Sunday, 12 August 2007

Belly Laughs

We've gone without our Sunday roast for the last couple of weeks while we've been on holiday, so today was the day we'd all been looking forward to. I got a slab of belly pork from the butcher the other day. I've used it in cooking before, but never roasted a big piece of it and always wanted to. I asked the butcher to score the skin for me, which he did, then I rubbed freshly ground black pepper and thyme leaves all over the rind and into the slits. I would have added salt, but can't at the moment if I want James to be able to share food with us (and I do).

As well as the usual roast potatoes and assorted vegetables, I made some apple sauce and a tray of Yorkshire Puddings flavoured with sage and onion. My mum made these regularly when I was little; I think it was originally her Mum's recipe. I find that skimmed milk, or half miolk, half water, makes the best Yorkshire puds. You only need one thick slice from an onion for this recipe, so wrap the rest in foil, pop it in the fridge and use it for something else tomorrow. Just don't accidentally give it to your daughter as a mid-morning 'piece' to take to school, eh Mum?

Sage-and-Onion Yorkshires

300ml milk
1 large egg
100g plain flour
fresh sage, chopped
onion, finely diced

Beat the milk and egg together, then beat in the flour with seasoning to taste. Put some fat in the dints of your Yorkshire pudding tin, then heat until sizzling in a 220°c oven. Pour batter into each hollow, then quickly sprinkle a little diced onion and some chopped sage over the surface of each pudding-to-be. Return the tray to the oven and cook the puddings for 20 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Pudding this evening was one of those happy accidents arisen from a kitchen disaster. I tried a new biscuit recipe the other day, which promised crisp, risen biscuits which were hollow inside. Ha! Having followed the recipe to the letter, my result was more like rock hard ginger pancakes. Loath to waste a whole batch of biscuits, I had to come up with something to do with them, and this is it. It's quite gratifying when a dismal failure turns into a resounding success, like this did tonight.

Apple and Bilberry Crisp

250g ginger biscuits
470g jar bilberries, drained
1 Bramley apple

crème fraîche, to serve

Finely crush the biscuits. Peel, core and slice the apple, then put the pieces, mixed with the bilberries, in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Scatter over a thick layer of biscuit crumbs and bake at 150° for 20 minutes. Serve with crème fraîche.

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