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Monday, 29 June 2015

Pork Belly Porchetta

I lost my mind. The kids lost their minds. Had so much fun cooking this. Steep learning curve though.
To get the briquettes hot enough (I'm an amateur at this) it took the best part of an hour and considerable fanning and rearranging. The cook time was way longer than I anticipated too. I was expecting an hour and a half but it was closer to three hours. If you're going to try this (and you should), give yourself plenty of time and, don't rush to lower the meat down closer to the heat until much toward the end. Otherwise you will burn the outside and it will be raw in the middle and that would suck. As to why it tasted sooooo good? Well apart from the smokiness and rad crackle I think it was the combination of fennel, caraway and lemon rind. You can prep  this well in advance and it probably helps to develop the flavours too.

1 charcoal spit roaster
4kg bag charcoal briquettes
Fire starters
1 piece of pork belly long enough to roll
Kitchen sting
3 cloves garlic
1 handful parsley
1 sprig rosemary
5 or 6 sprigs thyme
1/2 handful of sage leaves
Rind of half a lemon (or so)
Salt and pepper
Caraway seeds
Fennel seeds
Extra virgin olive oil

Mince the herbs, lemon rind and garlic and mix through a little extra virgin to bind. Pat dry your piece of pork belly - make sure it is well scored on the skin side. Lay the pork skin side down, season the meat with salt and pepper then distribute the herb mixture. Sprinkle through a couple of teaspoons each of caraway and fennel seed. Roll the pork and truss with kitchen sting. Watch this video to see how. Drizzle some extra virgin over the rolled meat, season heavily with sea salt and sprinkle over some fennel and caraway seeds. Refrigerate. When needed, spike with the rotisserie spike.
Get the charcoal started. When the charcoal is white and the flames have dropped away place your meat on. Adjust the height of your spit roaster to where about your hand can just handle the heat for for or five seconds. From this point forward, just sit their and drink wine. Its mesmerizing.  After about 2 hours it should start to look like the visible meat has good colour and some crackle  is forming. Drop the height down every ten minutes or so until you reach salty, crackly perfection. Serve it with something - dunno, couldn't remember the veg...

Friday, 26 June 2015

Spaghetti Bolognaise with Mushroom and Kale

I think I have an addiction to kale. This is one of my go to recipes, I love, the kids smash it, its mostly veg. Win - win. One of the most beautiful things about this dish is, you can make it on the go. Once the onion and celery are minced and have begun sauteing, you can bgein chopping the next bit. If you have never used pork and veal mince for spag bol, you should. Two tips, 1) generally it is how you finish a dish that makes it rule - some great parmesan and great extra virgin can lift any dish from good to wow; 2) learn to love chilli - it is the business.

1 onion in small dice
1 stick celery in small dice
2 tsp minced rosemary
2 tsp minced thyme
1 handful minced parsley
1 handful basil leaves
3 cloves garlic minced
2 rashers bacon in small dice
2 handfuls mushroom minced
A few porcini mushrooms ripped (optional)
500 gms pork and veal mince
3 leaves kale, finely chopped
1 bottle of passata
1 packet of pasta
1 or 2 tbs sugar
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Chilli - fresh or dried

Get your pasta water hot. Sauté the onion and celery over a medium high temperature in some extra virgin with the 1/2 of the garlic, rosemary and thyme. When soft throw in the bacon and fry for a few minutes. When fragrant add in the mushrooms - you may need more extra virgin. When the mushrooms are cooked add in the minced pork and veal. Cook the concoction until the moisture has mostly evaporated then mix through the kale, salt and pepper. When fragrant and beginning to soften, stir through 3/4 of the tomato passata. Add in the sugar, balsamic and remaining garlic and 1/2 of the parsley. Start cooking the pasta in salted water. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce until the pasta cooks. If your sauce is too dry add some of the pasta cooking water into the sauce. Chop the basil and stir through, check for seasoning, adding more salt/pepper/sugar/balsamic as necessary. Combine the sauce and pasta. Spoon into bowls. Top with a sprinkling of parsley, salt, a grind of pepper, parmesan and chilli. Some crispy prosciutto is wicked too.

Cumin and Cayenne Kale Chips

Few things are easier, cheaper and tastier. Mess around with the flavours or go natural. Too easy. Works really really well with basil too, just adjust the cooking time down.

3 - 4 kale leaves ripped (size don't matter)
Olive oil
Cayenne pepper

Combine the cumin and cayenne and salt with some olive oil. Bake in a preheated 180C oven for five minutes or so. Remove and allow to stand for a couple of minutes to become crisp. Keep your eye on them while they cook as they suck if burnt. Enjoy.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Kale with Bacon, Mushroom and Yoghurt

Wow, my first post this year. I still cook new things regularly but haven't found the time recently to do this. The reason I am sharing this particular recipe is - it rules - heaps. We eat this stacks as a side and as my now favourite kind of sauce for steak. I can't remember why I decided to throw these ingredients together but I am so glad that I did. It ticks most of the boxes; its cheap, quick and healthy. The kids rate this heaps too which is a bonus. Those are duck fat roasted smashed potatoes right there too BTW...

1 rasher bacon diced
1 handful of mushrooms minced
3 cloves garlic minced
3 kale leaves roughly minced with a knife
Dash of white wine (optional)
1 decent slug of chicken stock
1 heaped tbs of natural yoghurt
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Saute the garlic on the extra virgin with the bacon, salt and pepper until soft and fragrant. Saute the mushrooms (add more extra virgin if needed) until cooked through. Throw in the kale and cook until soft and fragrant. Deglaze with the stock (and wine if using) and reduce. When the liquid is mostly gone, mix through the yoghurt. Enjoy the hell out of this salty, smokey mess.