Friday, May 27, 2011

Roasted garlic and tomato pasta

It's Kitchen Daily's fault. I follow them on Twitter, which meant this popped up in my timeline: 'What's for dinner tonight: Roasted Garlic and Herb Shrimp with Spaghetti'.
Ooh, I thought, but when I clicked on the link, it involved prepared sauce. I'm not bothered about prepared sauce, to be honest, because I can probably replicate it cheaper and, anyway, this was a US-only brand. 
My brain kept circling back to the roasted garlic. I finally resolved to roast some garlic and just mash it in a simple tomato sauce.
It's cooking right now, but I may have ruined it by throwing in too much balsamic vinegar. (I don't have any wine open). I must learn to pour things in with my dominant hand.  I do this quite a lot, so I've gone heavy on the pepper and really mashed the garlic, and it appears I may have got away with it.
Also, in an exciting move, I opened a new shape of pasta. I was actually, properly excited, which clearly indicates that I need to get out more. It's gigli, which the packet says 'goes well with a cheese sauce'. I would imagine it does, because I can imagine the cheese just lying heavily on the curlices. But the pasta thesaurus says 'hearty sauces', so I think I'm covered. By the way, gigli means 'lily', which I think is rather nice. 

It turned that, yes, the balsamic was over-powering, but the roasted garlic was good, so I'll make it again and try not to stuff it up this time. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pork with shallots, fennel seeds and sage

I'm on a huge economy drive right now, and trying to pick up relatively cheap bits of meat (that then don't cost me that much in electricity to cook).
I saw a pork loin that would feed Andy and me for £1.64, so I picked it up, and went looking for a good recipe.
The one I found was essentially very simple - chop shallots and sage, combine them with fennel seeds and butter and stuff the joint with them.
One of the essential things I learnt was 'supervise your sous chef'. I had just popped into the living room, mostly to reassure myself on where to cut the cavity, when Andy cut the cavity in the bottom.
This is not ideal when a major constituent of your stuffing is butter. I could envisage it all dribbling out and frizzling on the bottom of the pan.
Also, I don't own any string. I'm an ex-Scout leader, and I don't own any string. We might have succeeded in re-rolling the joint if we'd had lots of string. In the end we used barbecue skewers, so the joint had more pikes than the Battle of Bosworth Field, and put it skin side down.
Then we detached the crackling and left that in the oven, while we ate the joint.
I don't know if it was the butter dribbling into the joint, or we just hit the exact point at which it was juiciest, but the joint was lovely and soft, and the stuffing quite subtle but tasty.
The other thing I really like about this is its full of things you probably have round the house, rather than say, sausagemeat, which I never do.
So, it's 'in the repertoire'.