|the kitchen table|
I also, of course, like eating. Over the past few months, we have had to put ourselves on a budget, and because we like socialising, and music, and books, it means that a lot of our food has been fairly basic - a lot of vegetarian, and a very lot of carrot and lentil soup.
|dumpling soup for our brewing colds|
This week, I will be at work for 4 days and be doing an overnight between two, which means there will be very little time to spend the budget in a social manner. I will also be really tired, hungry, and unlikely to want to cook. With this in mind, I planned for this weekend to be a foodie weekend, and we spent most of our budget on food.
I have a foodie weekend every now and again. They are usually at the beginning of the month, so doing one in the middle is quite fun. We do a big shop at the beginning, and then I spend both days cooking, and reading about food, and eating, and preparing meals for the week. I am lucky to have loads of cookbooks, but this weekend, my reading has come from blogs. I subscribe to relatively few food blogs, but I horde posts from my favourite ones for weekends such as these. My long-term loves are Smitten Kitchen, Tea and Cookies, Travelers' Lunchbox, Bread & Honey (no longer updated, but worth a look), The Wednesday Chef, Eat Like a Girl, A Southern Grace, and Domestic Sensualist. Recent(ish) addtions are The Foodie Historian, Grilled Cheese Social, A Wooden Nest (which is a lifestyle blog, but is food heavy), Shutterbean and Moveable Feast. I'd appreciate any other suggestions!
|sourdough starter, attempt four, day one. apparently this is how it should look|
I've spent the last two days sitting at the kitchen table, reading and cooking, occasionally getting up to stir, or baste, or top up a pot, or take something out of the oven. Boiling a chicken and making stock - does anyone else hate stripping chicken? - then making the stock into dumpling soup. We bought the dumplings from the Chinese supermarket, but I'm going to learn how to make them I think - recipe suggestions would be lovely please! Kneading bread dough and baking bread. Boiling a pork hock for sandwich fillings - which is much cheaper and nicer than buying sliced ham. Baking biscuits and realising I don't actually like cashew butter. Attempting another sourdough starter - this is attempt four and it now sits atop out internet route for warmth. And lastly, or at least the most time consumingly, brining and roasting pork/
Everything (except the biscuits) has been fairly successful this week, but the pork was something else. I saw Gizzi Erskine talking about brining pork on twitter recently, and whilst I'd heard of it done for barbequed meat, I'd not thought to do it for a roast. I had a wee panic about getting the volume of one of the brining ingredients wrong, and tweeted the lovely lady on the off-chance she could help, and got a very detailed reply, which stopped me fretting for the next 18 hours! This might be my new go to roasted thing, and I never thought I'd say that. Roast chicken and I are firm friends. This roast pork though, IT IS GOOD. And whilst brining requires a bit of forethought, it is easy and cheap, and it makes a real difference to the moisture and flavour of the meat. The flavour it puts in is subtle, and I am planning to work on different brining spices and gravy flavours combinations. I recommend it highly, which is why I'm going to stick a recipe here.
Brined Pork Roast and Basic Gravy
1kg pork roast, with a good layer of fat for crackling.
80g salt (I used sea, I assume normal is fine) + 5g for cooking
10g peppercorns, crushed (plus a little for gravy)
5g mustard seeds (a dollop of mustard would also do)
5g flour for gravy
The night before you plan to cook pork
- put everything except pork in a pan
- bring to the boil
- simmer 30 mins
- leave to cool 30 mins
- place your pork in a bowl/tupperware a little bigger and taller than it is
- pour over brine, making sure to scrape in all the herbs
- cover loosely, and set in fridge for a minimum of 12 hours (mine had 18, I'm going to try 24 next time)
To cook pork
- preaheat oven to 200c
- drain off brine
- pat pork dry, taking care over the fat
- if it isn't already scored, score your fat through failry closely, till about 2/3 of the way through the fat
- place in an roasting dish/tin
- sprinkle 5g of salt over fat and pat in
- bake at 200 for first 20 mins,
- turn down to 160, cook for a further 1h 10mins, till fat is crackly and brown, and juices run clear
- remove from oven
- place roast on a warm plate, and cover in foil
- allow to rest fo 30 mins (the foil hat and warm plate will keep it warm
- to make gravy, heat juices over a medium heat, add flour and whist till it thinkens. Our gravy was quite salty, so a wee bit of pepper was needed to balance it out.
|lovely moist meat|
I am quite excited to try different flavours and lengths of time with this. I often make pork gravy with a bit of cider, so I want to try brining with apple juice. I definitely want to try 24 hour brining.
|mmm salty crackling|
My last bit of cooking today will be making more stock from the ham hock bones. I can't resist an opportunity to have proper stock. As I said up there ^ somewhere, if anyone has new food blog suggestions or a dumpling recipe, I'd be most grateful!
I hope everyone has had a good weekend. :)