23rd February 2019
'Twixt the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
The deep blue sea

Handsome Devil
It was time to return to scenic Greenock and my wee yacht Harmony. Before Kurt kicked me out.

Fortunately, between Bradford and the mud-green sea of the Clyde was Sam Peckers 50th birthday - she of Dufour charter fame.
The deal was fancy dress beginning with "S", so avoiding the obvious Sailor trap, and dodging being a giant Shit about it, it came down to a toss up between Stan, Satan's drunker younger brother, or a Sausage.
It was the devil costume's red muscle chest that really clinched it for me though.

A drunk time was had by all (HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!) - I really hope you got all that red facepaint cleaned off the furnishings!

It's been something of a cookery dessert, er desert in Bradford since Christmas though. I roasted up some of Angela's pork and I used the tub of ricotta cheese I had bought to try in our Christmas starters, which Kurt mysteriously stored in the freezer, to make a Spinach and Ricotta Lasagne. But I spared Kurt the blue cheese, since he hates it, and I'd already made him eat those stilton panna cottas.
I didn't even get around to trialling things to do with all the tapioca flour I brought off the boat. It's all back aboard now, sigh - a project for another day I guess.
In the end I stayed in Bradford just long enough to finish off the Christmas baking (2 months - maybe I overdid the mince pies?) good job the stuff keeps :)

I've paid for berthing fees in James Watt Dock marina, Greenock up until the end of March, after which their rates start to rise quite steeply, so I'll need to be sailing on in early April, weather permitting. Just time for a bit of boat maintenance, and to decide whether to sail back out around the Kintyre peninsula, or cut up through the Crinan canal, saving about 100 miles but meaning I would miss out on Islay and Jura.
And that's nine whisky distilleries right there!

Angela's Slow Roasted Ginger Pork
meat main
Though I made this with a 1kg piece of rolled pork leg, and used lime juice rather than vinegar, the result was quite good - if slightly overcooked (it's the way Kurt likes it!).
Substitute ginger powder if you have no fresh, and you can add a touch of cinnamon powder to the paste too if you like, which imparts a quite novel flavour. Careful not to overdo it though.

Keep some of the glazing paste to smear over for the last high temperature roasting.

Serves 6-8

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7.

Place the pork skin-side up on a rack over a roasting tin. Put a little water in the tin to prevent initial burning. If you have no rack you can lift the joint out of the tin slightly with a layer of sliced vegetables - onion, carrot, etc. Place the garlic and ginger in a pestle and mortar or food processor and pound or process until you get a rough paste then mix in the oil and vinegar. Season the paste well. Rub about half the paste all over the scored skin of the pork. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the pork from the oven, reduce the temperature to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2. Turn the pork over with the skin side down on the rack and return to the oven and cook for 4-5 hours.
Much less for a smaller joint - say 20-30 minutes/lb. I'm also unsure about the turning considering how the rack will scrape away the glaze, but as you like...
Remove from the oven and turn up to the highest setting 220°C/425°F/Gas 7.
Turn the pork over to the crackling side on the rack smear the joint with the rest of the paste and roast in the hot oven for the final 20 minutes to crisp up the crackling. Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes before carving.

To serve, cut away the crackling with a sharp knife and break it up into pieces then carve the meat. It should be very tender and succulent.
Good luck getting the crackling to crackle, but the rest will taste good. I'd be inclined to cut the skin off from the very start and rub the paste into the fat.
Hmmmm, delicious fat.

Slow Roast Potatoes in Olive Oil
side staple veg vegan
I recall first cooking these when I lived with my mad Scottish girlfriend Karen McLoony in a flat in Morningside, Edinburgh. The place was owned by a restaurateur and had a particularly well-equipped kitchen. In fact I suspect it was he who suggested cooking roast potatoes this way.
You don't parboil the potatoes first, nor do you even need to peel them (though they then have a tendency to become slightly leathery) - just cook them long and slowly in olive oil. You can flavour the oil with garlic or herbs of your choice - rosemary, thyme or sage will work well.

Unlike regular roasties you don't need to use a floury variety; they won't come out crispy, but they have bags of flavour, a juicy texture, and aren't particularly sensitive to oven temperature.

Peel the potatoes, or just scrub them if you prefer, cut into a uniform (around golf-ball) size and lay in a single layer in an oven tray. Tuck in peeled garlic cloves and a bunch of herbs if you like, give a good grating of salt & pepper and pour over olive oil until it comes at least half way up the potatoes.
Roast at a low or moderate temperature until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife.
Greasy but delicious.
How long they take depends entirely on the oven temperature. If you cook them at Gas 6-7 they'll actually just turn out like badly roast potatoes, crisping and burning outside before cooking through while any garlic will be incinerated. So don't do that.
Around Gas Mark 4 though - they'll be ready in 2-3 hours, or you can leave them overnight in a low oven.

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