Pork crackling bruschetta

Last night I made dinner for my mum and her partner. I knew from the outset it was going to be the Tamworth belly ribs with red cabbage. But what to do with the pork skin and what other accompaniments? I came up with this crazy idea of of pork crackling bruschetta, replacing the bread with crackling and using a mix of antipasti on top to match the red cabbage.

Ok stick with me. My mother didn’t think it would work either but after she tried it she wanted the recipe.

Ingredients
Pork crackling
Oil spray
Maldon salt

Pickled artichokes
Tomatoes
Sunblushed tomatoes
Pickled onions
Yellow pepper
Olives
Lemon
Olive oil
Pepper

(alternatively just use the filling from my foccacia with antipasti filling recipe)

Method
1. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees.

2. Spray a little oil and sprinkle salt on both sides of the pork skin then rub in. Place on a flat roasting try and pop it in the oven.

3. After about 5 minutes reduce to heat to 150 degrees. The. After and 15 minutes increase the heat to 180 degrees and leave until the skin is bubbly and hard.

4. Meanwhile roast the yellow pepper, remove skin and finely chop along with all the other antipasti. I specifically haven’t put in amounts because you need to find the balance of flavours that works for you. However it is important to have non-vinegar-based pickles in there to cut through the acidity. Squeeze in a little lemon juice, pour on a little olive and add a little freshly ground black pepper and mix through.

5. Cut the crackling into pieces and place the antipasti mix on top.

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Warning, this can get messy when being eaten!

Tilapia with samphire, potatoes, and cauliflower purée

Ok I’ve just made myself the simplest, yummiest dinner and I feel compelled to share it. Lured by the wonderful array of fresh fish available at the fishmonger today I decided to resist the urge for a dirty takeaway this evening and try tilapia instead. It’s a gorgeous fish! Odd as it sounds, the flavour is slightly reminiscent of the spices used in KFC. So maybe next time you get a craving, consider this as a healthy alternative. Ok maybe not. Maybe just eat it for the sheer pleasure of the flavour in and of itself.

Ingredients
200g small potatoes (I used a mix of Charlotte and Royal Blue)
Table salt
1 cup of cauliflower florets
Milk
100g Samphire
Maldon salt
White pepper
1 Tilapia fillet
Lemon
Freshly cracked black pepper

Method
1. Salt and boil some water and add the potatoes.

2. Place cauliflower in a small saucepan, add enough milk to just cover and gently poach. Don’t let the milk boil as you will be using it later.

3. When the potatoes are almost cooked place the samphire in a colander and put this on top of the potatoes to steam.

4. When the cauliflower is cooked, remove the milk and purée. Add enough milk loosen the mix to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Season with White pepper and Maldon salt to taste.

5. Pan fry the tilapia. It will only take a couple if minutes on each side to be ready.

6. To serve, place the cauliflower on a plate in a circle. Thickly slice the potato and place on top. Add the samphire and then top with the tilapia. Season with lemon juice and cracked pepper to taste.

This recipe serves one person. One of these days I’m going to write a cookbook full of recipes for one!

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Adventures with Eat St

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to sample the wares of some more of London’s street food delights. Coincidently, all of them are part of the Eat St movement. Actually it’s not that much of a coincidence because I took some annual leave and was finally able to get down to King’s Cross Boulevard.

Anyway, my first vendor was Motherflipper. A friend of mine had tried their burgers recently and given them the thumbs up, so my expectations were pretty high. I decide to resist the lure of candied bacon (still on my dieting stint) and opted for the chilli burger. The meat comes topped with cheddar and a chilli paste that includes chunks of red jalepenos. The burst is dressed with chilli mayonnaise, spinach, red onion, and pickled cucumber slices. I was a bit controversial and added ketchup and mustard as well. Sorry, but if there’s not fresh tomato in my burger, there has to be ketchup. Yes, I do know that the combination of condiments sounds insane, but trust me, it all worked. In fact I really liked the chilli mayonnaise which managed to hold it’s own distinct flavour against my additional condiments. I also liked that the chilli paste brought flavour to the meal, not just heat. It got a bit messy, but really that’s what you want from a good burger!

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My next place of culinary exploration was Ana Maes. I have to say I have been dying to try her food ever since I first read about it. Unfortunately ever time I’d come across her she was only only doing her mac and cheese. And while I overheard many comments of delight, it was really the meat I was interested in. This time I was not disappointed. In fact it exceeded my expectations. I was treated to pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce, sesame coleslaw and homemade chilli beans. Oh my word it was amazing! I loved the depth of flavour of the chilli beans. Punchy heat and a good hit of cumin (just shy of too much). Good coleslaw. The inclusion of the sesame seeds was a little challenging but it did work. Mainly because without the heavy mayonnaise dressing it was really quite a fresh taste, breaking up the intense richness of the beans and pork. Speaking of the pork, it was sooooo worth waiting for. Tender, flavoursome, and delicious! I also really liked the BBQ sauce. I find supermarket jobs a little too sweet but this had a wonderful complex mixture of spices that was just…yum! Ana Mae’s, I’m a fan.

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The most recent was Engine. Again I’d been wondering about this vendor for a while. My running group meets next to it before our Wednesday run, so I was visually quite familiar with their food. Having said that, I was hesitant to take the next step and give them a try because, having eaten Big Apple Hotdogs, I wasn’t sure that any other could live up to these standards. Still, this week we stuck around for food after the run, and I decided to overcome my initial reluctance and see how they compared. I opted for the BBQ hotdog served with homemade salted cucumber spears, red cabbage coleslaw and BBQ sauce. The pickles and coleslaw were really good. Absolutely spot on with the cabbage to dressing ratio. And I’m absolutely sure that had I not already discovered Apple Hotdogs, I would have been raving about the quality of the meat. So I guess it depends what the priority is. If it’s the combination of condiments, then Engine is the way to go. But if it’s the flavour of the meat, stick with Big Apple. For me, sorry Engine but Big Apple Hotdogs is still the best!

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On a separate note, yesterday to my delight I walked into Wholefoods in High Street Kensington and found the stall at the front selling Big Apple Hotdogs. I got a little bit excited. Needless to say I had to have one (I’d just run a total of 17.5km so I figured I’d earned it). This time it was a beef and pork dog. Condiments available included caramelised red onions and pickled cucumber spears. Oh so good, I was one happy woman! If only they were available to take away and cook yourself…

Adventures with Cleo part 1.

So as I mentioned in a previous blog, I was recently given a sourdough starter by Tom of Tom’s Feast. Using his recipe, I attempted my fist sourdough. Here is a pictorial account of this experiment.

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Cleo fed and rested.

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First bread making stage post rest period.

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Rest of the flour added and bread rested.

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After the final resting (yes that is a large pizza tray).

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Big, baked, and beautiful!