Thursday, 15 November 2007

Pork and Peasant's Pottage

Last night I tried my hand at cooking a meal with Chinese-y flavours, which we all enjoyed. I can't claim that it was even remotely authentic, but it was my attempt at imitating char siu pork. Not very closely as it turned out, but it was very tasty nonetheless.

Chinese-style Pork

500g pork fillet
soy sauce
zest and juice of a clementine (or half an orange)
lump of fresh ginger, peeled

Pour soy sauce (several tablespoons) into a shallow dish, then dollop in some honey. Add the clementine zest and juice, then grate in some fresh ginger. Grind in some black pepper, then whisk it all together. Turn the pork fillet in this marinade, then clingfim the dish and stick it in the fridge overnight. The next day, let the pork come up to room temperature while you preheat the oven to 200°c. Cook the pork for about 40 minutes, basting with the marinade and juices in the tin every so often. Slice the fillet thinly and serve with rice and steamed greens.

Tonight's dinner was rather more traditional. It's great fun to try out different ideas and play with cooking, but equally lovely to return to the more familiar and homely way of cooking. This chunky vegetable soup is economical at the end of the week and easily adaptable to whatever's still hanging around from last week's veg box. Cooking the bacon separately and adding it just before serving means that the crisp texture is retained and the flavour stands alone. I tend to use my 'vegetable peelings' stock to make soups like this, but chicken stock would be fabulous, or you could substitute a good-quallity bought stock if you prefer.

'Rustic' Vegetable Soup

1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
chopped thyme, rosemary, bay etc.
6 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
800ml vegetable stock
about half a cabbage, shredded

several rashers of streaky bacon

Put the bacon onto a baking sheet and cook it in a 200°c oven. Meanwhile, heat some olive oil (garlic-infused is good) in a large pan and gently fry the onion, carrot and celery with the herbs until the vegetables start to soften slightly. Add the potatoes, then pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the shredded cabbage into the broth, then cover the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the oven, roughly chop the rashers and add to the soup just before serving, with bread and cheese to accompany it.

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