Pork and potato bake with a pink peppercorn and basil cream sauce

So this was a “rustle up what is in the fridge” dinner, I had potatoes, pork fillets, and a pot of cream, some salad and a bunch of herbs in the garden.

In a pan sauté some garlic, shallots, pink peppercorns in olive oil. Then slice the fillets in half (to make them about 10mm (3/8th inch) thick), and brown them on one side with the onions to release some of the juices. Then take the onions off the heat, and cut the pork into neat rounds the size of your stainless steel ring (about 8cm diameter), chopping the cut-off pieces and mixing them in with the onions.

Meanwhile, parboil some thin slices of potato. When the potato is soft (but not quite cooked), strain off the water and put aside.

To assemble the dish, pour some cream into the onion and pork mixture, season and stir well. Then make layers of potato, basil leaves, cream/onion mix and pork layers in the stainless steel ring, topping it off with a piece of pork (browned side up).

The final dish is placed in a 240oC oven for 10 minutes, and served with a salad of Rucola.

Looking back, finishing touches could be a drizzle of Calvados in the cream sauce, and a cored slice of apple in the layers.

Crayfish and Avocado salad with chilled Gazpacho

So, fancy towers of food in the middle of a plate is not really my thing, but James Martin made a fantastic looking Chilled melon soup with langoustines and mint on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen this week. I must say I was inspired. Today it was 36 degrees, and I am really, really hot. A cold soup could really hit the spot.

Now on the way to the local supermarket, I had ‘cold soup with sea food’ in mind, but not remembering what James had made on Saturday I bought the following:

Supplementing this with some olive oil, sour cream, salt and pepper, fresh basil, chives, a chili, a lime, and the stainless steel ring I bought on the market, I came up with one of the best starters that have been served from my kitchen.

1 packet of pre-made Gazpacho soup
1 ripe avocado
1 packet of cooked and peeled crayfish tails
1 long red pepper

I grilled the pepper until it was soft, and slightly blackened on the skin side and cut out two circles of its red flesh. Mixing half an avocado with some fresh basil, seasoning, chives, olive oil, chives, some lime juice, and a piece of chili produced a zesty guacamole type sauce/mush.

DIY Rub (that’s a seasoning thing)

During my weekly veg-out in front of Saturday Morning Kitchen on BBC, Jamie Oliver was waffling on about rubs for meat vs. marinates. Now I can’t remember what he said, but I felt inspired to dig out the pestle and mortar to make my own for my Sunday lunch of Beer can chicken.

Grind it all up, and rub on the meat of choice. It seems that this will keep for a few months in a Tupperware, but it is fun to make, and I like the way it is a bit different each time.

1 x teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 x teaspoon of cumin seeds
½ x teaspoon of paprika
½ x teaspoon of mustard seeds
½ x teaspoon of coarse sea salt