Snuggle down, because it’s cold and wet out there. Time for a sausage ‘n’ starch dinner to both fill up and warm up.
This started, as many of my recipes do, from a single ingredient and spiralled out from there. Knorr sent onion gravy pots to try. You whisk a blob of jelly into simmering water and it creates a savoury sauce. The flavour is nice although it has a faint flour back note to it. Some years ago in New York I tried a creamed gravy and it was the business, so creme fraiche is a nod to that amazing condiment.
I paired it with pork and mushrooms to make a satisfying, meaty dinner. Onion gravy was always destined to go with Yorkshire pudding, so an onion-flavoured Yorkshire seemed to be the perfect partner.
If you’re looking for something to make you snuggle up of a brisk evening, this should tick the boxes. It’d be great with sausages too.
pork & mushrooms with onion yorkshires and creamed onion gravy
- Vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 heaped tablespoons flour
- Some milk
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 pork loin steaks, sliced
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 1 sprig thyme, leaves picked
- 1 Knorr onion gravy pot
- 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Add a thin layer of oil to a casserole dish and pop in the oven to heat up.
- While the oil heats, whisk the eggs and flour together then add enough milk to make a gloopy batter. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- When the oil is smoking hot, add the onion slices and then the batter on top, then return to the oven for 20 - 25 mins until the pudding is puffed and browned.
- While the Yorkshire bakes, fry the pork, mushrooms and thyme together over a medium heat until the pork is cooked through and the mushrooms tender.
- As the pork finishes, make up the onion gravy as per the packet instructions and then whisk in the creme fraiche. Serve a slice of the Yorkshire pudding with the pork and mushroom mixture, with a helping of the creamed onion gravy.
I’m a massive convert to FarmFoods. I’ve been packing my freezer once a month with a whole bunch of things, like burger buns, ice cream, frozen mince and other bits and bobs. I’m also a big fan of their dried noodles and wraps. They’re really helping to pad out my weekly shop with backbone ingredients that are always on hand. Reaching for a bag of frozen onions is so useful on a weeknight to shave time off that midweek meal.
I’m well aware this reads like a sponsored post, but I swear it isn’t!
And this recipe is packed with things from my freezer. The BBQ sauce isn’t; but it’s a great standby which you probably have the ingredients knocking about for anyway. It’s super-rich though, you don’t need much of it. With a turn of speed you can knock this out in under 15 minutes, serving with coconut rice.
BBQ Pork Wraps (serves 4):
For the BBQ sauce:
75ml tomato ketchup
75ml soy sauce
75ml balsamic vinegar
For the wraps:
4 frozen pork loin steaks
50g frozen onions
50g frozen mushrooms
50g frozen peppers
4 flour tortillas
- For the BBQ sauce, combine the ingredients in a sauce pan over a high heat. Allow to bubble until thick and gloopy and then remove from the heat.
- In a frying pan over a high heat fry the mushrooms, onions and peppers. When tender remove to one side and add the pork steaks. When golden on one side flip over. After a couple of minutes cooking remove from the pan and slice into strips. Return the pork, mushrooms, onions and peppers to the pan and continue to stir fry for a couple more minutes until the pork is cooked through. Ladle in a quarter of the BBQ sauce and stir to coat, then spoon into wraps. Serve with rice and more sauce on the side.
I’ve revived an old habit of mine: devouring biographies. My local library has seen a lot of me lately, as I’ve read stories from all walks of life, Ken Livingstone to Steve-o, Chris Evans to Keith Floyd.
One that’s stayed with me is Antonio Carluccio – A Recipe for Life. I picked it up as a fan of his food and TV programmes. I wasn’t prepared for the vast scope of his life, from growing up the station master’s son, to travelling Europe in all sorts of jobs, to being driven to several suicide attempts due to crippling depression. You would expect the avuncular TV host’s story to be whimsical and giddy, but it is weighed down by a man who seems profoundly lonely. Even his now-beloved Gennaro betrays him and further fuels his sadness.
It’s a sobering read, but well worth tracking down.
On a more upbeat note, Antonio was on Saturday Kitchen this weekend and served up this delightfully simple dish that speaks to his core food philosophy: mof-mof, or “minimum of fuss, maximum of flavour”. Only an Italian could come up with that credo!
It’s a delicious pasta dish, and if I could’ve laid my hands on parsley like the original recipe asks it would’ve been perfect. I embellished mine with truffle salt, a birthday present which just happened to be Carluccio’s branded too. It’s so quick to cook, and delicious.
Open raviolo with mushrooms (serves 2):
1 garlic clove, crushed
300g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon tomato puree
70ml white wine
4 fresh lasagne sheets
Freshly grated parmesan
- Get a frying pan on a medium-low heat and some salted water on to boil in a saucepan. Add a little oil to the saucepan to prevent the sheets from sticking.
- Melt the butter in the frying pan and add the garlic. Before it browns add the mushrooms and gently fry for 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and season with truffle salt and black pepper. Cook for another minute before adding the wine and bringing to the boil to reduce.
- Pop the lasagne in the water to cook – this should only take 1 – 2 minutes. Put them to one side when done.
- When the wine has reduced to a thick orangey sauce, assemble the dish by alternating pasta sheets with the mushroom mixture. Top with parmesan before serving.
I was coming home on the train and decided it would be pie or nothing for dinner. Luckily all the ingredients were on hand. Patchwork for two reasons: I had some squares of puff pastry to use because I’d absent-mindedly cut loads more than I need when making sausage rolls; and ended up using a hodge-podge of all odds and ends things I like.
Patchwork pie (serves 4 – 5):
500g beef mince
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove garlic, minced
50ml red wine
1 pack of ready-cooked chestnuts
300ml beef stock
1 teaspoon cornflour
1 sheet puff pastry, cut into squares
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon English mustard
- Get your oven on to 180°C, and two frying pans over high heat with a dash of olive oil in each.
- In one of the pans get the mince in and stir often until browned and starting to crisp up. In the other pan fry the mushrooms and rosemary together. After 5 mins add the garlic.
- When the mince has browned add the red wine to deglaze the pan a bit, then add the stock, chestnuts and the contents of the mushroom pan. Mix the cornflour with a splash of water to make a paste, then stir this in thoroughly.
- Bubble away for a couple more minutes until thickened, then pour into a baking dish. Layer the squares as neatly as you like over the filling. Mix the mustard into the egg and brush over the pastry. Sprinkle with some coarse sea salt and bake for 30 minutes until golden and puffy (well, it is puff pastry after all). Serve with carrots braised in butter and dusted with nutmeg.
Continuing my series on decent grub on a budget, here’s a pasta bake dish with lots going on. It’s the breadcrumb topping that makes it! This was intended to have a white sauce made with milk but I ran out, so instead I went for a velouté version made with stock.
(PS. I’ve listed ingredients for 1 but the version above serves 2 – 3, in case you’re wondering why yours is smaller!).
Approximate cost for main ingredients, excludes storecupboard ingredients (prices from Tesco.com 7th Oct 2012): £1.91
Garlic mushroom and broccoli bake (serves 1):
100g penne or other shape pasta
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 head of broccoli, separated into florets
1 rasher of smoked bacon
1 slice of bread, preferably yesterday’s
1 clove garlic
500ml hot chicken stock
- Get a large pan of salted water on to boil over a high heat and preheat the oven to 200°C. Get a smaller pan on a medium heat and get a baking dish ready.
- Add the pasta to the water. Add the butter to the smaller pan and once melted whisk in the flour to combine to a gloopy paste. Crush in the garlic and allow it to cook for a couple of minutes. Add all the stock, whisking all the time.
- Add the mushrooms and veg to the pasta water and then return to whisking your sauce. Keep whisking until it resembles thick, smooth custard. At this point you should check to see whether the sauce needs salt or pepper.
- After the vegetables have cooked for five minutes drain these along with the pasta and combine with the sauce in your baking dish. If you have a food processor blitz the torn-up bread and bacon together to breadcrumbs, if not lay both on a chopping board and rock your knife over the lot of it to dice as small as possible. Scatter these breadcrumbs in a single layer over the pasta bake, and pop in the oven for about 15 mins until the breadcrumbs are golden and the bacon pieces are cooked.