Guilt-Free Roast Pork and Pear Salad

Perfect Pork and Pear Salad

Guilt-Free Pork and Pear Salad

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One of the real joys of live-streaming cooking is answering viewer challenges. Experimenting and researching food combinations I’d not previously considered has taught me a great deal about how food and the human body works. I get to play .. and learn in the process. Were it not for one such challenge, I may just have saved my German Volkhorn bread for toast .. and Leberwurst and Walnußkase .. anyway (*cough*) I’d never have discovered this gem. The Pork is nice, especially with roasted pears, but the stuffing is a whole ‘nother level of bliss. Rich, nutty and satisfying, without blowing my blood sugar through the roof. Definitely try this at home 🙂

Calabrian Meatballs

Calabrian Meatballs

Calabrian Meatballs

In the coldest part of the year, when it has rained or hailed for days, and my fingers are stiff and uncooperative, I long for distant, sunny shores. Sadly, my budget won’t allow for jaunts to Tuscany or the Riviera, so I let my imagination fly to sunny Calabria, the “toe” of booted Italy. It saves on jet lag too 🙂

The original for this recipe can be found in La Cucina, that astonishing collection of traditional regional recipes. Imagine my surprise when the first ingredient listed was “1lb horse meat”, something that would have landed me in legal hot water here. I have opted instead for pork and veal mince and browning the meatballs before casseroling to give a deeper flavour. 

Cidered Pork with Pistachio

Cidered Pistachio Pork

Cidered Pistachio Pork

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This is a simple and tasty way to prepare pork chops. Marinating the meat in a little cider not only imparts a delicious tangy flavour, it also helps tenderise the meat.  A still, dry cider (such as Old Rosie’s) is best for this. Pistachios give it a little nutritional boost, as well as adding texture and colour. Serve it accompanied by potatoes or rice, some nice crispy steamed vegetables and dollop on some apple sauce, caramelized apple slices or Pear and Red Onion Chutney.

Pig Balls

Pork Balls with Sweet Chili Sauce

Pork Balls with Sweet Chili Sauce

There is nothing *ahem* boar-ing about these meaty balls. Texture is King.  If you prefer a more uniform texture, throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. I like mine a little more rustic than that. Chunks of water chestnut, spring onion and ginger. Ground rice or Panko crumbs to give it a crunchy crust. Served with crispy noodles and salad or steamed veg, drizzled or dunked in Sweet Chili sauce. Delicious, just try not to giggle too much at the puerile double entendre ..

Chili con Carne de Cerdo (Pork with Chili)

Chili con Carne de Cerdo

Chili con Carne de Cerdo

A crockpot (slow cooker) is a fine thing, it makes cheating so very easy. There is something wonderful about coming home from work to be greeted by cooking smells and dinner already prepared.  I like to make this in the evening, leave it to cook overnight, turn it off in the morning and allow it to cool. By dinner time the flavours are perfectly blended. Like most stews, it is much better the next day.

There are two ways of preparing meat for any kind of stew. The first is “Alla Blanca“, where you cut the meat up and add it to the liquid while still raw. The second method involves searing the meat before adding it to the liquid. This caramelises sugars inside the meat, adding depth and complexity to the dish. Don’t get me wrong, you can throw all of the ingredients into a crockpot, come back hours later and the result will be delicious .. but to me it is lacking something subtle. Like hearing Carmina Burana accompanied by a piano 🙂