Pork with Cheese and Apple

Ou.. Gratineè côtelette de porc avec fromage et pomme? No, never mind.

There is nothing french about this dish. I remember seeing the recipe on a tv advert for British pork once, although, I think they suggested Gruyere. I would still suggest you use Gruyere, but I don’t like it a great deal so I can happily recommend any strong melting cheese.You may be doubtful, but these are fairly classic flavour combinations. It’s also a very quick, very easy way to brighten up midweek pork chops.

To serve 2:

  • 2 pork chops
  • 4 tbsp apple sauce
  • 100g(ish) strong cheese, grated

Grill your pork chop suntil cooked, a matter of 15 – 20 minutes, under a medium grill. When cooked, spread two tablespoons of apple sauce across each chop and sprinkle with melted cheese. Put back under the grill for a few minutes until sauce heats through and cheese has melted. Et voila!

Fast Food:Jerk Pork and Roast Butternut Squash

This is not really a recipe as such. But as dinners go, it was pretty great. Who am I to deny you great dinners?

  • 2 pork chops
  • 2 heaped tsp out of a jar of jerk marinade (Dunns River, is the best, by some stretch)
  • Small butternut squash, chopped into thick slices, seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • Herbs and spices – in this case ginger and garlic but thyme, cumin, coriander, allspice would all do in this instance. Not altogether though.
  • Slosh of olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Simples.  As early as possible prior to cooking, rub the marinade into the pork chops. Then when ready to cook, preheat oven to gas 6 , toss your squash slices with oil. Crush the garlic flat with the blade of a heavy knife and cut the ginger into pound-coin sized rings. You don’t have to peel them, even. Cook for about 40-50 mins, turning half way through. In the meantime, grill you chop. Serve with a nice green veg.

Fast Food: Friday Night Chicken Kebabs

Two or three years ago, there used to be a show on BBC called Take on The Takeaway. It was a fairly mediocre show, honestly, but in principle it was fairly thoughtful. Essentially the chef would turn up at a house, where the participants apparently had an unhealthy reliance on takeaway food. For the purpose of the show, they usually have a favourite takeaway and the chef would show how it was possible to beat the takeaway on speed, price and yumminess. This show didn’t really teach me anything, the chefs weren’t cooking anything particularly spectacular, but as someone who is fairly lazy, it did encourage me to think about why I was wasting time and money on takeaway food, where most likely I could do far better on all three counts myself. On a day like today, I’m a perfect candidate for a takeaway – its the friday night of a tough week at work, I’m tired, cold, pissed off. I’ve got homework to do. I just want to sit on the sofa until it’s time for bed. Ordering takeaway, seems like the logical choice, no? Ok, no. Happily I had most of the ingredients for this meal at home. If you don’t have a blender, actually maybe a takeaway would be easier.

For the Kebabs

  • 2 large chicken breasts (free range, minimum)
  • juice of one lemon & one lime
  • tbsp chopped mint
  • tbsp chopped parsley
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 to  heaped 1 tsp chilli flakes*
  • 1/2 to heaped 1 tsp ground cumin*
  • 1/2 to heaped 1 tsp paprika*
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 red peppers, cut in to chunks roughly the same size as the chicken

*depending on how spicy you want it, but try to keep the quantities roughly equal.

Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces. Put the rest of the ingredients into your blender and whizz until you have a fairly unattractive liquid. Pour this over the chicken. Leave to marinade from anything from 30 mins – 12 hours.When you’re ready to cook, thread the meat onto four skewers (if they’re wooden ones, please remember to soak them in water for thirty minutes or so previous to this) occasionally alternating with the chunks of pepper. Preheat the grill and then cook, under a medium  high heat for 15 minutes or so, turning occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, but not cremated.

For the mint and garlic sauce:

  • 100ml natural yoghurt
  • 3 tbsp mint, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • juice of half a lemon

Place all the above ingredients into the (now clean) blender. Whizz until mostly smooth.

Total time in the kitchen: 21 minutes. Total Effort 4/10 Expense: 7/10 (but organic chicken breasts) Taste:9/10 . No kebab house could have beaten that tonight. Serve either in toasted pitta, tortillas, or flatbread with salad and pickled chillies. Scoff!

And here’s a picture of my ‘hood in the snow. Not for any culinary reasons, just because I think its mighty purty: