I start this week off with a fantastic pulled pork recipe, which is pretty easy to do it just takes a looooong time to cook. There are a million versions of pulled pork so if you try this easy starter one and like it, then go forth and hunt for other versions that tickle your taste buds even more!
Saturday: Ultimate pulled pork
Sunday: Meat and potato pie
Monday: Crab cakes w/ baby leaf salad
Tuesday: Spinach, chorizo and halloumi salad
Wednesday: Steak salad
Thursday: Artichoke casserole w/ herbs
Friday: Pan fried sea bass fillets w/ new potatoes, samphire and soya beans
Ultimate pulled pork
For the dry spice rub
50 g soft dark brown sugar
4 tbsp smoked hot paprika
3 tbsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp garlic powder (dried in the spice aisle)
1 tbsp onion granules, ground to a powder by hand or in a spice grinder (dried in the spice aisle)
2 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp dry mustard powder
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
2 kg boneless pork shoulder
Barbecue sauce or hot sauce, to serve
Coleslaw, to serve
For the dry spice rub: Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Put the meat on a board and rub all over with half the spice mix. Transfer to a shallow dish and cover loosely with cling film. Leave in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours. Reserve the remaining rub.
Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Take the pork out of the dish and put on a board. Massage well with the remaining dry rub. Stand the pork on a rack in a roasting tin, skin side up. Pour 100ml water into the bottom of the tin and cover the pork and tin with a large piece of foil, pinching the foil around the edges to make a good seal. Put the pork in the oven and cook for 5 hours.
After 5 hours, increase the oven temperature to around 180C/gas 4 then roast for a further 45 mins until it is very tender, you can test it by pulling some of the meat away and tasting it, it should almost melt in your mouth and be succulent and juicy. Dont’ worry if it needs more than another 45 mins just keep cooking it until it’s ready. You can also do this final stage of the cooking over a BBQ to get that charcoal smokiness but do make sure the internal temperature of the meat stays around 75C, by using a meat thermometer.
Serve in your buns with coleslaw and bbq or hot sauce. You can also jazz up some baked beans with bbq sauce to serve along side if you wish.
Meat and potato pie
For the pastry
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
75g lard, or vegetable fat
5-6 tbsp water
1 tbsp milk, to glaze
*Cheat with ready made shortcrust pastry
For the filling
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, diced
250g minced beef
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Marmite
1 1/2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 large baking potato, finely diced
For the pastry – rub the butter and lard into the flour and salt until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 5 tablespoons of cold water and form the mixture into a ball adding a little more water if necessary. Chill for 20 minutes.
Fry the onion, carrots and beef together in a medium saucepan over a high heat until browned – don’t add any oil, then reduce the heat and add the tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, flour and seasoning. Cook for one minute then add the diced potato, 150 ml water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Heat the over to 200C/gas 6. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out two thirds of the pastry into a square large enough to cover the base and sides of a 20cm square x 4cm deep cake tin.
Add the cooled mince, then roll out the remaining pastry for the lid. Dampen the edge of the pastry and place on the lid on top of the pie and press the edges well to seal.
Using a fork pierce the top of the pie several times and brush with milk. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot with mashed potatoes, peas and gravy.
Crab cakes w/ baby leaf salad
For the crab cakes:
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
175 g crab meat, or 1 small can of crab meat
200 g breadcrumbs
125 ml creme fraiche
a few fresh chives, minced
a few fresh basil leaves, minced
1 large egg
Sunflower oil for frying
For the mayonnaise:
1 large egg yolk
1 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp mustard
500 ml sunflower oil, or corn oil
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
For the crab cakes – In a frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion and celery for about 4 minutes, until translucent. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Flake the crab meat into a bowl and add the cooled onion and celery, half of the bread crumbs, the crème fraîche, chives, basil, and egg, and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Shape the mixture into about 8 little balls. Slightly flatten them and coat the patties all over with the remaining bread crumbs.
In a non-stick sauté pan, heat some oil over medium heat. Fry the patties for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown on both sides. Let them drain on a paper towel.
For the mayonnaise – In a food processor, combine the egg yolk, lemon juice, and mustard and process until foamy. With the motor running, pour in the oil in a very thin trickle until the mixture becomes a thick mayonnaise. By hand, stir in the tomatoes and paprika and season with salt and pepper.
Serve the crab cakes with your baby leaf salad and dollop of your freshly made smoky mayonnaise.
Spinach, chorizo and halloumi salad
4 large handfuls spinach leaves
250 g halloumi cheese, cut into 4 pieces
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
24 spears asparagus, trimmed
150 g chorizo, thinly sliced
4 tbsp balsamic syrup
To make the balsamic syrup, put 250ml of good quality balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat until it has reduced by at least half. Then set aside to cool.
Divide the spinach between 4 large plates. Lay the halloumi flat in a bowl. Mix the crushed garlic and olive oil together and pour it over the pieces of cheese leaving them for a few minutes to marinate.
Put a grill pan over a medium to high heat until it’s very hot. Put the asparagus into a bowl and toss it in a little olive oil until it’s well coated. Season with a pinch of salt, then chargrill the asparagus spears until they are nice and charred. You may want to cut a few in half lengthways before putting them into the pan if they are really fat. Divide the asparagus between the bowls.
Fry the slices of halloumi, pouring the marinade into the pan with them. Cook the cheese until it starts to go golden on the outside. Divide the cheese evenly between the salad bowls, laying it on top of the asparagus.
Finally, pan-fry the chorizo in a clean frying pan. As it cooks, it will release lots of its spicy oils. This is a good thing! When the sausage starts to get a little crispy on the outside, divide it up, along with the juices, on top of the salad bowls. Drizzle over olive oil to your taste and season well with salt and lots of pepper. Then drizzle the balsamic syrup over each dish.
150g baby sweetcorn
4 x 175g lean flat iron or rump beef steaks
1 tsp chinese five spice
1 tbsp rapeseed
1 small red onion, peeled and finely sliced
50g toasted pine nuts or unsalted cashew nuts
2 tbsp coriander, chopped
For the dressing
1 x 5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 limes, grated zest and juice of
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
Halve the baby sweetcorn lengthways and blanch in hot water until lightly cooked.
Place the steaks on a chopping board, season on both sides with the salt, pepper and Chinese five spice powder then brush with the oil. Cook the steaks under a preheated moderate grill or on a prepared barbecue. Transfer to a warm plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 2-3 minutes then slice on the diagonal.
Transfer the beef to a large bowl and add the beansprouts, sweet corn, onion, nuts and coriander.
For the aromatic dressing: whisk the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad. Toss gently and serve immediately.
Artichoke casserole w/ herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 turnip, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 tsp lemon thyme leaves
500ml vegetable stock
400g canned flageolet beans
200g jar artichoke hearts, drained
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Add the oil, celery, onion, carrots, parsnip and turnip to a large pan. Put the herbs into the pan and fry until soft and browning slightly. Add the stock and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the beans and artichokes and simmer for another five minutes. Add the chopped parsley at the end and serve
Pan fried sea bass w/ new potatoes, samphire and soya beans
4 fillets sea bass
1/2 small bag new potatoes, quartered
180g samphire – you can get this on the fresh fish counter in the supermarkets at the moment
150g soya beans – you can buy these frozen in supermarkets
1 large shallot, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
Blanche the samphire in boiling water (do not add salt to the water) for 30 seconds then drain and plunge straight into a bowl of cold water and set aside. Boil the potatoes in plenty of salted boiling water until just tender then drain.
In a sauté pan or wide frying pan, heat a around 1 a little oil then add the onions and garlic and fry well until you have good colour on the onions. Then add the potatoes and again fry until you have some nice colour on your potatoes. Finally add the samphire, soya beans and a large knob of butter, stir well and cook over a low to medium heat until you fish is ready.
In a frying pan add a large knob of butter and about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil (so the butter doesn’t burn). Let this get really hot and foamy. Season your fish fillets well and then place skin side down in the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. When you have a nice crispy skin flip over for 1 minute to finish cooking.
Serve immediately drizzled with the butter from the frying pan and your potatoes, samphire and soya beans.
(Credits: Hairy Bikers, Simply Beef and Lamb, Mitzie Wilson, Yvette van Boven, Galton Blackston, Nigel Slater, JJMoola’s Kitchen)