Category Archives: Pork

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake

The almost ‘one tray’ bakes and roasts are fast becoming a favourite in our home.

While it’s warm, hearty and comforting during winter, it’s also very easy to put together. That’s why I have been trying a lot of these nowadays. Today’s dish is a sausage and potato bake but with Spanish flavours to add that extra oomph of flavour.

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

This is a very simple dish but a really flavourful one. So it’s important to get sausages that are of top notch quality. Don’t go for the generic supermarket ones, the kind you tend to buy for backyard barbecues. Instead go for the gourmet ones that are prepared from top quality mince and also seasoned well.

For this dish, I chose chorizo since it’s the best for a Spanish style bake.

Instead of a sauce, I went with a sautéed onion bell pepper mixture that was flavoured with paprika, garlic and turmeric as the accompaniment to the sausages and potatoes. Baking it all together in a pan not only makes it easy but increases the overall flavour of the dish.

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

This Spanish style sausage and potato bake can be had as a meal on its own but I added a side of saffron rice and paired it with a nice Tempranillo. Looks fancy but actually a really simple dish.

Ingredients:

  1. 6 chorizos
  2. 4-5 Kipfler potatoes; cut into wedges
  3. 2 red onion; finely sliced
  4. 2 red bell pepper; pith removed and finely sliced
  5. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  6. 2 garlic cloves; finely sliced
  7. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  8. 2 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  9. 1 can diced tomatoes
  10. ½ cup kalamata olives
  11. Salt, to season
  12. 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley; finely chopped

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C
  2. Heat olive in a pan and add the onions. Sauté on high heat for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes or till the onions and peppers are softened.
  3. Add the turmeric powder and smoked paprika; mix well to combine.
  4. Then add the diced tomatoes and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and add the potatoes and sausages to the pan. Mix well to combine so that the sausages and potatoes are coated well with the onion pepper mixture.
  5. Transfer to a baking tray and arrange in such a way that the sausages and potatoes are on top for even cooking.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove to turn the sausages and continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes till the potatoes are roasted well.
  7. Remove and add the olives and parsley.
  8. Serve warm with saffron rice

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

My love affair with pork began only after moving to Australia.

Pork was an almost non-existent meat in my childhood, since I lived in the Middle East. And it only made an occasional appearance when I visited India during holidays. There is a myth that pork is not very popular in India but that’s so far from the truth. Agreed, it’s not the most preferred meat due to several cultural and religious reasons but there are communities where pork is revered and is considered a delicacy. And in Kerala, it’s extremely popular among several Christian communities.

When I moved back to India, pork became a more regular meat in our household because my mom absolutely loves it. But I really didn’t enjoy it at all and would just pick at it. I think it must have been the preparation and also the quality of the meat itself that put me off.

After moving to Australia, the fact that prompted me to buy pork is the disappointing ‘vindaloo’ that is served at most Indian restaurants. I was on a mission to learn how to make a good vindaloo (which I did) and pork ofcourse was the meat of choice.

Australian pork was a revelation. The quality of meat is absolutely amazing and I could not help but fall in love with it. I cook with pork a lot these days, not just in curries or stir fries but also a variety of ways and one of my absolute favourite is steak.

Australian pork - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

I usually cook steaks based on intuition but for pork, I usually follow the 6-2-2 method. You cannot miss the Australian pork ads that run on TV with a catchy tag line like ‘get some pork on your fork’ and that’s where I first got to know about the 6-2-2 cooking method. Basically what it means is cook the steaks for 6 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on the other and finally rest for another 2 minutes before serving. I have been using this guideline for a while now and it always delivers the best result.

The thickness of the steak is important while using this method. If you like the meat well done, then use 2cm steaks for this method but if you prefer that blush of pink (highly recommended), then get steaks slightly bigger than 2cm.

So here’s the final dish, pork steaks with a simple coriander fennel rub, creamy potato mash, roasted carrots and Madeira reduction. Now let’s get cooking….

Madeira - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots

Recipe for Roasted carrots can be found here.

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  1. 4 pork steaks (approximately 2cm)
  2. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  3. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  4. ½ tsp black peppercorns
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2-3 tbsp olive oil

For the Madeira reduction:

(adapted from Heston’s Fantastical Feasts)

  1. 85gms shallots; finely chopped
  2. 30gms leek (white and pale parts); sliced
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  4. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  5. 1 dried bay leaf
  6. 375ml Madeira

For the mashed potato:

  1. 500gms potatoes (I used russet but you can use any which lends a creamy texture)
  2. 2 large garlic clove
  3. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. 1 tsp dried oregano
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Black pepper, to season
  8. 1 tsp chives; finely chopped
  1. 1 tsp chives; finely chopped

Method:

For the pork:

  1. To prepare the rub, pound the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black peppercorns using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add to the pork steaks along with the olive oil and season well with salt. Rub thoroughly on both sides of the steak and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a pan to high (you may use a grill) and then reduce to medium high. Place the pork steaks and cook on one side for 6 minutes. Then turn over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and rest for another 2 minutes (cover while resting). I do not add more oil to the pan as the steaks are oiled well but you may add if you wish to.

For the Madeira reduction:

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low heat for about 30-40 minutes or till the liquid has almost halved. Strain and keep aside.

For the mashed potato:

  1. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water till soft.
  2. Add 2 tbsp butter to a small pan along with the garlic; cook on low heat till garlic turns golden. Remove from flame and add the oregano. Keep aside.
  3. In another pan, place the potatoes, milk and remaining butter. Mash and cook on low heat whisking continuously till you get a smooth, creamy mixture.
  4. Season with salt and pepper; remove when desired texture has been achieved. If you want super creamy texture, pass the mashed potatoes through a sieve (I didn’t do this, though).
  5. Add the melted garlic infused butter to the mashed potatoes and stir through; garnish with chopped chives.

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Australian Pork and Social Soup. I have been using Australian pork for years so the opinions as well as the recipe are unbiased and entirely mine.

 

Indian style Pork Burger with Caramelized Pineapple + Winner of the Cookbook Giveaway

I cannot contain the excitement any longer, so let’s announce the winner before we get to today’s recipe.

I decided to go old-school for the draw, not trusting any software to pick my winner. So all the names got written down onto individual chits and then the most important job of picking the winner – gave it to my son to do the honours; oh my, wasn’t he excited!

And yes, we have a winner and it is…………..Sarah Moss. Congratulations Sarah, hope you enjoy cooking from this book as much as I did picking it for you. And please do inbox me so that I can send it over to you at the earliest.

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Now, I am equally excited about today’s recipe too…..it is a hearty, indulgent pork burger with an Indian twist.

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Pork and pineapple is a classic combination, a match made in heaven. And just to spice things up a bit, I added some familiar Indian flavours to the burger.

The secret to a delicious, succulent, juicy burger lies in mainly in the quality of meat. Instead of going for a store-bought mince, it is best to get good cuts of meat from your local butcher and ask him to mince it up for you. This way, you get to choose how much fat goes into the mince. For this, I chose the pork shoulder and the ratio of fat to meat in the mince was 1:4.

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Minced onion, aromatics and a freshly roasted and ground spice mix was added to the pork mince to infuse the classic Indian flavours. The caramelized pineapple adds the hint of sweetness and brings the spices to life.

The best thing about homemade burgers is that these are healthy as you are in control of all the ingredients that goes in and is a great way to get your family to eat veggies too. My hubby would eat tomato in a burger sandwich but would throw it out if I put it in a curry. Got the point?

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So, here’s how you make Indian style pork burgers with caramelized pineapple, tomatoes, onion and coriander.

Ingredients:

Makes about 8-10 patties (these freeze well so you can make batches and stock away for later use; another idea is to make meatballs and use it the next time you make spaghetti).

For the burger;

1. 1 kg pork mince (use any meat that you want)
2. 1 large red onion, finely chopped
3. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4. 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
5. 1 large green chilli, finely chopped
6. Indian spice blend
• 2 tsp Coriander seeds
• 2 tsp Dry chilli flakes
• 1 tsp Cumin seeds
7. Salt, to season
8. 1 egg

For the final sandwich;

9. Burger buns
10. 1 pineapple, cut into thick slices
11. Cos lettuce, shredded
12. 1 tomato, sliced
13. ½ red onion, sliced finely
14. A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
15. Barbeque sauce

Method:

1. To prepare the spice blend, dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds. Cool, add the chilli flakes and grind to a fine powder. I used the entire blend as I was wanted a good kick of the spices but you can add just enough to suit your taste preferences.
2. If you are using a food processor, throw in all the ingredients for the burger including the spice blend; or finely chop the onion and aromatics and then mix all ingredients together for the burger patties.
3. Form the mince into circular patties and keep aside. Again, the thickness of the patty is entirely upto your preferences; I make thick ones and for a kilo of mince, made 10 patties.
4. Heat a grill pan, brush with oil and grill the burgers till done; flip around after giving a couple of minutes on each side to get the char grilled marks. Rest the burgers for at least two minutes before preparing the sandwich.
5. Grill the pineapple slices (make sure the grill is smoking hot to instantly caramelize the sugars which keeps the crunch intact and seals the juices inside; on low heat, the pineapple slices go limp and soggy).
6. Cut the burger buns in half and grill for that extra crunch.
7. To assemble the sandwich, place shredded lettuce on the bottom half of the bun and layer up – patty, barbeque sauce, pineapple slice, tomato, onions and coriander leaves.

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This giveaway is now close and the winner is Sarah Moss.

Pork Veenjaali (Indian-style pork curry with a sweet, spicy, aromatic marinade)

The hols are over, school term has started and I am back from hibernation. My life feels much more normal, relaxed and disciplined from this week…with a determination to get my commitments back in order. This post was meant to be published later in the week, but since I have a lot of stuff going on in the next few days, I decided to post it today itself.

Today’s dish is pork veenjaali – and I have absolutely no clue of the origin of this dish. I found the recipe on http://www.swapnascuisine.com/ and the first time I read the recipe, I knew this one was going to be an absolute winner. Reminded me of pork vindaloo with minor differences but I must say, the dish tasted different.

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The secret to this awesome curry lies in the curry paste which infuses the pork with a sweet yet spicy and aromatic flavour. If your taste buds are low on the spice quotient, adjust the spices accordingly. This curry paste has found an indispensable spot in my pantry and I plan to experiment with it as much as possible.

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So, here’s the recipe for an Indian-style pork curry – pork veenjaali;

Ingredients:

1. Pork (shoulder cut) – 1 kg, cut into medium-sized pieces
2. Red onion – 2 medium, sliced
3. Ripe, red tomatoes – 2 medium, chopped
4. Curry leaves – 2-3 sprigs
5. Vegetable oil – 3-4 tbsp
6. Salt – to taste
7. Veenjaali curry paste
• Raisins – 25 gm
• Garlic – 8 cloves
• Ginger – 1 inch piece
• Tamarind paste – 1 ½ tsp
• Black peppercorns – ½ tsp
• Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
• Cumin seeds/jeera – ½ tsp
• Cloves – 3
• Cinnamon stick – 2 inch bark
• Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
• Green chillies – 2
• Shallots/Madras onion – 2
• Dry red chilli – 8

Method:

1. To prepare the veenjaali curry paste, grind all the ingredients in the list and keep aside. If you prefer less heat, adjust the spices accordingly.

2. Heat oil in a deep pan and sauté sliced onions till light brown. (I slow cooked this pork curry but you can speed things up using a pressure cooker.)
3. Add the ground paste and sauté well till oil separates; then add the tomato pieces and sauté well.
4. Into this add the pork and curry leaves and mix well. Season with salt.
5. Add 1 – 1 ½ cups of warm water, bring to boil and cook covered on very low flame for 30 minutes. (If using a pressure cooker, cook for 3 whistles)

6. After 30 minutes, open the lid and check if the pork is cooked well. If not, cook longer till done. Add more water if necessary to adjust desired consistency.

7. Serve hot with Indian flat breads or steamed rice.

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Penne with Kransky and Vine-Ripened Tomatoes

I know that I have written enough about the dull, dreary winter out here in Melbourne but I continue to write about it because I have turned into the laziest, slouchiest (if there is such a word) person in the world. Instead of embracing the beauty of the winter whites, all that I can think of and do is – sleep.

Oh! I can sleep – hours altogether without a worry in the world. I enjoy late nights and then sleep into the late mornings, sometimes afternoons. But the euphoria of the long, relaxing sleep does not last long. The mountain of household and professional chores gets to me and before long, I get grumpy and moody (vehemently making a mental resolution to follow better and disciplined sleeping habits). And to repeat it all again the next day. Sigh!

During the weekdays, I do not get to indulge in this erratic behavior and try to maintain a semblance of normality. But with the winter and school holidays setting in, I am back to my crazy schedule which leaves me hardly any time to cook elaborate meals or even get creative and experimentative in the kitchen.

And my go to dish for such days is pasta. There are a zillion recipes that you can come up for pasta and many of these require very few ingredients. Pasta is extremely forgiving and versatile, ready to take up any flavours that you infuse into it.

Today’s dish is penne with kransky and vine-ripened tomatoes; just as the name suggests, the main ingredients complimenting the pasta are the sweet and juicy vine-ripened tomatoes and the salty, earthy kransky. For those of you who do not know, kransky or Kranjska klobasa is a Slovenian sausage usually made from pork and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper. This has a rich and meaty flavour and works really well with pasta.

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And before we head off to the recipe, let me tell you of a little perk-me-up that I received during the past week. I got a mail from the US chapter of the website, Sulekha.com saying that they would like to feature my blog on their website and also want to do a short interview for them. I was flabbergasted but happy too for this attention that my blog has received. So I did the interview, a very short one, and if interested, you can read it here.

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Recipe Courtesy – Woman’s Day

Ingredients:

• 500g penne
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 red capsicum – deseeded and sliced
• 1 onion – sliced
• 2 garlic cloves – crushed
• 1 red chilli – sliced finely
• 4 kransky (or other continental sausage) – thickly sliced
• Vine-ripened tomatoes – 4
• 50g baby spinach leaves
• 90g feta – crumbled
• Salt – to season
• Black pepper – to season

Method:

1. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 10-12 minutes.
2. In the meantime, heat oil in a large pan on medium. Sauté capsicum, onion, garlic and chilli for 4-5 minutes until softened.
3. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir spinach through until it starts to wilt.
4. The pasta would have cooked by now, drain and add to the tomato-sausage mixture.
5. Toss well to combine; season with salt and pepper after tasting. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese.
6. Serve hot.

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And if you are a pasta lover, then check out some of these awesome recipes.

Pork Vindaloo…..a Goan classic

Every time I think of vindaloo, it is the pristine cool blue beaches of Goa that come to my mind. The ‘vindaloo’ features high in the list of Indian curries that have made a mark in the Western world. This is essentially an Anglo-Indian dish made famous from the Goan shores and is an adaptation of the Portugese dish ‘carne de vinha d’alhos’ (a famous meat preparation using garlic and wine as the main ingredients). The wine got replaced with the vinegar for the sourness and a range of spices were added to make the dish more flavourful and appealing to the Indian tastebuds.

I have visited Goa once with family but really did not get to sample much of the traditional Goan fare. The fact is that I hardly knew or researched about the best restaurants or places to eat before leaving, so pretty much had all the meals from the restaurants surrounding the resort we stayed at. I really do want to visit Goa once more just for the food because I am not really a ‘beach’ person otherwise.

But I do get reminded of the trip everyday while in my kitchen because of these two cute magnets that I picked up while touring the place.

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Now, if you have skimmed through my fb page (not updated on my blog yet), there is a lamb vindaloo recipe already listed. That recipe is a great one and guarantees me amazing results every time but is a tweak of this original and traditional one. I picked up this one from a brand new but very dear friend, Sareetha (the master brain behind KFG, https://www.facebook.com/groups/KannurFood/). Must say, I have won quite a few hearts with this dish by now, including hard core Aussies.

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Getting the spice marinade right is the most crucial step of this dish – and trust me, it is worthwhile to let the meat soak up in the spices overnight. This is quite a technical dish but definitely not as hard as it seems to be. And believe me; it is definitely worth a try. So let’s get cooking – pork vindaloo.

Note – If you do not eat pork, try this out with any meat that you like; the only thing is to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Ingredients:

1. Pork shoulder chops – 750 gm (choose any type of cut but ensure it is of good quality)
2. onions – 2, finely chopped
3. tomatoes – 2, finely chopped
4. red chilli powder – 1 tsp
5. curry leaves – 1-2 stalks
6. brown mustard seeds – 1 tsp
7. garlic – 8 cloves cut into slivers
8. bay leaves – 2
9. Potatoes – 3 – 4, medium, diced
10. Ghee/oil – 2-3 tbsp.

For the vindaloo marinade:

11. dried red chillies – 3
12. cumin seeds – 1 tbsp
13. coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
14. black cardamom seeds – 1 tsp
15. fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
16. cloves – 5
17. cinnamon – 1 inch bark
18. black peppercorns – 10
19. turmeric powder – ½ tsp
20. green chillies – 4, finely chopped
21. vinegar – 75 ml (keep tasting so that you don’t go overboard)
22. brown sugar – 2 tbsp
23. tamarind paste – 1 tbsp (optional, you can adjust sourness with vinegar itself)
24. garlic – 5, smashed
25. ginger – 1 inch, washed, chopped but with the skin left on

Note – The spice measurements must be adjusted to suit individual preferences.

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Method:

Making the marinade:

• Place all the spices except the turmeric in a dry frying pan over medium heat and fry until they become fragrant but are not yet smoking. Grind the warm spices in a grinder with the turmeric and blend to a fine powder. Add the chillies, vinegar, tamarind paste, brown sugar, garlic and ginger and blend until smooth (or if you have full faith in your blender like I do, then chuck the whole lot and grind it all with the vinegar). Put the pork in a large glass bowl with the marinade and stir well to combine. Leave the pork to marinate for eight to 48 hours. The longer the better.

Pork vindaloo

To make the final dish:

• Heat the ghee or oil in a deep pan over low heat. Add the garlic slivers and allow to cook gently for about 20 minutes. It is important not to burn the garlic so watch carefully. The garlic should be soft and translucent but not browned. Remove the garlic from the pan and keep aside.

• In the same pan, add the curry leaves and mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, toss in the chopped onions and bay leaf. Fry for about ten minutes over medium to high heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Be sure to stir regularly and add the chopped tomatoes, chilli powder and the pork with its marinade to the pan and then pour in just enough water to cover. Leave to simmer for about an hour until the pork is very tender. You may need to add a drop more water while simmering. If using a pressure cooker add less water and cook for about 3-4 whistles.

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• Fry the chopped up potatoes alongside with a pinch of salt. Stir in the cooked garlic and the fried potatoes. If you do not wish to fry the potatoes, then add it when the meat is ¾ ths cooked.

• Serve with steamed white rice, roti, appam, breads…just about anything.

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Being the truest representation of Goan cuisine, I am sending this recipe to the South Indian cooking event being hosted by 2 amazing Indian food bloggers, http://nandooskitchen.blogspot.in/2014/01/south-indian-cooking-event.html and http://anuzhealthykitchen.blogspot.com.au/

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