Prevernal 2020
Marking North Shields Time
Harmony at the Royal Quays marina.

Well, I'm marking time here in the Royal Quays Marina while just cooking up a storm. Storm Dennis, in fact :)

Glazed Belly Pork
main meat oriental
An amalgamation of a various recipes like this I found online.

Serves 4

Cut the belly pork into large pieces and mix with the marinade ingredients. Leave for a few hours, overnight, or even several days.

Drain the belly pork, reserving the marinade.
Heat a generous amount of oil in a large frying pan with a lid. Add the brown sugar and fry until it melts and caramelizes, then add the ginger.
Fry off some of the moisture then add the pieces of belly pork. Fry one side until beginning to colour then turn the pieces and add the red onion. Fry until the second side is beginning to colour, and add the garlic. Stir and cook slightly.
Add the rice wine and reduce.
Add the marinade and the stock. Cover and simmer stirring every ten minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce is reduced to a thick glaze - about 40 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary.

Sprinkle with spring onions sliced on a diagonal and serve with white rice.
Fried leafy greens like spring cabbage or pak choy make an ideal accompaniment.

Garlic Sausage and Yellow Pepper Pasta Sauce
main meat pasta
When life gives you garlic sausage and a yellow pepper...

Serves 2

Heat olive oil in a large pan or fry in two batches.
Fry the garlic sausage and celery until softening. Add the tomato purée and stir through until the oil begins to separate.
Add a squeeze of anchovy paste and the chopped yellow pepper and fry until beginning to soften.
Moisten with a little stock, then grate in cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
Season generously with freshly ground pepper and a little salt.
Serve over pasta.
Acceptable. If all you have is a sausage and a pepper :)

Chicken Tagine with Olives and Jalapeños
main fowl stew
I suppose you can call this a tagine, though it's a somewhat generous description of such a random recipe.

Serves 6-8

Heat olive oil in a large pan and fry the cumins seeds. Add the drumsticks, in batches as necessary, and brown. Set aside.
Fry the potato pieces to brown and set aside.
Fry the shallots to brown and set aside.
Add the anchovy paste to the pan and then the radishes, celery and garlic. Fry until softened.
Add the paprika and a pinch of cinnamon and stir.
Throw in the tomatoes, the grated lemon zest and stir.
Return all the reserved ingredients to the pan. Add the lemon juice, olives and jalapeños. Add a splash of the jalapeño brine then stock or water to almost cover.
Season, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Serve over rice or couscous.
Pretty tasty. Somewhat surprisingly.

Belly Pork with Mustard, Cabbage and Cream
main meat stew
When I made this I had some mustardy leeks in white sauce already made up, so I made the dish itself using just onion and added the creamy leeks too at the end. This is how I would have cooked it from scratch. Probably.
You might consider making it using just leeks, or onions, or both.

Serves 4

Heat oil in a large pan, add the cumin seeds and allow to sizzle then add the chunks of belly pork, in batches if necessary, turning to brown all over.
Drain and set aside.
Chop the potatoes into smallish dice and fry in the pan until colouring, then drain and set aside with the pork.

Slice the onions or leeks fairly thinly.
Roughly chop the garlic cloves.
Cut the half cabbage in half again, remove the thick stalk, then slice thinly.
Add the sliced onions or leeks to the pan and fry until softened.
Add the garlic cloves and stir to coat, then the savoy cabbage.
Stir to coat in oil then add the powdered spices.
Fry, stirring, until the cabbage collapses, then add back the potato and belly pork and a little water or stock to moisten.
Steam gently for 20 minutes until the potato is soft and the pork is tender. Stir in the cream and grainy mustard.
Warm through, season and serve over couscous.
Very good indeed. Though not perhaps the prettiest of dishes.

Cabbage with Ginger and Tomatoes
fish side
You might think of it as a mild curry.

Serves 4

Wash any dirty outer cabbage leaves. Halve and cut away the stem. Quarter the remainder and remove the stem. Slice the leaves about ½" thickness.
Peel and grate the ginger. Heat a generous amount of oil in a pan and fry the ginger until colouring. Add a few anchovies and crush until they begin to dissolve. At least, I think I used anchovies. I may have then added some tomato purée too, I don't remember. It certainly won't do any harm. Add the cabbage and stir to coat. Then add the powdered spices and stir through. Season and add the tin of tomatoes. Cover and simmer until the cabbage is tender.
Surprisingly nice, for such a simple recipe. The spices give it a mild Eastern tang, without being overwhelming.

Cabbage and Potato with Sour Cream
veg side
A kind of chunky, mustardy version of this Steamed Cabbage with Caraway Seeds.

Serves 4

Quarter the cabbage, remove the stalks and slice the leaves reasonably thinly.
Cut the potatoes into chunks, slightly smaller than 1". No need to peel them if the skin is clean.
Heat a generous puddle of oil in a pan and fry the seeds until they pop.
Add the potatoes and fry for 10 minutes or so, shaking occasionally, until they have developed some browning.
Add the sliced cabbage and a knob of butter, season with salt & pepper and stir through, frying until it begins to soften.
Moisten with a few splashes of white wine vinegar, cover and sweat until the potato is soft. You may need to add a little stock or water if the pan becomes too dry.
Stir through enough sour cream to generously coat everything and heat through.
Rather nice made with the Forvm vinegar.

Belly Pork with Celery and Szechuan Pepper
oriental meat main
Yet another dish featuring Becherovka. It gets into everything!
(Other liqueurs are available.)

Serves 2

Cut the belly pork into fat chunks, mix with the marinade ingredients (to your taste) and leave for a few hours or a day.
Crush the Szechuan peppers a little in a mortar if you dislike biting into them whole.
Heat oil in a large pan and fry Szechuan peppercorns, then add grated ginger, fry until beginning to brown then lift the meat out of its marinade and add to the pan in a single layer.
Retain the marinade for something else, or feel free to add it with the liquor later.
Fry until the meat is coloured, turn, fry on the second side.
Add minced or sliced garlic, stir. Cut the celery into fat chunks and add, stir. Fry gently until the celery begins to soften.
Add a glass of Becherovka, Vermouth, or some other herbal liquor to moisten the pan.
Season with salt.
Cover and simmer on low heat until the meat and celery is tender. Maybe 15 minutes. Add water if necessary.
Quite nice, goes surprisingly well with brussels sprouts, potato and taramasalata which is starchy enough to soak up the juices.

Brussels Sprouts, Potato and Taramasalata
fish side
A simple one-pot side dish. Sort of a poor man's Brussels and Mussels.

Serves 2

Peel (if you like) and cut the potatoes into 1" chunks.
Trim the brussels and halve or quarter.
Fill a pot with just enough water to cover the vegetables and bring to the boil.
Add the potatoes and cook until they are soft. Add the sprouts and cook until they are tender.
Drain, return to the pan with a knob of butter, season and crush up with a fork until they are well mixed and slightly cooled, then add taramasalata and mix well.
Not bad - I think adding a tablespoon of mayonnaise, sour cream, a squeeze of lemon juice or a few chopped spring onions will work too. And of course, you might consider adding bacon. Always consider adding bacon. Rules for life.
Doesn't reheat very well though - if you plan on having leftovers it's probably best to stir in the taramasalata dressing after heating on a per-serving basis.

Chicken and Green Bean Tagine
fowl main stew
Another bloody chicken tagine. Kind of...
I had a cheap packet of celery and of green beans, and the chicken thighs were on offer. So they all went into this dish.
I would probably have added some smoked paprika with the sumac, but I forgot.

Serves 6-8

Heat a very generous amount of oil in a large pan. Add the cloves, cassia, cardamoms (cut open) and star anise. Fry until sizzling.
Generously season the chicken pieces with salt and ground mixed peppercorns and fry until brown and crispy, in batches as necessary.
Set aside.

Zest the lemon skin and add to the cooked chicken.
Cut up the potatoes into 1" chunks and fry in the oil until browning. Add to the cooked chicken.
Remove the large spice pieces from the oil and pour off any excess. Crush a half dozen anchovies into the oil and fry briefly.
Cut the onion into segments add to the pan and fry until well caramelised.
Cut the celery into 1" chunks and add to the onion. Reduce the heat and sweat until softened.
Add 2 tsps sumac and stir through.
Pour in a glass of water, stock, cognac, or herbal liqueur like Becherovka my choice and allow to bubble off.
Return the cooked chicken and potato to the pan, add water or stock to nearly cover. Add half the olives.
Put on the lid and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes until the chicken and potato are cooked.

Add the green beans, topped, tailed and cut into manageable lengths. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
Add the juice of the lemon, the remainder of the stoned black olives, two pressed garlic cloves and bring back to the simmer.
Turn off the heat then sprinkle over a final teaspoon of sumac and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Serve over couscous.
If you are averse to the taste of raw garlic then feel free to cook it down with the celery.

Sriracha Hot Wings with Avocado Kewpie, then Bacon and Cabbage
meat fowl snack main
So I followed Adam's recipe for Hot Wings pretty closely and ended up with far too much hot sauce for the quantity of chicken wings, or in my case thighs. Which, on reflection, might provide something of an explanation.
It's not really as good as Frank's Original buffalo wing sauce recipe, I think I prefer the wings deep-fried rather than baked, and the avocado dip isn't a patch on a good blue cheese dressing. But other than that it was fine.

Anyhoo, I decided to bulk out the few uneaten chicken thighs with an onion, half a cabbage, and a lot (½kg) of bacon to finish up the rest of the sauce. And that was delicious. So not a complete bust.

Serves 4-6

Cut the wings through the joints into the drumette, winglette and wing-tips. Keep the wing-tips for stock (don’t throw them out) Or just unwrap the thighs. Dry the drumettes and winglettes on kitchen roll and toss in the garlic powder, onion powder, sugar and salt. Cover and leave for at least 30 minutes, or put in the fridge overnight. (If keeping them in the fridge , return the wings to room temperature before roasting.) They got pretty soggy after an hour - so God knows what they'd be like overnight!

Preheat the oven to 220C (fan forced) and grease an oven tray or rack with peanut oil. Roast the wings for 30 minutes, turning once until browned and crispy. Meanwhile, make the Sriracha Wing Sauce by whisking together all the ingredients in a saucepan until it is well combined and just simmering. Adjust ingredients to taste - mine needed extra hot sauce and rice vinegar. And some extra hotter hot sauce. Remove from the heat and toss the wings in the sauce until well coated.

For the Avocado Dip, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and then adjust the seasoning. You can mash the avocado with a fork if it's soft enough then mix everything else in. Sprinkle the dip and wings with a little black pepper and serve.
The wings will be pretty salty so don't overdo seasoning the avocado dip.

Once you've eaten your fill, strip the chicken from the remaining wings thighs and return to the sauce pan. Cut the bacon and onion into chunks and slice the garlic. Fry everything in a little oil in a large frying pan and then add to the sauce pan. Cut the half cabbage into halves, remove the core, slice up about ½" and add to the sauce pan. Simmer gently with the lid on (and a little extra water if necessary), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the cabbage collapses and becomes tender.
Serve with boiled rice and leftover avocado dip.
It's all good.

Another Savoy Cabbage and Taramasalata
side fish
A variation on a theme.
Taramasalata is on special offer at my local Fucking Supermarket™. Can you tell?

Serves 4

Heat a generous puddle of olive oil in a large pan and add the seeds and crushed peppercorns. Fry until they begin to spit then add a handful of cabbage and stir in the zest of a lemon a little cabbage will prevent it from burning, then the rest of the cabbage.
Lower the heat, cover and sweat the cabbage until tender, stirring occasionally and adding a little moisture water, wine or some liquor if you fancy it if necessary.
Season, allow to cool slightly then serve dressed with taramasalata to taste.
Not bad. Maybe some of the lemon juice too?

Chicken with Cream and Mushroom Sauce
fowl main pasta
I made this to use up some chicken thighs. It would probably be better with a couple of fried breasts.
You can also turn it into a good pasta sauce by cutting the chicken into strips, flouring them, and frying them up with 200g of chopped bacon before continuing as below.

Serves 3

Mix flour with salt, pepper and ground spice such as mustard powder or more paprika. Coat the chicken pieces thoroughly in the flour.
Heat a generous amount of oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces in a single layer skin-side down.
Turn the chicken pieces, browning them all over, then pour off excess oil. Peel the skin away from the chorizo, dice, and add to the pan.
Peel the garlic cloves, halve or quarter lengthways to a reasonable size and add to the pan (add any extra seasoned flour here).
Shake and fry gently.
Clean the mushrooms, quarter or halve (if small) and add to the pan. Shake and cook gently. Feel free to bubble in some white wine at this stage.
Scatter in the paprika, fry briefly, then pour in a little stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce slightly, then add the cream.
Warm through and serve with chopped parsley over noodles, pasta, rice or mashed potato.
Pretty good. A bit bland without the chorizo though.
Feel free to add bacon. Everything's better with bacon.
For Philistines who dislike the texture (but not the flavour) of mushrooms you can replace them with ground up dried porcini, mixed into boiling water. The flavour gets a little bit heavy then though - it really needs to be lifted with something herby or fruity.
The parsley suggested above, tarragon, basil, spinach or some grated lemon zest perhaps.

Bolognese Sauce Base
main meat pasta sauce
This Bolognese-esque sauce is a good jumping-off-point for a variety of extended sauces.
It goes without saying that a traditional Bolognese wouldn't have chorizo in it.
Nor, funnily enough, any garlic!

Serves 8

Peel and mince the carrots though possibly finely grating them would do as well? Not really - you're better off mincing them by hand :(.
Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a large pan. Add the carrots and fry.
Mince a few inches of chorizo and add to the pan.
Slice a half dozen garlic cloves and add to the pan.
Mince an onion I used red and add to the pan. Minced celery would traditionally also be added.
Fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is beginning to caramelize a little, then scoop it all out and set aside.

Finely chop the bacon. Mince the beef. (If your butcher didn't already do that!)
Reheat the pan add a little more olive oil and pour in the fat from the fried onion mixture. Add the bacon and fry until starting to crisp around the edges, then add the mince in batches until the meat darkens and begins to crisp a little.
Sprinkle over the mustard powder and paprika and a generous pepper grinding. Stir until the oil begins to separate.
Stir through the tomato purée and cook until the oil begins to separate.
Add the liquorice stick and bay leaves and half a bottle of red wine. Traditionally white wine might used. Heat until the wine bubbles up and begins to reduce.
Add a little stock if you like, then tomato juice or passata, traditionally to thin the stew out. Season.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Or very gently for up to 3 hours!
Don't add too much tomato juice as it will weaken the flavour. Taste as you go. Traditionally you might also add some milk towards the end to sweeten the sauce.

Cook a thick pasta to serve traditionally linguine. I like to stir a generous knob of butter through the pasta and a grating of mature cheddar cheese definitely non-traditional. Dress the pasta with the meat sauce, and extra grated cheese if you like.
An excellent Ragù alla Bolognese, though spicier than usual because of the chorizo. And the paprika.
Also a great base sauce to extend by adding mushrooms or vegetables at any stage. You can also replace or complement the cheese in the pasta with a variety of other options - crumbled feta, jalapeños, olives, etc.

The Official authentic Ragù alla Bolognese recipe (yep, that's a thing!) also recommends adding half a glass of cream at the end of the two hours of cooking, and interestingly makes no mention of any cheese. Though that may be similar to fish making no mention of the water they swim in.

Sausage, Tomato and Roquefort Pasta Sauce
main meat pasta
Something to do with a pack of reduced-price out-of-date pork sausages, and the Roquefort left over from Christmas.
You could probably do better.

Serves 4

Fry the sausages in a generous amount of oil, then slice them up, set aside and pour out most of the cooking fat.
Add a little butter to the remaining oil in the pan.
Mince the red onion and the chorizo, slice up the garlic cloves and fry them all together gently until beginning to caramelize.
Stir in a couple of tablespoons of flour and fry, then add a cup of stock, stir well, then add tomato juice to taste.
Add chopped gherkins and stir over the heat to thicken, pour in double cream, crumble in the roquefort and return the chopped sausages.
Serve over a chunky pasta like fusilli or conchiglie.
Meh, not all that great if I'm honest. I think my gherkins are a bit too sweet and soapy tasting though.

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