Category Archives: Bread

Recipe: Roast Stuffed and Rolled Pork Fillet

This recipe takes me right back to my childhood, my mum used to make a very similar dish and I had completely forgotten about it until I was reminded about it in college last (academic) year. It came up in one of our practical cookery classes and since then I have experimented with it several times until I came up with this recipe.

The recipe that I give for the stuffing, is a large enough quantity for three or four fillets, I like to make up the stuffing and freeze what I don’t use in “portions” so I’m not making it every time. I can just stuff, roll and roast as needed then. It’s also surprising just how quickly this can be put together even on a week night, just roast a few potatoes and some fresh veg in the oven with it and you have a really simple impressive dinner.


Roast Stuffed and rolled pork served with onion gravy, minted potatoes and steamed brocoli
Roast Stuffed and rolled pork served with onion gravy, minted potatoes and steamed brocoli

Ingredients;

Apricot and raisin stuffing

40g butter
1 large onion, diced
115g dried apricots, soaked, drained and diced
115g seedless raisins
115g fresh white breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

and the rest

1 x pork fillet
Packet of Serrano ham


Begin by making the stuffing, heat the butter in a small pan and fry the onion over a moderate heat for about 3 minutes until translucent.

Place the apricots into a large bowl. Add the onions (butter and all), raisins, breadcrumbs and ginger. Season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you pick up a handful of the stuffing and squeeze it gently in your fist it should just about hold its shape when you let go. if it’s too dry just add a little more butter, if it’s a little too wet add some more breadcrumbs. Allow the stuffing to cool before use.

Next you want to take your pork fillet and trim off any excess fat carefully. Once this is done lay it out on a chopping board and make a cut about three-quarters way deep into it and the full length. This should allow you to open the fillet flat onto your chopping board. Using the heel of your hand you want to begin, flattening both sides of the fillet. If you strike at the centre with a movement towards either edge alternatively you should flatten and stretch the fillet out as much as possible.

Now comes the construction part, lay out your Serrano ham slices so that they just about overlap and are about an inch wider than the length of the fillet. Next lay the fillet on top (across all the Serrano ham overlaps) and place a line of your stuffing down the centre. Now comes the difficult bit, you need to fold either end of the Serrano ham over the ends of the fillet and roll the lot into one oversized Serrano ham wrapped sausage type of thing.

Place this in an oiled roasting tray and bake in a 180C oven for one hour, once the juices flow clear you’re ready to rest it for 10 minutes, then simply carve and serve.

Recipe: Cheesy Garlic Bread

Garlic Bread
Garlic Bread

Ingredients;

2 foot-long bread sticks
Large handful grated cheese (strong cheddar or goats cheese)
30g butter, brought to room temperature
Teaspoon dried thyme
Teaspoon dried basil
1 clove garlic, crushed to a paste (or substitute with 10 twists of dried garlic grater).


Heat your oven to 180C.

Mix the butter, thyme, basil & garlic together. Make 1-inch thick slices into the bread, but do not go all the way through, just to the bottom crust. Spread the butter mix on both sides of each “slice” and then stuff the gaps with the grated cheese.

Cook for 10-15 mins, until any cheese on top of the bread has gone crispy.

I usually fashion a cooking tray out of foil for each bread stick, as this will catch any melted cheese that drips through and also means you can scrumple it up at the end, quickly tidying away any crumbs. To make the tray, pull off a large piece of foil and fold in half for strength. Fold about 1-inch of the long side over twice to form a “wall” and repeat on other long side. Place the bread stick on the foil and crease in the short ends to the correct size, ensuring that your sides stay upright. Don’t seal in the bread stick (unless you want soft garlic bread!).

Note: Use cheese with a strong flavour, this works a lot better than mild cheddar in this recipe. You can also adjust the amount of garlic to suit your taste.

Recipe: Fish cakes with parsley sauce

Fish cakes with parsley sauce
Fish cakes with parsley sauce

Ingredients;

For the fish cakes:
450g potatoes, cooked and mashed
50g butter
1 large onion, finely diced
225g smoked trout, flaked
225g fresh cod, poached & flaked
225g fresh salmon, poached & flaked
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley (divide into 2 equal halves)
Zest of 3 lemons, finely chopped (divide into one-third and two-thirds)
6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices bread)
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
Vegetable oil

For the parsley sauce:
1 medium onion, finely diced
100g butter
75g plain flour
600ml milk
Large handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped (keep the stalks separate)

Makes 8 fish cakes (2 per person is a very decent meal) and enough sauce to cover them. If you are going to chill / freeze some of the fish cakes, reduce the ingredients for the sauce proportionately.

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Directions on how to make speedy mashed potatoes can be found here.

To poach the fish, cover in cold water, add 1 bay leaf and bring to boil. After boiling for 5 mins, remove from heat and flake the fish, discarding the skin and the bay leaf. Remove any bones at this point and throw away.

Heat the 50g butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat for about 10 mins, so they are well cooked but do not take on colour.

In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, half of the chopped parsley and one-third of the lemon zest. Tip out onto a plate. On a 2nd plate, spread out your flour. Finally, on a bowl (or plate with high sides), pour out your beaten eggs.

In your empty bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, flaked fish, cooked onion, dill, chives and the remaining parsley and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and divide into 8, forming into fish cake shapes. Dip each fish cake into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, coating well and set aside. The fish cakes can be chilled or frozen at this point for later use – 24-48 hours in fridge, 1 month in freezer.

Now turn your oven on to 200 C. Begin to cook the parsley sauce while the oven heats. Melt your butter over a medium heat and add in the chopped onion and parsley stalks, frying gently for about 10 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Reduce the heat and add in the flour, stirring well. Start slowly adding in the milk, about 2-3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in well to avoid lumps. You may need to play with the heat here, keep your mix just below a simmer.

Just after you start adding the milk to the sauce, heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to just cover the bottom. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Be careful not to use too much heat as they will burn easily. Once fried, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

All this time you should have been keeping an eye on your sauce, adding the milk until you get to the consistency you desire. With about 2-3 minutes before the fish cakes are ready to come out of the oven, add in the chopped parsley and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper – this is very important as the sauce will be incredibly bland without added salt!

Note: if you can’t get the specific types or quantities of fish listed here, feel free to substitute smoked salmon, tinned tuna, etc, as needed.

Recipe: The Greatest Burgers Evah!

The Greatest Burger
The Greatest Burger

Ingredients;

500g lean ground beef
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 slices of bread, made into breadcrumbs
Large handful of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Large handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 pinch of cumin seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
Salt
Pepper
1 egg
1 teaspoon of smooth French mustard
2 handfuls of grated mozzarella cheese
1 chili, finely diced

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Burgers in general are just ground beef reformed into a convenient shape to place in a burger bun, right? Even at it’s simplest a burger is so much more than that, every burger maker has their own preference for the cut of beef to be ground for their burgers or the blend of cuts and the percentage of each. Some add nothing more than seasoning and others bulk out their burgers with all sorts of synthetic “fillers” and “flavour enhancers”.

I like the idea of a pure beef burger but in truth I find all but the most exceptional to be a little bland and lacking in flavour, which is why I go down the route of using a blend of herbs and other flavours to make every bite an event.

Once you have the onion and fresh herbs chopped, place the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, a large pinch of salt and pepper and the oregano in your mortar and pestle and grind them up as finely as possible. Then add this to the blender along with the fresh herbs and the bread and blend until you have nice fine herby breadcrumbs.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and mix them together well – get your hands in and mix everything together really well, yes even the cheese.

Next place a large sheet of clingfilm onto a clean surface and arrange the mixture on top so that you can roll it into a six to eight centimetre thick sausage and seal it in the clingfilm, making sure to have this sausage compacted into this size as much as possible. Now place this in the fridge and allow it to cool for at least an hour.

Now remove the burger-sausage from the fridge and (without removing the clingfilm) slice it into burgers about one and a half centimetres thick using a very sharp knife. Once all have been sliced it should be easy enough to remove the pieces of clingfilm.

These can then be cooked on a grill, in the frying pan, or my personal favourite, grilled over a charcoal burning barbecue for approximately 2 minutes each side. I like them served in a toasted bun on a bed of lettuce and sliced cornichon with a generous helping of grated cheddar melted over the burger, topped with some hot fresh caramelised onion chutney and a blob of ketchup.

Recipe: Grilled Falafel

a plate full of grilled Falafel
a plate full of grilled Falafel

Ingredients;

250g of dried chickpeas (Soaked overnight in water)
1 red onion cut into chunks
3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 slice of bread
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Large handful of fresh coriander
Large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
1 chilli, diced
Zest of a lemon
Salt and pepper

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I’d never tasted Falafel before I made this recipe but lots of people had told me I should and thanks to a recipe being e-mailed to me by (Friend of Not Junk Food) Will Knott I decided to give them a try.

One of the things I noticed about that recipe was that these are deep fried, so I did some more research and and found that almost all recipes were for deep frying, so straight away I’m thinking with these ingredients it seems a shame to turn them into junk food by deep frying. I experimented with the recipe and tried Shallow frying, yummy but very messy on the pan, so some more experimenting was done and I settled on grilling as the best way to cook these.

They are really simple to make, just rinse the chickpeas and add them and all the ingredients (except the salt and pepper) to your food processor and blend them to a very smooth paste. Taste the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Next take a baking tray and grease it using some butter or olive oil, you don’t need much just enough to stop the falafel from sticking and turn your grill on to heat up.

Now take some of the paste and form it into small burger like shapes and lay them out on the baking tray.

Once your grill is up to temperature pop the lot underneath for about 8-10 minutes on each side, or until they start to brown and the outside starts to get crispy.

At this point they can be eaten or alternatively stored (in an airtight container in the fridge or frozen) for use later, just pop them into the oven at 180C for 10 – 15 minutes to reheat them.

These are best served in a warmed Pitta bread with some salad leaves, onion relish and Tahini. If you can’t find Tahini try using garlic mayonnaise or Hummus instead /as well.

Great hand held food and I’m looking forward to trying these on the Barbecue as an alternative to burgers once BBQ season starts :)