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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Fabulous Food Tour to Thailand

Images from the temple wall
We have just returned from another fabulous food tour of Thailand. A wonderful group who all added in their own unique way to the fun and frivolity. We returned to my favourite cooking schools and learnt the secrets to the sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavours that make Thai food distinctive. All ingredients, we are very lucky to source in our country, unfortunately not at the same cheap price.
Unless we shop at the market, the quality and freshness are appalling compared to the standard there.
The lack of packing and presentation of product is amazing in all the different markets we went to.

 Totally inspiring to go and cook ! Eat well for not a lot of money. Some of the produce available is not so tempting!
Red Ant Lava tastes like custard
We wandered alleys and lanes sampling lots of different foods from China India and Thailand which is a great way to learn the multicultural history of early Thailand. Each new taste was embraced by all
and each new experience captured our hearts and imagination. Culture was included and shopping added to the whole adventure. Cooking classes were wonderful and made all the more  entertaining  because of the gorgeous Thai chefs teaching us with a great sense of humour in their broken english.
A great time was had by all and we have come back with many happy memories, new friends and a new appreciation of Thai food .
Really looking forward to the next trip.
Entrance to the cooking school

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Roast Shoulder of Pork with Orange and Honey

We all love a roast, I particularly love a roast pork and I don't think it is very hard to mess up the cooking of it. Not complete with out the crackling of course. Pork is no longer the NO NO of meat.
It is the other white meat and is leaner than ever before. Pork has less calories than beef but not as much protein. The fat on pork tends to be on the outside, so you can remove it. Although, the shoulder is not the leanest cut, it is needed for this long cook as still remains succulent.
This recipe was inspired from an Ottolenghi meal.
This is a lovely combination of flavours and very easy. The herbs give it a great flavour and the sauce is sweet and goes beautifully with the meat. In fact the sauce has become a bit of a favourite in our home.

2 kilo shoulder of pork
7 stalks fresh rosemary
8 cloves garlic
2 cm piece ginger
2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
2 teaspoons sea salt
Rylstone Olive oil
5 oranges
250 ml white wine
500 ml orange juice
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Put the rosemary, garlic, ginger, peppercorns, sea salt and olive oil in a food processor and
process until well chopped

Open the pork out and smother the meat with the herb mixture.
Tie the pork up with kitchen twine in about four places.
Pat the skin dry and salt well.
Preheat oven to 250C.

Cut the oranges in half and place them on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the pork on top and put into the oven for an hour until the skin is nicely crackled. Don't worry at this stage if it needs a little more. Lower the temperature to 180 and pour the wine into the bottom of the baking dish, but not over the crackling. Cook a further hour, if you feel the top is getting burnt cover with foil, but it shouldn't unless your oven is really hot.
Lower the temperature again to 160C and cook a further 1/2 hour.
Meanwhile place the juice, honey and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan and heat until reduced by half.
Serve the pork with a orange half, they are cooked but still juicy. Pour the orange and honey sauce over the sliced meat.
Serve this dish with traditional vegetables if liked. I served it with eggplant and feta and minted peas.