Monday, May 10

Happy birthday to me me me.....

What a busy time at PK HQ! I celebrated a thirty-something birthday last week, and I must say my haul of goodies has been pretty impressive, very spoilt. I have posted pic's of some of my gifts, as you can see I have a slightly retro bent. I had to leave my old/new to me coffee table at Mum and Dad's as it would not fit in the car, a mid-century Scandi beauty (with just a slight dent in the veneer suffered in transportation, Dette very carefully saved the bits so I can glue them back on!) will post a picture as soon as I take possession. How very grown up to have a coffee table.....

The tea cup set is particularly pretty, and I will be using that for my mid-morning beverage, I also scored a tin of homemade Anzac bikkies from my sister Liz, which I have ekked out as long as possible. Things like that always taste better when made by someone else. The orange casserole is just crying out for an old skool stew, I thought maybe Lancashire Hotpot?
I also have a new cushion for my gounge (girl lounge) which my clever clogs sister Dette made from a vintage tea towel, and a new haul of cookbooks, which will also necessitate a new bookcase, the other two are fill to bursting already. Jamie Oliver America, and Jamie Does... along with Al Brown's fabulous Fish (I don't cook nearly enough....), and in the post as we speak, River Cottage Everyday, Rotis by Stéphane Reynaud ( I lugged his fascinating and funny Ripailles all the way back from Bath, England in my luggage, my suitcase carrier was less than impressed...) and Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the one and only Ms Child. These I will be poring over in my window seat  while cosy in my new sheepskin slippers (my in laws live in Taupo and understand cold.....), ok, not the most rock and roll existence, but I like it.....

I cooked up pork two ways this weekend, firstly rubbed ribs with BBQ sauce from Jamie's American book, with cornbread and tooth achingly sweet Pecan pie. USA on a plate, it was good.

Then on Sunday I roasted Pork Belly, also very delish. This method came by way of our friend Andy in London, he got it from River Cottage Everyday, and kindly emailed me instructions, very helpful! I got the meat from my butcher, who trimmed the flesh and scored the skin. This is one of the many good reasons to use a butcher, they do fiddly jobs in seconds I would take ages to finish...and probably cut myself in the process. I then rubbed the meat all over with a bit of olive oil, and some peppercorns and coriander seeds I crushed in a mortar and pestle. I then rubbed in some sea salt, and bunged the whole lot in a 220C oven for 30 mins. Turn the heat down to 180C and cook another 1.5 hours. I also poured about a cup of apple juice into then tin, so the meat stayed really moist. The skin was not crispy enough for me after the 2 hours cooking, so I simply left the dish in the oven and turned the grill on, it was crisp and bubbly in no time. It is pork skin, along with bacon, that will forever prevent me joining the ranks of vegetarians, its simply a sacrifice I cant make...........our pork and bacon is Freedom Farms, that's about as noble as I can get on this one I'm afraid........
I served this with my new BFF vege, Celeriac. One of the ugliest vege to grace your table, I will post a pic next time I buy some so you know what to look for. It is a member of the celery family, but is a root, with a texture more like kumara or turnip, and an intriguing smell, celery but not, if you know what I mean......?

Anyway, for Potato and Celeraic Bake peel and slice a celeriac, then plunge it straight into water with lemon juice squeezed into it. Unlike yours truly, celeriac goes brown at the drop of a hat. Slice about 5 large agria potatoes thinly, then placed these in alternating layers with the dried off celeriac slices, seasoning as you go. Pour two 300ml bottles (yes, two!) of cream into a saucepan and heat with a couple of bay leaves, some peppercorns and a peeled whole clove of garlic.Strain the flavoured cream over the spud mix, cover it with foil and popped  into the oven with the pork when you turn the temp to 180C. I put it at the bottom of the oven so the temp would actually have been more like 160C, this kind of dish benefits from low slow cooking. The resulting creamy potato celeriac mix is comfort food par excellence, with the tender pork, crisp crackle , some applesauce and a green salad with a really tangy vinaigrette (you need something to cut the richness of everything else), well, if that does not say "I love you Mum and I am sorry what this is doing to your cholesterol, make sure you hit the All Bran tomorrow", I don't know what does?


  1. Am definitely going to have a go at the pork belly - must be my favourite dish of all time!!

  2. It was delish, and so easy, once you bunged it in the oven you really didnt have to do much at all......and the kitchen smelt like heaven (well heaven if you arnt a wee piggie...)


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