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Food, general thoughts, food…


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Italian Pork Tenderloin

The last of the pork tenderloin has been used. It was delicious and I don’t regret buying 7 trays of it and freezing them one bit, even though I had never cooked pork tenderloin previously. Sometimes you just have to take an opportunity when it presents itself and trust that you will make something good out of it.

This was the last of it and I wanted to make it count. This was a super tasty meal that I will make again should the opportunity present itself in the form of more tenderloin on sale. I might even try it substituting chicken, it should still hold up well.

Italian Pork Tenderloin
4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped bacon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped onion
750g pork tenderloin, cut into strips
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Saute the bacon, sage, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and onion 5 minutes, until onion is tender.
Mix the pork strips into the skillet, and brown about 10 minutes, turning once.
Stir the broth and heavy cream into the skillet, and season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.

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Chilli Pork with Basil and Coconut cream

I finally got around to using some of those little chillies that randomly grew in my patch. They are still happily growing and producing bundles of hot little morsels of pain ready to use in the kitchen. Last year they were quite mild, this year they seem to have come into their own and give quite a punishing kick if you happen to stick a raw one on your tongue to test the heat. I, of course, know this by experience. They also sting like nothing else when you get them in your eyes, also by experience (I can’t be trusted in the kitchen). Who knew that washing my hands with soap and a scrubbing brush twice would have no appreciable effect on the eye watering properties of chilli?

They do add a real pizazz to a meal though so I think I will try to keep them in my cooking and definitely try to keep them out of my eyes.

Chilli Pork with Basil and Coconut cream
Serves 4

2 Tbls oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbls finely chopped chilli
1 red capsicum sliced
500g pork tenderloin, cut into strips
1 cup shredded basil
2 Tbls fish sauce
1 Tbls finely chopped lemongrass
1 cup coconut cream

Heat oil in wok. Add onion, capsicum and chilli, stir fry for 3 mins.
Add pork and cook for further 4 mins. Add basil, fish sauce
And lemongrass and cook for 1 min. Stir in coconut cream.
Heat through and serve with rice.


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Oven Baked BBQ Pork Belly

I have house guests so I am cooking a lot recently but have not been very good with keeping up the posting. I will try to catch up over the next few days.

My house guests are incredibly brave people who have immigrated to Australia with a suitcase each and a dream of a better life. I cannot but wonder at their bravery and support their hopes and dreams. I was fortunate enough to have been born here, if not for that accident of birth I may have been in their position. I am grateful every day for the fact that I am fortunate enough to be able to walk freely in the streets without risk of attack, injury or death. We, in Australia, are indeed lucky and I have seen enough of the world to know and appreciate it.

Oven Baked BBQ Pork Belly

4 Tbls tomato sauce
1 Tbls ready made BBQ sauce
1 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls oil
1 Tbls cider vinegar
1 Tbls sweet chilli sauce
2 Tbls Kecap Manis
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp minced ginger

500g pork belly strips

Mix all sauce ingredients.
Place pork in a baking dish.
Pour over sauce and marinate for a few hours.
Preheat oven to 200C
Cook for 45 mins or until cooked and crisp.
Serve with rice or vegetables.


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Slow Cooker Beef Coke Roast

I had a bottle of nearly flat vanilla coke in the refrigerator and a couple of beef roast pieces in the freezer. Having heard about coke roast in the slow cooker I decided to give it a whirl. There are no pictures of this unfortunately as I have hungry houseguests and dishing up and getting everyone fed is turning into a confusing whirlwind of a time in my household at the moment.

I was, like with anything new and unusual in the kitchen, interested and maybe a little trepidatious as to what the result was going to be. As it turns out it was quite delicious. If I have the ingredients lying about again at the same time then it will definitely be an option.

Slow Cooker Beef Coke Roast

3x cups vanilla coke (that is just what I had, most recipes call for the original)
2kg beef roast
Thyme
I pkt French onion soup

Mix all ingredients together in a crock pot/slow cooker. (the meat was almost submerged in my cooker, probably ¾ covered)
Cook on low for 8 hrs.
Remove meat and slice,
Remove sufficient liquid to a saucepan. Heat and stir through a cornflour and water mix (1/4 cup water and 1 Tbls cornflour) to thicken, add salt to taste.
Serve meat and gravy with rice or vegetables of choice. (we had broccoli, roast potatoes and rice)

The remaining liquid was a little sweet but, surprisingly, not overly so. I reserved the leftovers and put them in the freezer for future gravy bases.


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Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillet

I was fortunate a while back to procure a large amount of pork fillets on special. I stocked the freezer with them and have been cooking them this way and that for the past few months. The recipe (found here at the gourmet garden) gave me the idea for the recipe below which is very similar to the original. The only changes are the use of fresh herbs rather than packaged ones and I never peel my potatoes, also I just stirred the flavourings through the potatoes, I didn’t feel like mash.

It was all fabulous.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Fillet

500 g pork fillet
12 slices bacon
1½ Tbls fresh Parsley minced
½ Tbls Garlic minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Cracked pepper

1 kg starchy potatoes, cut into 2 cm chunks
Butter
2 Tbls Basil pesto

Combine parsley, garlic, pepper and mustard in a bowl.
Butterfly the pork fillet.
Stuff with the mustard mixture then wrap pork with bacon one rasher at a time, overlapping the ends.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan.
Cook each side of the pork slowly until light golden brown.
Pour 100 ml of water into the pan, cover and let it cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Turn the heat off and let the fillet rest in the pan for 5 minutes before cutting it into 1.5 cm slices.

Meanwhile, cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until tender.
Drain potatoes well and stir through butter, salt and pepper.
Stir in the Basil pesto.


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Oven Baked Mince and Cheese Risotto

I wasn’t convinced that this recipe was going to be so great but I have two kids who would eat mince and pasta every single night if they were given the option. I came across this recipe and it involved much the same sort of flavours albeit with rice in place of the pasta. I like risotto but this seemed like the uncultured cousin and I wasn’t sure it would be a good fit for us. It just goes to show that you need to try it before you say you don’t like it. This was a really tasty meal and the whole dish was gobbled up by the four of us, regardless of the fact that it could have fed 6 people.

I will be adding this to our ‘cook it for the kids’ menu, without a doubt.

Oven Baked Mince and Cheese Risotto
Serves: 4 (in our house anyway, I think you could stretch it to 6 with no trouble)

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon oil
500 g beef mince
1 tablespoon soy sauce
6 cups beef stock
2 cups rice
1 cup tasty cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter

Fry the onions and garlic in the hot oil. Add the soy sauce and mince.
Cook until the mince begins to brown and the liquid from the meat has evaporated.
In a saucepan, bring the beef stock to the boil and add the rice.
Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the rice is almost cooked.
Mix the meat mixture with the rice and add the cheese.
Oil the inside of a casserole dish and pour in the mixture.
Press down on the surface until it is even then place small pieces of butter on top.
Bake at 180°C for 30 minutes, until a crust forms on top.


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Easy Pork Bulgogi

Needing something warm and comforting, Asian inspired because I was craving that special blend of spices, a teeny touch of heat because that seemed to be in order also. I did a quick search on the net and came up with the following from Best Recipes. (link to the original here Easy Pork Bulgogi)

Kecap Manis is my newest favourite thing in the world. I spied it on my supermarket shelf and was running low on soy sauce so grabbed it on impulse. I was taken aback by the sweetness of it, it has a strong molasses like flavour and I find it much nicer than traditional soy sauce. I still have both in the cupboard but if a recipe calls for soy sauce and sugar I substitute the Kecap Manis most of the time. It has a depth of flavour that I really enjoy.

Easy Pork Bulgogi

300 g pork belly sliced
5 tsp soy sauce (I used kecap manis and added a bit of salt and ommitted the brown sugar)
1 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp chilli paste (use sweet chilli sauce if you don’t like the slow burn of straight chilli)
1 spring onion chopped
1 tsp garlic minced
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs rice wine
1 tsp brown sugar (didn’t use it, kecap manis is a molassasy thick soy sauce and quite sweet)

Mix all ingredients, except pork, together, then stir pork slices through.
Marinate in fridge for at least 1 hour.
Cook in frying pan until cooked and lightly blackened on both sides.
(my frying pan didn’t get hot enough to blacken the pork, it was damn tasty though)