Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Prawn Cocktail, Superb Pork Loin ...boldly cooked with bay and vinegar, Neeps and tatties, peas with broad beans and Velvety Chocolate Pots with a thimble of branch and beautiful ripe strawberries


This was the menu for Saturday 6 October 2012.

I woke up Saturday morning for a very nasty surprise: my house had been flooded because of the excessive rain in Totnes. I went in the kitchen to have breakfast and the kitchen floor was covered in water and I soon thought David had left the freezer door opened, but it wasn't that, and I realised that water was coming from the bedroom (I live in an upside down house and the bedroom is at the back of the kitchen), in fact it was coming from inside the wardrobe.

There was an inch of water in my bedroom, my rug was soaked and my Jamie Oliver book was lying on top of it, it got a bit wet but fortunately the rug got the most of it so the book survived. David's book was beyond repair though.

Inside the wardrobe, pairs of boots and baskets with handbags got very wet and I had to spend my morning trying to sort it out before teaching piano and then cracking on with the cooking. My boiler packed out at the beginning of the week and I had to wash the dishes in cold water. I mean, what could possibly go worse?

I nevertheless, tried to keep the spirits up as I had 2 guests for dinner, for the charity, Alan and Tommy, and I know those boys have a great appetite, so I tried to cook something quite substantial. I chose the pork loin recipe, David got a superb piece of pork from another local butcher, Luscombe, 48, Fore Street, Totnes, Devon, TQ9 5RP.

Here are some pictures:

The piece of pork was excellent, vert lean and tender and I am going to stress again the importance of supporting your local community and choose butchers over supermarkets. You will find it is not more expensive and the quality is infinitely superior. These people know what they are talking about.

This piece of pork was boldly cooked in lots of cider vinegar and bay leaves which made the flavour supremely rich. I, at first, doubted it, but as Jamie asks in his book to trust him, so I did, without any regrets.

It is not a very difficult recipe to make and I would encourage the beginners to try it. 

I made neeps and tatties to go with it and it was the lightest, fluffiest mash I ever tasted, I often find, when you mash potatoes with other vegetables (like swede in this one), you can't really taste it a lot, but it makes the mash less heavy and lumpy then potatoes alone. Some peas and broad beans on the side and that was it. Everyone had seconds, which made 4 slices of pork each.

For dessert, chocolate pots. Very rich desserts, it really needs the fruit to break through it and a very small portion goes a long way. Strawberries went well with it but I suppose raspberries or cherries would have done the job as well. You might want to try it with dark chocolate? It might be less sweet, I can't tell as I have't tried it myself.

The starter was the old-fashioned-coming-back-to-fashion prawn cocktail. This one was slightly different, it had smoked salmon, tomatoes and cucumber. Jamie suggests we serve it in empty jam jars and it was a lovely idea! It can also be taken for a picnic, you take the jars, open them, a squeeze of lemon on top and...yummy!

Dinner was served in my French bistrot and as It is getting rather chilli in the evenings, I bought a little fan heater to keep us warm.

Another lovely evening with friends, some more money raised for charity and another 4 dishes down through the Jamie Oliver book. Who could complain? David has done the washing up for me and I couldn't!

We all drank cider with it, which accompanied the pork beautifully. Lads brought the cider and thank you for them. After we ate, the boys went to the pub for a pint and I watched the X-factor, even though I don't think this year is a very good year, a couple of quite good acts though.

I will write another post straight away about dinner yesterday, but before that here are some pictures from Saturday:

Neeps boiling away

Marie Rose sauce...what a nice name for a sauce! And it's pink!

Jam jars (yes I washed and boiled them)

Sliced iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber

Look at that? Isn't it lovely?

All set on the table

 Pork loin, ready to be sliced

Chocolate pots

 With strawberries

Tommy and Alan

Alan pulling a face

With David...dress code? Not really!

Hope you are enjoying this blog. See you very soon. I am attaching some recipes I found online.


Retro Prawn and Smoked Salmon Cocktail

The prawn cocktail is back!


1/2 small iceberg lettuce, very finely shredded
a good knob of butter
225g (8oz) raw tiger prawns, without head or shell
zest and juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
3 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
1 tbsp tomatoe ketchup
1 tbsp creamed horseradish
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
6 smoked salmon cocktail slices, timmed to any oblong shape


Arrange 6x7cm cooking rings on a baking sheet or plate. Push the shredded lettuce into the base of each ring.

Heat the butter in a non-stick frying pan, add the prawns and fry on the boiling plate for a couple of minutes until bright pink and cooked, turning over halfway through. Sprinkle the lemon zest and juice over the prawns. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

Measure the mayonnaise, ketchup, horseradish and dill into a mixing bowl, mix together and season with salt and pepper. Add in the prawns and stir until coated. Chop any of the trimmings from the smoked salmon and stir into the prawn mixture. Spoon the mixture on top of the lettuce, pressing the prawns into the rings.

Take a slice of smoked salmon and curl it on top of the prawns so it is sitting high.

To serve, squeeze a wedge of lemon over the top and grind with black pepper.


Serves 6
Recipe by:
Lucy Young in 'AGA Easy'

Pork Loin Roast

Pork Loin Roast
Prepration time: 20 min 
Cooking time: 180 min 
Servings: 8 
Make slits on the pork loin and put in a clove and garlic in each of the slits. Rub the meat well with all the other ingredients on both sides. Keep aside for half an hour. Place on the grill and grill at 350 degrees for approximately 2-3 hours. You can see when it is fully done and browned on both sides. Let sit for half hour till all the juices go right in to make this an absolutely irresistible dish. 
Cut into slices and serve. 

1 Pork loin of approximately 5-6 lb
3 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp crushed black pepper
Salt to taste
Juice of half a lemon

RECIPES 26, 27, 28

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