Pork as we know it

The first thing that gets to my mind when I see pork, is our popular Maltese ‘majjalata’. It translates to literally ‘pork feast’ where a whole pig is slow cooked on a spit-roast.

Since this is undoubtedly not a thing that can be done at home, we’d have to accommodate with our pork chops, pork belly, ham, loin and so on. In London I had also tried pig trotters which basically are its feet and as disgusting as they looked, I have to say that the taste was amazing thanks to the great chef Pierre Koffman.

It kind of puts me off every time I attempt to plan to cook pork because it is easily overcooked and I don’t like it when it’s dry.

Which is your favourite pork dish?

Rob

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Timing

I was going to say something about this in a later blog but Jas stepped on my brake pedal and suggested I mention this straight away.

It is essential in our everyday life especially when it comes to cooking. Ideally we would like the whole meal to be plated at the same time at the right temperature.

So how do we do this?

We need to give importance to what takes the most time to be cooked versus the ingredient that is cooked within minutes. This sounds quite obvious right? But how many times do we rush our cooking and throw everything at the same time ending up with a half baked potato or super soggy asparagus for example?!

Jas have always thought me to follow these simple steps whilst I prepare to start cooking:

  • If following a recipe, make sure you read the whole recipe beforehand so you’d have a good idea of the whole procedure. For example, recipes that include lentils or beans might need soaking overnight.
  • Take out all ingredients and utensils.
  • Start boiling off water and pre-heat oven, if needed.
  • Peel, chop, dice, shred, grate, beat etc the necessary ingredients
  • Clean as you go! (these are actually grandad’s sacred words)

When I cook I also make sure that I have enough time for the whole recipe and not tied up with an appointment or something. I find it easy to prepare ingredients the day before so all is set to go on the day. Basically I schedule a cooking day and stick to it.

How do you organise your timing? Let us know your thoughts!

Rob

We love Fish

Born and bred right in the centre of the Mediterranean, it is without any doubt that fish is one of our favourite meals and so happens to be our little ones’, which is a given bonus.

Apart from salmon, fish fillets do not really make it to our plates. We prefer the whole lot, including the head and the tail.

Before you make the ‘yukkie’ face, please listen to this:

The head has got the most tender bit of meat underneath the gills and forehead (and the tongue for the more adventurous) Just a little tiny bit of meat that it is almost a crime if it gets wasted!! Also, when going to the fishmonger and asking him to fillet your fish, you are giving him back some precious fish parts that could make a drooling fish stock and soup.

So, now you know this and there are no more excuses! 🙂

Ok, so we might have got the point for this bit but what about getting rid of all the bones??! Damn it, I hear it so often that one is off from eating fish because of all the annoying never ending bones especially if you have had the bad experience of swallowing one! Bless you!!

For the seabream, seabass and alike, once cooked the bones are very easy to eliminate.

  1. Grab a knife and first slide the ‘spine’ outwards, starting from top near the head until you reach just before the tail. It is very easily removed if cooked properly. If bones do not slide out, it means fish is still under cooked.
  2. Now we need to remove the long middle bone so to do this I make a cut along the top side of the fish and slide both sides to the side. You can now see the long bone, right?
  3. Grab the tail and pull it up gently, trying not to break it.
  4. Then you’re left with another line of bones on the opposite side of the spine, so slide them out just the same.

At this stage you should have most of the bones gone and just be careful for any missed ones. This is how I self-learnt to do it and I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome.

Rob

Stay at home -vs- Working parent

Ok, I don’t want to deviate from the food subject but this statement is really out there and I would like to bring it into the blog for discussion.

I have not much of a personal opinion about this since it all depends on everybody’s different life circumstances and I stand by all of that. Personally, I had taken a year off work to stay with little one which was an absolutely overwhelming life experience. Returning to work did help me to get a good work/family balance and do not feel guilty for having to make use of a nursery to ‘take care’ of my child and that’s also the plan for child no 2.

We all know that staying at home is not an easy job at all but having a career or simply work full-time to cover all bills is not any easier!

What made you decide to stay at home?  If you work, how do you manage your time with family/housework/kids and time for yourself, if any?

Open for an interesting discussion? Leave your comments below.

Rob

Rice Rice Baby

Is the grain that is always present in our kitchen cupboard.

We like to use it for puddings, salads, risottos, paellas, soups, oven baked and the list goes on …

Brown is what is advisable as it has more healthy nutrients than white rice which is just empty calories and nutritional value is almost none. We do not have the tendency to go for brown rice just because we are used to the white, which is silly really. By writing this I encourage myself to jot down brown rice on my next shopping list and I hope you will go for that too next time you’re cooking rice. Difference in taste is not a major issue so we really should just swap mentality as easily as is eating this grain.

Rice can be an everyday easy meal or accompaniment which can be done in a short amount of time. If any leftovers, be careful how you store and reheat because you can easily get food poisoning. Ideally serve the rice as soon as it has been cooked. If that is not possible, cool it down as quickly as you can within 1hr. Keep rice in the fridge for no more than 1 day until reheating. When reheating always check that the dish is steaming hot all the way through and do not reheat more than once! (advice taken from NHS website)

Tell us, what is your favourite rice dish? We might want to try it too 🙂

Is this easy for us?

 

No is the simple and honest answer.

In fact, this food blog idea serves to help us maintain our daily home cooking and a platform for some future business. It does take up a little more time than we have available to be able to record videos and be more active on social media with a toddler that needs attention most part of the day. However, my job allows me time to cover all this writing and posting so we are taking this little advantage to make this work whilst Jas organises his videos whilst little one is having his nap.

So should everybody start blogging to get motivated and home-cook? No, of course not!

Our aspiration is to inspire you to get your hands more on those kitchen utensils of yours and your belly close to that kitchen worktop and hobs. As much as we find it challenging to do, we want to assure you that it still is doable and results are very rewarding.

Food basically tops the agenda in our everyday life, at least in my little (big) world of pregnancy. Making sure that little C and I are fed well is a task on its own and it is not as easy as I would prefer it to be. I’m lucky that Jas is a chef and can sort himself and us out, however relying on this is not fair so I try my very best to come up with some dishes as well. As I said in a previous blog, it does get easier when planning food ahead for the week and do the shopping accordingly. I find it less stressful and much more achievable.

How difficult do you find it to plan your everyday cooking? Do you normally give up and go for the ready-made? Any food bloggers are very welcome to share their views. Leave your comments below, we would love to hear them!

Rob

The Chicken

Considered as one of the leanest choice of meat, is a favourite to many.

For some reason I am not a big fan of chicken especially the breast. I prefer its thighs or wings if I had to eat chicken. However this week’s recipe has really made it up for me as I couldn’t resist the classic Diane sauce and it went down really well.

When it comes to me cooking chicken, I get quite paranoid that germs are being spread everywhere. I’m not a germ free freak, far from it, but chicken puts me a bit on the cautious side and I do sanitize workbench for at least 3 times after prepping. If you’re like me, one thing you need to make sure of is to never wash the chicken before cooking! This can increase the risk of food poisoning because water is splashed and bacteria is spread onto everything really.

Back to the joys of this most wanted poultry, we would really love to hear about your favourite chicken dishes so drop us a line on our facebook page and let’s get it all in discussion.

Rob

Trick of home-cooking

When the clock is ticking and we are running out of time, I hear it very often “I was so busy I forgot to eat!” Or “What a headache to think what am I going to cook tonight!”

We’d say planning our meals will solve most of these every day struggles. It seems like we are able to put our heart and soul in planning that occasional treat or a one-off special meal but then when it comes to planning our everyday food it feels like it is a very hard task to achieve.

I find it really helpful and cost effective when I plan for the whole week, prepare my shopping list and then as I said in a previous blog I cook mostly over the week-end. I wish this is religiously done week in week out, but of course sometimes I do get trapped in the no-time-for-this ‘excuse’ and then annoyingly find myself in a big wonder of what are our meals for the day.

Time management – is what Jas always hammers in my head. True!

I still have not mastered this bit entirely, but I’m learning that making priorities and first things first is the first step towards avoiding last minute, less healthy meals. So, once a week I make time to sit down for a few minutes and organise myself with a week-menu kind of thing and start writing my shopping list. Towards the end of the month we like to use up whatever is left in the cupboard/fridge/freezer and make recipes out of them so we won’t bulk up unnecessarily or end up with many out-dated products.

How do you plan your cooking? Or do you plan at all? Share your views with us below, we’d like to hear it from your side.

Rob

The Cheeky Treat

Why oh why a beef burger needs to always fall under the junk category?

Well being pregnant for the second time, I kind of know the perks of cravings you get. For me I don’t really crave for anything in particular, it’s just when it comes to food especially dinner time, I think the right term for it is ‘I get hungry with a passion’. I want a filling dinner, I-want-it-now and please, DO NOT INTERRUPT!

Luckily Jas is very good in satisfying these cravings and for this week he couldn’t have got it any better in doing this homemade rib-eye burger.

Initially you might start to think, is he crazy or what? Would you really buy a piece of rib-eye to chop it off for a burger?!! Well honestly, if I want to indulge myself in a burger, I’d rather go for that than for a take-away one.

In this recipe Jas uses salt as a binding agent, however for the little one we only use egg yolk as we try to control his salt intake.

So, back to the first question – burger = junk?

No, please at least not today! Try this super easy rib-eye patty homemade burger and you will never see a burger from the junk lens again (trying my best here >_< )

Rob

Homemade Beef Burger

Ingredients – Serves 3

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  • 3 Rib-eye Steaks (roughly 170g per person)
  • 3 Brioche Bun
  • 3 shallots
  • Leaf lettuce
  • 3 Egg yolks
  • 6 slices Cheese of your choice
  • 6 slices Tomatoes
  • 3 tsp English mustard
  • 2 tsp Mayonnaise
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • Dash Sunflower oil

Equipment

  • Non-stick frying pan
  • Small bowl
  • Large knife
  • Chopping board

Other

  • Baking paper

Method

  1. Put on the grill and start heating up a frying pan on a very low heat.
  2. Start chopping the shallots and meat and put in a small bowl.
  3. Add salt, English mustard and egg yolks, combine well and give it a round shape with your hands. For kids we omit the salt and use only egg yolks.

     

  4. At this point, if you have time, you can leave it for an 1hr in the fridge for a better binding result.
  5. Drizzle your heated pan with some oil and place burger patty to be cooked to your liking.5-3-img_0340
  6. You can place your buns under the grill now and turn burger patties to cook onto other side.
  7. Start preparing the tomatoes and cheese and any other item you’d like on your burger.
  8. For cheese and tomato, you can put these straight onto the cooking burger and under the grill for a couple of minutes.
  9. Make sure you keep an eye on the buns under the grill!!
  10. Plate your burger and enjoy.