Monday, 26 August 2013

But I never win anything!

One of the things I love about the blogsphere is the way that idle browsing can lead you to 'meet' so many interesting people. As you know I have quite a long list of blogs that I follow, some I read on an almost  daily basis and some I drop into now and again. When I have time, usually one of my magic moments at 6 a.m., I look at the blogs of commentators, or the blog rolls that people have. It was this way that I found The Wide Angle Café (the link is to some of my favourite images on the site).

I think that I originally found the blog via Sara, an energetic Texan, married to a Frenchman and living in a small village in Provence. Well she mentioned the Wide Angle Café and I thought I'd drop by and take a look, I loved what I saw and so became a follower.

Well imagine my surprise when an e-mail arrived from George yesterday morning saying that I'd won one of his beautiful prints. I could choose from two landscapes of Ireland and although the coloured print was gorgeous it just had to be the black & white seascape for me. I've always been drawn to b & w images and have a small collection of prints, sketches and photographs which one day will grace our upstairs hall.

So a big thank you to George and Sara for expanding my horizons and giving me a lovely start to my week.

Maybe I should by a lottery ticket tomorrow?

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Pulled pork with rum BBQ sauce

I've always been a great collector and adaptor of recipes and while we were cruising this was particularly so. Apart from new ingredients to try it was a very social lifestyle with pot luck suppers several times a week, so I needed to extend my repertoire. I found a recipe for pulled pork whilst we were in Grenada and after some adaptations it became a firm favourite with cruisers and so when we came back to the U.K. I continued to cook it at family events, it was my signature dish! Then people asked me for the recipe and I obliged, not wanting to be mean spirited, but now it's out there I can no longer cook it for clan gatherings.

This weekend we had friends for lunch, old neighbours who we hadn't seen for a while, and I thought the pulled pork would be perfect. And guess what? they asked for the recipe. So I've given up, it's no longer my signature dish and so here it is for all to cook and enjoy.

It's a very forgiving recipe, quantities are adaptable as are the options for making the sauce. Originally it was a stove top dish but using a hob on a boat for several hours was not practical and so I turned it into an oven dish, just bung it in and forget it.

For 6 to 8 people use a 1.2 - 1.4 kg pork shoulder joint and season with salt and pepper. Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large pan and cook the meat gently until it is brown all over and then put into a large casserole dish. If your joint has been strung then leave this on whilst browning as it's easier to turn and cut off once it's in the casserole dish.

Ready to brown

For the sauce you will need:

3 medium onions - sliced
5 garlic cloves - minced
Chilli - the original recipe was for 1 tablespoon of chilli powder but I use a fresh chilli (seeds depends on your personal taste). Also in the original was a teaspoon of liquid smoke which is difficult to get hold of in the U.K so I use a dried chipotle chilli to add a hint of smokiness.
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 cup (or so) of ketchup/bbq sauce. I tend to use a smoky BBQ sauce not ketchup or do half and half.
1/2 cup dark rum

Fat garlics ready to mince

Chipotle chillies

Some of the ingredients

Making the sauce

Add the onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until golden brown. Then the rest of the ingredients with the rum last. Pour over the pork joint.

Cover the casserole with foil before putting on the lid so as to make a tight seal and put into the oven at a low heat (100/120C) for 6-8 hours. I tend to cook mine overnight as it can sit a while before the final stage.
Ready to shred

Once fully cooked gently shred the meat with two forks, it should fall apart. It may look a bit sloppy at this point but don't worry. Once the pork has been shredded ramp the heat up in the oven - 180C or so - and put the casserole back for 30 minutes (gently stir every now & then) or until beautifully caramelised, all the fat has been rendered down and the liquid has been reduced.

Serve with a green salad, sliced tomatoes, baguette or large rolls. The idea is for guests to make up their own rolls. I've never yet achieved this - they just pile it on their plate! Possibly because they get more meat that way...

I wasn't quick enough with the camera - half has already gone!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Summer bounty

This has been a strange year for summer fruit. The rhubarb season was late and has run into the strawberry & raspberry season which, with the recent spell of hot weather, is now galloping along. Our kind neighbour brought round the last of his rhubarb and some redcurrants.

Beautiful redcurrants
And then Andrew spotted that the farm shop was doing an offer 'too good to refuse' and came home with 10lbs of raspberries.

Raspberry glut
So a few more jars of rhubarb jam were made and a lot of raspberry (about 15 I think! I lost count), fresh raspberry Bakewell tart - which got eaten before I remembered to take a photograph, and Andrew's famous summer pudding.

Summer pudding
And then it was the end of the day at the strawberry seller...and more jam for the cupboard. So now I really do have to stop making jam as the three shelves reserved for preserves are full and I've spread to the next cupboard. Hope my next guests like jam!