Month: February 2009

Roast Pork Belly, cooked simply

It’s fair to say that I like pork belly. Just a little. Or, is that alot? Yes, it is. ALOT. It’s such a fine cut of meat, packed full of flavour and with that gorgeous crispy crackling as a bonus. It’s cheap too! I’ve blogged about it in the past (Slow Roast Pork Belly with Cider & Lentils), and it occured to me recently that I ‘ve never blogged about doing it simply without wine or cider, herbs or spices, just au natural. Now, there’s a petit oversight and one which I’ll rectify now. There are a couple of important things about cooking pork belly. Start it off at a very high temperature, to wake up that crackling and get it moving. Then turn down the heat and roast it long enough to render out the fat. Then blast that sleepy crackling under the grill so it blisters and crisps, almost aching and arching with the effort. I got another great new tip recently from one of my many cookbooks. Before roasting, pour some boiling …

Oh! Look, we’re in Time Out!

Well, I never! I got a text from a friend last week saying: “hey, congrats! you’re in Time Out”, which left me feeling slightly perplexed. Huh?! And, why?! Well, there can be only one reason, this blog, as Time Out have yet to discover my other many talents. Joking aside, I was surprised, curious and chuffed! So, after work, and en route to a friends house, I dutifully stopped at a newsagents and had a peek. And I never! There was a little pic of my tortilla pizza and a description of my lil blog in their piece on “London’s Best Food Blogs and Websites“. It’s only fitting, that if I get a mention, that the great pork belly does too. And, it did. Thanks Time Out! You made my day :-) The other blogs on there are super, I read them regularly,and I’m honoured to be listed beside them. You can take a look at the complete list here.

Guilty! Guilty Pleasures Dinner Party

Raised an Irish catholic, I am a natural with the guilt, an expert some would say, and venturing in and out of the seven deadly sins on a semi regular basis as I do (gluttony: check), I’ve got the guilt to offer up at a Guilty Pleasures dinner party. Guilty pleasures. Isn’t that a great phrase? And, it’s so appropriate! Sneaking that bag of crisps or chocolate bar, those deep fried treats or the haribo. Nibbling at the cheese straight from the packet after a night out. Those few stolen, guilty minutes offer rare pleasure. We all have them. Really, we do. Even if you deny it, I know you have at least one… don’t blush, I won’t tell, I promise. Some people think, or assume that I am a food snob. Nay! I love good food, home cooked or high end. I love simple food and complex food, as long as it’s done right, it’s delicious. I try to be healthy and be nice to my body, but like (almost) everyone, I slip up. I …

Brunch Baked Eggs

Sounds very elegant doesn’t it? Brunch. Baked. Eggs. It evokes luxury and comfort, and yes, it had both of these. But, It had something else too. Potatoes! I christened this dish Irish Huevos Rancheros when I made it last Sunday, but when writing this thought, as titles go, I might be going too left of field, and I don’t want to offend any Mexicans ;-) I did your dish proud, honest, but I gave it an irish potato-y twist. Like most of my recent dishes, this doesn’t have strict measurements. In fact I didn’t measure anything. It’s very simple, and in truth, you can’t go wrong. Now, people don’t believe me when I say this, and believe me to have some inside culinary knowledge or secret power, but, this is not true. It’s easy. I started by roasting some very sweet and delicious cherry tomatoes (about 3 handfuls) in olive oil with a finely chopped green chilli and some good extra virgin olive oil at 180 degrees. While these were roasting I parboiled some diced …

Cosy, quick and healthy snacking

Sometimes, with food, instant gratification is called for. As close to instant as is possible in any case. I am not talking about reaching for the haribo (although, that has been known to happen), but something flavoursome, healthy, crispy and super quick. Don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind and am not about to tout the health benefits of leftover pork belly or a bag of crisps. Tasty: yes. Healthy: not so much. The snack I am about to describe, is colourful, pretty and delicious and so easy, it’s ridiculous. Take one tortilla (corn or flour), add a handful of chopped tomatoes, the best you can get, I like sweet, ripe cherry tomatoes. Top with some grated manchego (or similar cheese) and put in a preheated oven (180 degrees celsius should do it) on a lightly oiled tray. Toast for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil on top and season with salt & pepper. Serve with a handful of greens as a garnish, I used pea …

Savoury Pork Belly, Savoy Cabbage & Noodle Soup

Sometimes, the very best dishes arrive as a surprise, twisted children of the products of our store cupboard and leftovers. It’s always a pleasure when something tasty and comforting arrives as a product of these rushed confections and today’s dinner was this. Most readers are familiar with my pork belly obsession as are my friends, who are capitalising on this now. Of course I love cooking it for them, but it’s gone to the stage where I am cooking so much, I actually have leftovers! In truth, this is mainly because I am cooking a lot more of it, as I want it for sandwiches. I adored the pork belly sandwiches at Konstam, but I am not working nearby anymore and no longer get my regular fix. (I’ve really got to exercise a lot more to compensate for this regular fat influx. What to do about the arteries? I use a lot of olive oil. That’s ok? Right? No? I’ll balance it with healthy veggie dishes, promise.) So, today, I was faced with a mountain …

January roundup!

When we hit 2009, I did a roundup of the year. It went down very well, so I thought that I would start doing monthly ones. It should keep me on my toes. Already, I can see that I haven’t blogged enough and the pile of drafts that have yet to be published is climbing high. I’ll give you a sneak preview of those in a bit! January started very nicely with an email from the people at Wikio, stating that this humble blog was number 2 in their Top 100 Gastronomy Blogs. Now, how did that happen? Lovely news and I was chuffed. There are so any blogs I read that are more deserving of the position! The month started with a roundup of 2008 in two parts (part one, part two), followed by the top posts for 2008 and my personal favourites. Take a look if you want to see what everyone’s been cooking, your feedback on those posts has been lovely! Pork was a strong feature of January: pork belly, roast pork, …