Tag Archives: pork

Pork Belly with Potatoes cooked in milk

There has been alot of controversy in the media lately about pork. Rightly so.  Society due to various recessions and “modernisation” has led to cheap food produced through mass farming. And it’s not a good thing.  I always try to be as ethical with my purchases as possible.  And with pork and chicken this is essential.  Pigs are very closely related, disease wise to humans, therefore are often pumped full of drugs to prevent disease as they live so close in proximity to each other when being intensively reared.  So my point- eventually- read the label.  Do your best. This dish is crying out for some really well reared pork.  This method of cooking it in milk is an Italian classic…

Continue reading

My Easy Pork Stir Fry Recipe

Stir Fry is a great meal that can be done in two stages, everything can be chopped earlyin the day, then covered and left in the fridge.  All that’s needed then is a burning hot pan.  When helping with the demonstrations at the LitFest last year, I was drafted in to man a wok for one of the chefs.  Honestly, I think my stove wasn’t as hot.  I knew then at that stage that working in a Chinese restaurant would not be for me!

My Pork Stir Fry


Pork Fillet, thinly sliced

4 fresh Black peppercorns , crushed in a pestle and mortar

½ tablespoon of sesame oil

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

1 fresh red chillies , deseeded and chopped

100g of mushrooms, clean and sliced

1 pepper, deseeded and sliced

1 bunch spring onions, trimmed and sliced

Handful of other stir fry suitable vegetables, for example sugar snap peas, young broccoli.  Basically use what you have.

2 cloves garlic , peeled and crushed

300g medium egg noodles , cooked

2 teaspoons fish sauce

6 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 small bunch fresh coriander, leaves chopped

75 ml chicken stock

low-salt dark soy sauce

Pork Stir Fry

Preparation is everything

Rub the crushed peppercorns into the pork slices.  Heat your wok and a frying pan to make them as hot as you can. Pour the sesame and sunflower oils into the hot wok and fry the ginger, chilli and mushrooms for a minute until getting a caramel colour.  Throw in the pepper, spring onions, garlic and other sliced vegetables and stir-fry until wilted.  Add the noodles, fish and oyster sauces, the coriander leaves and the stock. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes until the noodles are steaming hot. Taste and season with soy sauce.    

Pork Stir Fry

Meanwhile, drizzle a little sunflower oil into the hot frying pan and fry the pork for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through and golden. Serve with the stir-fried noodles.

Pork Stir Fry

Ta Dah

Pork Belly- a crackling type of heaven

This little piggy went to market…… and then came home with me!

Every now and then I slow cook a pork belly.  Not too often mind you, as the temptation to eat all the crackling myself is too great.  I get mine from the Premium Butcher in Carrolls Cross, as it’s cut on the bone, which gives more flavour and structure to the joint.

Monday 18 Jan 036

Pork Belly prepared for the oven

This cut is quite fatty, and benefits from a slow long cooking time to render out all that fat into flavour for the meat. I put mine on for about 4-5 hours at about 100oC.  You end up with crispy crunchy crackling and soft tender meat.  Depending on the levels available to me I sometimes throw in a glass of white wine.  Scoring the skin is alse necessary for the best result, as it seems to be critical for accessing the afore mentioned uber crackling.  Having it at room temperature before cooking also seems to help.

There are various schools of thought on starting in a cold oven, but I have never found that to make enough of a difference with pork, duck breast – yes- pork- not so much.  But if you have to set the timer on this dinner, as you won’t be home to turn the oven on, it won’t make too much of a difference over the long cooking time.

Pork Belly

The finished article

The health benefits of (good quality- grass fed) pork are numerous.  Pork is a good source of easily digestible iron, with 100g providing you with 15% of the average daily requirement. (Bord Bia). Many people also find red meat hard to stomach if unwell, pork is easier to digest and lighter to eat.  It’s as lean as a chicken breast,

Mind you, there’s not many health benefits, I’m sure to eating crackling, except the positive endorphins that result from such a guilty pleasure!




Chickweed. One man’s poison is another man’s pleasure!

For years I have seen chickweed in the vegetable garden, and only here in Ballymaloe have I ever seen it eaten in a salad.  From the distain with which it is treated at home I was FULL SURE it was poisonous.

But I picked it this morning as part of my salad duty.  We met in the school at 7.30 (ish- we had to wait for a little sunlight!), and drove down to the glass houses.  Under the watchful eye of the gardener we picked rocket, mustard greens, and another number of salad greens.  We have an exam in 2 weeks time on identifying the salads and I was delighted to get the opportunity to see the plants themselves.  Mind you I still wouldn’t recognise the difference between the mibuna and mizuna if they stepped forward and bit me!

After all the salad has been brought back, checked, washed and distributed it was nearly 08.45 (You have NO idea how much salad gets eaten here every day!).  The kitchen was already in full prep swing, so it was straight in.  Today I was making sausage and chips, and was really pleased with the taste of the pork sausages.

Sausages frying off

Sausages frying off

And although the chips take a while, as they are cooked in two stages,

Buffalo chips resting after their first fry

Buffalo chips resting after their first fry

I was really happy with the presentation and result.  I used the rocket as garnish as I had gone to such care to pick it!

Handmade Pork Sausages with Frites

Handmade Pork Sausages with Frites

The other dish that I cooked today that I loved was roasted onions with herb butter.  Really yummy.  Promise.

Roasted onions with herb butter

Roasted onions with herb butter






Birthday Parties- and Cakes

We love having all of the family over for dinner when it’s a birthday occasion.  We hadn’t managed to do it for my 40th, so last Sunday we had a family get together for Nigel’s birthday.

Nigel is a big fan of pork, so after he managed to source two beautiful pork shoulders, we marinaded them in mustard, maple syrup and brown sugar on the Saturday night.

7 hr cooked maple marinaded shoulder

7 hr cooked maple marinaded shoulder

For starter I wanted to do something with the gorgeous venison that Ni’s brother provides, so I decided on trying my hand at a hot crust pastry, and filled it with slow cooked venison flank, cooked with wild mushrooms and chestnuts (and the obligatory red wine)

Flank of Venison, wild mushrooms, chestnuts and red wine

Flank of Venison, wild mushrooms, chestnuts and red wine

The finished product was very tasty indeed, I had made enough for everyone, not thinking the children would partake, but they ate every morsel, no leftover pies for Monday night!

Dessert was birthday cake of course, with a side offering of cake pops, with various toppings, the most popular of which were the popping candy.  I really enjoyed my first foray into cake pops, and will blog separately about this “journey”.  The birthday cake consisted of vanilla sponge filled with raspberries, blueberries and fresh cream.  And decorated with rosewater meringues.

Vanilla Sponge

Vanilla Sponge