What I Would Rather Eat Today

October 19, 2009

Still alive…just

Filed under: Recipes — Tags: , , , , , , — MartinH @ 12:32 pm

I feel I should apologise for such a gigantic gap in posting since the (ouch) 30th July, back when the sun was high(er) in the sky, the heating firmly off, and my main concern was finding a breeze, not stopping out draughts, but, alas, I have only my life to blame. 3 years ago, I started a company, and, in the last month or so, I left it, to forge a new path with a new company. It’s been a busy few months, but, enough of that, onto my first home-cooked post!

I promised that, once my circumstances updated, that I would post more recipe-style stuff. Fortunately, starting a new company always tends to leave one with a slight dent in the finances, or at least cash-flow, so more nights in are on the cards. In a strange way, I was massively looking forward to this. In the past, I’ve never had much of a chance to cook, long, odd hours meaning anything that was cooked tended to be quick and simple, bar the odd weekend session, so I was hotly anticipating having more time to myself in the kitchen.

I’m pleased to say that, since I’ve had more time, I’ve hugely enjoyed cooking and the random variance of my veg box means that I, frankly, just dive in and see what’s on offer, and have to use it or I go hungry.

This week was progressing as normal. Get up at around lunchtime on Tuesday, waddle downstairs picking sleep out of the eyes, gather post and veg box (the latter delivered far more reliably than the former) and climb back to the flat. Forage through the box and see what hand I’ve been dealt… sweet potato…yum…spinach…hurrah…muddy sticks.. err..what? It appears that some miscellaneous vegetation has made its way into my box, oh well, rusticly organic and all that. Oh, except they’re not sticks, they’re black salsify…my head was then scratched.

Googling around, I happened upon tales of brown-ness, of this particularly high-maintenance vegetable with the vinegar-or-lemon-juice-water rider. I was quite daunted by this, but, fortunately, the lovely Helen swooped to the rescue and I marched onwards.

I decided to cook the following:
– Pork loin stuffed with apple, walnut and sage
– Spinach and salsify gratin
– Red chard with butter & garlic

In case you’re wondering, yes, I had a *vast* amount of time on my hands, so wasn’t overly worried. I also had a nearly-manky-and-mouldy apple which served very well, and some walnuts that I found lurking at the back of the cupboard, expired, but, well, nuts don’t go off, that’s their entire raison d’etre.

Now, most of these bits are actually quite simple (funny that, almost as if I wasn’t sure what I was doing…), and are more heavily weighted on the preparation side, as, well, I had time to kill. I started with the pork loin steaks, cutting a slit into the side, right the way through to the edge, to create a pocket in the meat. This took me a while as, well, I can be a bit mal-coordinated at times, and the raw pork wasn’t cooperating but, I persevered, and had two slitted steaks, slightly squished, but happy.

Next I chopped up around half the apple (the half that wasn’t threatening to grow an intellience and eat me instead of the other way round) into small chunks, each around the size of a small pea. Then followed the walnuts, around a handful, chopped into the same size bits and to about equal proportion with the apple. I mixed the apple and walnut together, with a handful of grated Gruyere, and stuffed the pork until it could hold no more, along with a leaf or two of sage in each one.

Next, the gratin. I followed Helen’s instructions pretty much to the letter, and, well, it worked perfectly. The only thing I’d add is that you shouldn’t be afraid of cooking it for a long time. I slightly mis-judged the timings when I was doing all this, so the gratin was a little more liquidy than usual, which I ascribe wholeheartedly to me being a muppet.

With the gratin bubbling away, I heated a griddle pan, because I only have one hob-to-oven pan, and it’s an ancient red Le Creuset griddle, weighing in at slightly more than a Land Rover, and, after rubbing the pork with some dried sage and olive oil, plonked the pork onto it. Once nicely charred with the requisite griddle-lines, I whacked the very-sizzling pan into the oven under the gratin for, I reckon, 8-10mins, as I said above, the timings are a bit, err, screwy.

Next was the chard. I trimmed off the tough bits of the stalks and washed the leaves. After shaking them loosely to get rid of most of the water, I whacked them into a pan, on a low-medium heat, with the lid on, and steamed them until wilted.  Once steamed, I drained them and ran them under some cold water to stop them cooking. I chopped them and left them to sit briefly. In the now-empty chard pan, I melted a generous lump of butter, and squeezed some garlic into it, then returned the chopped chard and coated the lot in the melted garlic butter.

I extracted the (now frantically sizzling) pan from the oven, dished up the pork, added the chard and set to work on the gratin. The pork was nicely juicy, much longer and i think it would’ve been over-done, it was a close-run thing. The filling oozed nicely and the slightly-fermentedly-mouldy apple had given even more sweetness than a fresh one, allied with the walnut crunch and the slightly-woody sage, this will definitely be something I do again, perhaps a rolled loin instead of steaks. The gratin was wonderfully creamy, the salsify oddly nutty and creamy, but incredibly tasty. I’ve since seen Saturday Kitchen advise it be treated as a parsnip, and I can see why. The chard was, well, buttery and garlicky, oddly, but it needed eating and any excuse to eat butter and garlic and I’m sold.

Sorry for the lack of photos, poor preparation on my part! I’m pleased my first few concerted forays into cooking are going well, I’m sure at some point I’ll have some huge disaster and it’ll buffer my confidence but, for now, I’m riding high!



  1. Hurrah, you’re back!

    I bought some salsify but in the end I didn’t do anything at all with it and it ended up drying up at the bottom of the veg drawer. Oops.

    Comment by Lizzie — October 19, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

  2. […] Pork with apple & walnut with a spinach & salsify gratin from Martin at What I Would Rather Eat Today. […]

    Pingback by Bisol Jeio Prosecco Food & Wine Matching Competition – The Entries « eat like a girl — October 28, 2009 @ 2:29 pm

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