaps with a clove of garlic) will add to the appeal.   It may not be rocket science, but it will be rather heavenly – and remember; you cooked it.  Well done!

Creamy Pork Normande on a bed of scrummy sautéed potatoes:

Creamy Pork Normande on a bed of scrummy sautéed potatoes:

Prep:           30 mins.

Cooking:      60 mins approx.

Course:        Main

Serves:        4, but easy to stretch further if pork is cubed

Rating:         2:  Easy, just a little long-winded

Whenever you think of the food of Normandy, you think of butter, Calvados, apples, Calvados, pork, closely followed by cream…. And Calvados, of course. 

Oh, and did I mention Calvados?

Well, this rather scrummy and deceptively easy pork recipe uses no Calvados whatsoever (only due to the fact that I had none to hand – though you could have a splash in there somewhere if you should so wish), but that leaves you with the opportunity of drinking it later, should you have any, as a digestif.  So, even with no Calvados and the cream replaced by crème fraiche, be ready for a taste sensation….

 

For four people, you will need:

For the pork:

  • Copious access to the olive oil bottle (yes, I know that you could use all butter, but at least give lip service to matters of cholesterol….. but then the Normans don’t seem to suffer too much…. perhaps it’s the effect of the Calvados!)
  • Butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 4 large eating apples, cored and cut into thick rings
  • 4 thick slices of loin of pork
  • 3 fat cloves of garlic – or correspondingly more thin ones
  • 2 large red onions
  • Half litre dry cider (but get more as it’s a thirsty business…)
  • 2 chicken stock cubes in a couple of mugs of hot water… with the foil removed, of course.
  • 250g pot of crème fraiche
  • 3 or 4 bay leaves (If you have them)
  • Good handful of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped (or dried thyme)
  • A bigger good handful of fresh flat-leaved parsley, roughly chopped (It is nice to have this.  Dried parsley is such a let-down)
  • Salt (I prefer coarsely ground sea salt)

For the potato dish:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • 2 large red onions, roughly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Half kilo FRESHLY BOILED new spuds (that means that you must have boiled them before you start doing the pork, of course…. don’t forget!),  preferably whole baby ones……. preferably the variety of Charlotte, Exquisa or even Anya if you can get hold of them…..(you might have to grow your own Anya!)
  • 200g lardons (see Those Ingredient Thingies), preferably smoked.  (can easily be replaced by chopped up cooking bacon/streaky)
  • More fresh thyme leaves (just buy a small growing pot to have enough for the two recipes)
  • More flat-leaved parsley (just buy…….)
  • (You will, of course, need to serve some veg with it all – don’t forget to do it.  I used sautéed sugar snap peas, asparagus and fresh baby sweetcorn – lovely!).

What you do:

  • Get your prep work done first, using small dishes to hold the prepared ingredients. Work cleanly and you’ll find that clearing up afterwards is much easier to do.

(Better still, get some other poor sod to do the cleaning up for you afterwards, whilst you enjoy a good well-earned slug of Calvados with y’feet up).

  • Core (but don’t peel) the apples with a corer, or a normal potato peeler inserted and rotated round to remove the core, then cut into thick rings. The top and bottom rings should be roughly diced for use later on.
  • Roughly slice the onions, then chop half of one of them as finely as you can.
  • Peel the garlic (see Tricks’n’Tips for the easy way) and chop it fairly roughly.
  • Splash olive oil into a thick bottomed frying pan, add a large knob of the butter and heat.
  • Mix the two fats together and place the thickly-cut apple rings into the pan (do not drop them in; you must avoid splashing hot fat around… we don’t want hospital visits today, thank you very much). You may need to do this in batches to ensure good browning, by the way.
  • Evenly sprinkle the sugar over all of the apple rings, on each side as they are turned. Keep an eye on the apples as they will easily blacken with the extra sugar – you don’t want ‘black’, just a lovely golden brown.

(You could do worse than to keep my father’s general culinary advice in mind…. “When they’re brown, they’re done”, he’d say to me very seriously, then, with the wink of an eye he’d add……  “When they’re black, they’re buggered!”  It’s good advice, if a little unconventionally put.)

  • Put them aside to keep warm for the plating-up stage.
  • Add more oil to the pan and brown the pork slices on both sides, turning them several times.
  • Put them aside on a plate somewhere – you’ll use them quite soon.
  • Turn the heat down and put the onions and garlic into the pan to gently soften for a few minutes.
  • You may need to use a larger pan, so be ready to use the biggest pan you have…..
  • EITHER return the pork to the pan, then add the diced apple and the cider and the stock, thyme and bay leaves…..
  • OR chuck ‘em all into that big pan you’ve just had to borrow from the rather gorgeous young single mum down the road who you’ve been looking for an excuse to talk to for weeks! RESULT!
  • Either way, cook the pork through for 10-15 minutes, simmering gently.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in a non-stick pan, add the onions and garlic and soften for a few minutes.
  • Add the lardons (chopped bacon to you’n’me), potatoes and thyme. Cook until the bacon is nice’n’crispy and the spuds are scrummy.
  • Remove the pork from the gigantic pan that you borrowed, turn up the heat and reduce the liquid (see Tricks’n’Tips, but basically, boil it so it steams [so you’d better open a window or it’ll be like a sauna in there] and loses volume, concentrating the flavours) for a while.
  • Stir in the whole pot of crème fraiche, then the roughly chopped parsley and heat through for a couple of minutes. Taste and season as necessary.  Remember that the bacon will be salty in the spuds.
  • Heat the apple rings through in another pan.
  • Either plate up individually as you wish, or put the spuds onto a big oval platter (warmed, of course) and place the pork, with apple rings on top, on the spuds and spoon the sauce and all its bits over the top of the lot.
  • There’s bound to be some thyme and parsley left somewhere, so sprinkle that on top to make it look posh.
  • Be ready for the praise. Preen appreciably when it comes, but be modest (well, not TOO modest!).

(…..and enjoy that smug feeling because you’ve now got a date with that gorgeous newly-divorced young single mum down the road……..)

Marmalady Porky Choppies:

Marmalady Porky Choppies:

Prep:           10 mins.

Cooking:      35 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        2

Rating:         2:  Easy

What an idea.  A friend told me about a simple and cheap way of making the humble piggy bits more interesting – put simply it was to slop marmalade over them before roasting.  ‘Simple & tasty’ he told me.  It was, and it was.   I tried it, I liked it, I can tell you.

Be prepared for a long and complicated recipe – NOT.

For two people, find:

  • 2 ‘value’ pork chops
  • 2 teaspoons of orange marmalade – 1 for each porky bit
  • Splash of light soy sauce, to just offset the intense sweetness of the marmalade
  • A tiny bit of hot water for the sauce, and a tiny bit more to provide the steam for the oven dish

Method:

  • Pop the porky choppies into a lightly oiled (to discourage sticking) oven dish.
  • Mix the marmalade and the soy sauce (light soy is better than dark) in a mug, add a splash of the boiling water to aid mixing and to liquefy the mixture just an itsy-bitsy-tiny-bit, then spoon it onto the chops, trying to keep it on the chops and not all over the oven dish.
  • Splash a little boiling water into the oven dish, to aid steaming.
  • Pop foil over the dish and chuck into a pre-heated oven at around gas mk 4 for about 20 minutes, then take the foil away, turn up to gas mk 6 and give them another 15 minutes to brown.
  • Take the porky bits out and put onto the plates, spooning the juices over the pork.
  • Serve with new spuds, sweetcorn and a smile – and anything else you want.

Flo’s French Pork & Bean Stack:

Flo’s French Pork & Bean Stack:

Prep:           5 mins.

Cooking:      50 mins.

Course:        Main

Serves:        2

Rating:         2:  Easy

For 2 people, find:

  • 2 ‘value’ pork chops or steaks
  • EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Butter if you have it
  • One can of either red kidney beans, flageolet beans, butter beans, haricot beans or other similar beans (whatever their confusing names). If cooking for eight, have one of each.
  • A clove of garlic, crushed, for each pair of people (8 people = 4 cloves)
  • Seasonings (pulses generally take lots of seasoning readily)
  • A good knob of butter
  • Frying pan or griddle pan (y’know, one of those poser/cheffie frying pan thingies with grooves in the base…) – even a barbecue
  • Food processor (essential for this)

Method:

  • Rub oil into all sides and edges of the pork and put it on to cook using whatever method you like (if barbecuing, wrap the pork in foil and put a drop or two of scotch in the parcel too).
  • The pork will take about 10 minutes each side over a reasonable heat. Keep your eye on them, not allowing them to burn, but to brown nicely (remember what my father always said…..

”When it’s brown, it’s done.    When it’s black, it’s BUGGERED”

  • Put about half of the can of beans (thoroughly rinsed in a colander under the cold tap – especially red kidney beans) into a pan.
  • Peel and crush the garlic (see Tricks’n’Tips) into the pan as well, followed by the knob of soft butter and a third of a mug of water (that’s a normal mug, not one of these super-sized, super-trendy, super-latte mugs).
  • Add seasoning (not too much, but remember that pulses can take a good amount) and heat through. The beans are cooked already, but the garlic isn’t, so it will take a while to attack the ‘wham’ of the garlic and to mellow it into more of a ‘thud’.  The mixture will not have a great deal of liquid so keep it moving.
  • Put the contents of the pan into a food processor with its normal blade and reduce it to a pulp or purée.
  • Pop it all back into the pan and put a lid on to keep warm.
  • The other half (or halves) of the can(s) of beans can be just warmed though gently but thoroughly in a mixture of butter and olive oil, seasoned with coarsely ground black pepper.
  • Assemble the ‘stack’ by splodging a splodge of the bean puree onto a warmed plate, popping the porky bit on top and then pouring the rest of the whole beans on top, some gracefully topping over the side in a devil-may-care, rebellious manner……….. flowery words for ‘and some’ll fall down.’
  • Serve with Flo’s French tomato salad (See Tricks’n’Tips).