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Roast Loin of Pork

Roast Loin of Pork

I had bought a lovely bone in pork loin roast prior to Christmas, which had been in the freezer since then as I just didn't get the chance to cook it.  I remembered it at the weekend and decided to take it out.  It was a lovely piece of meat.  Perfectly sized for four people, or just us two with some nice leftovers.

It was a free-range bone-in loin of pork half roasting joint, skin on, with four rib bones.  The chin bone had been removed, which makes for very easy carving.  I didn't especially want the crackling this time so I trimmed it all off with a sharp knife and discarded it, leaving a nice layer of fat on the outside.

To be honest, I am never really quite sure what to do with the layer of skin. Over here they roast it until it is crisp and serve it as "Cracklin"  . . .  crisp and salty.  I am not a huge fan of this.  Probably because it isn't something I grew up with.  It's also really difficult to get it as crisp as you want for eating purposes simply by roasting it.  I think a lot of places actually deep fry it. We are staying away from that kind of thing in this house.

How I have always done my pork loin roasts is to make deep cuts into the roast, all over it at regular intervals, right down almost to the bottom, using a really sharp knife. My boning knife does a super job.

Then I take peeled cloves of garlic and stuff them into the meat.  For a roast this size, I used four cloves.  You cut them into slivers and then you start stuffing them down into the roast into the holes/slits you cut with your knife.

I use a chopstick for this.  First I push in the chopstick, which makes the slit wider, and then I stuff in the garlic, pressing it down in with the end of the chop stick.  I try to make it so the slivers end up a different spots inside the meat.  Some I will push down all the way and others I will leave nearer the surface.  Don't worry the holes close over when the meat cooks.  You don't end up with a hole-pocked piece of meat, trust me.

After that I sprinkle it all over liberally with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.  And that's it.  Just put it into the roasting dish/tin and roast it.  Easy peasy.

I like to serve it with some mashed potatoes, cabbage, carrots, swede and gravy.  With a bit of applesauce on the side, it makes for a beautiful meal. Sometimes I will make a fruity bread stuffing to serve along side as well. Its so tasty!

*A Simple Roast Loin of Pork*
Serves 4
This is a delicious method of cooking a bone in pork loin, which results in tender well flavoured and succulent meat. 

1.1kg free range loin of Pork half roasting  joint (2 1/2 pounds)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut into slivers
sea salt and black pepper

Remove the meat from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  

If your roast has the skin on it, using a really sharp boning knife, trim off the skin and discard, leaving a nice layer of fat.  Using the tip of your boning knife, make deep cuts down into the meat, through the fat.  Push a sliver of garlic down into each cut.  Sprinkle all over liberally with salt and black pepper.  Place into a small roasting tin/dish. 

Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes per 500g/1 pound plus an additional 20 minutes. My roast took approximately 1 1/2 hours. The juices should run clear. 

Serve hot cut into thick slices.  (I like to cut in between the ribs. This is very easy to do, if the chin bone has been removed.)  

Serve with applesauce and your favourite vegetables.  
You can make a delicious gravy with the pan drippings if you wish.  Remove and discard all of the fat, but 2 TBS of the fat. Put the the 2 TBS pork fat into a saucepan.  Add 2 cups hot stock (chicken) to the pan and scrape up all the brown bits and meat juices. Heat the fat over medium heat and whisk in 2 TBS of flour.  Cook for about a minute.  Slowly whisk in the pan juices/stock.  Cook, whisking constantly, until it bubbles and thickens.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and a bit of thyme if you desire.

We had some of the leftovers today in Cuban Sandwiches.  I have never been to Cuba, but this sandwich has always intrigued me. It has always looked incredibly delicious.

I did a search on Pinterest for a recipe. There was no end of recipes to choose from. I finally decided on one that I found on Saving Room for Dessert.  Most of the other recipes I had looked at called for a layer of Salami, which I didn't have.  This was simply layers of honey ham, roast pork, swiss cheese (I used a Dutch Maasdam), mustard and sour gerkins/pickles.  I used ciabatta rolls.  Buttered and pressed/weighted down and grilled in my iron skillet.  YUM!

The leftover roast pork was perfect in this, with a nice hit of garlic, thinly sliced.  My new favourite sandwich!  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Asian Slaw

Asian Slaw

This recipe I am sharing today is one that was a popular one with the ladies when I worked at the Manor.  That is not much of a surprise  as it is filled with an abundance of fresh flavours and a variety of crunchy textures!  Its also very colourful, at least on the first day at any rate.  It does tend to become singularly coloured with the red cabbage if left overnight, although the flavours are still really nice.

There are two kind of cabbage . . . crisp white cabbage, (also known as green in some places) and bright purple/red cabbage. Grated orange carrots . . .  sharp thinly sliced spring onions, along with coriander leaf and chopped dry roasted peanuts complete the salad mix.

The dressing is a lovely mix of Asian flavours . . . rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, honey, toasted sesame, gingerroot and garlic, whisked together with Dijon mustard (for sharpness) and a mild flavoured oil.

The dry roasted peanuts add another different texture and a hint of saltiness that goes very well with everything else.

The coriander (cilantro) leaf also adds colour and a hint of asian flavour that is very much at home in the mix.

The original recipe came from a Junior League cookbook called "The Life of the Party."  My boss always loved the Junior League Cookbooks.  I confess, I always liked reading hers and did photocopy a few recipes from out of them.

I also love Community Cookbooks, filled with everyone's favourite recipes.  You can find a few gems in those as well.   The more I look through cookbooks, and recipes collected through the ages, the more I realise that there is really nothing new under the sun, only new ways of doing things . . .  and fresher ingredients. We are so very blessed in these modern times to have ingredients available to us that our mothers could only dream of. 

*Asian Slaw*
Makes 6-8 servings

Fresh Oriental flavours with lots of colour and texture. This is really good.
For the Salad:
600g thinly shredded green cabbage (4 cups)
600g thinly shredded red cabbage (4 cups)
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded
4 spring onions, peeled and thinly sliced
40g chopped dry roasted peanuts (1/4 cup)
3 TBS chopped fresh coriander leaf (Cilantro)

For the dressing:
3 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS Dijon mustard
180ml canola or peanut oil (3/4 cup)
2 TBS soy sauce (I like the dark)
1 TBS honey
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tsp minced fresh gingerroot
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To garnish:
additional chopped peanuts and coriander leaf

 Whisk together the vinegar and mustard for the dressing.. Slowly whisk in the canola/peanut oil. Whisk in the soy sauce, honey, and sesame oil.  Stir in the gingerroot and garlic.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place both cabbages, carrot and spring onions into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over top and toss to coat. Add the peanuts and coriander leaf and toss again.  Once again taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Cover and chill until you are ready to serve.  Scatter additional chopped peanuts and coriander leaf on top just prior to serving.

Left overnight, this becomes a delicious pickle that is great on sandwiches or with cold meats.  In any case, I am well happy to be coming into Spring when our food will start becoming lighter and fresher, for a time anyways!  Bon Appetit!  

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Marie Rayner
Brown Sugar Cream Pie

Brown Sugar Cream Pie


I have always found the chemistry of cooking fascinating.  The process of combining together a few (or sometimes many) ingredients, which on their own are not all that remarkable, or even very tasty oftimes, into something that is so incredibly delicious, so wow that you can scarce leave it alone . . . to me is like an mesmerizing magic that astonishes me at times.  I find myself wondering about the brain of someone who was intelligent enough to be able to take that leap of faith in the first place. Take this pie for instance . . . 

Other than the pastry shell you bake it in,  it uses only four ingredients.  Plain flour. (ever try to eat plain flour?  YUCK!) Soft light brown sugar. (Fab on rice crispies or in your tea, but wouldn't eat it by the spoonful) Butter. (Lovely on toast and baked potatoes and bread, etc. but  again, you wouldn't sit down and eat a pound of butter on it's own.) Double cream, or heavy cream to you North Americans . . .  (Something else which is good on or in things, but I couldn't just eat it alone.) Four. Simple. Singularly ordinary. Ingredients. Put them together in just the right way however, and bing, bam, boom!  MAGIC!!  Beautiful. Magnificent.  Amazingly tasty  . . .  magic!

 I am betting you have just about everything for this pie in your kitchen right now.  (I recommend my recipe for the crust here. It makes two crusts, but you can tightly wrap and freeze one disk for another time.)

Brown Sugar Cream Pie.  Something magical that happens when you combine those four simple ingredients together.  Totally hedonistic and totally delicious. Totally N-A-U-G-H-T-Y, but in a totally scrumptious way.

Rich, smooth, sweet, and unctuously delicious.  Not something you would want to eat every day, but something which you will totally not be able to resist digging your fork into, again . . .  and again  . . . when you do cave in and decide to bake it.

This pie is the type of dessert that  you would not hesitate to serve to a guest . . . or some hungry missionaries who are not bothered about calories . . . because, well . . . they walk them all off during the day anyways, and what your guests don't know don't hurt!! They say what the eye don't, see the heart don't grieve!

It's blatantly scrumdiddlyumptiously glorious and so seriously very easy to put together, that literally all you have to do is to whisk  these few simple ingredients together and pour them into an unbaked pie shell.

The hardest part is waiting for it to cool down and set enough to eat. A couple hours in the refrigerator does the trick. You will want to serve it in thin quivering delectable slices, along with . . .  yes  . . .  a dollop of softly whipped cream on top to garnish it. In for a penny, in for a pound  . . .

*Brown Sugar Cream Pie*
Makes one 9 inch pie

Creamy and delicious and not for the faint of heart! 

one 9-inch unbaked pie crust
47g plain flour (1/3 cup)
125g butter, melted (1/2 cup)
200g soft light brown sugar (1 cup, packed)
1 pint (480ml) of double cream (2 cups) 

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, flour and cream until well blended.  Pour into the crust.  Bake in the heated oven for 50 to 55 minutes.  The centre should be still jiggly, but not liquid.  Allow to cool completely before cutting into wedges to serve, with or without a dollop of whipped cream on top! 

True, its not is something that you want to eat too often, as the calorie and fat count must be so well off the Richter Scale of what's good for you that you don't really wanna know.  This truly is a once in a blue moon treat, but once in a blue moon . . .  its a beautiful way to indulge your naughtier side.  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Irish Whiskey and Ginger Cake

Irish Whiskey and Ginger Cake

 I had my DNA done several summers ago and when I got the results, I was surprised and very pleased to discover that I was 27% Irish. It brought a whole new meaning to Saint Patrick's Day because now I could actually participate in the wearing of the green with pride in my ancestry and where my roots came from.   Happy Saint Patrick's Day and what better way to celebrate than with a delicious cake!  And not just any cake, but an Irish Whiskey and Ginger Cake!

This is a dense and moist cake that is really filled with lots of ginger flavours!  Almost like a ginger pound cake, it goes really well with any hot cuppa.  You get a real ginger whammy from the abundant use of ground ginger along with crystallized ginger. I love ginger of any kind, but I adore crystallized ginger! 

Crystallized ginger is sometimes known as candied ginger or ginger chews. With its soft, toothsome texture and sweet, spicy taste, crystallized ginger can be added to cookies and cakes, as well as eaten on its own. You can buy crystallized ginger in some grocery stores, and health food stores and Asian grocers often carry it. Chewing on a piece of it when you have an upset tummy or are suffering from motion sickness is usually a huge help.  I always have a large container of it in my cupboard. It is rather high in sugar however, so don't overdo it! 

It really shines in this beautiful cake however . . . moist, dense and buttery, and studded throughout with golden jewels of the crystallized ginger.

Most of the ginger gets soaked in some warm Irish whiskey for a time before you fold it into the cake.  Its a very pleasant addition, however if you didn't want to do that, you could just marinate it in some flat gingerale. This ginger gets folded into the cake batter.

The rest gets scattered across the top of the cake prior to baking, like little gold glistening stones.  It doesn't sink down too far, thankfully . . .

It just sits there on top, like shiny gold pebbles in a brook.  This cake is beautiful with hot drinks. I can imagine it would go down really well after a meal with an Irish Coffee, cut into thin slivers.  Oh, I am thinking a nice sliver of Cashel Blue would be really nice served with this.  I will have to bake another one now, just so I can see.  The thought of that combination has my tastebuds tingling!

*Irish Whiskey & Ginger Cake*
Serves 8 to 10
This is about to become your favourite teatime cake.  It is fantastic, with a warm golden colour and a pleasant sweet spicy flavour. 

250g crystallized ginger, diced (approximately 2 cups)
3 TBS Irish whiskey
150g butter (2/3 cup)
100g caster sugar (1/2 cup)
3 large free range eggs
70g ground almonds (1/2 cup)
2 TBS ground ginger
150g plain flour (1 cup plus 1 1/2 TBS)
50g self raising flour (1/3 cup)

Place the 3/4 of the crystallized ginger into a bowl. Reserve the remainder for later. Warm the whiskey and pour over top of the ginger in the bowl. Let sit for fifteen minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 2. Butter and line a 7 inch round baking tin with baking paper.  Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir together both flours the ground almonds and the ground ginger. Stir this ito the creamed mixture along with the soaked ginger and the juices from the soaking bowl.  Spoon into the prepared baking tin, smoothing over the top. Sprinkle the reserved ginger over top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 80 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  This cake keeps well for 7 to 10 days in a tightly covered container.

This is a farmhouse type of cake . . .  the kind of cake that keeps well in the larder and the kind of cake you will find yourself thinking about in the middle of the night.  Perfect for elevensies, coffee break, tea time . . .  well anytime, but especially nice on this special day when we celebrate everything Irish!   

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! 

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Marie Rayner

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