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.

Somehow Jas delivers this meat nice and tender even if it is stir fried, just like this week’s recipe Pork & Egg Stir Fried Rice. I have to say that although it doesn’t look the most attractive plate by sight, not enough colours to attract the hungry eyes, it just tastes great! Little C couldn’t stop eating it and I had to literally swipe my finger to the plate by the end of it and I’m not being cheesy here!

You should really give this a try if you’re a pork fan and let us know how it went down!

Rob

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How to Stir Fry Rice – Pork & Egg stir fried Rice

Ingredients – Serves 1

  • 100g Pork loin steak
  • 250g Long grain rice (we pre-boiled rice)
  • 113ml Sunflower oil
  • A handful frozen garden peas
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • Salt & Pepper

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Method

  1. Prepare a medium frying pan on a low heat.
  2. Remove the extra pork’s fat and dice it into small cubes as shown in the video.
  3. You can now increase the heat to high for the pan to get really hot.
  4. Place pork in frying pan and let it get a nice brown colour.
  5. Add already cooked rice and green peas to the pan and give all a gentle stir.
  6. When all ingredients reach a high temperature, stir in the beaten eggs. The egg will cook very quickly as pan is very hot so be quick to stir it in immediately.
  7. Season with salt and pepper and give it another stir.

Timing

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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 little C’s 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 undercooked.
  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 side 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.

This week’s recipe is one not to be missed. For you, the fish lover or if you never tried to bake fish this way, go visit your local fishmonger and quickly roll up your sleeves because Jas is waiting for you right here!

Rob

Whole Sea bream with Moroccan style Carrot Salad

Ingredients – Serves 1

  • Whole Seabream, gutted and scaled (or any other whole white fish)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Ingredients for the Carrot Salad

  • 1 carrot
  • Olive oil
  • 1tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 fresh ginger roughly chopped into small pieces
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Bunch coriander
  • 3 tbsp plain natural yogurt
  • Fresh juice of 1 lemon

Method for Seabream

  1. Pre-heat oven on gas mark 7.
  2. Start preparing marination by chopping onion, garlic, tomato, basil and put all in a small bowl. Add salt, pepper, olive oil and combine well.8-2
  3. Take the fish and cut 3 slices on either side of it (watch video at 2:11 to see how).
  4. Cut a large piece of foil and place the whole fish on it. Put the marination on top of fish and close the foil tightly (as shown in picture) Jas explains this well in video.
  5. Now place it on a baking tray and straight into oven. Fish is ready cooked in about 10 minutes.8-6

Method for Carrot salad

  1. Prepare a small shallow pan and put it on a low heat.
  2. Start peeling the carrots and using the peeler continue to peel carrots as ribbons (watch video at 5:13 to see how) and place in a bowl.
  3. By now pan is hot enough; drizzle some olive oil, add cumin, turmeric, ginger, garlic and cinnamon. Combine gently and let them cook until all flavours are coming out.img_0853
  4. In the meantime chop some coriander.
  5. Spice mix should be ready and place it in a separate bowl to cool off.
  6. When mix is completely cooled, add the yogurt, lemon juice and coriander. Give it a gentle stir.
  7. Add yogurt mix to the carrots and gently combine everything with your hands.8-7
  8. By now the fish should be ready too.

Stay at home -vs- Working parent

 

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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.

This week Jas has prepared a nice Pea & Mint risotto. An everyday easy meal 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 🙂