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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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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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Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto

I found this recipe on the net the other day and was immediately taken with it. I don’t have a photograph of my attempt simply because we ate it all before I thought of it. I found it here Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto on Best Recipes (they have pictures).
I love risotto, any which way you cook it, and this was a tasty combination. Of course I changed things, my recipe is below but it is very similar to the original just a few ingredients swapped out for what I had available.

This was readily (and surprisingly) devoured by an incredibly stubborn pumpkin hating 10 year old boy and even given the nod of approval from my 95 year old Grandmother who happily accepted the leftovers when I brought them down for lunch the next day. I’ll be making this again and again, probably swapping out ingredients each time to create something new.

Baked Pumpkin and Bacon Risotto

4 bacon rashers chopped
1 red onion diced
1 1/2 cups rice
2 1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup white wine
60 g butter
1/2 butternut pumpkin peeled diced
1/2 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
1 pinch salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 190C. Lightly pan fry bacon until crisp, and cook onions in bacon
fat until transparent, about 5 minutes.
Place rice, stock, wine, butter, pumpkin, onion and bacon in an ovenproof dish and stir
gently to combine.
Cover with foil or lid and bake for 30 minutes or until rice is soft (took about 1 hour).
Stir in Parmesan, salt and pepper, then serve.


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Chicken Casserole

For a super quick meal this turned out really well. I had beans in the fridge that were nearing their use-by date and a hungry family to feed. Even the kids ate the beans (that never happens) so it must have been tasty.

I usually have a can or two of soup in the cupboard, although I wouldn’t just eat it as a soup, it makes a great base for an easy casserole.

Chicken Casserole

1 kg cubed chicken thighs
1 tablespoon butter
2 onions, chopped
1 cup chopped green beans
3 bacon rashers, chopped (I used bacon bits)
440 ml tin cream of chicken soup
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Pepper and salt

Place bacon, butter and onions in a large frying pan and fry until onion is transparent.
Add chicken pieces and cook until chicken is done.
Add soup and pepper and salt along with beans and parsley and cook until beans are crisp and sauce is thick.
Serve with rice.


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Creme Fraiche Chicken

So, I’ve been away and indulged in more sun, food and fishing than is probably good for me. I took a lot of food with me, vacuum packed and frozen, that way we had good meals with little preparation. I did try to take a few photos of our food, some of them didn’t come out looking as tempting as they should have but if you have been reading my blog for long, you’d have realised by now that I am not in any way pretending to be a great food photographer. My food isn’t always pretty, but it is always tasty.

As I vacuum packed all of our meals and then froze them to take with us I changed a thing or two along the way to make things a bit easier. I combined all of the ingredients for the sauce without frying off the bacon first and froze the chicken legs in the mix. I found it took closer to an hour to cook the chicken all the way through but that could be the oven or the fact that I used legs rather than thighs.

We had it with rice as there was plenty of sauce to sop up and it was altogether a pretty tasty dish.

Creme Fraiche Chicken
Serves: 4

4 chicken thighs
3 heaped tablespoons wholegrain mustard
250 mL creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons minced garlic
6 rashers bacon, cut into 2 cm strips
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 200°C.
Place chicken thighs into an ovenproof casserole dish.
In a bowl, add the creme fraiche, minced garlic, wholegrain mustard and salt and pepper.
Fry the bacon until golden in colour.
Mix the bacon into the prepared sauce and then spoon the mixture over the chicken, ensuring the chicken is well-covered.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.


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Lunch Scrolls

The kids are with us again this weekend and, as typical kids will, they would be happiest subsisting entirely on junk food. This being somewhat of an affront to my sensibilities, I am kept on my toes thinking of things that I think they will enjoy eating that are not purchased at exorbitant costs from deeply uninterested conglomerates and are of universally poor quality.

Today, for lunch, I whipped up a batch of bacon rolls, the recipe for which was adapted from a salami roll recipe, I didn’t have any salami. They went down well, and the entire batch was gone before the trays cooled down.

This recipe could be dressed up with almost anything you have on hand. Like I say, I substituted bacon for the salami, I also cooked the capsicum along with the bacon. You could use ham or chicken, BBQ sauce or satay. Anything that tickles your fancy really.

Salami Scrolls
Makes 12

2 cups self-raising flour
30 g butter, chilled
¾ cup milk
¼ cup tomato paste
1 sprig basil, chopped
1 sprig parsley, chopped
100 g salami, diced (I used cooked bacon)
1 medium red capsicum, diced (I cooked this up also)
150 g cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with baking paper.
Place flour and butter in a bowl, once blended add the milk gradually
and use fingers to combine together to make a soft, sticky dough.
Knead lightly on a floured surface.
Roll dough into a 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Spread the tomato paste over the dough,
sprinkle the chopped herbs on top. Top with salami, capsicum and cheese.
Roll up from the long side of the dough. Using a serrated knife, cut into 12 pieces.
Place cut side up on oven tray and bake for 25 minutes until brown.


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Something fancy for dinner

I had a leftover cooked chicken, or parts thereof. It constantly amazes me what you can strip off a cooked chicken even after the frame looks virtually empty.
This recipe makes leftovers and bacon look fancy by making you work you fingers to the bone layering filo pastry. I don’t often work with filo, it is awesome but fiddly and time consuming. That said, I had some in the freezer and felt like making something different.
If I was not feeling the love or was a bit more time challenged then a quick wrap up in some puff pastry triangles wouldn’t have irreparably hurt this recipe.
The mustard sauce was pretty tasty, I ‘improved’ it by adding the left over juices from the chicken bacon mixture while I was heating it.

Chicken Bacon Parcels

1 onion, finely chopped
3 bacon rashers, finely chopped
1 bunch spinach chopped
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1 egg, beaten
18 sheets filo pastry
50ml olive oil

Mustard sauce
1*300ml carton light cream
2 Tbls mild mustard
1/2 tsp sugar
1 red capsicum, finely chopped (or whatever colours you have on hand)
4 spring onions, finely chopped (I used one)

Heat oil in a pan, add onion and bacon, cook until onion is soft. Boil spinach until just wilted, drain and cool. (I just tossed the fresh spinach into the pot with the bacon and onion) Chop finely. Combine spinach, onion mixture, chicken and egg.
Preheat oven to 190c.
Layer 3 sheets of pastry together brushing each with olive oil.
Place 1/3 cup of chicken mixture in the centre of the pastry and pull edges up to form parcels. Place on a lightly greased oven tray.
Cook on the lowest shelf for 15mins.
Combine all sauce ingredients except spring onions in a small pan.
Bring to the boil, simmer for 5mins or until thickened. Stir in spring onions.
Serve parcels with mustard sauce and salad.