Tag Archives: pork

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

A Christmas feast for two!

Or three, as in our case…..

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

It’s not always possible to prepare a huge feast especially if you are a small family and want to spend the day just with yourselves, by choice or circumstance. And today’s dish is just perfect for that; it’s indulgent yet easy to put together with limited portions that you are saved the headache of addressing leftovers.

Back in India, Christmas was always with the extended family and that meant a large feast that the whole family would pitch in to prepare. But when we moved to Melbourne, we hardly knew anyone and the first two years, spent Christmas just by ourselves. Well I am not complaining at all because we love our company; the three of us together can make any meal festive.

But I always felt challenged about the menu.

While I would desire to roast a whole turkey or chicken or perhaps a leg of lamb roast, the thought of eating leftovers day in and day out already made me shy away from the idea. And that’s when I started to put together meals like this that had the classic elements yet portioned for our family’s needs.

I have also used sage extensively in today’s recipe as my herb garden is doing well this summer and I have a lot of sage growing currently.

Sage has a warm, musky and earthy essence, which makes it perfect to be paired with cured meats, veal, pork, lamb etc…. It also has many medicinal properties, the best of which is its antioxidant capacity. Grows easily in pots especially during the warmer months, sage is definitely a great herb to grow in your garden.

Sage - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Herb garden - thespiceadventuress.com

In today’s recipe, I have used sage as part of the marinade to flavour the pork fillets and also added it to the burnt butter for the mashed potatoes.

There are so many different styles of making mashed potatoes but this one adapted from Half Baked Harvest’s blog uses crème fraiche and sage brown butter. I loved the flavour that crème fraiche imparted to the potatoes, creamy and slightly tangy and not as heavy as using regular cream. And that final addition of brown butter made these mashed potatoes so luxurious and decadent.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of our favourite vegetable sides is grilled asparagus and this time, I decided to grill and then toss it through some parsley pesto that I had in the freezer. Finished off with crushed walnuts and it turned out to be one of the most delicious sides ever.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

I guess that’s enough explanation; let’s get on with the recipes for Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto)

Ingredients:

Pork fillets:

  1. 1 large pork fillet; cut into 2 cm medallions
  2. 10 large sage leaves; finely chopped
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; grated
  4. 1 lemon; juice and zest
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil + extra for grilling
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season

Mashed potatoes:

  1. 800gms potatoes (choose a variety suitable for mashing); peeled and cubed
  2. 2 medium garlic cloves
  3. 1 cup whole milk
  4. 1 cup crème fraiche
  5. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Freshly crushed black pepper; to season
  8. 6-7 fresh sage leaves

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. 2 bunches asparagus; ends trimmed
  2. 1 ½ tbsp parsley pesto
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Olive oil, for grilling
  6. A handful of walnuts; crushed

Note – To make the parsley pesto, simply substitute basil with parsley. But if you would like to have a recipe for the same, please comment below.

Method:

Pork fillets:

  1. In a glass bowl, mix the sage, garlic, juice and zest of 1 lemon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix and marinate the pork fillets for at least 30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Heat a pan (I used a cast iron pan but you can use a stove top or bbq grill for the same) and add olive oil. When the pan’s smoking hot, place the pork fillets (reduce heat to medium) and cook for 4-5 minutes on one side before turning. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and remove. Rest for 5 minutes before serving. Take care not to crowd the pan and cook in batches.

Mashed Potatoes:

  1. Cook the potatoes and garlic in salted boiling water till the potatoes are cooked well and tender enough to mash.
  2. Drain and add the potatoes back to the pan. Mash and keep aside.
  3. In another pan, melt butter and add the sage leaves. Cook the butter on low heat constantly stirring till the butter has taken on the golden brown hue. Keep aside.
  4. Return the mashed potatoes to heat and add the milk and crème fraiche. Stir through and mash well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Once you have got the desired consistency (add more milk if necessary), add half of the brown butter with sage and mix through.
  5. Remove to a serving bowl and pour the remaining brown butter with sage on top.

Grilled Asparagus:

  1. Brush the grill pan with olive oil and heat till smoking hot.
  2. Grill the asparagus for a minute and remove to a bowl.
  3. Add the parsley pesto and season with salt if necessary. Toss well.
  4. Serve with a sprinkle of chilli flakes and crushed walnuts on top.

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork fillets (with sage, lemon and garlic), Mashed potatoes (with sage, brown butter) and Grilled Asparagus (with parsley pesto) - 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.

2014-09-26

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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