Tag Archives: Onion

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: Thai Yellow Soup

Hmmm a traditional Thai soup recipe? Hell to the no! This is anything but. I came up with the idea for this recipe after an experiment in making Thai chicken curry. The chilli I used for the curry was a little lacking in the heat department and as a result I ended up with a curry that had almost no heat.

It still made for a fantastic tasting dish, just not what was originally intended. The lack of heat meant that all the other herbs and spices were able to come through in full force. Which led me to thinking about what else I could use similar flavours in because they are so great together.

This is the first of those ideas to make it to the “perfected recipe” stage and it’s a butternut squash and sweet potato soup of sorts but that doesn’t really make for a snappy title so given the inspiration and appearance I’m calling it Thai Yellow Soup.


Thai Yellow Soup garnished with a sprig of basil and a dash of truffle oil
Thai Yellow Soup garnished with a sprig of basil and a dash of truffle oil

Ingredients;

1 x onion, diced
1 x carrot, diced
2 x sticks of celery, diced
2 x cloves of garlic, finely diced
quarter of a chilli, diced
Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely diced or grated
Pinch of ground coriander
Pinch of ground cumin
1 x butternut squash, diced
2 x sweet potatoes, diced
Veg or chicken stock
1 x star anise
1 x handful of fresh coriander
1 x handful of fresh basil
1 x handful of fresh mint


Place a large saucepan over a medium high heat, once it has warmed add a little oil, just enough so that you can slow fry the onion until it is soft, then add the carrot and continue to gently fry until they start to soften.

Next you want to add the celery, garlic, chilli, ginger, ground coriander and ground cumin. stir it all together and continue to fry for about a minute this should be long enough to warm and release the fragrance of the garlic, ginger, coriander and cumin.

Add the butternut squash and the sweet potato to the pot and stir together. Add enough stock to cover all the contents. Drop in the star anise, fresh basil, coriander and mint, then stir and bring it to the boil. Simmer gently for 30 – 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the sweet potato and butternut squash start to break up as you stir remove the soup from the heat and blend until you have a smooth purée.

Return this to a low heat. Then taste and season. If you are happy with the consistency of the soup you can proceed to the eating phase, if not, you could thin it by stirring in boiling water or by adding milk or cream.

I like to serve this soup drizzled with a little truffle oil for added decadence and a crusty bread roll is a great accompaniment to any soup.

Recipe: Braised Rice Pilaf

Braised Rice Pilaf
Braised Rice Pilaff

Ingredients;


50g butter
25g onion, chopped
100g long grain white rice
200ml chicken stock
A pinch of turmeric


Place half the butter in a saucepan and add the onion, cook gently over a low heat for 2-3 minutes without colouring. Then add the rice and turmeric and stir well.

Cook for another 2-3 minutes without colouring, and add twice the amount of stock to rice.

Season and cover with a lid, then bring to the boil and transfer in a covered oven -proof dish to a hot oven (230C) for approx. 15 minutes until cooked.

Remove immediately and transfer to a cold saucepan, carefully mix in the remaining butter, correct the seasoning and serve.

Recipe: Frittata Chistorra

Frittata Chistorra
Frittata Chistorra

Ingredients;

1 Handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme) finely chopped
2 x onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 stick of celery, finely diced
1 x sweet pepper, finely sliced
Approx. 20cm Chistorra finely sliced (substitute other dried meat if unavailable)
4 x eggs
30g Pecorino cheese, grated
30g goat’s Gouda cheese, grated
30g Red Leicester cheese, sliced

Serves 2


Get your frying pan on to a medium high heat with a little olive oil. Add the onions and fry them gently for ten to fifteen minutes or until they begin to caramelise.

While you wait, beat your eggs well, trying to incorporate as much air as possible, add in the grated cheeses as well as the fresh herbs and beat some more.

Once the onions have started to caramelise add in the garlic and fry for about a minute before adding the celery and continuing to fry gently for about five minutes. At this point you want to add the sweet pepper and fry for about a minute more, before pouring the egg mix over and stirring well. You will need to be quick doing this as the egg will start to cook as soon as it hits the pan. I use a plastic whisk to keep everything moving as I add the eggs and try to make sure that all the ingredients are evenly distributed around the pan.

Now leave this mixture to cook in the pan until you see the eggs start to cook at the very edge of the pan. Now, quickly add the sliced Chistorra over the top of the frittata and crumble the Red Leicester cheese over as well.

Place under a preheated grill and continue to cook until the centre of the frittata has solidified and the cheese has just started to brown at the edges. Divide the Frittata into slices just like you would a pizza and serve with a small side salad.

Recipe: Spaghetti Nero Amatriciana

Spaghetti Nero Amatriciana
Spaghetti Nero Amatriciana

Ingredients;

225g spaghetti nero (or your favourite dried pasta)
120g of streaky bacon
1 onion
Half a dried chipotle chilli
400g can of chopped tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
Worcestershire Sauce
Some chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan (or pecorino) for garnish

Serves 3


My thanks to Kat, who mentioned this as one of her favourite dishes in our recent prize draw, it wasn’t a dish I was familiar with so I Googled it, liked the look of the dish and found a recipe here, which I’ve adapted a little to make it my own.

It was only later when I was researching a little more I discovered this Wikipedia article which gives great information about the origins of the dish and a list of more “authentic” ingredients, which included pigs cheek. While I’m growing more adventurous in both my cooking and eating, I think I’ll stick to the streaky bacon substitution for now :)

Start by thinly slicing the onion and chopping the bacon into strips between half a centimetre and a centimetre across. Then take your chipotle chilli and cut it in half, discard the seeds and chop half of it as finely as possible. If you don’t have chipotle chilli available you could use a whole fresh chilli or about half a teaspoon of chilli flakes instead.

Next heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the bacon on a medium to low heat until it begins to crisp at the edges. Now add the onion and chilli. Cook on a low heat until the onion begins to caramelise, this will take about fifteen to twenty minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes and sugar and stir this together. Bring this to a very gentle simmer and allow it to thicken for another fifteen to twenty minutes.

Taste it and season to taste with salt and pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.

When I made this first, we served and ate straight away, there was a portion left over which I planned to eat for my lunch the next day. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the flavours had come together much better after the sauce had been cooled and left overnight in a sealed container in the fridge. It seemed to bring out the smoky flavour of the chipotle and this blended with the bacon much better. Don’t get me wrong, it was still delicious immediately after cooking but in future I will make the sauce the day before and store it in the fridge overnight before eating.

So the next day, prepare and cook your pasta as per the instructions. The pasta pictured above is spaghetti nero, the taste is very similar to regular pasta however it has been coloured with squid ink during the manufacturing process and gives a different visual aspect to the dish.

While the pasta is cooking, gently reheat the sauce. Once the pasta is ready, plate it with a generous serving of sauce, some freshly grated parmesan (or pecorino) cheese and some chopped flat leaf parsley for garnish.