Another simple dish which goes nicely with the pork fillet and Parma ham dish just posted. And with other dishes as well.
What you’ll need for 4 people:
Waxy potatoes such as the Charlotte variety with skin left on. How many spuds? If you think 114g/4oz per guest is sufficient then go with that but if you think you should serve more perhaps 170g/60z per guest. Don’t worry if you have any left over, they’ll be just as delicious cold.
1 – 2 bulbs of garlic
Sprigs of fresh rosemary (but if you can’t get hold of any, dried will be fine too)
Salt – sea salt/coarse salt if you have it
What you’ll need do:
Pre-heat your oven to 200C/392F
Split the garlic bulbs into individual cloves ensuring that all the papery outer skin is removed but the actual skin left on each clove.
Give the potatoes a quick rinse in cold water. Or don’t bother if you don’t want to. I often don’t!
Pop the potatoes into a roasting tin. Throw in the garlic cloves (as many or as few as you like but do remember that once they have been roasted the flavour will be mellow and creamy so the more the better – yum yum!)
Sprinkle salt over the potatoes and garlic.
Slug some olive oil over the contents of the pan and throughly coat the spuds and garlic in the oil.
Put the sprigs of rosemary on top. If you are using dried rosemary use sparingly (dried herbs are stronger in flavour than fresh) and put in with the salt so it will be mixed along with the olive oil.
Pop the roasting tin into the oven and roast for around 40 minutes. NB If the potatoes are on the smaller side then I would recommend that you test the potatoes after about 25- 30 minutes. You don’t want them charred and shrivelled nor too the garlic which may end up tasting bitter if burned. Oh yes, test by sticking the point of a small sharp knife into a potatoes the same as you would testing to see if a boiled potato is done.
Once cooked turn out the potatoes and garlic into a serving dish discarding the rosemary sprigs along the way and present to your admiring guest. Tra-la!
I spent last weekend as a guest of my friends Kate and Steve in Marlow. We, along with a gang of friends, had been invited to spend Saturday celebrating our chum Mike’s birthday in Cookham at the Let’s Rock the Moor retro festival.
During breakfast yesterday Kate mentioned that her brother was coming to lunch and she didn’t know what to cook though Kate did think she would like to cook pork and asked for suggestions. Diana (another chum) suggested roast pork with Parma ham which is an easy dish to prepare though I am not at all sure Diana has ever prepared it herself!
So, for you Kate, here is the recipe. I cooked the dish this evening having, by chance, a piece of pork fillet in the ‘fridge which needed attention!
What you’ll need for 4 people:
2 pork fillets/tenderloin. Fillets vary in size and thickness so choose the size to accommodate your guests’ appetites. (The smallest fillets would probably be around 338gr/12oz which would serve 2 people. Take into account shrinkage in cooking when choosing your fillets).
8-10 slices of Parma ham (4-5 per fillet and dependent upon the size and thickness of the fillets you’ve chosen have a few extra slices handy in case they are needed*).
2 cloves of garlic sliced thinly.
What you’ll need to do:
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/356F.
Pat the pork fillets dry with kitchen paper and remove, carefully, any silvery tissue on the surface of the fillet.
With a small sharp knife make several incisions into the fillet (not too deep) and insert a slice of garlic into each pocket.
On a chopping board or flat surface carefully place slices of Parma ham to accommodate the fillet. Overlap each slice of ham slightly to make it appear to be one long piece of ham so to speak. Carefully wrap the fillet in the ham, at an angle so that the whole fillet is wrapped in its blanket of ham. Repeat for the second fillet.
Select 4 sage leaves and place on top of the fillet, slightly apart, and secure each leaf with a cocktail stick.
Select a roasting tin that will accommodate the fillets and line with cooking foil. Place fillets on the foil and make a loose parcel. Pop into the hot oven and cook for approximately 20 minutes. After 20 minutes remove from the oven and open the foil and put the pork back into the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. After that check to see that the juices run clear and if they do your pork will be ready.
Once you are happy that the pork is cooked cover with the foil and let the fillets rest for 10-15 minutes in a warm place.
When ready to serve slice the fillets in even, thick slices. I would suggest three slice per guest to start with. Oh yes, don’t forget to remove the cocktail sticks.
To accompany this dish you could serve potatoes roasted with garlic and rosemary (see next post). Caramelised carrots would go nicely as well, so too steamed stem broccoli. As there will be very little by way of natural juices from the pork I would suggest you serve apple sauce along with it.
*If you find you have extra slices of Parma ham left over they can be pressed into service as a first course served with fresh figs which have been cut across the top with a criss-cross incision, squeezed open gently to form a pocket or bowl into which you pour in a little liquid honey. Scrummy. Oh yes, you could also plop a dollop of crème fraîche alongside! I’ll post the recipe as soon as figs come into season – maybe my lovely friend and neighbour, Joy, will have a bumper crop this summer – Kent figs are delish!
Keeping to the theme of easy recipes I thought I would launch my blog with one for Spaghetti Carbonara taught to me by my chum, Tommy, from Zürich.
This recipe is for the classic carbonara which is a light dish and bears no resemblance to what is often found on restaurant menus doused in litres of cream.
The origin of the name of the dish is obscure and debates continue as to whether it was, in fact, invented by charcoalmen (Carbonari) but it seems certain that the dish was created in Rome. As to its arrival in this world the recipe appeared in Elizabeth Davis’s Italian Food published in the UK in 1954 but it did not feature in Ada Boni’s classic La Cucina Romana of 1930.
The dish is simplicity itself and requires only the following:
Ingredients for 2 people:
4 rashers of bacon (smoked or unsmoked as preferred) sliced into strips or use cubed pancetta if you like. If you like a bit more bacon,then add another slice per person – as you like it!
a little olive oil
a handful of flat-leaf parsley chopped as fine as you can get it
30g/1 oz Parmesan cheese grated or Grana Padano (which is less expensive than Parmesan)
170g/6 oz spaghetti (depending on how hungry you may be, add or subtract the amount of spaghetti)
Put a large saucepan of salted water on the stove and bring to a boil. (It is important that there is plenty of water to cook your spaghetti).
Whilst the pasta water is coming to a boil, in a mixing bowl break the eggs and whisk with a fork. Mix in the grated cheese, the parsley and a few twists of pepper to taste. NB I would not recommend that you add salt because the cheese will be seasoning enough.
Put a little olive oil into a frying pan and fry the bacon strips until a little crispy. If you are using pancetta just pop that into the frying pan, without the oil, because it will have plenty of its own fat in which to fry. Once cooked to your liking, set aside and keep warm.
Once the water has come to a boil add the spaghetti and give it a good stir round and allow to cook according to the instructions on the packet/taste.
When the spaghetti is cooked drain in a colander and then return it to the saucepan making sure the heat is turned off beneath the saucepan. Pop the bacon/pancetta into the saucepan followed by the egg mixture. Stir thoroughly ensuring the spaghetti is coated. The trick is to have the egg mixture emulsify and hot through but not let it get over-cooked that it turns a little into scrambled eggs!
Divide into two bowls and throughly enjoy along with a glass or two of wine.
Ps This can easily be made for one person simply by using one egg and dividing the ingredients accordingly.
I decided to start this blog to share easy recipes and cooking tips I’ve picked up over the years and to encourage as many people to take to the mixing bowl, the wooden spoon and the cooker once again. Some find cooking a bit daunting, some say they have little time to cook and rely on prepared supermarket meals which is a shame and I’d like to help change that.
With a little preparation, a kitchen chum (me) and a glass of Chef’s wine, we can do wonders!